Hard at work


OYT South bulletin 5th January 2012

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *  

* Happy New Year
Here’s to a fantastic 2012 for OYT South and all our friends and supporters!

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* Shorebased training weekend February 2012 - book now!

We now have six courses running at the volunteers' training weekend 18-19 February 2012:

Sea survival
- Sat 18th Feb - £75 (this is where you get to practise with flares and liferafts) - recommended for all sea staff. At least 1 place available.
First Aid
- Sat 18th Feb - £60 including cost of first aid handbook - second mates and above MUST have an in-date certificate (they last 3 years) and it is recommended for everyone else. Possibly places available.
GMDSS radio
- Sun 19th Feb - £30 exam fee to get your radio licence + £50 course fee. Recommended for third mates, required for second mates and above. Course may be full but I can take names for a reserve list in case anyone drops out; and if there is enough interest we may even manage an extra course on the Saturday.
Child Protection - Sun 19th Feb (morning only) - £10, Recommended for all sea staff. Places available.
Lifejacket packing - Sun 19th Feb (afternoon only) - £25. Recommended for all sea staff. Places available.
Diesel engines - Sun 19th Feb - £75. Recommended for bosuns plus second mates and above. Possibly places available.

More details here; but please email me and get confirmation that there is a place available for you before completing a booking form and paying, so we don’t end up like the Olympic swimming event selling more tickets than there are places.

The one other course that might be possible to set up at short notice is Radar, which would have to be on the Sunday - we could potentially book an instructor if half a dozen people were interested, so do let me know.

We can provide meals and cheap overnight accommodation (mattresses on the floor) if needed.

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* Training weekend supper
Anyone is welcome to join us for supper and a social evening on the Saturday of the training weekend, 18th February, in the Gosport Sea Cadet Unit. £10 for the meal, and the bar will be open. It would be great to see lots of people there - use the booking form here to reserve a place, and follow the payment link.

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* Volunteer sea staff bookings 2012
Thanks to those qualified OYT South sea staff who have sent in their preferences for voyage dates - there has been a lot of interest in Tall Ships and other special voyages so anyone else who might want one of these places, tell me now or it may be too late! My priorities at the moment are to book first mates and female sea staff generally, as we must have a woman on every trip - once that’s sorted I can start confirming other bookings. So can any 1Ms and women who haven’t been in touch please do so now - email me either with particular dates or voyages you would like to do, or groups you would like to sail with.

If anyone else has limited availability (especially if you need to sail in school holidays) or particular requests, it is well worth starting to get your bids in now. And if you are hoping to do another assessment in 2012, please do tell me now as not all voyages are suitable for assessment so we will need to make sure we get you slotted in somewhere.

Anyone else – please send in your dates too and I will make a note of your preferences!

If you are not yet qualified as a member of OYT South sea staff but are doing one of the volunteers’ training voyages: for those who get selected as a result of those adult training voyages, the next stage will be to go on and do an assessment on a voyage with young people. Especially if you have limited availability, it is well worth giving me an idea now of possible dates for assessment voyages (which need to last 4 nights or longer): we can’t confirm these until you have a skipper’s recommendation, but at least we will try to ensure that all your available dates aren’t taken before you have a chance!

The voyage programme is here for you to check possible options. Do please give me the voyage numbers you are interested in, rather than just saying you’re available between certain dates - it saves me a lot of time looking up the voyages that might fit those dates!

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* London Boat Show 6th January (tomorrow)
The traditional OYT South team outing to the London Boat Show will take place on Friday 6th January - if you are thinking about visiting the show and can make it on that day, it would be great to see lots of OYT South supporters there: 3pm on the Guinness Stand if we don’t run into you elsewhere.

If you receive the email version of this newsletter, you can see details of a special offer for discounted tickets for OYT South members and supporters, which we can't put on a public website.

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* Refit news
The team came back on Tuesday from their well-earned break. It’s been a bit windy ever since! But they have got the watertank lids back on and are now flushing them through so that the water (and the tea) will taste lovely...Now they have started grinding the rust in the scuppers, dorades, air vents etc. And they have built a tent within a tent over the cockpit floor which is being taken up for repairs, and being heated to dry everything out. Many thanks to James1, Dave, James2, Patrick, Meg, Tom and John.

The team is having a day off tomorrow to visit the London Boat Show, but after that they would welcome lots of help, either on weekdays or on one of the volunteer weekends: 14/15 January and 3/4 March. (NB some people have asked why the January dates were moved from this weekend to next weekend - the answer is that no-one had booked in for this weekend and we thought we might get a better turnout if we moved it. Of course as soon as we did this we heard from a couple of people who’d had this weekend in their diaries and had been meaning to book! But 14/15 January it is, so please book now so James can plan the jobs for you!). Call James on 07990 518915 or email jamesboyce@oytsouth.org to book yourself in. Please make refit bookings direct with James and NOT by replying to this bulletin - it gets too confusing otherwise! You should be aged 18+ though it is occasionally possible to take 16 and 17 year olds with the skipper’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. See here for more information about helping at refit.

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* New baby!

Huge congratulations to Craig Burton (occasional John Laing relief skipper) and Nikki, on the birth of Edward just in time for Christmas!

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Staff skipper news - job description now 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 now published a detailed job description. We are announcing this early because 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 marktodd@oytsouth.org.

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Day Skipper course
Mark Todd is running an RYA Day Skipper course from 26 Feb to 2 March and really needs another two people so we can fill a second boat, with Lee Mosscrop as the instructor. This is the next formal qualification after Competent Crew and is suitable for those with a bit of experience who want to improve their skills and start taking more responsibility. The course takes place on board a small yacht so that people can practise boat handling and other skills that aren’t easy to learn in a boat of John Laing’s size. An ideal opportunity for third mates and bosuns who want to make progress, or anyone else who wants to develop their skills. Contact James on 07990 518915 or email jamesboyce@oytsouth.org if you might be interested.

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2012 sailing programme - please help us fill berths!

We have an excellent set of bookings for 2012, with lots of repeat bookings from many of our regulars, plus some interesting new groups. But now we need to fill the gaps in the programme! Details are here or here. Anything marked "enquiry (group)" on the programme is being held for a full-boat booking, usually to give them time to sort out funding or make sure they can get a full crew. But now we need to get bookings for all the places which are definitely still available. If you are aged 12-25, do you want to sail next year? If you are older, do you know any young people - children, grandchildren, or a school or youth club - who might like to sail? Is anyone looking for a way of doing the Residential for the Duke of Edinburgh's Gold Award? Is anyone interested in putting together an adult group if we have a voyage which doesn't sell to young people? All ideas for filling voyages are welcome!

The selection of voyages still available includes Solent weekends; longer local cruises; and a few special adventure voyages. These include the London-Portland ASTO Small Ships Race from 10-17 June - a race from the heart of London to the Olympic sailing venue, competing against other sail training boats crewed by young people. There’s also a Plymouth-based cruise, 22-29 July, which gives us a chance to see some beautiful places outside our normal sailing area - maybe the Scillies if we are lucky with the weather! The Tall Ships Race 12-25 August takes us from Coruna in northern Spain to Dublin - two of the liveliest festival ports you could hope to see, and a crossing of the Bay of Biscay which would be a real sailing achievement for anyone. Then a Dublin-Plymouth voyage, 25 August-1 September, which also allows the crew to see a Tall Ships festival; and a Plymouth-Southampton leg 2-8 Sept, with another chance to step outside our normal cruising area. So there’s plenty for everyone - see here or here for prices, age restrictions and other details, and contact us for more information or to make a booking.

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Volunteer training
Training voyages in 2012:

23-25 March 2012, Southampton, 2 nights, £180pp
16-21 April 2012,Southampton, 5 nights, £400pp
14-16 Sept 2012, Southampton, 2 nights, £180pp.

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.

Email me to book.

We would also encourage new volunteers who can’t get on the boat this season to think about visiting us over the winter - helping with the vessel refit, or attending a shorebased training course in February.

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* Financial appeal
Lots of good news on the funding front this week. Special thanks to Comic Relief and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation for a very generous grant towards bursaries, and to the Patrick Frost Foundation for another generous refit grant, in memory of Mrs Helena Frost who was a great OYT South supporter who sadly died last year.

Big thanks also to Captain David Cotterell and Oil Companies International Marine Forum who have donated the lifejackets we need for this season; and to Henri Lloyd for some new crew oilskins and baseball caps; and to David Mathias for setting up a bursary fund to help pay for voyages for young people with scoliosis (spinal curvature).

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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* Oysterband & June Tabor, Chichester, 7th February - and Spiral Awards
When I’m not working for OYT South I do some work for Oysterband and we’ve been on a UK tour with a new album, Ragged Kingdom with June Tabor. The band are great enthusiasts for OYT South’s charitable work; they are playing in Chichester on 7th February and it would be great if any OYT South supporters wanted to come along. Ragged Kingdom is Mojo Music magazine’s Folk Album of the Year 2011; it has four nominations in the BBC Folk Awards (results to be announced on February 8th); and it has had five-star reviews in publications ranging from the Guardian to the New York Daily News. If you happen to like the music, we’d be grateful for your vote for Best Album in the Spiral Awards - this recognises some of the best folk music of 2011.

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New Boat appeal
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