Parkside School voyage


OYT South bulletin 30th September 2011

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Bosun needed to sail next week - urgent
The bosun we had booked to sail next week has had to drop out for urgent personal reasons, so we are looking for someone else at short notice - ideally to join the boat this Sunday evening 2nd October, or at any rate on Monday morning before the crew arrive. Voyage ends Friday afternoon, 7th October. Ideally we’re looking for someone who has sailed as bosun in John Laing before and is familiar with daily engine checks etc. Failing that, an extra watchleader would be great, or someone with a CRB check who is keen to learn to be a bosun! Email me or call the boat on 07990 518915 if you can help.

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* Female volunteer needed 10-14 October

We need a female volunteer - qualified watchleader or trainee mate, aged 18+, with a CRB check - for the voyage 10-14 October (ideally joining on the evening of 9th October). Email me if you can help.

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2011 celebration lunch and AGM - 15th October - 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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* Refit weekends - volunteers needed
The winter refit starts on Wednesday 2nd November and we need lots of help that week and especially over the weekend 5/6 November to get all the kit moved off the boat and everything ready for refit. 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. Call James on 07990 518915 or email to book yourself in.

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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 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.

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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, lifejacket packing, 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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* Voyage news
A great voyage last weekend saw the return of Parkside School with their teacher and watchleader Hamish. Skipper Andy said it was a terrific group “and what a weekend we had! We set off from Gosport on Friday evening after introductions and safety briefings. A couple of hours later found us anchored off East Head in Chichester harbour having had a windless motor around Horse Sands fort and across Chichester sand bar on the high tide. A few abandon ship drills were conducted reducing the time to just under six minutes to get all hands dressed in full rig and lifejackets to be ready by the life rafts. I know that we can better this so I would lay down the challenge to future crews to improve on this time! Anchor watches followed (1.5 hours each overnight) and unbeknown to us we picked up a stowaway before we set of for a light wind sail and motor around the southern end of the isle of Wight. Our new friend was a tiny bat who found a home briefly in the mizzen sheets before making a mad dash flight to the beach as we were sailing further and further offshore.After some light air sail training (how many times did we put those sails up and down?) and man overboard briefings we berthed on Poole Town Quay in the evening. Where we were served a mean curry prepared by the cooks of the day! More wind followed on Sunday giving us a cracking sail again south about the island (to make the most of the southerly wind forecast ). Following some appalling singing from the skipper and some great “time warp” dancing by the bosun we managed to get up to 10.2 knots with Rusty steering, while carrying the mizzen staysail. Once round St Catherine's light we conducted more tacking and gybing so that everyone could work the winches and running backstays. We practised what we would do in a man overboard situation. Kirsten kindly got into her drysuit with the recovery strops and allowed us to dangle her over the side to recover our MoB. This was quite brave feat with a bunch of 12 and 13 year old lads! We had an exciting night entry back into Gosport dodging, warships, fishing and other small boats and the huge ferry. Monday saw a traditional OYT clean up to the sounds of Bob Marley must be luurrv....(I was really impressed with the volunteers for heads cleaning on the last day!). This was followed by a visit from the Mayor and Mayoress of Gosport hosted by OYT South Chief Executive Mark Todd. A cake baked by skipper Andy's mum finished the trip off nicely. (Thanks Mum). A big thanks to sea staff John, Andrew, Hamish, Ben and Kirsten for such a fabulous trip.”

This was followed by a maintenance day on Tuesday - big thanks to James, Kirsten, Sparky, Chris, Tristan, Josh, Kate, Katie, Dave, Sandy and Jonny, who did lots of useful jobs on board, including some hull-cleaning which may give us an edge in the race this weekend!

The next crew joined on Tuesday - organised by Naomi House Children’s Hospice in Winchester, this was the annual trip for brothers and sisters of life-limited children involved with the hospice. They have enjoyed truly fabulous weather - glorious sunshine but enough wind to keep John Laing sailing. They went to Hamble on Wednesday night, then sailed to Yarmouth yesterday and are now heading towards Cowes where they will meet up with the rest of the fleet for tomorrow’s ASTO Small Ships Race - other sail training vessels crewed by young people. The forecast is for more sunshine and south-easterly winds of 8-10 knots, with a chance of sea breezes kicking in. It should be an enjoyable race - with a party to follow! Good luck to the entire John Laing team, and many thanks to sea staff James, Andy, Sparky, Adam, Kirsten and Kate.

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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