At sea


OYT South bulletin 15th September 2011

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* OYT South AGM 2011
The 2011 OYT South AGM will be held on Saturday 15th October at 1530 at The Royal Southern Yacht Club, Rope Walk, Hamble, Southampton SO31 4HB. It is open to all members and shouldn't take very long, following on after our celebration lunch (see below). AGM paperwork will go out separately to members and recently lapsed members (who should renew a.s.a.p.) and is also available here. If you want to be a member and vote at our AGM, or stand for election to the Board of Trustees, see here for membership information. Any member wishing to stand for election should print the form “Proposal of Candidature for Election as a Trustee” from the AGM documents on the website and return it to the office by 4pm on 30th September 2011. Email me if you want more information on what being a trustee involves.

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2011 celebration lunch and AGM - book NOW
On Saturday 15th October we shall be holding a lunchtime event in the Royal Southern Yacht Club, Hamble, for members, supports, families and friends, to mark OYT South having been given The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service this year. The event will be followed by the 2011 AGM.

Full details here including the lunch menu and how to book and pay.

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* Shorebased training weekend February 2012
We will be holding our normal shorebased training weekend in Gosport (except for Sea Survival, which is based nearer Southampton) on the weekend 18-19 February 2012. We hope to offer First Aid and Sea Survival on Saturday, with Radar on Sunday, as well other courses which may include GMDSS radio, Food Hygiene, Diesel engines, and maybe some form of youthwork or child protection course. Just let us know what might interest you (including any other ideas for courses - we can always look into them and see what’s possible) and we’ll do our best to set up whichever courses have sufficient demand, setting dates as far as possible to minimise clashes for those who ask to do two qualifications over the weekend. Email me with your requests – and make sure you put the date in your diary. There will be the usual informal supper and social gathering on the Saturday night.

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* Volunteer sea staff bookings 2011 - last few spaces
It looks as though we may still have spaces as follows:

23-26 Sept, Gosport: ideally a qualified mate; but if not, then an adult interested in training as a watchleader.
28 Sept - 2 Oct, Gosport-Southampton: ideally an experienced mate for the ASTO Small Ships Race, but an inexperienced mate would be much better than nothing!
24-28 Oct, Southampton: possibly space for one more qualified or trainee mate.
28-30 Oct, Southampton: 2M needed, and possibly space for one more qualified or trainee mate for an adult voyage.

Anyone sailing on a youth voyage must be CRB-checked. All sea staff should join the night before the dates given, which just show when crew are on board, except for the last voyage which is a weekend, where staff need to join on Friday afternoon.

Email me if you can help with any of these vacancies.

We may also have day sails for RYA Instructors, as we have done in previous years, on Monday 31st October and possibly Tuesday 1st November as well – let me know if you would be interested in being sea staff for these dates.

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* Voyage news

We had a training voyage for new prospective volunteers last weekend, in blustery conditions. Saturday morning was spent in the shelter of Southampton Water while we got the sails hoisted and then sailed up and down getting everyone comfortable with tacking. Later we went out into the Solent and had a good session of man overboard recovery drills, before finishing the day in Cowes. Next morning we gave people various options - going for a sail, parking practice etc. - but they chose to do more sail hoists and drops, reefing practice etc., so we went back to Southampton Water and sailed up and down again while doing various exercises. A productive weekend which should have found us a good selection of competent and friendly new sea staff. Many thanks to the current sea staff who showed them the ropes: James, Ben, Vikki, Caz, Nick and Chris.

This week began with even more wind and the arrival of the annual siblings’ crew from CHASE Children’s Hospice. They arrived on Monday and had a decent sail down Southampton Water before reducing sail in order to cross over to Cowes in lots of wind, for a late finish that night. Next day they had tacking practice in Osborne bay before returning to Cowes for the night. By Wednesday conditions were much more manageable and they beat down the western Solent and went across to Poole, where they celebrated the birthday of Kirsten the bosun! This morning there was no wind at all and they left Poole in millpond conditions and hot sunshine, and were practising their knots and dodging pot buoys on their way back to the Solent, where they plan to anchor later before putting the crew in charge of passage planning and navigation for the trip back up to Southampton in the dark. Skipper Nic says it’s a lovely crew and he is aiming to complete RYA Start Yachting qualifications for all who don’t already have the certificate. Many thanks to sea staff Nic, John, Kirsten, Tigger, Frederik and Kat.

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RYA Day Skipper practical course
If you might be interested in joining a Day Skipper course over the winter, could you email

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Voyages for young people in 2011
We have now had at least provisional bookings for all berths this season, though if bookings aren't confirmed there may be one or two places left on the following voyage - let us know if you would like to be on the reserve list:

10-14 Oct, 4 nights, Southampton to Southampton, £305pp, age 12-25

Other spaces may crop up from time to time, so do please keep checking back.

Contact the office with enquiries or to make a booking.

If you can’t find a suitable voyage this year, do look at the 2012 programme.

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2012 sailing programme - now taking bookings!
The 2012 sailing programme is now available - book now!

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Volunteer training
Training voyages in 2012:

23-25 March 2012, Southampton, 2 nights, £180pp
16-21 April 2012,Southampton, 5 nights, £400pp
14-16 Sept 2012, Southampton, 2 nights, £180pp.

These are all opportunities for new potential volunteers to come along and see how we work and start developing some familiarity with the boat and our routines, but they also work as selection voyages: the skipper will decide who to invite back as volunteers. This can be about sailing experience, or youthwork skills; but we can also take on a certain number of people who may need quite a lot of training but who are potential assets to our team in terms of personality, willingness to learn, enthusiasm, commitment and interest in working with young people from all backgrounds.

Email me to book.

We would also encourage new volunteers who can’t get on the boat this season to think about visiting us over the winter - helping with the vessel refit, or attending a shorebased training course in February.

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Financial appeal
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 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