John Laing just before the launch


OYT South bulletin 4th March 2011

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* John Laing relaunched!
We float! John Laing was relaunched on Wednesday and is now a boat again and not a building site. Just a bit more to do before she is ready to start the sailing season - see the refit section below for more details.

Back to index

* Chris Ellis Award winners
As many of you know, each year we offer young people the opportunity to submit a piece of written work or a drawing based on a voyage with us, for the Chris Ellis award. Chris was one of our founders and he left a sum of money for this competition, now judged by his widow and daughter: prizes are used to offer a discount on another voyage.

OYT South is delighted to announce that this year’s winner is Chloe de Mornay, who sailed with us last June at the age of 12 and wrote her poem during the voyage. It will be great to see her back on board again. The judges also made a highly commended award to Jack Trevail, who will be putting his prize money towards joining a Tall Ships voyage in the summer. Huge congratulations to Chloe and Jack. There are links so that you can read their entries on the website here.

Anyone who has booked on a voyage in 2011, please do think about sending something in for the next award!

Back to index

* Volunteer sea staff bookings 2011 - second mates urgently needed!
We have two early-season voyages which still have no qualified second mate - can anyone help? These are 27 March - 1 April, and 10-15 April. Please let me know a.s.a.p. if you could fill either vacancy - these dates are getting close now!

I need to save some 3M and trainee mate berths for new people who might come through the early-season mates' training voyages; and James is looking after the relief bosun bookings, but these are the current gaps for second mates and a few 3M slots not available for new people - qualified sea staff who can help out, please let me know!

21-26 March - room for an additional 3M
27 March-1 April - 2M
10-15 April - 2M
2-7 May - 2M
8-12 May - 2M
23-30 July (Lerwick to Stavanger) - experienced 3M or additional 2M for Tall Ships race 2
30 July-7 Aug (Stavanger to Halmstad) - experienced 3M or additional 2M for Tall Ships race 3
9-15 Aug (Halmstad-Cuxhaven) - 2M
31 Aug-4 Sept - 2M
23-26 Sept - 2M

Please note that dates given are for when young people are on board - except for weekend voyages, staff should expect to join the night before, and may be needed for even longer for Tall Ships and other overseas voyages.

There will be other gaps once questions over provisional bookings are resolved; and some places are not straightforward as we need to book female sea staff - but do let me know where you can help!

Back to index

* Voyages for young people in 2011
Owing to one group swapping to later dates, and another group not filling all its places, we now have some unexpected vacancies on Easter holiday voyages:

10-15 April, 5 nights, Southampton to Southampton, £390pp
15-17 April, 2 nights, Southampton to Southampton, £170pp
22-25 April, 3 nights, Southampton to Southampton, £240pp

We only have a few weeks to fill these voyages, so please do think if there is anyone who might be interested in coming, and spread the word around.

Other youth voyages this season which still have spaces (age range 12-25 unless otherwise stated) include:

6-10 June, 4 nights, Southampton to Southampton, £305pp
2-11 July, 9 nights, Waterford to Greenock, Tall Ships Race 1, age range 15-25, £645pp
11-23 July, 12 nights, Greenock to Lerwick, Tall Ships Cruise, age range 15-25, girls only, £840pp
30 July-7 Aug, 8 nights, Stavanger to Halmstad, Tall Ships Race 3, age range 15-25, £610pp
9-15 Aug, 6 nights, Halmstad to Cuxhaven, Baltic cruise, £455pp
16-23 Aug, 7 nights, Cuxhaven to Ipswich, Homeward cruise, £510pp
31 Aug-4 Sept, 4 nights, Southampton to Southampton, £320pp
5-9 Sept, 4 nights, Southampton to Southampton, £305pp
7-9 Oct, 2 nights, Southampton to Southampton, £170pp
10-14 Oct, 4 nights, Southampton to Southampton, £305pp
16-21 Oct, 5 nights, Southampton to Southampton, £380pp
28-30 Oct, 2 nights, Southampton to Southampton, £170pp

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 with availability right up to date.

See here for the full 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.

Back to index

Volunteer training 2011
Volunteers' training voyages for 2011 are:

1-3 April 2011, Southampton, £170 - possibly 1 place left
26 April - 1 May 2011, Southampton, £380 - possibly 1 or 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.

Back to index

* Refit news
Two weeks to the shakedown voyage!

The last of the tent and scaffolding came down at the beginning of the week, and then there was a nailbiting wait as the yard had a backlog of boats to launch and we weren’t sure if we were going to get in the water on the right date or not. In the end it all happened at breathtaking speed - John Laing was launched on time and the masts went back in on the same day, rather than a day later as expected. By Wednesday night John Laing was already doing an epic first voyage of the season: the move back home to Ocean Village. This was a stressful passage because the team ran out of biscuits on the way.

Refit materials and equipment have now been cleared off the boat and some sails are back on board, but the major job of loading and stowing all the kit starts this weekend, when we have a good team of helpers but always room for a few more - call James on 07990 518915 if you can help. Accommodation available.

Big thanks for this week go to James, Kirsten, Audrey, Sparky, John Niven, John Bell, Al Baird, Roger Bigg and extra special thanks to Elizabeth Brown who is the second of this year’s core refit team to leave us after having volunteered for the whole winter. We wish her all the best as she starts a job in Brighton, but we’ll see her again for some voyages this year.

Apart from the volunteers’ weekend which starts tomorrow, we are also happy to see volunteers on weekdays up to March 18th (the shakedown voyage) - 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.

One special job which needs volunteers is 17th March when we move out of the refit house and have to get it clean for the landlord. This is an invaluable way to help us as we have a big deposit on the property which we want to get back; and also we need to keep a good reputation among local letting agents so we get a house again next winter when we need it!

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.

Back to index

* Financial appeal
Huge thanks this week to the Curatus Trust for a very generous grant towards bursaries, aimed at particular voyages which will offer sailing to some exceptionally disadvantaged or vulnerable young people who would not otherwise be able to sail.

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.

Back to index

* 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 places where our members and supporters can keep in touch with progress!

Back to index

BBC Radio 4 Midweek - Mark’s interview
If you missed it, see here (23 February edition) for another chance to listen to the interview with our Chief Executive Mark Todd, also known as skipper Wolf. He’s on for around the last ten minutes of the programme. Apparently 2 million people heard the programme on the day. We had more hits on our website during the interview than we have ever had before on a single day, and we have had some great feedback, both from old friends and supporters but also some new people looking to get involved.

Back to index

* Bill Bradbury
We were very sad to hear recently of the death of Bill Bradbury last month. Bill was an OYC skipper who will be remembered by many of our longer-serving supporters. Our condolences go to his family.

Back to index

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.

Back to index

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!

Back to index

 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.

Back to index


“To be honest I never wanted to come, but I'm glad I did because I have learnt and seen so much!" Charlotte