From bosun Dave to bosun Harri (is anyone else thinking "hear no evil, speak no evil"?)


OYT South bulletin 13th December 2013

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *  

* Farewell Dave, welcome Harri!
Staff bosun Dave Bland has now left us - huge thanks to all who contributed to his leaving present and we wish him all the best for the future - which we hope will include voyages with us as a volunteer from time to time! Dave did a great job and will be missed but he has an able successor in Harri Smith who has now joined us, so a big welcome to her. She has already proved expert at karaoke, spag bol and garlic bread, and is a mean hand with an angle grinder. We wish her all the best for her next two years with us.

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* Training weekend Feb 2014 - updated vacancies - BOOK NOW

Latest news on training weekend places:

Saturday 22 February
Diesel - £70 - provisionally FULL but we can take names for a reserve list
Prince's Trust - £10 -  2 places available
Radar - £75 - 2 places available
First Aid - £70 - provisionally FULL but we can take names for a reserve list, or potentially swap people between Saturday and Sunday if needed, IF we get enough people to run the course on Sunday as well.

Sunday 23 February
Diesel - £70 - 2 places available
Prince's Trust - £10 - 6 places available
GMDSS assessments - £40 for online course plus £60 exam fee - 3 or 4 places available
Chart corrections - free - provisionally FULL but we can take names for a reserve list
TBC First Aid - £70 - need another 3 or 4 bookings to be sure we can run this course - please book a.s.a.p. so we can confirm it and book the instructor!

Email to book.

All these are full one-day courses, so you can only do one course per day. Where a course is running on both days, it’s a repeat to allow us to include more people, so you only need to sign up for one day per course!

More details of all courses here; and an online booking and payment facility here. The form will also allow you to book accommodation and meals.

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* Lifejacket packing course
We need to send Harri the bosun on a lifejacket packing course; but it takes 8 people to set up a course so we need another seven! This is an important course as we have a programme for inflating all our lifejackets at a regular intervals, making sure that they stay inflated properly and repairing or discarding any that don’t work effectively. All the lifejackets that pass the test need to be properly repacked and a short course (a couple of hours) costing £22 will qualify you to do this. If you sail with us regularly, or are often at maintenance days, and would like to be qualified to pack lifejackets, please email Andy Viney ( and he will try to find a date that suits as many people as possible. It would really help if you tell him in the initial email whether you could only do the course at a weekend or might potentially be available on a weekday.

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* Refit news
We had a good handover week between Dave and Harri; but having two staff bosuns on board at once led to speculation about the collective name for bosuns - any ideas? Suggestions so far have included “bosi”, “a rarity of bosuns”, “a muddle of bosuns”, “a mess of bosuns”, “a duvet of bosuns” and “a fix of bosuns”,

John Laing went back in the water and - with her mainmast still out - was able to go to somewhere we can’t normally reach: Saxon Wharf (the mainmast stops us going under the Itchen Bridge). Saxon Wharf will be our home for the rest of the winter and we have been made very welcome.

The team has been making great progress with bilges, gas locker, water tanks, stern platform and much more - removing winches and dorade boxes, painting the lids to everything, building a paint tent, tackling blisters in the deck, and masses of grinding, sanding and chipping. Huge thanks to everyone who has helped on weekdays and at the December volunteers’ weekend: Andy, Dave, Harri, Sparky, Dan, Jack, George, Amy, John Niven, Katie Outlaw, Mike Bunton, Toby Hunt, Carrie Potter, Charlotte Sullivan, Emily Parker, Jen Redmond, Georgie Trow, Alida Lewis, Brigid Stoney and Martin Strutt. Andy was particularly impressed to find at one point that he and Toby were working with a team of nine women...

A highlight of the weekend was Saturday night when vegetarian Amy cooked a fabulous dinner of roast lamb for 15 people - and forgot to make a veggie option for herself!

We now have the total figures for volunteer help in November: we had 139.5 days’ work from volunteers (as well as 40 from paid staff) which is just fantastic – if we can keep this up through the winter then John Laing will be in great condition for the 2014 season. Huge thanks to all involved.

The remaining volunteer weekends for the winter are 18-19 January and 15-16 March, and we also welcome extra help on weekdays. Just call the boat on 07990 518915 or email (please don’t try to book for refit by replying to this bulletin).
See here for general information about John Laing’s winter refit and how you can get involved. Most people come and help for a day or two, but it is possible to come for longer and we can usually offer accommodation. There is a list of small items needed for refit on this website. Some of the things on the list cost very little (bin bags, rubber gloves) but it all adds up and if we get lots of donations and if everyone who helps at refit brings something, it could be a substantial saving to the charity

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Sea staff bookings 2014
I’d like to get some sea staff bookings sorted out earlier than usual for 2014, owing to other commitments in late February and March when I normally do it!  So if qualified volunteers would like to start sending in details of what you would like to do, I’ll make a note of them now though it will be a while before I can make final decisions. (NEW potential volunteers: please read this information first).

For qualified sea staff with limited availability, what really helps is if you give me voyage numbers for voyages you could potentially do. Those who are more flexible can give me a rough idea of what might be possible. In either case it would be helpful have an idea of the maximum number of days you could manage. But please DON’T send in any voyage bids unless you have done some Child Protection training.

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* Sea staff needed for special voyage
The voyage 26 May to 1 June next year (sea staff join on 25 May) is a special one and we want to pick the sea staff early as there is a possibility of doing some briefings and preparation at the training weekend Feb 22-23. So if you are available for those dates and definitely coming to the training weekend, and if you are a reasonably experienced member of OYT South sea staff who is familiar with John Laing and our routines, let me know if you might be interested in this:

The voyage will be for participants who were born without eyes, or maybe have a severe disfigurement in one eye, or siblings of a child who was born with no eyes or has a sight problem. The main aim of the voyage will be fun, confidence building and being able to talk about problems freely, without being judged. You may get an eye put in your hand, so if you think that'll freak you out - this voyage isn't for you!

Email me if you would like to be part of this very special voyage.

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* Ben “Sparky” Whinnett

Sparky has left us! He is now Technical Estimator and Logistics Co-ordinator for the Yacht Care team at Universal Marina. However, since his leaving present fund was started very shortly before he left, we are keeping it open in order to make sure people have a chance to contribute. Ben started sailing with us in 2008 and was part of the full time refit team in winter 2008-9. Since then he has given us huge amounts of time at sea, as a first mate, and at refit - mostly as an unpaid volunteer until he took on the role of Refit Manager in winter 2012-13. This year he has been employed by us as Operations Support Officer - in particular, helping with the planning for the New Boat Project. We want to show him how much we appreciate his efforts over the last five years, so please see here for how you can contribute to the fund for his leaving present - please give generously!

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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 20th December. See here for more details of this award, which was set up in memory of the charity's founder.

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* New boat funding ideas
Matt Dewhurst is doing great work in the office researching funding ideas for the new boat, but he needs all the ideas he can get! We are asking everybody to think hard about who we should approach for donations. We are building up lists of companies, wealthy individuals, organisations - and anybody else! - who are potential donors. Please help us with this by thinking as widely as possible and giving us your ideas.

We also need to think of all the people we know and write them down. If there's an important contact and we don't know them, we can probably find somebody that does. Once you start thinking about who you know, and who your families, friends and work colleagues know, a big list can be built. Please build up your list and let us have it. We won't actually approach any of your contacts unless you give us permission.

Sometimes people start this exercise by saying: "I don't know anyone wealthy", but with a bit of thought they realise that their brother-in-law works for a company that sponsored a major event, or that they have a friend from college whose uncle runs a big business. So if you can't think of any good contacts straight away, please don't give up - keep thinking, and keep asking people. When you have an idea, email it to us at Don't worry for the moment if the connection seems to be quite tenuous: it may be that your idea jogs someone else's memory, or that one of our other supporters knows that person better than you do. We just need the ideas!

At the moment, how we approach people is not important. We've got lots of ideas, from letters, to special events such as day sails for high level donors. We will work this out as soon as our lists are built.

Our campaign will take a long time - perhaps two or three years. If we all put our hearts and souls into it, we will succeed. Please help - we can't do it without you.

See here for more about the New Boat Project.

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* Have you lost a pair of Dubarry boots?
We have a pair of Dubarry 8.5 boots which apparently appeared in the bosun’s cabin around the couple of months or so of the season and haven’t been claimed. We normally have to throw away lost property after a few weeks because there is just nowhere to store it; but these boots must cost around £200 new so if they are yours, please call the boat on 07990 518915 NOW!

If we don’t hear from the rightful owner and there is someone else who would like a pair of size 8.5 Dubarrys in decent condition, please make us an offer which might go into the charity’s funds - that would have to be better than binning them.

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2014 voyage programme - book now!
There are some great voyages available in 2014 for young people aged 12-25.: BOOK NOW, or email if you want to discuss voyage options or find out more.

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Tall Ships Race 2014
In summer 2014, John Laing will be taking part in a very special Tall Ships race from Falmouth to Greenwich - an amazing chance to be part of the Tall Ships fleet in two historic British ports!

Both ports will be hosting amazing festivals for sailing vessels from all over the world. These events will be filled with activities for young crew members and so, as well as the race crew, we are looking for young people to join a West Country cruise in the week before the race, scheduled to give them time to be part of the Falmouth festival before handing over to the race crew. This provides an opportunity for individuals who are still at school to take part in the event, since the race itself overlaps the start of term!

Places open to young people aged 15-25 - no sailing experience necessary - tell all your friends!

Voyage details:
West Country cruise: 23-30 August, ending in Falmouth, 7 nights, £565pp.
Tall Ships race: 30 August to 7 September, 8 nights, £640pp. The race itself ends off the Isle of Wight and the fleet will then cruise in company to London.

More details here and a form to register interest.

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* Adult voyages 2014
Are you aged 18+ and interested in an adults-only voyage next year? These voyages are ideal for new potential volunteers who need to get a skipper’s recommendation to sail with us on youth voyages as it allows you to get to know the boat and our routines without the pressure of working with young people at the same time. But they are also open to any adults who want to have a fun voyage, to learn a bit more about sailing, perhaps, or to try a larger boat than you are used to. Available dates are:

28-30 March 2014 - Southampton - 2 nights - £195pp.
11-17 Sept 2014 - London to Southampton - 6 nights - £495pp - a special adult voyage which begins with sailing down the Thames and might, weather permitting, allow us to cross the Channel on the way back to the Solent.
26-28 Sept 2014 - Southampton - 2 nights - £195pp.

If you have already had a skipper’s recommendation to come back as a volunteer then you are welcome to join one of these voyages for extra experience, but otherwise your next steps are described here.

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* Financial appeal - including Lloyds Community Fund result!
Huge thanks this week to lots of people for invaluable donations. In particular,extra special thanks to everyone who voted for us to get a grant from the Lloyds Community Fund 2013. The two organisations with most votes in each area each get the top award of £3,000 and we are delighted to say that your votes secured this award for us, to go towards some new winches!

The Patrick and Helena Frost Foundation have once again been exceptionally generous to our refit fund; and we have also had a great contribution from The Worshipful Company of Grocers. The Peter Dixon Charitable Trust has been a generous donor towards bursaries for some years, but have just made us an extra grant to cover us for a voyage where a number of people who had accepted their funded places dropped out at the last minute, too late to be replaced, leaving us unable to claim those bursaries in the normal way - a very thoughtful and considerate response.

Mark Todd recently did a presentation to Fareham Sailing and Motor Boat Club and raised £151. They did a charity auction with many prizes donated by MDL. Dee Orme, one of our supporters and the new Commodore, has nominated us as their charity.

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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London Boat Show 2014
The London Boat Show will run from 4th to 12th January 2014. 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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Child Protection training

All sailing volunteers must have done some Child Protection training before booking any voyage.

If you have done a course 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.

If you still need training, we recommend NSPCC Child Protection Awareness in Sport and Active Leisure which you can do very cheaply online and in your own time. It's not complicated or time-consuming - you should be able to complete it in a couple of hours and some people are getting through it much faster.

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. We can see at a glance who has signed up and who has completed a course.

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Volunteer berths in 2014
It might be worth explaining the process with sea staff bookings for the benefit of new volunteers. If you have had a recommendation to sail with us (usually from having taken part in a mates’ training or familiarisation voyage, or from having sailed as a young crew member and being asked to come back for volunteer training, if aged 16 or over), then we would very much like to see you sailing with us next year. Too often people get a recommendation and we don’t hear from them again! But please understand that with 80-100 active volunteers, it simply isn’t possible for us to contact each of you individually.

What you need to do is keep an eye on this newsletter. We are already asking people to send in any bids for voyages next season. We need to sort out the complicated stuff first: specialist sea staff for more challenging voyages; first mates (because there aren’t so many of them); women (we have twice as many male volunteers as female but we must have a female mate if there are girls in the crew, and there almost always are); and then the volunteers with restricted availability (we have numbers of teachers and students, for example, who can only ever sail in school or university holidays). But none of that should stop other people from sending in their bids - we’ll be working on possible allocations all the time. Once the more complicated places are filled, there will loads of gaps for people with more flexible availability. Our job at that stage is to try and give everyone at least one of the voyages they want, and after that to offer more to the people who can give more time. We also aim to get a good mix of people on each trip, and to sort out training / assessment voyages for new mates.

Assessment voyages for new people who have recently had a recommendation should run over at least four or five nights. We tend to avoid booking brand-new volunteers on weekend voyages: when time is so short, we need more experienced watchleaders who know the boat and are up to speed from the moment the young people step on board. Not all longer voyages are suitable for assessments, either; but we do aim to fit in as many people as possible. Where there are multiple bids for the same voyage, preference is given to people who have helped out in other ways (at the winter vessel refit, raising money, finding new young people to sail). It also helps if you come to the February training weekend - see above!

We hope that is a useful guide, but the key message is to keep in touch - if you have been told that we would like to see you on board, then we really mean it!

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OYT South clothing range
OYT South clothing - hoodies, t-shirts, polo shirts, fleeces, caps, ties and more - is all available through this webpage. A donation will be made to OYT South for every item they sell.

The Slam jackets (which you may have seen sea staff wearing) are also available but they are cheaper in bulk, so they aren't on the webpage just now - if you wanted to order one, email If we only order one or two, they will cost £110 plus postage, but this will be cheaper if we can order five or more at the same time.

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Recycle print cartridges and mobile phones for OYT South!
OYT South has signed up to a recycling scheme that means money is donated to us for any printer cartridges (excepting Epson in general) or mobile phones which are recycled.

You can bring small numbers of cartridges to the boat or the office; but if you know of a company that may be willing to recycle for OYT South then please get in touch! It's really very low effort on your / the company's behalf: Essentially, all we need is an address and an approximate amount of recycling per month and a recycling box will be delivered directly to the company. Once the recycling bin is full, call the number on the box and it's collected for you. More details here.

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Raise And Sail - website for anyone looking to raise money to come sailing
OYT South has recently launched Raise And Sail, a new website full of ideas, information and support for young people who would like to raise money in order to come sailing with us. Huge thanks to Fiona Keen and Emma Burrows for putting Raise And Sail together. We hope you will find it useful - let us know how you get on as we can add success stories and new ideas to the site in due course.

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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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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