Rescuing another vessel!


OYT South bulletin 25th October 2013

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *  

* Voyage news

Last weekend saw a voyage for one of this year’s new clients, an XL group (young people at risk of underachievement or exclusion from school) from Sherborne, They sent a few individuals on voyages earlier this season, but this was their first proper group voyage. After briefings, they set off on Saturday morning with winch drills down Southampton water, with two reefs in the main and a full mizzen. The headsail went up off Fawley and they had a drizzly beat through a fleet of smaller yachts in the west Solent. Hove-to for lunch in the shelter of Thorness Bay, then a sunny beat in 20-25 knots up to the Needles, adding a reef in the mizzen for good measure. Lots of tacking and winching practice beating up the channel then about turn and a broad reach down the Needles Channel to anchor in Thorness Bay for tea and cake (supplied by Lhois). Depart at sunset for an evening/night entry into Cowes, arriving in East Cowes marina for a casserole, showers, games and bed. On Sunday they had time ashore before setting off again, with a headsail run with 25 knots of wind and lashings of rain and low visibility before getting back to Ocean Village. Big thanks to sea staff Simon, Richard, Colin, Emily, Val and Dave. Two days later we had an email from the group leader: “I have had a deputation from the students today asking to organise another trip. They are already trying to think of ways to raise the funds...Our centre manager now wants to sail as does out newest teaching assistant...what better praise!”

This week we had another day sail for RYA instructors - big thanks to sea staff Nic, Ben, Lucinda, Gordon, Bill, Dave and a special mention for Brian Eyres, a former skipper sailing in John Laing for the first time in a long while!

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* Lloyds Community Fund 2013 - WE NEED YOUR VOTE - one week to go!
Latest news on the public vote which could bring us an invaluable refit donation is that we are AHEAD in the online and text votes (big thanks to everyone who has voted so far), but BEHIND on the votes cast in-store in Gosport (which haven’t been counted but we can see the piles of tokens). With our friends and supporters scattered all over the country (and with OYT South competing against community groups with a strong base in Gosport) we really need every possible online or text vote if we are to have a chance of winning when all the votes are put together. The closing date is NEXT FRIDAY 1st November, online votes are free and only take a few moments, so if you haven’t voted already, or sent the link to your friends, please VOTE NOW.

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New Boat project - we need YOUR help NOW
We have started the planning stage of the fundraising campaign for the long-term replacement of John Laing and we need everybody’s help.

We all know that OYT South is a fantastic organisation and stories of the effects on young people’s lives are inspirational. We need to tell people about the outcomes to convince them to part with their money!

The silver bullets for our campaign are our fantastic supporters. We are asking everybody to join in - nobody else is going to do this for us.

We are starting by 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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* Refit 2013-14 - including volunteer weekend 9-10 November - help needed!
The first refit weekend of the year is 9-10 November – we’ve got some volunteers already but we need more, especially all day Saturday and on Sunday morning. On Sunday afternoon the boat has to be moved to Hamble and volunteers are welcome to stay on board for the trip round BUT you’ll need to sort your own transport from Hamble, or back to your car in Southampton, at the end of the day. Email if you can help. [PLEASE NOTE: there has been a problem with this email address for a few days so if you tried it and your message bounced, or you just haven’t had a reply, we’re really sorry but it is fixed now so please try again.]

See here for information about John Laing’s winter refit and how you can get involved. We can use volunteers during the working week, Monday-Friday, through most of the winter, as well as on some specific volunteer weekends which are arranged so that people who can only help at weekends can get involved. On other weekends the refit is normally closed so that our staff can have time with family and friends! Most people come and help for a day or two, but it is possible to come for longer and we can usually offer accommodation.

Some dates for your diary:
Refit starts Monday 4th November 2013
Volunteer weekends: 9-10 November; 7-8 December; 18-19 January; 15-16 March.
Refit ends Friday 21st March 2014.

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Refit accommodation - furniture needed - as well as lots of other small items!!
We now have a rented refit house for the winter. It’s only about 10 minutes' drive from where the refit will be (in Saxon Wharf this year, NOT Ocean Village, owing to work going on in the marina). The refit house means we can accommodate staff and volunteers who come to work on the boat over the winter. However, we need some furniture! If you have anything you can spare, either to donate or to lend us from November to March, please email We need sofas and armchairs, bedroom furniture such as wardrobes and chests of drawers, and a TV! We would aim to collect from anywhere within a reasonable distance, during the first week or so of refit in November.

If you can’t help with the furniture, there’s a list of small items needed for refit on the 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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* Happy birthday Dave!
It was Dave the bosun’s birthday this week – best wishes and many happy returns!

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Dave's leaving present - please give generously!
With David Bland’s time as bosun coming to an end in November, we are starting a collection for his leaving present - see here for how to contribute. Dave has been a great Staff Bosun and more than once his vigilance and efficiency has meant that potentially serious maintenance issues have been identified in good time so we could put things right without huge expense or having to cancel any voyages. So please give generously and let’s make sure we send him off with a leaving present that shows how much we appreciate him!

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Piano Concert in aid of OYT South - book now!
On 12th November, Helen Morris will be giving a Piano Concert in aid of OYT South at the United Reform Church, Bury Road, Gosport. See here for details and a booking link.

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* 2014 voyage programme - book now!
We’ve done a lot of work on the draft voyage programme in order to fit in voyages for various clients, and it is now much closer to being a final version, with the start and finish ports for a few summer voyages being the main thing we have yet to finalise. But you can 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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Did you know Cherry Davis?
Cherry Davis of Bucklers Mews, Lymington, passed away on 17th April this year.  Would anyone who remembers Cherry or knows anything about her please contact Richard Griffiths, Chair of the Board of Trustees of OYT South, at Many thanks.

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Training weekend Feb 2014
We will be running our usual shorebased training weekend over the winter, on 22nd and 23rd February 2014, in the Sea Cadet Unit in Gosport. Depending on demand, we can run RYA courses for the GMDSS radio licence. Radar, Diesel Maintenance and First Aid - each of which lasts a full day. There’s also the option of the short lifejacket packing course or a chart corrections training session. Most importantly, we will have someone from the Prince’s Trust running a session. We have started doing voyages with the Prince’s Trust this year, and they have an extremely impressive level of expertise in running sail training voyages with challenging young people. Anyone who wants to sail on a Prince’s Trust voyage with us next year should do this course; but it would be of real value to all sea staff.

Do let me know now which course(s) you might be interested in - then we can plan a schedule so that as many people as possible get to do both the courses they want without a clash on the same day. More details and prices will be available as soon as we have a better idea of numbers and of which courses need to run.

There will also be the usual social evening and meal, and cheap basic accommodation on the Saturday. Details to follow for those of you who have never been to one of those weekends - for now, just put the date in your diary!

Please note that we will not be running a Sea Survival course on the same weekend; but we will announce KTY Yachts schedule of courses for 2014 and discounts will be available as usual for active OYT South sea staff.

Also remember that we will not take ANY bookings for 2014 from sea staff or trainee sea staff who have not done some Child Protection training - if you have not done this by any other route, we recommend the 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.

If you're not sure what course(s) would be best for you, here's the list of recommended / compulsory courses for volunteers:

Bosun: Compulsory: Child Protection. Recommended - diesel engine, sea survival, food hygiene.
Third mate: Compulsory: Child Protection. Recommended - first aid, GMDSS, sea survival, food hygiene.
Second mate: Compulsory - Child Protection, first aid, GMDSS. Recommended - sea survival, diesel engine, radar, food hygiene.
First mate: Compulsory - Child Protection, first aid, GMDSS. Recommended - sea survival, diesel engine, radar, food hygiene (though in practice it would be rare for first mates not to have the recommended qualifications as well as the compulsory ones).

We also recommend Powerboat Level 2 for everyone, which we won't be running at the February weekend - however, let me know if you would like to do it and if we can get a group together we will look for some possible dates.

Don't forget first aid certificates need to be updated every three years - do check when yours expires!

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Volunteer berths in 2014
We are now provisionally fully-booked with volunteers for the rest of this season, but please keep an eye on future issues of this newsletter in case anyone drops out.

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. In December we will start 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 - jacket orders by next Friday please!
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 Ben 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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* Financial appeal
Huge thanks this week to the Graham High Charitable Trust who have offered a significant grant towards bursaries and essential equipment.

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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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