Sections which have changed since last time marked *
* 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.
* Job advertisements - Staff Bosun (applications now CLOSED) and Refit Volunteers
Many thanks to all those who have applied for the Staff Bosun position. We are now looking carefully at all applications and will let everyone know as soon as possible whether or not they have been shortlisted for interview.
We still have places available for Core Team Refit Volunteers (voluntary positions for a month or more between November and March). No specific deadline for applicationss: James is contacting those who have expressed an interest and trying to arrange opportunities to meet people, allow them to visit the boat and get a clear understanding of what refit involves.
* Voyage news
Two weeks ago (but it seems much longer) John Laing was just arriving in Enkhuisen on her way home from the Tall Ships events. The next stage was a lovely day sail to Amsterdam, tacking all the way, with time to see the sights once they arrived. Next day they motored out to Ijmuiden and then had a stunning, gorgeous sail with flat seas under the stars all the way to Ipswich (skipper James said: “This was one of the passages which reminds me why I go sailing.” They had a night out together in Pin Mill, and the crew left next day. It was a a very experienced team with lots of bosuns and trainee mates among them, but we did award one RYA Competent Crew certificate. Many thanks to sea staff James, Sparky, Amy, Brigid, Terry and Kirsten.
The next trip included the annual group of MDL award winners - selected by one of our major sponsors, who look for young people who might have been through really tough times but are still doing their best and making a positive contribution at home or at school. They were joined by six other crew members from a variety of backgrounds. They started with a day sail round the sandbanks to Dover, and then a lumpy beat to Brighton, which they found quite challenging - it was good to get into the harbour and relax with some games. Next day they had shore leave and RYA training, before completing the leg to Cowes - John Laing back in the Solent for the first time since 21st June! They finished back in our home port of Ocean Village on Tuesday, with 9 RYA Start Yachting certificates and 2 Competent Crew certificates. Many thanks to sea staff James, John, Kirsten, Annant, special thanks to Brigid for stepping in at short notice when someone else had to drop out, and congratulations to Tom for completing his third mate’s assessment!
The latest crew are all individuals who joined the boat to find a forecast which looked perfect for crossing the Channel - force 4 and 5 in the right direction. Unfortunately this turned out to be a bit of an underestimate of the wind strength, so the passage was rather more uncomfortable than anticipated, but was also much quicker. Cowes to Guernsey, 100 miles, in 12 hours including sails going up and down, etc.! This morning they are taking time ashore in St Peter Port, and aiming for Sark and a BBQ later on.
Many thanks to sea staff James, Clare, Colin, Cami, Dave and Miranda.
* 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.
2012 sailing programme - now taking bookings!
The 2012 sailing programme is now available. 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.
Our September weekend training voyage is now full and we do currently have a reserve list in case anyone drops out, so anyone else who is hoping to join our team should think about one of the 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 (we will aim to have a training weekend in February).
* Financial appeal
Many thanks to Harken for selecting us as the charity supported by their staff summer party - thanks to everyone there for generous donations, especially those who really worked hard for it with a winch-grinding competition!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.