Parade of sail salute, Greenock


OYT South bulletin 15th July 2011

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* 2012 sailing programme published
The brand-new 2012 sailing programme is now available on our website. We have tried very hard to contact all our regular group bookings and make sure that the programme includes dates and durations to suit them, which is why a number of voyages are marked “enquiry” as we await confirmation and deposits. If any other group bookings are still hoping for amendments to voyage dates, do let me know as soon as possible. Other than that, we are now able to take bookings for the available voyages - including some exciting adventure voyages to Spain and Dublin, and part of the Tall Ships race series.

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* Voyages for young people in 2011
Berths available on the following voyages:

30 July-7 Aug,
8 nights, Stavanger to Halmstad, Tall Ships Race 3, age range 15-25, £610pp - 1 berth
9-15 Aug,
6 nights, Halmstad to Cuxhaven, Baltic cruise, £455pp, age 12-25 - 1 berth
16-23 Aug,
7 nights, Cuxhaven to Ipswich, Homeward cruise, £510pp, age 12-25 - 3 berths
5-9 Sept,
4 nights, Southampton to Southampton, £305pp, age 12-25 - up to 4 places left depending on whether provisional bookings are confirmed.
18-22 Sept,
4 nights, Southampton to Southampton, £305pp, age 12-25 - 12 berths possibly available depending on whether a provisional group booking can be confirmed.
10-14 Oct,
4 nights, Southampton to Southampton, £305pp, age 12-25 - up to 5 places left depending on whether provisional bookings are confirmed.

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.

Contact the office with enquiries or to make a booking.

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* Voyage news
Last week’s crew left us after a great couple of days at the Tall Ships festival in Greenock, and the current crew joined on Monday. This is an all-girl crew, with most places booked by the Senior Section Girl Guides, joined by a few individual bookings. A great opportunity for the guys on our sea staff to get in touch with their girly side...

They took part in the parade of sail out of Greenock on Tuesday: John Laing’s “salute” involved dancing on the side deck and singing along to the Proclaimers’ “500 miles”. Next stop was Oban, after rounding the Mull of Kintyre close inshore and then going through the Sound of Islay - the staff had told the crew this would be beautiful but ended up going through at night! They were the first vessel in the fleet to reach Oban, but were soon joined by Black Diamond and others, and spent Wednesday there, with a ceilidh laid on for the crews in the evening. A 5am start on Thursday was followed by several changes of plan owing to shifting winds, and a 1-hour stop in Tobermory for the sake of all the Balamory fans on board (if you don’t know about Balamory, ask a pre-school TV viewer). They arrived Stornoway at 0430 this morning and are staying in harbour for the day, with a laser light show promised in the evening. So far on this trip they have covered 274 nautical miles, seen dolphins and seals and some lovely sunsets but not really had enough wind - six hours sailing yesterday but otherwise too much motoring. The current plan is to leave tomorrow for a 200-mile non-stop passage to the Shetland Islands, aiming for Scalloway where apparently they might be able to watch a traditional Viking longboat-burning at sea!

Many thanks to sea staff James, Clare, Sparky, Bill, Kirsten and Terry.

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* Tall Ships race series and vessel tracking
John Laing is involved with the Tall Ships race series - currently a cruise in company to Lerwick in the Shetlands; then Race 2 across to Stavanger in Norway; Race 3 down to Halmstad in Sweden; and then two cruises homes, the first via the Kiel Canal to Cuxhaven in Germany; and finally back across the North Sea to Ipswich. You can follow our progress via the vessel tracking here.

Race positions and results will be available on Sail Training International’s website - there is a link to the twice-daily position updates when any of the races is underway. John Laing races in Class C which puts us against other similar vessels rather than competing directly against traditional gaff-rigged vessels or the square riggers which can be five times our size - or the speedy vessels with spinnakers in Class D.

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Volunteer training
If you have been thinking about volunteering for us but haven’t been certain whether it’s worthwhile or what difference it might make, see here for an account from a newly-qualified volunteer watchleader of his first voyage - it might convince you!

If you are hoping to become one of our sailing volunteers in 2012, please think about coming on our September weekend training voyage starting in Southampton on Friday 9th September at 8pm and ending in the same place at 5pm on Sunday 11th September - cost £170 - up to 5 places left.

This is an opportunity for new potential volunteers to come along and see how we work and start developing some familiarity with the boat and our routines. Those who are successful in being selected as a result of this weekend will be able to book voyages in 2012 when we allocate places to our current volunteers. Those who wait till 2012 before seeking a skipper’s recommendation to qualify as a volunteer generally end up with a much more restricted choice of voyages as those on our current approved volunteers’ list will already have had a chance to pick their dates!

These training 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.

Email me to book.

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Job advertisements - Staff Bosun and Refit Volunteers
We now have information, job descriptions and details of how to apply - available on our website for the following positions:

Staff Bosun (2-year paid position November 2011-November 2013).

Core Team Refit Volunteers (voluntary positions for a month or more between November and March).

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Sum up what we do in a sentence!
Can you explain what OYT South does in a just a few words? We are looking to find new ways of telling people what we are all about and summing up what we do very briefly - something that can tell potential clients, sponsors and donors about the value of our charitable work and the difference we can make (and maybe at the same time make young people want to sail with us). Tell us how you would explain it - we are hoping that by involving as many of our supporters as possible, we can explore interesting, original and effective ways of telling people about our work.

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* Financial appeal
Huge thanks this week to the 41 Club for a generous donation - Ocean Youth Trust UK was the National President’s charity last year, and the money raised has now been collected in and shared among the regions.

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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2011 AGM event - a date for your diaries
Please put Saturday 15th October in your diaries - it’s the date of this year’s Annual General Meeting but we also hope to link it to a social gathering, ideally along the lines of the lunch we had two years ago (last year it was all linked to the 50th anniversary party). More details to follow.

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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