Sections which have changed since last time marked *
* Wedding news!
Many thanks to everyone who has sent in congratulations and best wishes to our Chief Executive Mark Todd (formerly the staff skipper known as Wolf) and to Rosie Lovett (aka Dr Todd), on their wedding last weekend. It was a great event and a beautiful day - there’s a photo above - and we wish them all the very best for the future.
Mark is (still) under very strict instructions not to check his emails while on honeymoon - please contact me or the office if you need anything before 8th May!
* 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!
Email me if you might be able to help.
Open Day 18th May
If you are interested in visiting the boat and chatting to the skipper but don’t fancy joining a day sail, John Laing will be in Ocean Village, Southampton, on Friday 18th May, and open to guests from 2pm to 5pm. Please email if you would like to come along.
Adult voyage vacancies
We only have spaces on one adult voyage planned for this year:
14-16 Sept 2012, Southampton, 2 nights, £180pp - 9 places 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.
* Voyage news
Andy Brown skippered last weekend’s voyage and wrote the following report: “We had a great weekend trip with the crew of girls from St Gabriel's School in Newbury. The crew were made up of ten year 11's and two sixth form girls (Becca and Claire who had sailed with us before). The weather was appalling with NE'ly 9's forecast! Following the safety briefing and drills on Friday night, we had a great sail from Ocean Village on Saturday morning managing to set the no. 2 jib, reefed main and mizzen for a while between the squalls of strong winds and heavy rain. With the wind off the land, the sea was quite flat and John Laing flew along! All of the crew managed to steer in those difficult conditions. We berthed at Haslar marina in Portsmouth around 4pm, earlier than we would have liked but was necessary to avoid the worsening weather. This was offset by a trip on the Gosport Ferry and some brief retail therapy at Gunwharf quays (mainly stocking up on sweets!). A fabulous chilli was prepared onboard followed by the messiest chocolate mousse game I have ever witnessed! Hannah (bosun) and Dave (staff bosun and acting third mate) co-ordinated a great game of "Hello Harry" (I am glad that they did not use the permanent marker pen!) combined with the coat hanger game while the boat leaned to 40 knot-plus gusts while alongside. How many clothes pegs were pinned onto Dave before he noticed? John, the first mate, roused the crew on Sunday morning to the Hallelujah chorus which was vetoed by the crew and changed to a CD of that little-known group called "One Direction". Returning back to Ocean Village on Sunday, under mizzen and staysail, we managed to record a Force 8 gust for the log books. Once this squall had passed through we put up the reefed main for a short but fast sail up Southampton water. Mark (2nd Mate) did a sterling job putting the sails up and down with the crew and still managed a smile when the skipper asked if we could have the main back up yet again! Many thanks to John, Mark, Dave and Hannah for making it a safe, fun trip in spite of the terrible weather. Also a huge thanks to Anna for coordinating and organising the trip from her school. We are very grateful to teachers like Anna, who give up their valuable time and put a huge amount of effort in getting a crew together. I am sure that there will be huge smiles as each of the crew receive their voyage completion certificates in the Monday morning assembly. Well done. I hope to see you all back on John Laing soon.” Also big thanks from OYT South to Andy for skippering the voyage - and writing the report!
This week’s voyage has often had too little wind rather than too much wind! We had a mixed crew – several individuals from two schools who work with us regularly, a number of young carers, some people funded by Comic Relief and others by Hampshire County Council. They went to Cowes on the first night - it rained but not too much, and they were able to practise sail hoists on the way. Then they had an early start to catch the tide out of the Needles, where the sun broke through and they had a leisurely drift in little wind to Weymouth where they berthed alongside another sail training vessel, Provident. Again no wind the next day - they tried to sail but ended up motoring to Poole where they had some shore leave. Next day they motored as far as the Needles when a little wind kicked in and they had a bit of a sail as far as Calshot where they anchored for fajitas and chocolate mousse, and the crew planned the night passage back up to Ocean Village. The voyage ended today with 2 RYA Start Yachting certificates - a great achievement for the individuals involved as they had to work very hard in a short voyage with little wind to cover the full syllabus. Many thanks to sea staff Nic, Colin, Lucinda, Tigger and Dave.
Online sea staff training - available now!
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, 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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.