Stavanger Tall Ships festival


OYT South bulletin 29th July 2011

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Voyages for young people in 2011
Berths available on the following voyages - no more than 13 places still available this year!

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

The current crew joined the boat in Lerwick last weekend; but the start of Tall Ships race 2 was postponed until Monday due to strong winds. Lerwick did very well in keeping the activities and entertainments going for an extra day. This included a puffin sightseeing trip; and games including a tug-of-war, where our all-girl crew were delighted to beat the boys from Gordonstoun’s boat!

Excellent wind conditions for John Laing meant that the first part of the race was great fun; but the wind tailed off as they approached Norway. A few vessels we had passed in the night were better light-wind performers and they came and overtook us again, leaving us finally 10th in class C and 41st overall.

With time to spare before the festival, John Laing then went cruising, starting with a night sail to Mosterøy. Next day, they went on a winding exploration of Lysefjorden with the two OYT Scotland boats and Jolie Brise, describing the area as “incredibly, breathtakingly pretty." They tried to have a water fight with OYT Scotland but discovered that while our crew had prepared, Scotland’s crew had super-prepared, and had five buckets of water bombs to our one!

That night they all rafted up under the shadow of a mountain, next to a waterfall and had a BBQ; and yesterday they made their way into Stavanger for the start of the festival – thousands of people, loads going on, a big stage, big screen, drummers, shanties and more, including lots of activities. This morning our crew went canoeing and came back very wet. They leave John Laing tomorrow after much enthusiasm and laughter on board!

Many thanks to sea staff James, Ben, Joe, Lee, Hannah and Emily.

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* Tall Ships race series and vessel tracking

The next stage for John Laing is Tall Ships 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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2012 sailing programme - now taking bookings!
The 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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* 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!

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).

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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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* Financial appeal
Huge thanks this week to the Man Group Charitable Trust for a very generous donaton, the third stage in a three-year programme of significant support. Also to the 41 Club for their contribution following the Ocean Youth Trust’s year as their National President’s charity: many thanks to Malcolm Lockey and to all the local clubs who worked so hard to raise a contribution. Finally, many thanks to Santander who have matched a donation previously sent to us by Elaine Beattie, so big thanks to her. Quite a number of companies run schemes to match employees’ charitable donations – do you work for a company that might do the same?

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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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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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