Snowy vessel refit...


OYT South bulletin 18th January 2013

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *  

* Refit news - volunteer weekend ON
The volunteer weekend this weekend is still ON, despite the snow! If you have booked to help and you can get to us, please come. If travel problems are really going to keep you away, please call Ben on 07990 518915 and let him know as soon as possible. If you could get to the boat but hadn’t booked in because the accommodation was full, do call Ben as he may be able to offer you a bed if someone else has had to drop out. There is a big list of jobs for the weekend but we’ll just have to see how many people can make it - if numbers are severely reduced then we will look at adding an extra volunteers’ weekend in the next few weeks, just to get everything done.

Next Monday will mark six weeks to go until John Laing is back in the water!

The weather this week has delayed one of the major tasks - filling patches on the hull below the waterline - as it has been too cold for the filler to go off. But the team has kept busy - the scuppers have been painted and the whole deck and all the fittings have been cleaned and masked ready for painting; and some painting work has actually been started. A lot of work has been done on the boat’s heater and we hope to have that up and running later today. Areas below the waterline have been primed; the wet locker floor has been repaired; the team has started to re-plumb the fridge-freezer cooling system; new cockpit locker boards have been built (the old ones were rotten); Dave is still in the engine room; and Tigger has done some more work on the companionway hatch repair and the crew heads installation. Huge thanks to everyone who has been involved this week: the core team of Ben, Dave, Carrie, Neil, Amelia and Dean, plus John Niven, Katie Outlaw, Tom Sully, Dave "Tigger" Heffer, and Chris and Josh from Contact Marine.

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

Whether or not we have to add an extra volunteer weekend, after this weekend we are still definitely looking for help March 9-10 - and we are still looking for someone who can offer lifts from and to London for the March weekend, as we've had possible offers of help from a couple of crew members who genuinely can't afford a train fare.

Apart from the volunteer weekends, we need as much help as possible on weekdays, and we still have accommodation available most 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 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.

Back to index

* Job advertisement - Operations Support Officer (closing date 31st January)
Ocean Youth Trust South is seeking to recruit an Operations Support Officer to work closely with the charity’s Chief Executive and Business Manager. This is an exciting opportunity to be involved at the heart of an exciting and award-winning charity. This is a new role and its prime purpose is to free up some of the senior management team’s time to concentrate on other objectives set by the Trustees. The post is initially offered on a 6-month basis. Details here.

Back to index

* Chairman of the Board of Trustees - a change at the top!
Fred Cole, who has been the Chairman of OYT South’s Board of Trustees for more than four years, has decided to stand down from the chairmanship, although he will be staying on as a Trustee. Huge thanks to Fred for all he has done over the years: he has been a wise and steady influence and played a major role in the success of the Trust. The Board has elected Richard Griffiths to take over as the new Chairman. A barrister, Richard has been a Trustee since 2009 and we know he will do a great job in his new role.

Back to index

* Training weekend 16-17 February - book NOW
If you have reserved a place on any of the training courses then we really need your payment and meal / accommodation bookings a.s.a.p. We have now confirmed all the courses and instructors so if there is a risk of anyone dropping out then you do need to talk to us now as we'll have a financial problem if we start losing people.

The schedule is as follows:

Saturday 16th February
RYA Sea Survival - £80 (held just outside Southampton - all other courses are in the Gosport Sea Cadet Unit) - 7 places left (we've had some cancellations and could really do with finding a few more people for this - tell your friends!)
RYA First Aid - £65 (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) - 2 places left
RYA Diesel - £75 - provisionally full but we will take names for a reserve list - or maybe even run an extra course on Sunday if there is enough demand,
How to do chart corrections - free! - one or two places left.
Possible additional GMDSS course (see below).

Sunday 17th February
RYA Radar - £75 (includes £25 course pack) - 3 places left
RYA GMDSS - £85 (includes £55 course fee plus £30 exam fee for your radio licence) - provisionally full but we will take names for a reserve list - or maybe even run an extra course on Saturday if there is enough demand,
Youthwork - £35 (Lucinda Neall's course on working with more challenging young people - should be really interesting!) - no real restriction on numbers.
Possible additional Diesel course (see above)

There will be meals and cheap accommodation available in the Sea Cadet Unit. We are just about on the limit on the number of boat mattresses we can offer so please bring camping mattresses or camp beds if you possibly can.

Email me now to reserve a place on any course. More details here and a booking form here - you are welcome to book meals but don’t book and pay for a course unless we have confirmed that there is space for you - email me first to check.

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.

Back to index

Training weekend supper
Anyone is welcome to join us for supper and a social evening on the Saturday of the training weekend, 16th February, in the Gosport Sea Cadet Unit, even if you aren’t doing any of the courses. £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.

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, including Easter holidays!
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.

The earliest dates to consider fall within the Easter holidays (slightly depending on your holiday dates) or at a weekend:

29 March - 2 April 2013, Southampton, 4 nights, £340pp - 12 places possibly available (full-boat booking). Age 12-25. We’ve had a provisional enquiry for these places but should know in the next few days if they can confirm or not.
3-8 April 2013, Southampton, 5 nights, £420pp - 5 places available. Age 12-25.
9-14 April 2013, Southampton, 5 nights, £420pp - 12 places available (full-boat booking). Age 12-25.
26-28 April 2013 (weekend), Southampton, 2 nights, £190pp - 12 places available (full-boat booking). Age 12-25.

After that we have a good selection of local voyages 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.

Email me to reserve your berth!

Back to index

Volunteer berths in 2013 - including new mate assessments - send in your bids for dates now!

The plan is to do a first round of volunteer berth allocations around the time of the February 16-17 training weekend, when I’ll be able to see a lot of people and try to resolve clashes where several people all want the same voyage. Whether or not you will be at that weekend, do please email me beforehand and tell me which voyages you would like to do: then I’ll have a list of options and will try to give everyone at least some of the voyages they want. It’s not a straightforward process as we need to have the right balance of sea staff appropriate to particular voyages; we need male and female sea staff on every trip; and we need to factor in assessments and training which are only possible on certain voyages. But getting your bids in before the training weekend gives you the best chance - anyone who leaves it until later will just have to see what voyages are left!

Please do your Child Protection training (see above) before sending in voyage bids, if you possibly can.

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

UK Sail Training Conference, 25th January
The UK Sail Training Conference will take place in Southampton on Friday 25th January and costs just £15 per person for any of our staff and volunteers. Sessions will include:

(i) Q & A with Alistair Wood, CEO of the UK Flagship Project (aiming to build a new square rigger for the UK)
(ii) Volunteer Management - sharing good practice
(iii) Prince's Trust Sail Training Programme, how other organisations could be a part of it
(iv) A brief introduction to fire fighting on Sail Training vessels
(v) Recruiting sea staff - is there a shortage and how can it be addressed?
(vi) Sail Training with visually impaired people - sharing good practice.

If you might be interested in attending, please email me.

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

Adult voyage vacancies - including new volunteer training / selection
Adult voyages this 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.

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
Big thanks to members of Itchenor Sailing Club who have been making donations to fund a voyage for a disadvantaged young person, following a presentation that Mark Todd made at the club last weekend.

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