Sections which have changed since last time marked *
* Refit weekend 5-6 November - LOTS of volunteers needed - contact James now!
We could still do with loads more people over the weekend 5th-6th November to help get all the kit moved off the boat and everything ready for refit - call James on 07990 518915 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book yourself in.
The vessel refit actually starts on Wednesday 2nd November and we need lots of help that week and especially over the weekend. Other refit working weekends will be 3/4 December, 7/8 January, 3/4 March, and we can also use help on most weekdays except during the Christmas / New Year break. See here for more information about helping at refit.
* Chris Ellis award - win £££s off sailing next year!
If you have enjoyed a voyage with OYT South and want to come again next year (and will be aged 12-25), please think about entering for this award. You can win up to £200 off the price of another voyage, by sending in an account of a voyage you have already done with us. It can be a logbook, diary, story, pictures - anything which gives the judges an idea of why you had a good time and would like to come again. Entries should be emailed to email@example.com or posted to the office by Friday 16th December. See here for more details of this award, which was set up in memory of the charity’s founder.
* 2011 celebration lunch and AGM report
Last Saturday saw the 2011 celebration lunch and AGM at the Royal Southern Yacht Club (many thanks to Fiona, Brian and Sally for all their work in organising this). For the first time ever we were able to have an OYT South trophy table on display, with our Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service crystal and certificate, plus Mark’s presentation sextant for the MCA / ASTO Award for Command Commitment to Sail Training which he won earlier this year.
It was great to see such a good group of people there, with many old and new friends. After lunch, we were treated to an inspiring speech by Chief Executive Mark Todd, who gave an illuminating insight into how he spends his working day since going shorebased (mainly sitting in his dressing gown watching property programmes and Don’t Tell the Bride - more on this later). But he also ran through some of the highlights of the season, including stories and quotes from some of the young people whose lives have been significantly changed by sailing with us.
This was followed by the formal business of the AGM, which went quickly and smoothly. OYT South requires one-third of its Trustees to stand down each year in rotation; but this year all three expressed an interest in standing again, and there were no other candidates, so Ben Martin, Richard Griffiths and Mike Bowles were re-elected to the Board.
This was all followed by a social evening and a curry in Hamble for those who were able to stay around.
Many thanks to everyone who helped to move John Laing round to the Hamble for the event and back again next day - a beautiful sunny autumn morning which Sparky thought was suitable for ACDC through the deck speakers...
* Voyage news
This week’s voyage has been for the new Gosport Marine Skills Centre at St Vincent College, which is running courses to give people the skills to work in the marine industry. They joined on Sunday and went to Cowes on the first night, coming out the next day for exercises - tacking practice, sailing onto an anchor in Osborne Bay etc. Wolf decided to throw a cabbage into the sea to give Sparky practice at recovering it, as a man overboard exercise; but unfortunately he didn’t throw it very accurately (he says he is ill) so it just drifted down the side of the boat where Sparky very smugly retrieved it with a bucket.
Then it got really windy so they went back into Cowes. The forecast was still very windy for the next day but when they woke it was really nice and they went to Sandown Bay, with a good sail and some more effective man overboard recovery exercises on the way. That evening they went back to Ocean Village to collect an extra sail, and gave the crew a choice of where to go for the night: they chose Cowes (for the third time). There they met Rob Purkiss who used to be John Laing’s staff skipper before Mark. On Wednesday they went to Poole, enduring a 35-knot squall on the way but otherwise a lovely sail. An early start next morning was designed to allow them to sail round the south of the Isle of Wight, but this time there was too little wind and instead they had a gorgeous light wind sail into the Solent with the cruising chute. It was so pleasant that as they came up to Yarmouth where they had planned to stop, the crew voted to carry on and visit Cowes - for the fourth time! (We are really getting value out of that chart). In Cowes they spent time looking round the engine room and the safety gear, and finishing off their RYA training (5 Competent Crew certificates awarded) before the crew took charge of the pilotage back to Ocean Village. All those on board worked really hard this week.
Many thanks to sea staff Mark, Ben, Andy, Andrew, Di and Kirsten.
* 2012 sailing programme - please help us fill berths!
We have an excellent set of bookings for 2012, with lots of repeat bookings from many of our regulars, plus some interesting new groups. But now we need to fill the gaps in the programme! Details are here or here. Anything marked "enquiry (group)" on the programme is being held for a full-boat booking, usually to give them time to sort out funding or make sure they can get a full crew. But now we need to get bookings for all the places which are definitely still available. If you are aged 12-25, do you want to sail next year? If you are older, do you know any young people - children, grandchildren, or a school or youth club - who might like to sail? Is anyone looking for a way of doing the Residential for the Duke of Edinburgh's Gold Award? Is anyone interested in putting together an adult group if we have a voyage which doesn't sell to young people? All ideas for filling voyages are welcome!
The selection of voyages still available includes Solent weekends; longer local cruises; and a few special adventure voyages. These include the London-Portland ASTO Small Ships Race from 10-17 June - a race from the heart of London to the Olympic sailing venue, competing against other sail training boats crewed by young people. There’s also a Plymouth-based cruise, 22-29 July, which gives us a chance to see some beautiful places outside our normal sailing area - maybe the Scillies if we are lucky with the weather! The Tall Ships Race 12-25 August takes us from Coruna in northern Spain to Dublin - two of the liveliest festival ports you could hope to see, and a crossing of the Bay of Biscay which would be a real sailing achievement for anyone. Then a Dublin-Plymouth voyage, 25 August-1 September, which also allows the crew to see a Tall Ships festival; and a Plymouth-Southampton leg 2-8 Sept, with another chance to step outside our normal cruising area. So there’s plenty for everyone - see here or here for prices, age restrictions and other details, and contact us for more information or to make a booking.
RYA Day Skipper practical course
James is in the process of sorting out details for these courses - it looks as though we have enough interest to run them a couple of times over the winter, once before Christmas and once probably in March. If you might be interested in joining a Day Skipper course over the winter, could you email firstname.lastname@example.org? This is the next formal qualification after Competent Crew and is suitable for those with a bit of experience who want to improve their skills and start taking more responsibility. The course takes place on board a small yacht so that people can practise boat handling and other skills that aren’t easy to learn in a boat of John Laing’s size. An ideal opportunity for third mates and bosuns who want to make progress.
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.
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.
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.