Two weeks till launch...


OYT South bulletin 15th February 2013

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *  

* New Staff Skipper and Operations Support Officer
Our new Staff Skipper and Operations Support Officer will both be unveiled at the training weekend tomorrow! The rest of you will have to wait for the next bulletin....

Back to index

* Refit news - help needed for March refit weekend
Next Monday will mark two weeks to go until John Laing is back in the water!

Big thanks this week to Ben, Dave, Carrie, Dean, Amelia, Neil, Tom Sully, Caroline Hadley, Katie Outlaw, Ian Slocombe, Alan Bartrop, Caz White, Mike Bunton, Terry Bufton, Lucinda Neall, Dave Heffer and Clive, Chris and Josh and John Niven.

Jobs this week have included more painting on deck; the winches and blocks are back on; the galley has been painted; the fridges are back in; some bilge pumps have been reinstalled, the heads are 90% done (and look fantastic); new heads plumbing; a new bilge alarm panel; all split pins for the main and mizzen are being replaced; Terry is doing all the work on the masts required by the rig report; Dean is working on re-fitting the bottle screws; the new navigation equipment has arrived (HUGE thanks to Raymarine); teak oil is being applied to the woodwork on deck; Caz sewed a new leather cover onto the steering wheel (and cooked roast pork for the refit team); and lots of other small jobs are being completed.

There's still a lot to do and the pressure is on - do PLEASE come and help!

We are still definitely looking for LOTS of help for the refit weekend March 9-10. We'll be loading lots of kit back onto the boat so people who know John Laing well and know where things go will be very useful - but anyone who can fetch, carry and clean will also be welcome! Unfortunately due to dredging work in Ocean Village, John Laing will not be able to park close to our store, so anyone with a van who can come and help us move the kit round the marina will be very welcome indeed.

Apart from the volunteer weekend, we need as much help as possible on weekdays, and we still have accommodation available much of the time.

Please contact Ben and book yourself in to help - he can be emailed at, or phoned on the boat phone, 07990 518915. 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 refit will run until 15th March 2013. It's 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 this 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.

Back to index

* Training weekend and supper

We look forward to seeing lots of you this weekend. You should all have had joining instructions, which include numbers to call if you are running late for any reason. If you offered to bring your own camping mattress for accommodation in the Sea Cadet Unit, please don’t forget it as there are not enough boat mattresses for everyone!

If anyone has to drop out at the last minute, do let me know a.s.a.p. by email as we do have a reserve for a couple of the full courses.

We could still take last-minute bookings for extra people for Sea Survival on Saturday or Radar or Youthwork on Sunday - see here for details.

Back to index

Child Protection training - compulsory for all our volunteers

OYT South wants all our volunteers to sign up for Child Protection training. This really is VITAL - there are some donors who will not support us unless all our volunteers are trained, so it will become compulsory during 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. 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.

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 - sea staff bookings for 2013 will give priority to people who have done some training so if you leave it too long you risk finding that other people have taken all the more interesting voyages!

Back to index

* 2013 sailing programme - berths available for young people and adults - including weekends!
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 this year.

We have a weekend and another long Bank Holiday weekend in the first couple of months of the season which were booked and then cancelled, so we really need to fill them now. We could use them for standard youth voyages, or adult voyages, or we could break them up into day sails - we are open to all ideas so do get in touch if you are interested in sailing then or if you know anyone who might like to sail. The prices quoted are the full advertised price but if we cannot fill the voyages at that price we would take the best offer we can get, so if you want to sail but can’t afford it, please do discuss it with us (email

26-28 April 2013 (weekend), Southampton, 2 nights, £190pp - 12 places available (full-boat booking).
3-6 May 2013, Southampton, 3 nights, £265pp - 12 places available (full-boat booking).

There are two further voyages later in the season which we are also particularly keen to fill - again, there may be bursary funding available for people who genuinely can’t afford to sail; and we would consider adult voyages if we can’t get youth bookings:

21-28 June 2013, London to Cuxhaven, Germany - complete a North Sea crossing! 7 nights, £550pp - 12 places available. Age 12-25, or adult.
29 June - 6 July 2013, Cuxhaven, Germany to Aarhus, Denmark - through the Kiel Canal and take part in the first Tall Ships festival of the series! 7 nights, £550pp - 12 places available. Age 15-25, or adult.

The full list of vacancies for the season is:

29 March - 2 April 2013, Southampton, 4 nights, £340pp - 4 places available. Age 12-25.
3-8 April 2013, Southampton, 5 nights, £420pp - 4 places available. Age 12-25.
9-14 April 2013, Southampton, 5 nights, £420pp - 4 places available. Age 12-25.
21-26 April 2013, Southampton, 5 nights, £400pp. Age 18+, adult voyage, suitable for training / selection for new volunteers. 5 places available.
26-28 April 2013, Southampton, 2 nights, £190pp - 12 places available. Age 12-25, or adult.
3-6 May 2013, Southampton, 3 nights, £265pp - 12 places available. Age 12-25, or adult.
29 May - 2 June 2013, Gosport to Southampton, 4 nights, £340pp - at least 8 places available. Age 12-25.
12-18 June 2013, Southampton to London - sail up the Thames! 6 nights, £465pp - 1-6 places available tbc. Age 12-25.
21-28 June 2013, London to Cuxhaven, Germany, 7 nights, £550pp plus travel - 12 places available. Age 12-25, or adult.
29 June - 6 July 2013, Cuxhaven, Germany to Aarhus, Denmark (Tall Ships festival), 7 nights, £550pp plus travel - 12 places available. Age 15-25, or adult.
6 -19 July 2013, Aarhus, Denmark to Helsinki, Finland - Tall Ships Race 1, 13 nights, £995pp plus travel - 4 places available. Age 15-25.
19-27 July 2013, Helsinki, Finland to Riga, Latvia - Tall Ships cruise in company, 8 nights, £625pp plus travel - 2 places available. Age 15-25.
27 July-5 Aug 2013, Riga, Latvia to Szczecin, Poland - Tall Ships race 2, 9 nights, £720pp plus travel. 1 place available. Age 15-25.
5-12 Aug 2013, Szczecin, Poland (Tall Ships festival) to Cuxhaven, Germany, 7 nights, £550 pp plus travel, age 15-25. 7 berths left.
13-19 Aug 2013, Cuxhaven, Germany to Ipswich - complete a North Sea crossing! 6 nights, £465pp plus travel - 8 places available. Age 12-25.
2-6 Sept 2013, Southampton, 4 nights, £340pp - places possibly available tbc - please ask. Age 12-25.
6-8 Sept 2013, Southampton, 2 nights, £190pp. Age 18+, adult voyage, suitable for training / selection for new volunteers.
20-22 Sept 2013, Southampton, 2 nights, £190pp - 12 places available. Age 12-25.
23-27 Sept 2013, Southampton, 4 nights, £335pp - 4 places available tbc. Age 12-25.
8-13 Oct 2013, Gosport to Southampton, 5 nights, £415pp - 12 places available. Age 12-25.
14-18 Oct 2013, Southampton, 4 nights, £335pp - 6 places available. Age 12-25.
18-20 Oct 2013, Southampton, 2 nights, £190pp - 12 places available. Age 12-25.
25-29 Oct 2013, Southampton, 4 nights, £340pp - 6 places available tbc. Age 12-25.

If you are interested in one of the overseas voyages, see here for more details.

Updated voyage availability can also be found here.

Email me to reserve your berth!

Back to index

* Volunteer berths in 2013 - including new mate assessments

The plan is to start allocating volunteer berths at the training weekend this weekend - thanks to everyone who has emailed your dates and preferences so I can take them into account whether or not I see you this weekend.

Once this first round of allocations is over, we’ll see what’s left and open them up to people who haven’t yet been in touch, or else give extra voyages to people who are available and keen.

Please do your Child Protection training (see above) a.s.a.p. - we may give priority to people who have done it if there is nothing else to choose between two people bidding for the same berth.

New volunteers: if you have done a mates' training voyage and been recommended to sail with us this year, or if you are a young person aged 16+ and have been told on a voyage that you should consider volunteering with us, you do need to get in touch to discuss possible sailing dates - there are just too many people for us to contact with individual invitations, so we assume that those of you who get in touch, help at refit, sign up for training courses etc. are the ones who are really keen and should get the places. New volunteers MUST have done some Child Protection training (see above) before sailing as a volunteer this year. If you haven't yet had a skipper's recommendation but have booked on an adult voyage early this season in the hope of becoming a volunteer, then all this applies to you too - we can pencil you in for voyages subject to your training voyage going well, and this avoids you missing out on voyages because other people have got in ahead and booked up all the dates you could have done! A mate's assessment voyage needs to last 4 nights or longer on a voyage with young people.

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!

Back to index

Adult voyage vacancies - including new volunteer training / selection
Adult voyages this year will be:

22-24 March 2013, Southampton, 2 nights, £190 - provisionally full but we will take names for a reserve list in case anyone drops out.
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.

Back to index

Hampshire Youth Fair 22 March - volunteers needed
Ben Martin is organising a stand for OYT South at the Hampshire Youth Fair on Friday 22nd March and needs volunteers to help him. This is an event designed to celebrate the opportunities for young people to engage in positive activities throughout the county. The fair runs between 11am and 2:30pm in Winchester and there will be a lunch provided! It’s a great chance to spread the word to young people from youth groups, schools, colleges and universities in the county. If you might be interested in helping, please email and we’ll put you in touch with Ben (who points out that this is a warmer way to get involved and help out the charity than refit)!!

Back to index

Submarine Museum boat fest 22 August - volunteers needed
OYT South has been invited to take part in a summer boat fest run by the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport on 22 August from 10am to 4pm. John Laing won’t quite be back from the Tall Ships series but we can have a stand and there will be all sorts of activities for families. We have some adult volunteers already but it would be great to have more and to include some young people as well - email the office if you can help.

Back to index

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.

Back to index

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.

Back to index

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.

Back to index

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.

Back to index

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!

Back to index

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.

Back to index

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!

Back to index

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.

Back to index


“To be honest I never wanted to come, but I'm glad I did because I have learnt and seen so much!" Charlotte