Refit begins - and Carrie is already in a small hole...

Newsletter

OYT South bulletin 16th November 2012


In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *  


* Refit news
It’s been a huge week of refit work! Last weekend a vast amount of kit was moved off the boat and into the store - one highlight was the huge storm anchor, which involved 18 people walking in a snake with the anchor itself in a trolley and the chain following behind. Then there was a big clean of the boat, and all the refit equipment came out of the store and onto the boat. Then John Laing was moved round to the Hamble, the masts came out and the boat was lifted out of the water. The bottom was cleaned, and the remaining kit that had been needed for the move was taken off. The crew heads have been ripped out and the area cleaned, the other anchors are off, a hole has been dug so we can drop the rudder, the anchor locker and collision bulkheads have been cleaned, the scaffolding is going up, the cockpit locker is being cleaned, and the deep bilges are being emptied and cleaned. All this took an epic effort from a massive team of people - possibly one of the longest lists of refit helpers I have ever written in a single week: huge thanks to Ben, Dave, Carrie, Tom, Ben, Trevellyan, Marcus, Jayden, Dave B, Mike, Jon, Andrew, Adam, David B, Emily, Miranda, Victoria, David J, Caz, Andy V, Andy R, Nic, John, Katie, Di, Dave H, Dave’s friend Clive, Vikki, Tom S, Chris and Josh from Contact Marine, Dave W, the scaffolders and the HYS team.

Numbers may have been swelled by people turning up for James’s leaving party - thanks to everyone who helped to give him a great send-off!

However, despite having so many people, there is still some work left to do, even though at one point last Sunday, Sparky did inform us that the refit was “five minutes ahead of schedule.” We can use lots more volunteers on weekdays and on the next volunteer weekends:

December 8-9
January 19-20
March 9-10

NB There is no volunteer refit weekend in February because of the shorebased training weekend Feb 16-17 - see below.

Please contact Ben and book yourself in to help - he can be emailed at benwhinnett@oytsouth.org or phoned on the boat phone, 07990 518915. Please make refit bookings direct with him and NOT by replying to this email, otherwise there is a risk of confusion and things may be duplicated or missed!

The refit will run until 15th March 2013. The last full working day before Christmas will be Friday 21st December and the first day back Wednesday 2nd January. It'll be a busy winter and there is a lot to do so we really hope to see all sea staff for a day or two at least. Traditionally December is often the quietest month for volunteers so if you can spare a day or two then it would be much appreciated.

If you haven't been to refit before, please note that you should be aged 18+ though it is occasionally possible to take 16 and 17 year olds with the refit manager's permission, especially current or potential relief bosuns. No experience needed as there are plenty of unskilled jobs, though skilled help is always welcome too. Food and accommodation provided for volunteers subject to space in the refit house.

Sea staff looking to sail next season: please note that where several people apply for berths on the same voyage, people who have been involved over the winter - helping with refit, undertaking training, raising money, finding young people to fill berths etc. - will normally be given priority over people who haven't been involved.

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* Season statistics
For those of you who like facts and figures:

John Laing sailed 6,449 miles in 2012. We had 448 crew members aged between 12 and 25, and 106 aged over 25 - including volunteer training voyages, day sails, and group leaders on youth voyages.

Of the young crew members, 59% were aged 12-15, 25% were aged 16-18 and 16% were aged 19-25. Adding in volunteers aged 25 or under, we actually had 510 young people on board during the season.

We had 600 crew berths available and we allocated 583 (97%) and actually filled 554 (92%) after taking into account last-minute cancellations and group voyages where the client booked the whole boat but chose not to bring a full group. 175 young people received bursary funding for their voyages organized through OYT South (leaving aside all those who were funded by other organizations). Bursaries organized through us came to £42,285.

We had 922 days of volunteer time on board. Six new people passed a third mate’s assessment (including one on her 18th birthday, the earliest it is possible to qualify), three passed second mate assessments and three completed first mate assessments.

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Child Protection training - compulsory for all our volunteers

Now the season is over, it is time for all our volunteers to sign up for Child Protection training. This really is VITAL - there are some donors who will not support us unless all our volunteers are trained, so it will be compulsory in 2013 for all sea staff to have done some formal Child Protection training. If you haven't yet done any, we recommend NSPCC Child Protection Awareness in Sport and Active Leisure which you can do very cheaply online and in your own time. It’s not complicated or time-consuming - you should be able to complete it in a couple of hours and some people are getting through it much faster.

The online training page not only gives OYT South members access to child protection training at the bargain price of £10: that single one-off payment gives you access to a range of recommended courses. We would very much like all sea staff to do the food hygiene course; and there are several other courses you will find interesting and relevant. The system is very straightforward - each course is broken into a number of short modules and you just have to read each module and then answer some questions about it. 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. We can see at a glance who has signed up and who has completed a course.

If you have done alternative child protection training in the last three years, please email us with the name of the course, the awarding body, and the date of the training, and we'll add that to your records.

Please do get on and do your Child Protection training NOW - we won't take bookings for next year from people who haven't done any training so if you leave it too long you risk finding that other people have taken all the more interesting voyages!

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* Training weekend 16-17 February - sign up NOW
We can only run courses at the training weekend if we have enough people to cover the cost for each instructor, so please sign up NOW so we can make decisions about which courses can run and which ones can’t. Email me to let me know which course(s) you would like. The proposed schedule is as follows:

Saturday 16th February
RYA Sea Survival - £80 (held just outside Southampton - all other courses are in the Gosport Sea Cadet Unit) - 10 places left
RYA First Aid - £65 (this qualification lasts three years, don't forget to check if yours will go out of date before the end of the 2013 sailing season) - 7 places left
RYA Diesel - £75 - 3 places left
RYA Essential Navigation - £80 (NB this is a TWO-DAY course on Saturday and Sunday as well) - no takers yet, we will shortly cancel this course unless we get significant interest.
How to do chart corrections - free!

Sunday 17th February
RYA Radar - £75 (includes £25 course pack) - 6 places left
RYA GMDSS - £85 (includes £55 course fee plus £30 exam fee for your radio licence) - 2 places left
Youthwork - £35 (Lucinda Neall's course on working with more challenging young people - should be really interesting!) - at least 12 places left
There is a possibility of a second Diesel course on the Sunday if we fill Saturday's course (there are only 6 places on each day)

All these courses and prices are dependent on getting enough people, so we won't take any money from you just yet. Just tell us NOW which courses you would definitely like to do.

There will be meals and cheap accommodation available in the Sea Cadet Unit.

We also hope to run the Powerboat Level 2 course, but it won't be on the same weekend - just let me know if you're interested, and we'll try to find a suitable date when we have enough people. We also hope to run the lifejacket packing course, but that takes no more than a couple of hours so we'll aim to do it on a maintenance day some time.

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2013 sailing programme - berths available for young people, including Easter holidays!
We have a great programme for 2013 and we are taking bookings fast, so do have a look and think about when you would like to sail next year.

The earliest dates to consider fall within the Easter holidays (slightly depending on your holiday dates) or at a weekend:

29 March - 2 April 2013, Southampton, 4 nights, £340pp - 12 places available (full-boat booking). Age 12-25.
3-8 April 2013, Southampton, 5 nights, £420pp - 6 places available. Age 12-25.
9-14 April 2013, Southampton, 5 nights, £420pp, age 12-25. Places tbc - we had a provisional booking from a school but they may not fill all their places.
15-19 April 2013, Southampton, 4 nights, £335pp - 12 places available (full-boat booking). Age 12-25.
26-28 April 2013 (weekend), Southampton, 2 nights, £190pp - 12 places available (full-boat booking). Age 12-25.

After that we have a good selection of local voyage ranging from weekends to longer adventure voyages including the Tall Ships series in 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.

Updated voyage availability can also be found here.

Email me to reserve your berth!

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* Volunteer berths in 2013 - including new mate assessments
Qualified volunteers: if you want to start sending in your requests for voyages next year - either particular dates or voyages you would like to do, or groups you would like to sail with - please do. Though I won’t be making final allocations for a while, it does help to know what people are interested in, particularly if you have limited availability. Please do not send in voyage bids until you have done some Child Protection training (see above).

New volunteers: if you have done a mates’ training voyage and been recommended to sail with us next year, or if you are a young person aged 16+ and have been told on a voyage that you should consider volunteering with us, you do need to get in touch to discuss possible sailing dates - there are just too many people for us to contact with individual invitations, so we assume that those of you who get in touch, help at refit, sign up for training courses etc. are the ones who are really keen and should get the places. As with qualified volunteers, you MUST do some Child Protection training (see above) before sailing as a volunteer next year. If you haven’t yet had a skipper’s recommendation but have booked on an adult voyage early next season in the hope of becoming a volunteer, then all this applies to you too - we can pencil you in for voyages subject to your training voyage going well, and this avoids you missing out on voyages because other people have got in ahead and booked up all the dates you could have done! A mate’s assessment voyage needs to last 4 nights or longer on a voyage with young people.

The voyage programme is here for you to check possible options. Do please give me the voyage numbers you are interested in, rather than just saying you’re available between certain dates - it saves me a lot of time looking up the voyages that might fit those dates!

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* London Boat Show 2013 - discounted tickets for OYT South members
The London Boat Show will run from 12th to 20th January 2013. If you receive the email version of this newsletter, you can see details of a special offer for discounted tickets for OYT South members and supporters, which we can't put on a public website.

At some stage we will set a date for an OYT South outing to the show, if people want to meet there.

NOTE: If you want to visit the show between Monday & Wednesday tickets are only £10 and you do not require the discount code to order them.

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Chris Ellis Award - win £££s off sailing next year!

If you have enjoyed a voyage with OYT South and want to come again next year (and will be aged 12-25), please think about entering for this award. You can win up to £200 off the price of another voyage, by sending in an account of a voyage you have already done with us. It can be a logbook, diary, story, pictures, video - anything which gives the judges an idea of why you had a good time and would like to come again. Entries should be emailed or posted to the office by Friday 21st December. See here for more details of this award, which was set up in memory of the charity’s founder.

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Winter Day Skipper / Coastal Skipper courses
If anyone might be interested in completing a Day Skipper or Coastal Skipper practical qualification over the winter, please let us know. These courses need to be done in a boat smaller than John Laing but we have the possibility of chartering something if enough people might be interested.

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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. He is also offering a one-day Weather for Sailors course. 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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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 has now left us. OYT South is therefore looking for an outstanding new Staff Skipper for next season, and we have published a detailed job description job description. 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 by email.

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Children's hospices - voyage funding
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 that fund is now exhausted 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
Huge thanks this week to the Royal Thames Yacht Club Charitable Trust for a generous donation towards bursaries for disadvantaged young people.

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

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