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OYT South bulletin 26th October 2012

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *  

* Voyage news
This week’s crew is from Community Links, a big charity based in east London. Three good group leaders and a lovely group of young people, some with special needs. They sailed from Southampton to Cowes on Monday. The visibility came right down and there were foghorns sounding across the Solent. They then had lots of games and activities in harbour, and completed an ambitious passage all the way from west Cowes to east Cowes, where the sea staff had some parking practice. Next they had a lovely sail to Poole, where they had shore leave, showers and ice-creams. This was followed by a long upwind passage to Gosport, in rougher weather but no-one at all was sick! They also had fantastic fishfinger sarnies. Finally the crew navigated the boat back to Ocean Village in time for fajitas and chocolate games last night. Six people earned the RYA Start Yachting certificate so well done to them; and many thanks to the sea staff Mark, Richard, Dave, Andrew, Lucinda and Ben.

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* AGM news
Last Saturday’s AGM event went well - many thanks to the Royal Southern Yacht Club for laying on a hearty lunch. This was followed by Chief Executive Mark Todd’s review of the year - a serious look at the achievements and key events of the year interspersed with a lot of comedy. He also presented staff skipper James Boyce with a sextant as a leaving present - huge thanks to everyone who contributed, and the sextant will do sterling service on James’s forthcoming voyage to Antarctica.

Then the members were invited to join in an open discussion about our plans for replacing John Laing, going through the process by which the current design was reached and asking for views. This proved so lively and popular that when the official start time of the AGM was reached, no-one wanted to stop - so we had a break for the formal business of the AGM and returned to the new boat discussion after that.

The AGM did all the official business of approving the accounts, appointing auditors etc. The charity also passed a special resolution to formalise the position of our youth trustee - for many years we have aimed to have at least one trustee aged 25 or under, in the same age range as the young people who sail with us; but until now it has never been official policy. Now it is clearly stated that we should have one unless no-one in the right age range can be found to join the Board.

There is a rule that a certain number of Trustees have to stand down each year, by rotation, and can stand again for election if they wish - this means people can’t stay on the Board for years and years without the approval of the members. This year Brian Eyres and Steve Lacey stood down and were re-elected; but Caz White did not stand for re-election as she is about to join the charity’s full-time staff, having been freelance for some years. We also elected three new Trustees:

John Millican is Professor of Maritime Education at Southampton Solent University, having just stepped down as Dean of Faculty, and for ten years was Director of Warsash Maritime Academy. As navigating officer with the British and Commonwealth Shipping Company, he has twice sailed round the world.

Emma Burrows first came to OYT South as a young crew member ten years ago and is now a volunteer second mate. She has a strong technology background and experience running a technology based business. She currently works for Google as Product Manager.

Victoria Botting has been sailing in John Laing since the age of 12. Now 18, she takes over from Ben Martin as our Youth Trustee (Ben will be staying on the Board but will be over-age before the next AGM). Victoria has been sailing as a relief bosun. Having had leukaemia and a bone marrow transplant at a young age she will be an able advocate for young crew members who come to us after facing real challenges in their lives.

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* Happy birthday to Dave the bosun

Staff bosun Dave turned 21 last Sunday - many happy returns! We took him out on Saturday night to celebrate and it’s fair to say he DID look older by the next morning...

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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 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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* Training weekend 16-17 February - more details and prices

Having had some initial requests for courses, the schedule for the training weekend on 16th and 17th February 2013 which seems to produce the fewest clashes for people who want to do more than one course is as follows:

Saturday 16th February
RYA Sea Survival - £80 (held just outside Southampton - all other courses are in the Gosport Sea Cadet Unit)
RYA First Aid - price tbc (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)
RYA Diesel - £75
RYA Essential Navigation - £80 (NB this is a TWO-DAY course on Saturday and Sunday as well)
How to do chart corrections - free!

Sunday 17th February
RYA Radar - £75 (includes £25 course pack)
RYA GMDSS - £85 (includes £55 course fee plus £30 exam fee for your radio licence)
Youthwork - £35 (Lucinda Neall’s course on working with more challenging young people - should be really interesting!)
RYA Essential Navigation - £80 (NB this is a TWO-DAY course on Saturday and Sunday as well)
There is a possibility of a second Diesel course on the Sunday if we fill Saturday’s course (there are only 6 places)

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.

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).

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* Child Protection training - compulsory for all our volunteers

Please note that 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. 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.

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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* Day sail Monday 5th November

At the end of each season we always run a couple of day sails for RYA Instructors in order to give them experience of big-boat sailing if they want it, or just to introduce them to the work of the charity. We’ve had one cancellation for the Monday so we’re happy to offer it to any interested adult - £30 including lunch on board, starts and finishes Ocean Village, Southampton. Email me if you are interested.

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* 2013 sailing programme - bookings for young people
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 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 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

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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
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