Crew parade, Waterford


OYT South bulletin 8th July 2011

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Voyages for young people in 2011
Berths available on the following voyages:

30 July-7 Aug, 8 nights, Stavanger to Halmstad, Tall Ships Race 3, age range 15-25, £610pp - 1 berth
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 - 7 berths
18-22 Sept, 4 nights, Southampton to Southampton, £305pp, age 12-25 - 12 berths (full boat booking available)
10-14 Oct, 4 nights, Southampton to Southampton, £305pp, age 12-25 - 7 berths.

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.

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.

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* Voyage news
This week’s voyage has included the first Tall Ships race of the year, from Waterford to Greenock. This was originally planned to go round the west of Ireland, but forecast bad weather directed the fleet up the Irish Sea instead. They had an early start from Waterford with the parade of sail down the river in no wind at all. By the start, they had very light winds, and managed some tacking practice while watching the A and B class vessels starting. Once Class C got underway, they had an extended period of light headwinds in which John Laing could make very little progress - at one stage they were going backwards! Eventually it all changed and they had some fast downwind sailing, crossing the line before midday on Tuesday to finish 7th in class on handicap. This left them with time to spare to go cruising. They had a night in Campbelltown with our great friends Black Diamond of Durham (who won Class C!) Next day they had a great sail under mizzen staysail and spinnaker (Black Diamond called on the radio to say “you look hot!”) and ended up in East Loch Tarbert, joining OYT Scotland for games on shore. Yesterday they sailed to Largs, where they spent the night in the marina before moving on to the pier this morning. Skipper James’s family came to visit, and the rest of the team went ashore for icecream. They will get into the festival in Greenock later today.

Many thanks to sea staff James, Colin, Kirsten, Andy, Jez and Vikki.

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* Tall Ships race series and vessel tracking
John Laing is involved with the Tall Ships race series which will now take us from Greenock for a cruise in company to Lerwick in the Shetlands; then Race 2 across to Stavanger in Norway; Race 3 down to Halmstad in Sweden; and then two cruises homes, the first via the Kiel Canal to Cuxhaven in Germany; and finally back across the North Sea to Ipswich. You can follow our progress via the vessel tracking here.

Race positions and results will be available on Sail Training International’s website - there is a link to the twice-daily position updates when any of the races is underway. John Laing races in Class C which puts us against other similar vessels rather than competing directly against traditional gaff-rigged vessels or the square riggers which can be five times our size - or the speedy vessels with spinnakers in Class D.

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Voyages for young people in 2012
We are just working on a draft sailing programme for 2012. We have emailed a copy to all our regular group bookings for comments and provisional bookings (do let me know if you haven’t had your copy) but if anyone else is thinking of organising a group voyage and has special requirements concerning dates and durations, please let me know now.

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* Volunteer training
If you have been thinking about volunteering for us but haven’t been certain whether it’s worthwhile or what difference it might make, see here for an account from a newly-qualified volunteer watchleader of his first voyage - it might convince you!

If you are hoping to become one of our sailing volunteers in 2012, please think about coming on our September weekend training voyage starting in Southampton on Friday 9th September at 8pm and ending in the same place at 5pm on Sunday 11th September - cost £170 - up to 5 places left.

This is an opportunity for new potential volunteers to come along and see how we work and start developing some familiarity with the boat and our routines. Those who are successful in being selected as a result of this weekend will be able to book voyages in 2012 when we allocate places to our current volunteers. Those who wait till 2012 before seeking a skipper’s recommendation to qualify as a volunteer generally end up with a much more restricted choice of voyages as those on our current approved volunteers’ list will already have had a chance to pick their dates!

These training 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.

Email me to book.

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Job advertisements - Staff Bosun and Refit Volunteers
We now have information, job descriptions and details of how to apply - available on our website for the following positions:

Staff Bosun (2-year paid position November 2011-November 2013).

Core Team Refit Volunteers (voluntary positions for a month or more between November and March).

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Sum up what we do in a sentence!
Can you explain what OYT South does in a just a few words? We are looking to find new ways of telling people what we are all about and summing up what we do very briefly - something that can tell potential clients, sponsors and donors about the value of our charitable work and the difference we can make (and maybe at the same time make young people want to sail with us). Tell us how you would explain it - we are hoping that by involving as many of our supporters as possible, we can explore interesting, original and effective ways of telling people about our work.

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* Financial appeal
Huge thanks this week to the Greendale Foundation for a very 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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2011 AGM event - a date for your diaries
Please put Saturday 15th October in your diaries - it’s the date of this year’s Annual General Meeting but we also hope to link it to a social gathering, ideally along the lines of the lunch we had two years ago (last year it was all linked to the 50th anniversary party). More details to follow.

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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 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 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