Mark Todd receives the MCA Award for Command Commitment to Sail Training from Vice Admiral Sir Alan Massey, Chief Executive of the MCA, and James Stevens, Chairman of ASTO (photo:


OYT South bulletin 29th January 2011

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Major national award for OYT South Chief Executive
OYT South Chief Executive Mark Todd, known to a generation of young crew members as skipper Wolf, yesterday became the first winner of the MCA Award for Command Commitment to Sail Training.

The award was announced at the conference of ASTO (the Association of Sail Training Organisations) where Mark was presented with a sextant by Vice Admiral Sir Alan Massey, formerly Second Sea Lord and now Chief Executive of the Maritime Coastguard Agency, and by James Stevens, Chairman of ASTO.

The MCA is a UK executive agency working to prevent the loss of lives at sea and is responsible for implementing British and International maritime law and safety policy. Sir Alan spoke of the MCA's support for UK Sail Training and said that he saw the award as recognition of the fact that in sail training, just as in the rest of the UK's commercial fleet, the skipper has a unique role: "Mark particularly impressed us with his ability to grasp what it means to be in command and ultimately responsible for everything that happens on board his vessel. The sea can produce such a straightforward link between cause and effect, and the skipper's responsibilities create a clarity of vision that does not always exist in other walks of life." He added that the process of selecting the inaugural award winner had been extremely rigorous and that the MCA had been delighted by the range and quality of the candidates, but that Mark had been the unanimous winner.

James Stevens described Mark as "a first class skipper for one of the UK's most successful sail training organisations, OYT South."

The award criteria included not only professional seafaring competence, but also personality, leadership, ability to inspire and enthuse, work with young people and volunteers, management skills and authority.

Mark himself says that he sees this award as a tribute to everyone involved with OYT South and the successful charity we have built up together. The real value of our work is the effect we have on young people's lives, and the award brings important recognition from a respected external body for the impact we can make.

Huge congratulations to Mark from everyone in OYT South!

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* Shorebased training February 2011 - please pay now!
We are still hoping to fill a few more places on the RYA Radar course on Sunday 6th February and the RYA Diesel Engine course on either Saturday 5th or Sunday 6th February - please email now if you are interested! Details and prices here for all courses. Non-OYT people welcome too.

Just a few people left who have reserved places on courses but haven't confirmed, paid and booked meals or accommodation - please do this a.s.a.p. The booking form is here.

Quite a number of people have confirmed and booked but not yet paid - you MUST do this before Friday. Please call during office hours to pay by credit card: 02392 602278.

Anyone coming for the weekend who wants to stick around for a few extra days and help at refit will be more than welcome!

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Training weekend supper
Even if you are not doing one of the training courses above, you are welcome to join us for the training weekend supper in Gosport on Saturday 5th February - just use the booking form and click on dinner.

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Volunteer sea staff bookings 2011 - book now!
I have had a lot of bids for voyages from new volunteers hoping to do assessments this year and have started allocating places - anyone else hoping to start sailing with us this year for the first time, please give me an idea of available dates soon or the places you want may be filled.

Qualified mates hoping for assessment to a higher level should also contact us a.s.a.p. so we can arrange dates as appropriate.

All other volunteer sea staff - please put in your bids for sailing as soon as you can - either particular dates or voyages you would like to do, or groups you would like to sail with.

If you are not yet qualified as a member of OYT South sea staff but are doing one of the volunteers' training voyages: for those who get selected as a result of those adult training voyages, the next stage will be to go on and do an assessment on a voyage with young people. Especially if you have limited availability, it is well worth giving me an idea now of possible dates for assessment voyages (which need to last 4 nights or longer): we can't confirm these until you have a skipper's recommendation, but at least we will try to ensure that all your available dates aren't taken before you have a chance!

The voyage programme is here for you to check possible options. It does speed things up for me if you look at the programme and give me voyage numbers that might suit you, rather than giving me a list of dates which may or may not coincide with any particular voyages!

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Volunteer training 2011
Volunteers' training voyages for 2011 are:

1-3 April 2011, Southampton, £170 - 4 places left
26 April - 1 May 2011, Southampton, £380 - 2 places 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
We have finally reached the stage of the refit where paint is going on rather than coming off! All the filling etc. has been finished on the topsides, ready for painting; but on deck, the scuppers have been painted as have the numbers and lots of deck fittings - bitts, liferaft holders etc. On the hull, we are using three different kinds of antifouling this year, testing them for International Paint, and we have completed two coats of one type so far. The team is also halfway through painting the forepeak.

Many thanks to James, Kirsten, Audrey, Elizabeth and Fiona, Pete and Johnny, Sparky, and Adam and Steve from the Wheatsheaf Trust.

The next volunteers' refit weekend is on 5/6th March, and we are also happy to take volunteers on weekdays - 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. We really hope to see all volunteer sea staff over the winter!

If you are over 18, you are welcome to book yourself in for a weekend, a few days or a week or more. If you are aged 16 or 17, particularly current or prospective relief bosuns, you need to discuss refit bookings with the skipper - we would like to have you along but we need to be able to arrange some supervision while you work. Sadly we cannot have under-16s at refit.

Volunteers all get free food, and accommodation in the refit house, two and a half miles by car from the refit site in Hamble, or a bit less across the common by bike.

See here for more refit details. And see here for a report that was written for one of our key refit donors outlining some of the major work being done, with a provisional budget.

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Voyages for young people in 2011
We’ve had a big rush on bookings recently - lots of voyages filling up very fast, especially in school holidays, so do think now if you want to sail next year and haven’t yet booked anything!

See here for the 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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* Financial appeal
Many thanks this week to the Rufford Foundation for a very generous donation - the last of three annual grants made in memory of Sir Maurice Laing, a longstanding supporter of OYC and OYT after whose father John Laing is named.

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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* Dave Blogg
Congratulations to watchleader and refit helper Dave Blogg and his wife on the birth of a baby girl, Sophia!

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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