Leaving Chichester


OYT South bulletin 19th October 2012

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *  

* Voyage news
The last newsletter two weeks ago left the crew from the siblings' programme at Naomi House Children's Hospice getting ready to take part in the ASTO Small Ships Solent race, against other sail training vessels crewed by young people. It was a day of light winds which is not ideal for racing in a heavy steel vessel such as John Laing, but everyone worked really hard and it ended in triumph as they beat two Challenge boats (also steel vessels but designed for round-the-world racing), one on the water and one on handicap. That evening all the crews enjoyed a party in Cowes, incuding karaoke – our crew got up and sang with enthusiasm. Next morning they had bacon sandwiches and a gentle passage back up to Ocean Village where the voyage ended, with everyone having earned an RYA Start Yachting certificate. Many thanks to sea staff James, Andy, Adam, Emily, Kerrin and Dave, and special thanks to TMI who have sponsored the hospice voyages for many years – their fund is now exhausted so this was their last voyage, but they really have done a huge amount for some very deserving young people.

Next day we were joined by a crew consisting of nine young people from Steve Lacey’s youth group in Dorset, plus two young men who are about to enter the merchant navy as cadets - one as a deck officer and the other as an engineer - who were sent on the voyage by their company. The former was asked to help with passage planning and logbook entries, the latter with daily engine checks, and despite being new to it all they did well. They also had to join in all the usual activities alongside the Dorset group. It was only a short voyage but they all made really good progress, sailing from Southampton to Yarmouth, then round the island next day, stopping in Cowes before heading back to Southampton. Again, all crew members successfully completed the syllabus and earned their RYA Start Yachting certificates. Many thanks to sea staff James, Andy, Steve, Clare, Dave and Sam.

Then we had a day sail for one of our sponsors, Quilter - two of their own staff plus some of their contacts from a range of other finance companies. It was a really good and enthusiastic group of people who all wanted to join in with the sailing and find out more about our charitable work, and we hope several of them will stay in touch for the future. We enjoyed some good sailing, and had lunch at anchor in Osborne Bay. Thanks to sea staff James, Mark, Clare, Andy, Dave and Caz.

Last weekend’s voyage was for a mixed group – some Senior Section Girl Guides, some from Brune Park school in Gosport, and some individual bookings. Many of the group had sailed with us before and they had lovely weather, sailing to Chichester on the Saturday, anchoring overnight, and then calling into Cowes for icecream before sailing back to Ocean Village on Sunday, with lots of sails in use. Several members of this crew clearly have the potential to become sea staff with us in future. Many thanks to the sea staff James, Andy, Colin, Ian, Gina and Sam. Gina is a former Ocean Youth Club first mate who is newly back with us after many years away - James says that despite the long break she is clearly sailing at second mate standard and could get back up to first mate with more time spent on the boat. And Sam sailed with us for the first time last month on the training voyage for new potential sea staff - he’s now been back for two short voyages and should easily complete his third mate’s assessment on his next trip - so congratulations to both!

The next group, joining on Monday, was another mixed crew: seven from Mike Bassett’s group in Kent, one from Brune Park school, and four individual bookings, including two who came to us through our links with the Scoliosis Association. They have been lucky with the weather this week: although they have had appalling gales and rain, this has all happened at time when they were safe in harbour, and when they have actually been sailing it has been fine, though windy. Too windy to go anywhere particularly adventurous but they have done Southampton-Cowes-Gosport-Yarmouth-Cowes (where they short-tacked all the way in and got onto the pontoon under sail) and then back to Southampton (a night-time passage where the young crew were put in charge of the navigation). All the young people earned their RYA Start Yachting certificates and several had parts of the more advanced Competent Crew certificate signed off too. Many thanks to sea staff Richard, Tigger, Ian, Bill, Katie (who successfully completed her third mate’s assessment and is close to the standard required for second mate - congratulations!) and extra special HUGE thanks to skipper James, doing his very last trip with us as staff skipper after four years in the job. We will miss him dreadfully and wish him all the best for the future - including his voyage to Antarctica!

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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 to webmaster1@oytsouth.org 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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* OYT South lunch, farewell to James and AGM 20th October
The deadline has now passed for booking for the lunch tomorrow, but we look forward to seeing those of you who have booked from 12 noon at the Royal Southern Yacht Club, Rope Walk, Hamble SO31 4HB. If you aren’t coming for lunch, you are still very welcome to join us at 1430 when Chief Executive Mark Todd will be making a short speech and leading a discussion session on our plans for a new boat. Then at 1530 there will be a short AGM. The official AGM paperwork for members has been sent out by separate email.

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Training weekend 16-17 February - tell us NOW which courses you want
We will be running our usual shorebased training weekend over the winter, on 16th and 17th February 2013. There will be an RYA Sea Survival course on the Saturday (held just outside Southampton), plus a number of other courses based in the Sea Cadet Unit in Gosport. We are now hoping to run youthwork, and RYA courses for the GMDSS radio licence. Radar, Diesel Maintenance and First Aid - each of which lasts a full day. There’s also the option of the short lifejacket packing course and the 2-day Essential Navigation course. Tell us now what you would like to do!

Once we have a better idea of the demand we will work out which courses to run on each day so that as many people as possible get to do both the courses they want.

There will also be the usual social evening and meal on the Saturday. Details to follow for those of you who have never been to one of those weekends - for now, just put the date in your diary!

If you're not sure what course(s) would be best for you, here's the list of recommended / compulsory courses for volunteers:

Bosun: Recommended - diesel engine, sea survival.
Third mate: Recommended - first aid, GMDSS, sea survival
Second mate: Compulsory - first aid, GMDSS. Recommended - sea survival, diesel engine, radar
First mate: Compulsory - first aid, GMDSS. Recommended - sea survival, diesel engine, radar (though in practice it would be rare for first mates not to have the recommended qualifications as well as the compulsory ones).

The 2-day Essential Navigation course is the basic introductory course, suitable for bosuns, third mates, anyone hoping to join our sea staff next year, and any other keen sailors if you have little or no navigational experience.

We also recommend Powerboat Level 2 for everyone, which we won't be running at the February weekend - however, let me know if you would like to do it and if we can get a group together we will look for some possible dates.

Don't forget first aid certificates need to be updated every three years.

Please also note that it will be compulsory in 2013 for all qualified 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. (If you have done alternative child protection training, please email us the details). But 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.

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* Sea staff needed
We need someone to bosun on Monday 5 November when we are running taster day sails for RYA instructors - a young bosun (16+) would be fine if you have sailed in that role with us before, or any other bosun or qualified mate who can look after the bosun jobs.

Email me if you might be able to help.

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* 2012 and 2013 sailing programmes - bookings for young people - including ONE last place this year!
It looks as though we now have one place left on a half-term voyage, 29 Oct to 4 Nov 2012, with an option of joining and leaving in either Southampton or Cowes (we have crew members joining in both places, with the Southampton crew members joining earlier and leaving later in order to be on board for the run across to Cowes and back). £325, age range 12-25, but ideally suited for people of school age. Email now if you are interested.

Otherwise we are fully-booked for the rest of this season but we are always happy to have names on a reserve list, especially people who can sail at short notice if someone else has to drop out.

Email me if you would like to be on the waiting list for a place this year - see here for voyage dates.

After that 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. 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.

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* Refit news
Refit manager Ben "Sparky" Whinnett is looking for lots of volunteer help as soon as the winter vessel refit starts: from Wednesday 7th November to Friday 9th November he needs a good team of people to move kit off the boat and into the store. Then there’s a volunteer weekend 10-11 November when we need as many people as possible - with James’s leaving party on the Saturday night!

If you want to book yourself in for time at refit, please email Sparky at benwhinnett@oytsouth.org. 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 full list of volunteer weekends for the winter is:

November 10-11 (including James's leaving party on the Saturday night)
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 above). 

Apart from that, Sparky, Dave and the core team of full-time volunteers need help on weekdays between 7th November 2012 and 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.

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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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 is now leaving 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 webmaster1@oytsouth.org.

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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 Whirlwind Charitable Trust who have very kindly agreed to fund a desperately-needed new mainsail! Big thanks also to other donors towards refit or bursaries who prefer to remain anonymous.

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