Breakfast in Lymington during the shakedown voyage


OYT South bulletin 22nd March 2012

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *  


* Last-minute vacancy - adult sailing weekend starting tomorrow
One of the crew who was supposed to be sailing this weekend has kindly decided not to come and spread flu among the rest of us, so we have an empty place for someone aged 18+ who wants to come sailing. The voyage starts tomorrow (Friday 23 March) at 8pm in Ocean Village and ends on Sunday at 5pm in the same place. The original price was £180 but there may be bursary funding available for someone who genuinely can’t afford it - better than going to sea with an empty berth! The weekend was primarily designed for volunteer training but we’ll take anyone who’s prepared to come along and join in. Phone the office on 02392 602278 if you’re interested.

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* Voyage news - sailing again!
John Laing is sailing! The refit is over and we have a great season of voyages in prospect.

We had a shakedown voyage last weekend, with refit helpers, sea staff and others taking the boat to Lymington and back - sails up, sails down, reefs in, reefs out, just making sure everything worked. Special thanks to the engineering team for a lot of work in their department (once we figured out where all the spare parts had been stowed!)

Then on Monday the first youth crew of the season joined - one individual from Gosport and the rest from three charities in Southampton: the Wheatsheaf Trust, No Limits and Chapter 1. These were all funded by Comic Relief and most had been involved in the filming day we did with Sport Relief last week. They sailed to Cowes on Monday evening and had a little shore leave in the morning before sailing to Brighton. A bit of motoring at the start but it developed into a nice sailing day. They spent yesterday in Brighton doing lots of RYA training and also having a look round the town, and today they are sailing back, with a plan to anchor for dinner and then let the crew look after the navigation for a night passage back up to Ocean Village.

Many thanks to sea staff James, Sparky, Dave, Terry, Kerrin and Patrick.

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* Vessel tracking

Now that John Laing is sailing again, the vessel tracking on the website is up and running - every few hours it updates to show where the boat is and other information including her speed and course at the time. You’ll also find occasional updates, photos etc on our facebook page.

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

6-8 July, weekend voyage out of Poole, £180pp - 12 places available (full boat booking).
8-12 Oct, Southampton, 4 nights, £320pp - 12 places available (full boat booking).

We can be flexible about how any currently-empty 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).

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
25-30 June, Southampton - experienced 3M or additional 2M
6-8 July, Poole - 3M
16-21 July, Plymouth - 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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* Article - Occupational Therapy magazine

One of our volunteers, Rachel Wright, recently wrote a great article on sail training which appeared in Occupational Therapy magazine – you can read a copy here in pdf format.

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* Possible Open Day?
If there is sufficient demand, we are looking at the possibility of having a John Laing Open Day in Southampton on Friday 18th May. A great chance for adults or young people to look round the boat in harbour and find out more about our voyages or our charitable work. Ideal for donors, prospective clients or anyone else keen to find out how we work. If you might be interested, email

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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 - 9 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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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
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