Refit volunteers


OYT South bulletin 16th March 2012

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *  

* Sport Relief
A good day for OYT South on Tuesday. Regular readers will know that we recently received a very generous grant from Sport Relief to offer places to disadvantaged young people from various organisations in Southampton. The first of these voyages starts next week; but BBC South wanted to film some pre-voyage preparations this week. So on Tuesday we had nine of the young people from next week’s crew on board for a look round the boat and an introduction to their voyage. Many thanks to the young people and staff from three local Southampton charities who set this up: The Wheatsheaf Trust, No Limits and Chapter 1. We were also joined by people from Sport Relief and by Dee Caffari, the first woman to sail solo, non-stop around the world in both directions and the only woman to complete 3 non-stop circumnavigations. In the event, we were live on the BBC South lunchtime news; a film was recorded for the evening news; Mark Todd did the Radio Solent breakfast show live along with David, one of the young people; and Mark and Dee also did Radio Solent drivetime in the evening.

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* Refit news - nearly done!
The refit is just about done! Now we have just the shakedown weekend and the final jobs to do before the first proper voyage of the season starts on Monday.

This week has been about all the final small jobs, getting the last of the equipment back on board, lots of cleaning and tidying on board, and moving out of the refit house and getting that clean and tidy too. Huge thanks to everyone who has helped out over the course of the refit, especially the Contact Marine team who were accidentally missed off last week’s bulletin, and of course the core refit team of James, Dave, Patrick, James2 and Yves who have been around for the whole thing, from November to March - a fantastic effort for which they all deserve enormous credit.

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* 2012 sailing programme - weekend voyages available
One priority at the moment is to fill two weekends which at present have no bookings:

18-20 May, weekend voyage out of Southampton, £180pp - full group booking (12 places) available following a cancellation.
6-8 July, weekend voyage out of Poole, £180pp - full group booking (12 places) available.

We can be flexible about how any weekend voyage is used. Ideally we'd like to run youth voyages (age range 12-25) but they could also be adult (over-18) voyages (though the current price is subsidised for young people - we ought to charge a little more for over-25s but this is negotiable - a disadvantaged or unwaged adult group might also be eligible for a subsidy). The boat is available from 8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday, but we can always consider running two separate day sails on the Saturday and Sunday. We could run the sailing for an organisation, or just for an informal group of friends. If you have any ideas for filling the places, please let us know!

Other than that, we have the following berths definitely available:

8-12 Oct, Southampton, 4 nights, £320pp - 12 places available (full boat booking). Age 12-25.

In addition, we have a number of voyages where reservations have not finally been confirmed or where funded places are still to be finally allocated. They are listed as possibly available here or marked “tbc - please ask” 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, 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

Please note we have two new vacancies in April owing to an injury to one of our third mates who can no longer sail then.

This is the current vacancies list - can anyone help?

11-14 April, Southampton - 3M or additional 2M
16-21 April - experienced 3M or additional 2M for adult training voyage
30 April-4 May, Southampton - second mate
6-9 May, Southampton-Gosport - first mate
10-11 May, Gosport - experienced 3M or additional 2M
18-20 May, Southampton - 1M
21-25 May, Southampton - 1M
18-22 June, Portland to Southampton - 1M
25-30 June, Southampton - experienced 3M or additional 2M
6-8 July, Poole - 3M
16-21 July, Plymouth - 1M and female mate needed, either 3M or additional 2M
22-29 July, Plymouth - female mate needed, either experienced 3M or additional 2M (preferably available to stay on till 31 July to help with Tall Ships prep)
2-8 Sept, Plymouth-Southampton - 2M

More spaces to be announced in due course!

Email me if you might be able to help.

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Online navigation training - available now!
OYT South is now able to offer online navigation training through the RYA's Essential Navigation & Seamanship course. This is an introductory-level course and is ideal for new sea staff or anyone who has done a little navigation but is a bit rusty; for young people looking to make the step up into volunteering; for young crew members who really want to stay involved with sailing and would like to build up their skills; and for those who have done several voyages and want to stretch themselves a little and understand more next time they come on board. It's a proper qualification, it takes around six hours to complete online but you can do it in your own time as it suits you, with the support of online course tutor Brian Eyres, a former John Laing skipper. The course costs £100 (including course pack) to non-members but only £75 to members, including anyone who has paid for a voyage with OYT South this year.

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Other online training - coming soon
Those of you who were with us for the presentations at the Gosport training weekend recently will have heard Ben “Sparky” Whinnett talk about another set of courses we will shortly be able to offer online. This will cover Child Protection (the NSPCC course), which we want to make compulsory for all sea staff, 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. We’ve been setting up a webpage so you can book and pay - we’ll let you know as soon as we are ready to start taking bookings.

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* Volunteer sea staff training voyages - open to other adults
Training voyages in 2012 - suitable for new potential volunteers but also for qualified sea staff who want some practice:

16-21 April 2012, Southampton, 5 nights, £400pp - 4 places available.
14-16 Sept 2012, Southampton, 2 nights, £180pp - 11 places available.

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.

These voyages are also open to adults who might not want to volunteer but would be interested in coming for a sail with us - especially if you don't mind pretending to be a teenager while potential volunteers practise leading a watch!

Email me to book.

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* Celtic Star crew needed
One of our first mates, Richard Haig, is shortly moving his own boat from Gosport to Conwy in Wales, his crew has dropped out and he is looking for a few people to help him!

He’s after people aged 18+ with a Competent Crew certificate and a valid sense of humour. The boat, Celtic Star, is a 46' Beneteau. They will be leaving Gosport on Saturday 24th March and arriving in Conwy the next Wednesday or Thursday depending on wind and weather. The passage is around 450 nautical miles; day one will be a short cruise to allow people to get their sea legs and then Richard will push on. He says is would be a great opportunity for anyone looking to build their sea miles, and if you are aiming for your Coastal or Offshore Yachtmaster ticket  you will be able to skipper some of the passage over 60 miles (Richard is an RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Instructor and Examiner so can offer training). Return to London is 3 hours on the railway from Llandudno Junction (5 minutes from Conwy). Cost around £200-£300 depending on what you can afford. Email Richard if you are interested.

If you are unwaged, don’t automatically be put off by the cost - it’s always worth asking about it, you never know if Richard may be desperate for an extra person and willing to negotiate!

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Ocean Witness
One of our regular sponsors, the Whirlwind Charitable Trust, has asked us to help them with some research into Marine Conservation - another project they are funding. They have been very generous to OYT South and it would be great if our members and supporters could help them in return, by completing this online survey. It only takes five minutes and your help will be much appreciated!

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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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* Financial appeal
Huge thanks this week to the J Leon group 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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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