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OYT South bulletin 20th June 2012

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *  

* Maintenance day THIS Saturday 23rd June - lots of help needed!
We really need more people to come and help with a maintenance day in Ocean Village this Saturday - call the boat on 07990 518915 if you can help! The last maintenance day was a bit thinly-attended and we really do have a lot to catch up with this time so please come along if you possibly can.

The full list of maintenance days to put in your diary for this year:

Saturday 23rd June - Southampton
Monday 30th and Tuesday 31st July - Plymouth (preparing for the Tall Ships race series)
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 are over-subscribed, people who have helped with refit or maintenance days may be given priority.

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* Urgent sea staff needed

The current vacancies list is:
6-8 July, Poole - 3M or bosun or any additional mate or trainee mate needed for a weekend voyage
22-29 July, Plymouth - additional mate or trainee mate possibly needed
2-8 Sept, Plymouth-Southampton - 2M possibly needed.
9-14 Sept, Southampton - 3M
14-16 Sept, Southampton - another experienced mate needed for mates’ training weekend
17-21 Sept, Southampton - bosun
24-28 Sept, Southampton - 1M and bosun
3-7 Oct, Southampton - experienced 3M and/or additional 2M for ASTO race (ideally including one female volunteer)
12-14 Oct, Southampton - bosun
15-19 Oct, Southampton - 2M
26-28 Oct, Southampton - female 3M
29 Oct - 2 Nov, Southampton - 2M and 3M (one must be female)
2-4 Nov, Southampton - 2M and 3M (one must be female)

Don’t forget that bosun berths are open to qualified mates as well - it is sometimes useful to spend a voyage reminding yourself about engine checks, maintenance etc.! But bosun berths are also open - at the skipper’s discretion - to anyone aged 16+ who has recently done a voyage with us and earned a sea staff recommendation.

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.

Email me if you might be able to help.

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* 2012 sailing programme - places available!
9-14 Sept,
Southampton, 5 nights, £395 - 1 place available.
8-11 Oct, Southampton, 3 nights, £240pp - 12 places available.
15-19 Oct, Southampton, 4 nights, £320 - 1 place available.
29 Oct-2 Nov, Cowes, 4 nights, £325 - 3 places available - half term voyage!

We can be flexible about how any currently-empty voyage (i.e. anything with 12 places available) is used. Ideally we'd like to run youth voyages (age range 12-25) but they could be an organised group or a mix of separate individual bookings. 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).

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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* Cut-price berth competition - the winners!
In the last newsletter, we offered a chance of cut-price places on one of the season’s unsold voyages for whoever made the best case for why they should get the berths. Overwhelmingly the most impressive entry was this - please do watch it! They will be taking up their places later in the season.

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* Voyage news
Lots to report this time as other commitments mean we’ve missed a couple of bulletins.

We go back to Friday 1st June, when a mixed crew including some from the Isle of Wight plus a group of young carers from Hertfordshire joined on Friday night and then had a 4am start to get to the start line of the Cowes Diamond Jubilee Regatta. OYT South’s Isle of Wight Support Group was one of the charities chosen to benefit from this event. Thick fog didn’t help the early part of the day but they raced round the island, starting off to the east in horrible weather. Things improved a little as they bore away to go south of the island, and then as they came back in via the Needles the sun came out and they had a lovely beat back up the Solent. That evening the crew went to a party at the Island Crusising Club and startled the DJ by requesting Justin Bieber tracks! An early night and a lie-in on Sunday were very welcome, and then they went out for a gentle sail in the afternoon before returning to Cowes for a reception with the Isle of Wight Support Group and VIP guests. Back up to Ocean Village next day where the voyage ended at lunchtime. Many thanks to sea staff James, Ben, Glyn, Annie, Andy and Angus.

The next crew joined that afternoon, from the Nautical Training Corps TS Swiftsure. Most of this group had sailed with us many times before, although there were two new younger ones. We set off that evening and motored through the night and sailed through the next day to get to Dover, where we glided neatly through the harbour entrance while pointing sideways to counteract a strong tide. After we found a berth with enough depth of water for John Laing, the crew had some time ashore, and next day we did a much shorter sail to Ramsgate. There we met a number of other sail training vessels all heading in the same direction as us. On Thursday James the skipper pretended to be out of action in order to give Terry the mate an exercise in running the vessel if the skipper got ill or injured, and Terry took us round to Chatham - an interesting passage past lots of landmarks and windfarms during which the rain did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the crew – lots of music and singing! James came back to life just long enough to stage a man overboard recovery exercise to end Terry’s day in charge. We were glad to be safely alongside in Chatham because the forecast for the next day was dreadful and we had planned a whole day in harbour. Chatham Marina is owned by our sponsors MDL and they made us very welcome. The crew had a morning of training on board and in the afternoon went to the local museum, returning full of enthusiasm to show us lengths of rope they had made themselves in the museum’s ropewalk.

On Saturday the crew were divided into three teams each containing a skipper, first mate and two watchleaders, and each team led the others for a third of the way into London - a challenging task with all the navigation and radio call-in points, but they took it seriously and did really well. Passing through the Thames Barrier was a real highlight. We locked into West India Dock in the evening and found ourselves with a large fleet of sail training vessels in the heart of the city, surrounded by office blocks. Next morning we scrubbed the boat within an inch of her life and in the afternoon the crew took part in some sports, their families all came to see us, and we had a whole series of visitors, including HRH Prince Michael of Kent, patron of the James Myatt Trust which had very generously sponsored three of our crew members. We were also delighted to welcome a team from the Quilter Charitable Foundation which recently began supporting OYT South. They brought us a big presentation cheque and it was great to be able to show them around the boat and have them meet the young crew who had brought her there from Southampton. Many thanks to the crew for representing us so well – and big thanks also to the sea staff: James, Steve, John, Emily, Caz and big congratulations to Terry Bufton for passing his first mate’s assessment!

The Swiftsure group left us that evening and were replaced by a London group organised by third mate Lucinda Neall, to take part in the ASTO Small Ships Race to Portland. They had a 5am start on Monday morning for a 6am lock-out and a parade of sail to Greenwich which must have impressed some commuters! Then they sailed out of the Thames in horrible weather for a race start off Southend at 6pm. From there the weather was really challenging with very strong winds, with a lot of seasickness among the crew and some wear and tear to the boat (does anyone want to buy us a new mizzen or a no.3 headsail?), until a decision was taken to retire from the race and go to Chatham again (where the MDL team once again looked after us very well). Once people had recovered, they set off again next evening and managed to complete the voyage to Portland in one hit. Many thanks to the sea staff Mark, Andy, Terry, Lucinda, Kerrin and Dave for coping with a challenging voyage.

This week’s crew joined on Monday: several from schools and charities in Hampshire, and three sponsored by a Trust which was paying for places for the children of members of the Armed Forces, as well as some older teenagers who are keen sailors and perhaps interested in volunteering with us. They did the short trip from Portland to Weymouth on Monday night, and then left on Tuesday morning in light winds with a lot of headsail changes and reefing practice to keep people occupied. Last night they went into Poole and parked alongside TS Royalist. An early start today, light winds, and they are aiming for Lymington tonight. Many thanks to sea staff Simon, Ben, Tigger, Abbey, Dave and Alan.

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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.

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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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Online navigation training for volunteers and young people
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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Latest Annual Report and Accounts
OYT South’s Annual Report and Accounts for the year ending 31st October 2011 are now available on this website. As well as the financial statements, the report also includes an account of our year and lots of interesting stories, facts and figures - do have a look! Printed copies are now also available for those who need them - please contact the office.

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Farnborough International Airshow tickets auction!
We have received a very generous donation from Farnborough International Airshow of four public day tickets for the show on either Saturday 14 or Sunday 15 July, to be sold to raise funds for the charity. We’re going to try an auction - i.e. you email us with a bid of whatever sum of money you choose for whatever number of tickets you want. We’ll let you know if your bid is currently in a winning position or not, and if it’s not you’ll be given the chance to make an increased offer. Let’s see how that works! The airshow is a fabulous family day out, a true spectacular and the biggest event of its kind in the world - check their website and start making your bids for the tickets - and do remember that whatever you pay will go to support voyages for young people who couldn’t otherwise afford to sail with us!

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Adult voyage vacancies
We only have spaces on one adult voyage planned for this year:

14-16 Sept 2012, Southampton, 2 nights, £180pp - places may be available depending on whether provisional bookings are confirmed or not - please ask.

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.

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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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