Refit volunteers' weekend


OYT South bulletin 11th March 2011

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* 300th edition of this newsletter
This is the 300th edition of this newsletter, which began in November 2003. The first issue went to a handful of refit helpers; today it goes to more than 2,000 members, supporters, friends, volunteers and crew, almost every Friday. Many thanks to all those who read it and have responded over the years to all our appeals for people to get involved!

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* Volunteer sea staff bookings - 2Ms urgently needed, and some berths for 3Ms / trainee mates
We have two early-season voyages which still have no qualified second mate - can anyone help? These are 27 March - 1 April, and 10-15 April. Please let me know a.s.a.p. if you could fill either vacancy - these dates are getting close now!

As for the rest of the season, James is looking after the relief bosun bookings, but the list below gives the current gaps for second mates and 3M / trainee mates. Anyone doing the mates’ training or familiarisation voyages early in the season is welcome to apply for trainee mate berths (email me now) which can be confirmed subject to getting a skipper’s recommendation on your training voyage - sometimes it helps to have an idea of dates well in advance. I won’t confirm all the 3M / trainee mate berths till these training voyages are over and we know how many of the new people need a place on another voyage.

21-26 March - room for an additional mate or trainee mate
27 March-1 April - 2M
1-3 April - room for an additional experienced mate
10-15 April - 2M
15-17 April - 3M and/or trainee mate
26 April - 1 May - room for an additional experienced mate
2-7 May - 2M
8-12 May - 2M and 3M or trainee mate
22-27 May - 3M or trainee mate
1-5 June - 3M or trainee mate
6-10 June- 3M or trainee mate
12-17 June - 3M or trainee mate
26 June - 2 July - 3M or trainee mate
23-30 July (Lerwick to Stavanger) - experienced 3M or additional 2M for Tall Ships race 2
30 July-7 Aug (Stavanger to Halmstad) - experienced 3M or additional 2M for Tall Ships race 3
24-30 Aug (Ipswich to Southampton) - 3M or trainee mate
31 Aug-4 Sept - 2M
3-7 Oct - 3M or trainee mate
7-9 Oct - 3M and/or trainee mate
10-14 Oct - 3M or trainee mate
24-28 Oct - 3M and/or trainee mate
28-30 Oct - 3M and/or trainee mate

Please note that dates given are for when young people are on board - except for weekend voyages, staff should expect to join the night before, and may be needed for even longer for Tall Ships and other overseas voyages.

There will be other gaps once questions over provisional bookings are resolved; and some places are not straightforward as we need to book female sea staff - but do let me know where you can help!

Don’t forget that you MUST have a CRB check before you can sail with young people - if you are booked on a training voyage and want the option of moving on to youth voyages shortly after if you get your recommendation, please start the CRB process now by completing this form.

Unless you know you are exempt (i.e. skippers, other paid staff, and anyone who has already negotiated bursary funding - e.g. if you are unwaged) you MUST make sure you have paid your annual membership and sailing donation before your voyage. Membership is £36 (£18 for under-25s) and the sailing donation has a recommended rate of £100 per year and a minimum of £70: you can choose what to pay within this band depending on your circumstances and how often you expect to sail with us this year. Call the office on 02392 602278 with a credit card to pay. If you have paid for the mates’ training or familiarisation voyage, please note that this includes your annual membership and sailing fee - you do not need to pay twice.

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* Voyages for young people in 2011
Owing to one group swapping to later dates, and another group not filling all its places, we now have some unexpected vacancies on Easter holiday voyages:

10-15 April, 5 nights, Southampton to Southampton, £390pp
15-17 April, 2 nights, Southampton to Southampton, £170pp
22-25 April, 3 nights, Southampton to Southampton, £240pp

We only have a few weeks to fill these voyages, so please do think if there is anyone who might be interested in coming, and spread the word around.

Other youth voyages this season which still have spaces (age range 12-25 unless otherwise stated) include:

6-10 June, 4 nights, Southampton to Southampton, £305pp
2-11 July, 9 nights, Waterford to Greenock, Tall Ships Race 1, age range 15-25, £645pp
11-23 July, 12 nights, Greenock to Lerwick, Tall Ships Cruise, age range 15-25, girls only, £840pp
30 July-7 Aug, 8 nights, Stavanger to Halmstad, Tall Ships Race 3, age range 15-25, £610pp
9-15 Aug, 6 nights, Halmstad to Cuxhaven, Baltic cruise, £455pp
16-23 Aug, 7 nights, Cuxhaven to Ipswich, Homeward cruise, £510pp
31 Aug-4 Sept, 4 nights, Southampton to Southampton, £320pp
5-9 Sept, 4 nights, Southampton to Southampton, £305pp
7-9 Oct, 2 nights, Southampton to Southampton, £170pp
10-14 Oct, 4 nights, Southampton to Southampton, £305pp
16-21 Oct, 5 nights, Southampton to Southampton, £380pp
28-30 Oct, 2 nights, Southampton to Southampton, £170pp

Other spaces may crop up from time to time, so do please keep checking back. Please pass the dates around among your friends, and if anyone wants a small A4 poster with voyage availability to put on a school, college, youth club or sports club noticeboard, just ask and I’ll let you have the latest version with availability right up to date.

See here for the full voyage programme, with prices, dates, details and latest availability. You can also look here for our big summer adventure - not only the Tall Ships race series but some exciting voyages either side. Contact the office with enquiries or to make a booking.

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Volunteer training 2011
Volunteers' training voyages for 2011 are:

1-3 April 2011, Southampton, £170 - possibly 2 places left
26 April - 1 May 2011, Southampton, £380 - possibly 1 place left
9-11 September 2011, Southampton £170 - 12 places left

Email me to book.

These voyages are suitable for qualified mates who want a bit more practice; for new volunteers who are hoping to join our sea staff; and for any other adults who just want to see how we work and what is involved in sailing with us.

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* Refit news
One week to the shakedown voyage!

A long list of people to thank as the boat has been cleaned and all the kit moved from the stores and loaded back on board. John Laing has gone from looking like a workshop to looking like a living, breathing boat, and the team is now dealing with all the last-minute bits and pieces of jobs.

Many thanks to James, Kirsten, Audrey, Dave Hodgson, Emily Parker, Victoria Botting, Kat McNally, Hannah Bleakley, Ben Whinnett, Rachel and Lydia Wright, Rob Harwood, Alex Gee, Andy Royse, Alistair Baird, Marcus Hardiman, John Niven, Adam Lane, Paul Millman, Jon Seddon, Al Hamilton, Garreth Bridgman, Graeme and Sue Cole, Chris, Tristan and Josh from Contact Marine, Nic Crawford who came and set up the rigging, and anyone else we may have accidentally left out - the team are all off the boat today, no-one has the list with them so this has been reconstructed from memory!

Big thanks also to Chemring Marine who have once again donated all our flares for the season (that’s distress flares, not oilskin trousers extra-generously cut around the ankles).

Still more jobs to finish next week before the shakedown voyage: contact James or the boat ( or 07990 518915) rather than replying to this email, it gets confusing if we don't have all refit bookings going to the same place.

One special job which needs volunteers is 17th March when we move out of the refit house and have to get it clean for the landlord. This is an invaluable way to help us as we have a big deposit on the property which we want to get back; and also we need to keep a good reputation among local letting agents so we get a house again next winter when we need it!

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* Financial appeal
Huge thanks this week to Hampshire County Council, which having announced a grant for us last month, have just told us that they can increase it! This will pay for bursaries for some very disadvantaged young people from Hampshire.

We need a regular flow of funds to cover at least three major areas: bursaries for young people who could not otherwise afford to sail; vessel maintenance and equipment; and staff salaries - please help, or pass on our details to anyone you come across who might make a grant, large or small.

See here  for how to make a donation - you can contribute by cheque, phone or PayPal, but please do something if you possibly can. Don't forget that if you complete and return a Gift Aid form we can claim back tax on your donation.

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New Boat appeal
Those who attended our 50th anniversary celebrations last October will have heard the talk by renowned yacht designer Merf Owen about our plans for the long-term replacement of John Laing - a new boat for a new generation. Details can now be found on the website here - along with a form for making donations. This is a tremendously exciting project and regular readers will be hearing a good deal more about it in the months and years to come - we are just getting started but this is the place where our members and supporters can keep in touch with progress!

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Keep in touch with other John Laing people
We use a number of social networking websites to allow crew members to keep in touch with the boat and with each other. People can swap stories, post photos and more. For some overseas voyages, we will even set up online groups well in advance, restricted only to people who will actually be sailing on that particular voyage, so that people can compare travel plans and arrange to travel together. See here for how to join.

Please note that OYT South has a policy that our adult staff and volunteers should not make or accept individual online friend requests with crew members aged under 18. Young crew members can use the sites to stay in touch with the boat and with each other, but not with individual adults.

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Survey - tell us what you think
If you have recently completed a voyage, please help us by filling in our web-based survey. It really helps - we use the data to keep improving our voyages, and to help us raise funds!

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 New readers' welcome and introduction
If you have recently registered your interest in OYT South, welcome to our e-newsletter, which is sent out almost every week, normally on a Friday. It includes a wide range of news from the boat and from the charity, including details of voyages available for young people; adult voyages; opportunities for adult volunteers both ashore and afloat, and much more. We find that while some people read the bulletin almost every week, many others dip in and out, and read it when it's convenient - which is why some items are repeated. The new items are marked with an asterisk * so that if you did read it last week, you can see which sections you can safely skip.

Please feel free to join in any OYT South activities - nothing here is restricted to long-standing members or people who already know one another. New people are always very welcome!

If you need an introduction to the work of OYT South, you should find a lot of useful information on our website. But essentially, we are a registered charity (no. 1079959) which exists to offer adventure under sail as a personal development opportunity for young people aged 12-25, from the widest possible range of backgrounds. A high proportion of our young crew members are disadvantaged or deserving in some way: many of these sail in groups organised by other charities, youth clubs, special schools and so on, and will fill the bulk of our term-time voyages. But those from more fortunate backgrounds are also welcome to sail, either in groups or by coming as individuals on a mixed voyage. Every year we run a variety of shorter local voyages plus longer adventure trips - including Tall Ships races during the summer holidays. If you are aged 12-25 and hoping to sail as a crew member, take a look here - and this section is also useful for adults who are thinking of organising a voyage for a young person. Adults planning to organise a full group voyage should also see here. Adults who want to sail themselves should see here.

We have a professional staff skipper and bosun, but our watch leaders are normally all volunteers, who combine sailing skills with an interest in working with young people. You can find more information here - how the system works, how to join, and profiles of existing staff and volunteers.  

To volunteer for OYT South ashore, please see here. To help with the vessel's annual refit, or with maintenance days spread throughout the year, see here.

It is a very expensive business maintaining a boat, running an office and employing staff. If you want to help us, please become a member of OYT South. Or see here for information on making a donation.

If you have any questions, please do email - or contact the office.

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“To be honest I never wanted to come, but I'm glad I did because I have learnt and seen so much!" Charlotte