Viveiro and Cedeira, northern Spain


OYT South bulletin 10th August 2012

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *  

* Voyage news

The last bulletin was followed by two days of maintenance in Plymouth to get the boat ready to go off to Spain. Many thanks to James, Dave, Mark Boggis, Chris Santic, Sasha Walters, Stuart Oswald, Charlotte Sullivan, Jacob Gibson, Mike Bunton, Cathy Lacey, Sam Rawlinson and Kat McNally for lots of hard work.

Then we were joined by a crew from the Senior Section Girl Guides, sailing to Cawsand on the first night before a tough 20-hour crossing to Roscoff. They spent a day there, with time ashore and also working towards their RYA qualifications. Then they tacked along the French coast before the crossing to Spain - a bit lumpy round Ushant but otherwise a reasonable passage. The first Spanish stop was Viveiro, where they spent a morning before moving on to Cedeira for time ashore and games. A short stop in another bay and then they entered La Coruna yesterday to take part in the Tall Ships festival. James is hoping to be able to award 11 RYA Competent Crew certificates before they leave. Many thanks to sea staff James, Nic, Dave, Andy, Tom and special congratulations to Kat McNally for successfully completing her third mate’s assessment - another young watchleader who has worked her way up after originally sailing with us as a crew member.

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* Tall Ships race - follow the fleet

Starting next Monday, John Laing will be taking part in the Tall Ships race from La Coruna to Dublin. Our own vessel tracking system will, as usual, show you where we are; but if you want to follow the race fleet (this is Race 3), see here. You will also find news and photos on the Sail Training International website.

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2012 sailing programme - NEW September availability!
One of our September clients has swapped to the empty October voyage which we’ve been advertising for a while, in order to take up more places. This leaves us with NEW availability as follows:

9-14 Sept, Southampton, 5 nights, 9-14 Sept, £395pp - 6 places available. Age 12-25.

Email now if you are interested!

We are also keeping reserve lists for two further voyages where we have provisional bookings but not all places have been finally confirmed:

2-8 Sept, Plymouth to Southampton, 6 nights, £445 - age 12-25.
29 Oct-2 Nov, Cowes, 4 nights, £325 - age 12-25.

Updated voyage availability can be found here or here. If you would be interested in a place on one of these voyages, do get in touch and we can tell you the latest status of any provisional bookings, if it isn’t certain how many berths are available, and also give you information such as the ages of other people booked on that trip.

Email me if you are looking for a booking or want more information.

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* Sea staff needed - including new September bosun vacancy
A few young crew members have received skipper recommendations on recent voyages to come back and sail as relief bosuns. At the time there were no vacancies for you this year, but owing to a cancellation we now need a bosun who can join on the evening of Saturday 22nd September and stay through to the evening of Friday 28th September, or the following morning. If you are aged 16+, have been told by one of our skippers that you should aim to come back as a volunteer, you are available for those dates and and will be able to complete a CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check urgently (which we will help to organise for you), then please email as soon as possible.

The full sea staff vacancies list:

9-14 Sept, Southampton - 2M or 3M
24-28 Sept, Southampton - 2M and bosun
3-7 Oct, Gosport to Southampton - one more experienced mate needed for ASTO Small Ships Race
8-11 Oct, Southampton - at least one more 2M, 3M or trainee mate (one must be female)
15-19 Oct, Southampton - 2M
26-28 Oct, Southampton - female 3M
29 Oct - 2 Nov, Southampton - female 3M
2-4 Nov, Southampton - female 3M

Please note that dates given are when young people are on board. Except for weekend voyages and other special trips, sea staff will generally be expected to join the day before. If the voyage is immediately before or after a maintenance day, priority will be given to sea staff who can help on the extra day.

Email me if you might be able to help.

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* OYT South AGM and lunch 20th October - book now!
Tickets are now on sale for our annual lunch gathering and a short AGM on Saturday 20th October in the Royal Southern Yacht Club, Hamble. See here for details and how to book.

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2013 voyages available!
John Laing is now so full for this year (with the exception of just two or three voyages) that we have published the 2013 programme and are already taking enquiries and bookings. Contact us if you want to sail or organise a voyage for young people in 2013.

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2013 Tall Ships and other adventure voyages
Tall Ships 2013 takes us back to the gorgeous Baltic - Denmark, Finland, Latvia and Poland. We also have some exciting adventure voyages to get us to Denmark for the start, and back from Poland at the end. See here for details.

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Core refit team - winter volunteer positions available
If you are taking a gap year, not working over the winter, looking to build your skills, maybe hoping to move into a career in the marine industry - why not think about applying to join our full-time refit team over the coming winter? Details here. The maintenance day on the boat on 23 September in Southampton would be a good time to come along and find out more about the core refit team, but if that doesn’t work for you, we can arrange other opportunities.

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Online navigation training for volunteers and young people
For some time now OYT South has been offering basic navigation training through the RYA's Essential Navigation & Seamanship course. Now for those of you who want something a little more advanced, one of our relief skippers, Simon Jinks, is offering online distance learning systems for the theory courses for Day Skipper, Coastal/Yachtmaster and Yachtmaster Ocean. Simon is a great sailor and a top instructor so this is very highly recommended. He is very generously offering a 15% discount for OYT South members and volunteers, so do mention your role with us if you get in touch. Details here. Please note that Simon’s website also includes Essential Navigation and the PPI course, both of which OYT South can offer in-house.

Simon has also very kindly offered one course a year as a prize for a promising member of sea staff who genuinely can’t afford to get their next qualification. If you are really keen to climb the sea staff ladder and hoping to do lots of sailing with us, email us or talk to the skipper on your next voyage to see if you can enter for this prize.

With our own courses and Simon’s we now have navigation courses to suit everyone from total beginners right up to the most advanced level - please give it a go and do ask for advice if you are not sure which course is right for you.

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Commercial Endorsements
Skippers, first mates and anyone else applying for or renewing a Commercial Endorsement: please note that Mark Todd is now an instructor for  the Professional Practices and Responsibilities course which you will need to do - see here and here for details. You won’t see OYT South on the list as we are only doing it for members - just let us know if you want to do the course and we will set you up with a username and password.

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Online sea staff training - please note this will become compulsory!
OYT South is now able to offer a range of online courses for our volunteers, including Child Protection (the NSPCC course), which we want to make compulsory for all sea staff in 2013 unless people have done some other Child Protection course, plus a range of other youthwork courses and a few other important things such as food hygiene. These can all be done online, in your own time: you can save a course at any point and come back later to where you left off. They are all recognised courses and you will get a certificate for each one you complete successfully. OYT South volunteers will pay a bargain price of just £10 for access to this system - that single payment allows you to do up to ten different courses, though you can choose just to do one or two. See here for details and a link to sign up and pay. The Child Protection course won’t be compulsory until we start taking sea staff bookings for next year but it’s so cheap, it’s well worth getting ahead with it.

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Did you sail with the Ocean Youth Club in Falmouth Packet in 1986?
We have recently had an enquiry from Sam James Howat who sailed from Plymouth - Salcombe - St. Malo - St. Peter Port in 1986 and is looking to get in touch with other people from that voyage. He’s now a professional seafarer with a very interesting CV, but he is also an adventure cameraman/filmaker/photographer. He’s just been offered his first exhibition of photography, and realised that his OYC voyage was effectively his first attempt at adventure photography - he took some masthead shots - and he would like to track down copies for the exhibition. We realise it’s a long shot, but if you know Sam, please email us and we’ll put you in touch.

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Maintenance days
The one remaining maintenance day to put in your diary for this year:

Sunday 23rd September - Southampton

Call the boat a few days beforehand on 07990 518915 if you can help. Lots of jobs to do, both skilled and unskilled - there's something for everyone. These days are ideal for sea staff who might learn a bit about some part of the boat or equipment they don't always come across in the normal course of a voyage; and maintenance days are also good for new volunteers because you can see the boat and meet the skipper and some of the team. When volunteer places on voyages are over-subscribed, people who have helped with refit or maintenance days may be given priority.

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Adult voyage vacancies
Adult voyages next year will be:

22-24 March 2013, Southampton, 2 nights, £190
21-26 April 2013, Southampton, 5 nights, £400
6-8 Sept 2013, Southampton, 2 nights, £190

For those who decide they are interested in joining our volunteer team, these trips can 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.

But the voyages are also open to other adults who just want to come for a sail or to see what we do.

Email me to book.

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Staff skipper news - job description available
As most of you will know by now, our wonderful Staff Skipper James Boyce has exciting plans for a voyage to the Antarctic and sadly therefore will be leaving us at some point next season. OYT South is therefore looking for an outstanding new Staff Skipper, and we have published a detailed job description. We are keen to give ourselves every opportunity to meet the right person and give the best candidates a chance to sail in John Laing before James leaves. We are looking for someone with a background in sail training, with a commitment to excellence and to delivering high-quality, safe sail training voyages. You should be a Cruising Instructor or capable of achieving that qualification before appointment, and you must have a minimum of 15,000 miles logged offshore, a Commercial Endorsement and an ENG1 medical. If you want to discuss this further, please contact our Chief Executive Mark Todd on 07771 771864 or

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Children's hospices - voyage funding
Recently we announced that we were looking for new long-term funding support for our siblings voyages for children's hospices. We have already had one person very kindly setting up a monthly £10 donation which his employer will match. It would be great if other people would see whether their employers have a similar scheme!

In case you didn’t see the initial announcement: regular readers may remember that we started working with various children’s hospices a decade ago, offering voyages for brothers and sisters of life limited children and of children who have died. These voyages are hugely important, allowing young people to have a break while making friends with others who are going through similar experiences. In recent years, we have had one major donor supporting the children’s hospice voyages, but this autumn’s voyages will exhaust that fund and we are looking for new sponsors who can help us keep this project going in the long term. £3,000 supports 24 places each year; £125 (or £10 a month) supports one place. It is really important that we keep the project going, and anyone who hears the stories these young people have to tell couldn’t help being moved - if you can help them in the coming years it would be a certain way to feel good about yourself. Email me if you can help.

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Legacy leaflets
OYT South has printed some leaflets describing how people can support our charitable work through legacies. If you might want to remember OYT South in your will, please ask the office for a copy. We would also like to ask solicitors, accountants etc. to take a few leaflets - if you could give some leaflets to offices in your local area, contact the OYT South office for copies.

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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 - including YouTube video
Check out the video of our new boat design on YouTube!

Those who attended our 50th anniversary celebrations in 2010 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 have tried a number of social networking websites to allow crew members to keep in touch with the boat and with each other - Facebook is by far the most active and popular, so that’s the one that now gets updated regularly. 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