Sunshine at last...!


OYT South bulletin 25th May 2012

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *  

* Urgent sea staff needed

Two particularly urgent vacancies:

Owing to an injury, we need another mate for the voyage Southampton to London, 4-10 June. Could be a 2nd mate, 3rd mate or even a strong trainee mate - we just need another competent adult with a CRB. It’ll be great sailing into London where we’ll meet up with a fleet of sail training vessels for the following week’s race to Portland.

Another critical vacancy is 25-30 June, Southampton, where we need a 1M or a 2M for quite a special voyage: it’s the annual trip for Alfreton Park Special School - 6 young people with multiple physical and learning difficulties and 6 adult carers. Don’t expect any hard sailing, but it's one of the most heartwarming voyages you could ever hope to do.

The rest of the current vacancies list is:
4-10 June, Southampton to London - 2M, 3M or trainee mate
24 June, Southampton - 2M or 3M for a day sail
25-30 June, Southampton - 1M or 2M
6-8 July, Poole - 3M
22-29 July, Plymouth - additional mate or trainee mate possibly needed
2-8 Sept, Plymouth-Southampton - 2M possibly needed.
9-14 Sept, Southampton - 3M
3-7 Oct, Southampton - experienced 3M and/or additional 2M for ASTO race (ideally including one female volunteer)
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)

More spaces to be announced in due course!

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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day THIS Sunday
There’s a maintenance day in Ocean Village, Southampton, this Sunday - call James on 07990 518915 if you can help.

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

Sunday 27th May - Southampton
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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2012 sailing programm - including amazing discount offer for a weekend voyage!
Unfortunately the weekend voyage 6-8 July, out of Poole, has not been sold; but we would rather go sailing than keep the boat tied up, so if you are interested but couldn’t afford the full £180 weekend price, make us an offer - we might accept the best price we can get, even if some of the bids are pretty cheap (especially if you commit to bringing a few friends and filling several berths); but we’ll also give points for the cheekiest email, the most compelling reason why you should get a place, the most imaginative idea for filling the voyage, the most enthusiastic comments on your last voyage and why you want to come again - just email us and tell us how much you are offering to pay and why you should get a place. Ideally the voyage will be for age range 12-25 unless we get a particularly imaginative bid from an older group.

The full list of vacancies for this season is:

18-22 June, Portland to Southampton - see the Olympic sailing venue! 4 nights, £320pp - possibly 1 or 2 places available depending on whether provisional bookings are confirmed or not - please ask.
6-8 July, weekend voyage out of Poole, £180pp - 12 places available.
9-14 Sept, Southampton, 5 nights, £395 - 1 place available
8-12 Oct, Southampton, 4 nights, £320pp - 12 places available.
15-19 Oct, Southampton, 4 nights, £320 - 1 place available.
29 Oct-2 Nov, Cowes, 4 nights, £325 - 5 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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* 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 - up to 6 places possibly available.

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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* Voyage news

Quite a lot to report as there was no bulletin last week!

The fortnight started with our annual voyage for Hampshire’s Team for the Education of Children in Care. This group included a few who had sailed with us before, and they had a busy week, sailing from Southampton to Cowes, Swanage, Poole, Yarmouth, Chichester and back to Southampton. Chichester was the most eventful stop - they planned a beach BBQ and got the first dinghy-load of people and food ashore - when the skies opened and torrential rain came down. They retired to John Laing and cooked the BBQ in the oven! Well done to four crew members who earned RYA Start Yachting certificates (others either had them already from previous voyages, or didn’t want to work towards a qualification). Thanks to sea staff James, Dave, Colin, Terry and big congratulations to Chris Santic who passed her third mate’s assessment.

On Friday we had an Open Day and fitted in some meetings as well as having a good mix of people visiting the boat - donors, potential sea staff and future crew members.

After that we had two day sails. On the Saturday, we had some students from Southampton Solent University who had been kindly put forward by John Millican to come and do some filming with us and hopefully make something we can put on YouTube to appeal to young people. As crew, we invited back a selection of individuals across a wide age range who had sailed with us earlier this season and been particularly enthusiastic. This worked well as every shot in the film could be full of smiling faces and people evidently loving every minute of being on board, so huge thanks to all who took part - crew as well as sea staff (who happened to be James, Clare, Dave, Mark, Glyn, Simon and Caz). Look out for the results of this filming in the autumn.

On Sunday, the day sail was for a mix of donors, clients and other supporters who wanted to find out more about how we work. We had a lovely day with a good group of people, some decent sailing, and enough cake to keep out the worst of a cold breeze. These day sails are both useful and interesting, not only because we can give people a clearer idea of what young people experience when they sail with us, but also because we bring together people who support us in such different ways - donors who help pay to keep the charity going, and people working for companies whose support is invaluable to us, meeting youth workers who have referred young people to sail with us and seen at first hand the difference a voyage can make. Thanks to sea staff James, Clare, Dave, Mark, Glyn and Caz.

This week they have of course enjoyed some glorious weather with a mixed crew including some from a local school and others funded by Comic Relief or the Hampshire Bursaries programme. They sailed from Southampton to Cowes, Weymouth, Lulworth, Poole, Thorness Bay and back to Southampton. They had light winds at times but the sail down to Weymouth was glorious and it has been wonderfully warm after all the weeks of chilly voyages. They finished today with 8 RYA Start Yachting certificates, while two older crew members who had sailed with us in the past tackled parts of the RYA Watchleader syllabus. Many thanks to sea staff James, Dave, Colin, Lee, Bill and Michaela.

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Warsash Maritime Academy Open Day
Warsash Maritime Academy has asked us to pass on a message to any young people who have enjoyed sailing with us and might think about a career at sea! The Academy is a  faculty of Southampton Solent University and provides training to the international shipping industry. They have a Careers Open Day on Friday 29th June and anyone who wants to know more about an Officer Cadetship or is wondering what a career in the shipping industry is all about might like to go along. The campus is open from 10am to 4pm, and visitors have an opportunity to have a look at the student accommodation, training facilities - including the Bridge and Engine Room Simulators, Engineering Workshops and more. Shipping company representatives and cadets currently in training will be on hand to give a genuine insight into the career opportunities available. Lecturers and staff from the Student Support Office can speak with prospective cadets and their parents about the courses, and the support available to them on campus and during their sea time. Warsash Maritime Academy’s 3 year cadet courses cover navigation (deck), engineering and electro-technical officer training. Course fees, with a salary or training allowance, are funded by shipping companies through sponsorship. Representatives from the companies including Carnival (UK), Viking, Maersk and Princess Cruises will on hand throughout the day to explain how it works. The minimum age for entry is 16 and the upper age limit varies from company to company but can extend well into the 30’s. See here for details - please contact the academy and not OYT South if you are interested!

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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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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