Parade of sail leaving Stavanger


OYT South bulletin 5th August 2011

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Voyages for young people in 2011

Berths available on the following voyages - maybe only 4 places still available this year, though there may be a few more if provisional bookings aren’t confirmed.

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 - possibly 1 or 2 places left depending on whether provisional bookings are confirmed.
10-14 Oct, 4 nights, Southampton to Southampton, £305pp, age 12-25 - possibly up to 3 places left depending on whether provisional bookings are confirmed.

Bursary funding may be available to fill one or two more places on the August voyages - contact the office to apply.

Other spaces may crop up from time to time, so do please keep checking back.

Contact the office with enquiries or to make a booking.

If you can’t find a suitable voyage this year, do look at the 2012 programme.

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* 2011 celebration lunch and AGM - details and how to book

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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* Voyage news

An eventful start to the final Tall Ships Race of the year, during the parade of sail out of Stavanger, as skipper Wolf diverted for a proper close-up of some water cannons which were part of the festivities. The crew got thoroughly wet, but no sooner were they changed and dry again than OYT Scotland’s boat, Alba Endeavour, came alongside with a full armoury of water balloons. So John Laing and all her crew started the race nice and clean...

It was a light wind race, which is never going to be suited to a heavy steel vessel; but the team made some good tactical decisions and stayed towards the front of the fleet on the water - just not far enough ahead to avoid the drop down the placings once handicaps are applied. However, there was plenty to keep people amused in the light winds - games on deck; accompanying dolphins, and the silky-smooth radio voice of Dougie Walker, skipper of Alba Endeavour, which so entranced our crew that Dougie was persuaded to write a bedtime story and read it to them. Our crew also baked a cake which may have used up all the sugar meant for the next two legs back to the UK, and was very thin at one end and very thick at the other owing to having been baked while the boat was heeling.

Once the finish line was crossed it was still some way to Halmstad, so John Laing went for a mini-cruise and spent an evening in the Swedish town of Varberg - a beautiful mediaeval town with nice beaches, a very wacky building on the end of the quay, and an odd habit by the locals of driving around in large, ancient American cars playing cheesy Euro-pop very loudly. They had a festival on, and the crew had a good evening there - knowing they would need a very early start this morning to reach Halmstad in time. The crew were called at 0330 this morning and by 0350 were all on deck, ready to slip the lines - skipper Wolf was very impressed.

By nine-o’clock this morning they had just come up to the approaches to Halmstad and were making their way in for a couple of days at the festival. The crew have been working hard towards their RYA certificates but the results will have to wait for the next bulletin.

Many thanks to sea staff Mark (Wolf), Ben, Emma, Fiona and Tristan.

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Vessel tracking
The Tall Ships races may be over but John Laing still has to make her way home from Sweden - one cruise through the Baltic via the Kiel Canal to Cuxhaven in Germany; and another back across the North Sea to Ipswich. You can follow our progress via the vessel tracking here.

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2012 sailing programme - now taking bookings!
The 2012 sailing programme is now available. 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
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
Information, job descriptions and details of how to apply for the following positions:

Staff Bosun (2-year paid position November 2011-November 2013). Deadline for applications: 31st August.

Core Team Refit Volunteers (voluntary positions for a month or more between November and March). No specific deadline for applications.

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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