The refit tent which gives us a sheltered heated working space


OYT South bulletin 6th January 2011

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Happy New Year!
Welcome to the first OYT South newsletter of 2011. We hope this will be another fantastic year with some great sailing - we look forward to seeing as many of you as possible on board, or helping the charity in other ways - thank you to everyone for your support!

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* Shorebased training February 2011
Finally we have made decisions about which courses can run, and how to allocate places to those which are over-subscribed. I have emailed everyone who has already enquired about taking part - if you haven’t received this email, let me know a.s.a.p.!

For those who haven’t yet contacted us about bookings: we still have places available on the RYA First Aid course and the RYA Diesel Engine course on Saturday 5th February, and the RYA Radar course and possibly a second RYA Diesel Engine course on Sunday 6th February. Details and prices here. Let me know as soon as possible if you would like to make a booking. As last year, you will also be able to book lunch on both days, dinner on Saturday, and cheap overnight accommodation (mattresses on the floor) if needed.

We are also running Fairbridge Youthwork courses on both days - these are currently full but I will take names for a reserve list in case anyone drops out.

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

Because the youthwork courses were so popular, we just couldn’t get together enough people to run food hygiene, GMDSS and lifejacket packing courses on the same weekend. Food hygiene can wait till next year. I can keep a list of people interested in a GMDSS course and Mark Todd might run one on another date as soon as we have sufficient people. And we’ll aim to run lifejacket packing courses during the season (it only takes an hour or two) on the morning of days when we have a batch of newly-tested lifejackets to repack - I’ll advertise these in this newsletter as they arise.

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* Practical Boat Owner magazine
If you are a reader of yachting magazines, do take a look at the January issue of PBO - Sarah Norbury, the editor, has written a nice piece about our refit.

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* London boat show - OYT South outing 7th January
The OYT South team will be making an expedition to the London Boat Show tomorrow (Friday 7th January). If anyone else is planning to be there on the same day, meet us at the Guinness Stand at 3pm.

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Volunteer sea staff bookings 2011
Qualified OYT South sea staff: do please email me with requests for voyages next year - either particular dates or voyages you would like to do, or groups you would like to sail with. We may not be able to confirm all bids just yet as we do like to ensure that those who help at refit get a chance of their choice of voyages, so we can’t fill all the most popular trips before some people have even had a chance to get to refit. But especially if you have limited availability or particular requests, it is well worth starting to get your bids in now.

If you are hoping to do another assessment in 2011, please do tell me now as not all voyages are suitable for assessment so we will need to make sure we get you slotted in somewhere.

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.

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Volunteer training 2011
Volunteers' training voyages for 2011 are:

1-3 April 2011, Southampton, £170 - 2 places left
26 April - 1 May 2011, Southampton, £380 - 5 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
A short week this week as everyone was still away on Monday, and the refit will be briefly closed again tomorrow (Friday) so the team can visit the London Boat Show. But we have still managed a busy three days, especially since we have a comfortable working temperature now: our Facebook status yesterday read: “John Laing is snuggly and warm cause the heating works. Wolf says he might put his bikini on.” (This was predictably greeted with cries of horror - maybe there is a fundraising idea here if we get people to pay him not to?)

Anyway, apart from Wolf, we’ve had James, Elizabeth, Fiona and Audrey working on board (Kirsten is still on leave), along with Terry Bufton and former staff bosun Craig Dickerson who has been helping take out the batteries. Other than that there’s been a lot of catching up, filling the underside of the hull, more work to make the topsides lovely and smooth, and lots of filling on deck. Many thanks to all involved.

Next weekend (15/16th January) is a refit volunteers’ weekend and we really need as many people as possible, so do come along and enjoy the heating and good company. One big job for the weekend is to have a massive deck sanding party, but James promises alternative jobs to those whose knees might not cope with that. Email or call the boat phone on 07990 518915 to book yourself in.

If you can’t make it next weekend, we are also taking bookings for a volunteers’ weekend on 5/6th March, and we are happy to take volunteers on weekdays - again, contact James or the boat 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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Chris Ellis Award - deadline extended!
If you are aged under 25, have sailed with us this year and would like to sail again, do please think about sending in an entry for the Chris Ellis award to win money off the price of another voyage. We have had some great entries in recent years and it would be a huge shame if we didn’t have enough entries to make an award in this, our 50th anniversary year. The deadline has been extended to the end of January to give us a chance of getting a few more entries. It is very much worth trying as you stand a good chance of winning! Chris Ellis was one of the founders of the OYC in 1960 and he left a fund to be used to encourage crew members to produce a piece of work based on any OYT voyage. This can be a logbook, a diary, a picture, a story, computer art or whatever. OYT South can award up to £200 a year (to one entrant, or split between two or three individuals) in the form of a discount for a future voyage. Entries need to be in by January 31st - either emailed to me, or by post to the office, marked "Chris Ellis award entry". More details and examples of past winning entries here.

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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
Huge thanks this week to the Patrick Frost Foundation for another exceptionally generous donation.

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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OYC/T 50th anniversary follow-up
A page has been created on our website following our hugely successful 50th anniversary event. See here to download a copy of the event brochure - including a wonderful to history of the Ocean Youth Club and Ocean Youth Trust; or a copy of the leaflet about OYT South’s proposed new sail training vessel, details of which were launched at the event; or to order a 50th anniversary t-shirt; or a copy of the 50th anniversary commemorative print by marine artist Colin Baxter; or copies of event leaflets on how to get involved with us.

We hope to add more information to this page in due course, including more photos (if you were at the event, do please send in any good pictures), and perhaps the chance to buy DVD copies of some of the archive films shown on the night.

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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