ASTO race 2011


OYT South bulletin 7th October 2011

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* New Staff Bosun appointed!
As many of you know, our Staff Bosun, Kirsten, will complete her two years with us in November and we have been working to recruit a new Staff Bosun for the next two years. We had a lot of good applicants and an exceptionally strong shortlist, and we are delighted to be able welcome David Bland, who will be joining the team in November. Dave did a leg of Tall Ships in John Laing last season, and came back to us this year for voyages from Sweden to Germany and then back to the UK, so some of you may know him already. He’ll be aged 20 when he starts with us, and has been working for a company specialising in custom installs of lighting, visual and home automation systems, while pursuing his interests in outdoor sports and volunteering as a scout leader. He brings a good combination of the technical, mechanical and youthwork skills which a bosun needs, as well as great enthusiasm and a genuine commitment to OYT South.

Dave will be at the celebration lunch and AGM next weekend so do come along if you want to meet him! If you aren’t going to be at the refit in November, you could also use the opportunity to say goodbye and thank you to Kirsten. We are starting a collection for her leaving present - contributions to the office, please.

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2011 celebration lunch and AGM - 15th October - book NOW for NEXT WEEKEND
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 - LOTS of 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

The last newsletter left John Laing heading into Cowes to get ready for the ASTO Small Ships Race against other sail training vessels, with a crew from Naomi House Children’s Hospice siblings programme on board. They had some games on Friday night and then an early start for the race, which took them all over the Solent in glorious weather – skipper James says the conditions were gorgeous for sailing, but there wasn’t quite enough wind to make a heavy steel boat like John Laing competitive. There was a party in Cowes that night, and then the whole crew went for fish and chips. There was time for a small lie-in on Sunday and then a gentle sail back up to Southampton, where the crew left. Many thanks to sea staff James, Andy, Sparky, Adam, Kirsten and Kate.

This week’s voyage has included seven from Mike Bassett’s youth group, who sail every year with us, and three from Gosport. After last week’s sunshine and drifting, this lot have had a blustery voyage! They set off for Cowes on the first night, but conditions worsened so much as they went down Southampton Water that they ducked into Hamble instead, where one of the mates, Amy, established a popular routine of bedtime stories. More strong winds next day ruled out their original plans for Poole, so they spent the day doing tacking practice and drills in the Solent, with lunch in Osborne Bay, finishing up in Cowes that night for the crème caramel game. Next day they sailed to Yarmouth, where they were visited by Marion Heming from our Isle of Wight Support Group, and had fajitas and games. Next day they had hoped to practise rowing the dinghy but it was really too windy. They had a walk ashore instead, with games and ice-cream, before Marion returned to the boat with a batch of homemade flapjacks! They sailed back to Ocean Village last night for the finals of various competitions that had been running all week, from knot-tying to model boat-making. Eight RYA Start Yachting certificates were awarded before the crew left the boat. Many thanks to sea staff Yvonne, John, Tigger, Amy and Emily.

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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