Parade of sail, Riga


OYT South bulletin 2nd August 2013

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *  

* Voyage news
The last bulletin - three weeks ago - saw John Laing still at sea in Tall Ships Race 1 from Arhus to Helsinki. They finished 14th in class and that crew left the boat in Helsinki in great high spirits despite a challenging voyage. Many thanks to sea staff Nic, Andy, Adam, Amanda and Josh, and to our Helsinki liaison office Simo.

The next crew joined for a cruise from Helsinki to Riga, starting with 120 miles in lumpy seas which some of them found quite testing. Still, they took it very well when the first stop, in the Estonian port of Kuivastu, turned out to have no suitable berth for us and we had to set off again after only a brief pause for lunch! The second passage was another 90 miles but everyone enjoyed it much more, with some good fast sailing and a night-time arrival into the Estonian resort town of Parnu. We enjoyed time ashore, first in the town on a drizzly afternoon but next day on a vast and glorious beach in bright sunshine. We were joined by our friends in Black Diamond, our regular cruising partner, to celebrate our third mate Emily’s birthday with a dazzling array of quality gifts and some very special cakes. On leaving Parnu, we had a long downwind sail under cruising chute and poled-out headsail, all the way to Riga in enough wind to make decent progress. Other boats not far ahead of us had to motor all the way! We got into Riga very early in the morning and had a bit of downtime before getting into festival mode and another set of birthday celebrations, this time for crew member Josie. We had a busy time in Riga with parties, crew sports, visits to other boats and much more, as well as completing the RYA Competent Crew syllabus for all six of the crew members who didn’t have the certificate already. Many thanks to our Riga liaison officer, Laura, and to sea staff Mark, Andy, Di, David, Caz and special congratulations to Emily Parker who ended her birthday week by successfully completing her second mate’s assessment!

All but two of this week’s crew for Race 2 come from Stamford School - a new client for us but with a strong sailing tradition and some very keen young sailors, so definitely a group we hope to work with in the long term. They wrote their own newsletter entry as they arrived in Szczecin, in Poland, today: “We started the week of the last leg of the Tall Ships Race 2013 with high expectations but low winds. Being on a boat this size would be a new experience for most of us, and we weren’t sure if we could cope with each other for 5 days without resorting to killing one or more of our company. We weren’t filled with confidence when we got onto the boat and found that the living quarters were slightly more “cosy” than we had expected, but we decided that it would be “character building”. The weather forecast for the week was interesting to say the least, ranging from Force 7/8 to perfectly still air. Leaving Riga on the Sunday we decided to treat the President of Latvia, while sailing past him, to a break from the norm and put on our best dancing moves to Casper’s Cha Cha Slide, we don’t know if it was well received, but the amount of camera phones pointed in our direction was a good indication. The start of the race was calm and controlled, but soon the wind picked up and very quickly our food didn’t want to stay where it was. When we did decide that eating was a vaguely good idea, the chefs in the galley were treated to the experience of cooking at extreme angles as the boat rocked to and fro. Overall the night watch shift was well received and nearly all our company were awake and alert for anything that might happen around us. Although there were things to do, the conversation quickly turned interesting, with talk of a single European state and if we ran out of food, would we turn to cannibalism instead of starving. We had the opportunity of entering a competition where we had to film a cover of the song “Sailing” by Rod Stewart to send into Radio Szczecin for them to play at the festival there, we took to this like ducks to water and very soon we were holding all manner of sailing paraphernalia to try and win the only competition we had a chance at winning. The week turned out to be a great success for both the crew and John Laing despite adverse sailing conditions.” Many thanks to sea staff Mark, Andy, Dave, Brigid, Tom and Frederik.

Back to index

Tracking John Laing
John Laing is not due back in the UK until late August. You can follow her progress home through Poland and Germany on the website.. (Please note however that the tracking system does not generally work on mobile devices).

Back to index

* MDL parties - come to a party, represent OYT South, and support our major sponsor!
Many thanks to everyone who has offered to help with one of these events - we now have at least one name for almost all events but could still do with at least one more person in some cases. Let us know if you can help!

Brixham - 10th August - 7-9pm
Woolverstone (Ipswich) - 17th August - 12 noon-5pm
Mercury (Hamble) - 23rd August- 7-9pm

If you missed the previous newsletter, the background is that OYT South is delighted to be the chosen charity of our sponsors Marina Developments Limited in their 40th anniversary year. Over the coming months, MDL will be holding parties for berth-holders in marinas around the country, where they will be taking collections on behalf of OYT South, and they have invited us to send a small number of people to each party. If you can talk about sailing with OYT South or about our work, hand out leaflets and chat to MDL's berth-holders, then we are drawing up a rota of people to go to each party -email and tell us which date(s) and location(s) you can manage. Ideally we might have an adult supporter, volunteer or member of sea staff at each party plus a young person who has enjoyed a voyage and can talk enthusiastically about the experience. We expect this to be informal chats - we haven't been asked to find people who necessarily feel confident about standing up and making a speech!

Back to index

John Laing maintenance days - please help!
Maintenance days for this year are as follows:

Tues 20th August - Ipswich
Mon 7th October - Royal Clarence, Gosport

Please come and help! Lots of jobs available, both skilled and unskilled - just call the boat (07990 518915) a few days beforehand to book yourself in, so the skipper can plan jobs and make sure there is food for everyone who is coming.

Back to index

* OYT South celebration lunch and AGM, 13th October
The 2013 celebration lunch and review of the year (to be followed by a short AGM) is now confirmed for Sunday 13th October at the Royal Southern Yacht Club in Hamble. Details and a booking form will be available shortly.

Back to index

Staff bosun news and job advertisement
OYT South’s Staff Bosun position is designed to be a two-year training programme - which means Dave will be coming to the end of his time with us in November this year. We’ll be very sorry to see him go but it is time to start the recruitment process for the next person!

Further information, job description and details of how to apply for the next two-year post (November 2013-November 2015) are available here.

Back to index

Core refit team - winter volunteer positions available
If you are taking a gap year, not working over the winter, looking to build your skills, maybe hoping to move into a career in the marine industry - why not think about applying to join our full-time refit team next winter? Details here, including how to apply.

Back to index

* Volunteer berths in 2013
We have provisional bookings for almost all sea staff berths in 2013, but do keep watching this space as some people are still trying to organise time off work etc. so it’s quite possible that berths will become free over the coming weeks if people have to drop out.

There is a possibility that due to client demand, we may be asked to run two extra voyages at the end of the season. These will not be confirmed for some time as they depend entirely on bookings, but if you would be available for any sea staff berth (1M, 2M, 3M and bosun) for either of the following voyages, do let me know:

4-8 November- Southampton
8-10 November- Southampton

If you can potentially fill any of these gaps, please email me now!

Back to index

* 2013 sailing programme - berths for young people and adults - bursary funding available!
We have a great programme for the rest of 2013 and not many berths left, so do have a look and think about when you would like to sail this year.

The full list of vacancies for the season is:

5-12 Aug 2013, Szczecin, Poland (Tall Ships festival) to Cuxhaven, Germany, 7 nights, £550pp plus travel, age 15-25. 4 berths left.
13-19 Aug 2013, Cuxhaven, Germany to Ipswich - complete a North Sea crossing! 6 nights, £465pp plus travel - 1 or 2 places possibly available - please ask. Age 12-25.
3-6 Sept 2013, Southampton, 3 nights, £250pp - possibly places available depending on whether provisional bookings are confirmed. Age 12-25.
6-8 Sept 2013, Southampton, 2 nights, £190pp. Age 18+, adult voyage, suitable for training / selection for new volunteers - possibly places available depending on whether provisional bookings are confirmed.
23-27 Sept 2013, Southampton, 4 nights, £335pp - 3 places available tbc. Age 12-25.
14-18 Oct 2013, Southampton, 4 nights, £335pp - 6 places available. Age 12-25.
25-29 Oct 2013, Southampton, 4 nights, £340pp - 4 places available. Age 12-25.

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

Plus two possible voyages if we have enough demand to extend the season - we have had some enquiries and may be looking for people to fill spare spaces on these dates if the voyages go ahead:

4-8 November 2013, Southampton, 4 nights, £335pp - possibly 7 places available. Age 15-25.
8-10 November 2013, Southampton, 2 nights, £200pp - adult weekend voyage. Age 18+.

Updated voyage availability can also be found here.

Email me to reserve your berth!

Anyone who would like to sail on any of the voyages above but cannot afford it should contact us to discuss bursary funding: please tell us the MAXIMUM you can afford to pay (after covering travel costs to and from the boat), and any special circumstances affecting you or your family which might help to explain why you can't afford the full price. In some cases we may be able to help with bursary funding; in other cases we might advise you on how to raise money for yourself; or we may be able to come to some arrangement where you help us (perhaps with boat maintenance, or publicising available voyages in your school, college, club etc.), in exchange for a discount off your own voyage fee.

Don’t forget our website full of fundraising ideas for your voyage.

Back to index

Southampton Boat Show
John Goode has once again very kindly arranged for discounted tickets to the Southampton Boat Show for OYT South members. The Boat Show runs from 13-22 September, but there should be a need for OYT South volunteers on Wednesday 18th and possibly one other day as well - we’ll let you know details as soon as we have them but it would be great if those of you intending to go along at some point could keep an eye on future issues of this newsletter and plan to be there on the day(s) when you can get involved with our activities!

The details of the discounted offer are in the email version of this newsletter so it goes to members rather than appearing on a public website. If you aren't receiving this email but are an active OYT South supporter, please email

Back to index

OYT South clothing range
The new range of 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 there needs to be a minimum order of ten, so they aren’t on the webpage just now - if you wanted to order one (£121.50), email and once he has ten people he can open the ordering process.

Back to index

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.

Back to index

Adult voyage vacancies - including new volunteer training / selection
The remaining adult training voyage this year is:

6-8 Sept 2013, Southampton, 2 nights, £190

We are just trying to firm up some provisional bookings to see whether we have any spaces left, but there may well be a couple of berths available.

For those who decide they are interested in joining our volunteer team, adult training weeks or weekends 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, or for more information.

Back to index

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.

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.

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

* Financial appeal
Huge thanks this week to the Honourable Company of Master Mariners for a very generous donation.

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

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