John Laing


OYT South bulletin 8th November 2013

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *  

* Training weekend Feb 2014 - replies needed urgently
Thanks to those who have responded to this in the last week - but we still need more replies to give us an idea of the level of interest in various courses which we could offer on 22nd and 23rd February 2014, in the Sea Cadet Unit in Gosport, so that we know which instructors to confirm and which courses to put on each date to minimise clashes. As things stand, GMDSS, the Prince's Trust course and the diesel course definitely have enough people for us to go ahead (and we may be able to expand the last two, or run them twice, once on each day, if the demand is there). First Aid is looking better and with a couple more names we should be able to confirm that it will go ahead. Radar is currently the main course in jeopardy as we really don’t have enough people to run it cost-effectively at the moment - so tell us NOW if you want it!

These are all formal RYA courses except for the Prince's Trust 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.

There's also the option of the short lifejacket packing course or a chart corrections training session but at the moment there seems to be limited interest in either.

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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Chris Ellis Award - win £££s off sailing next year
If you have enjoyed a voyage with OYT South and want to come again next year (and will be aged 12-25), please think about entering for this award. You can win up to £200 off the price of another voyage, by sending in an account of a voyage you have already done with us. It can be a logbook, diary, story, pictures, video - anything which gives the judges an idea of why you had a good time and would like to come again. Entries should be emailed to or posted to the office by Friday 20th December. See here for more details of this award, which was set up in memory of the charity's founder.

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* Voyage news

The crew from Community Links (mentioned in last week’s newsletter) had a great last weekend of the season in windy conditions. There was a forecast of Force 9 but with a window of better conditions on Saturday morning so they had a great sail in Southampton Water in winds of (only!) Force 6 and no rain! Everybody got to steer before heading back for lunch in Ocean Village. That afternoon they prepared pumpkins for the evening’s Halloween party, where everyone enjoyed popcorn, chocolates and Haribo. Apples were bobbed as well as some orange “flour bobbing” too! Games were played and the banana game brought out some people’s competitive natures....Next day the crew threw themselves into clean-up and debriefs. One of the crew had an RYA Start Yachting certificate already but the others all earned their qualifications. Big thanks to sea staff Mark, Terry, Lucinda, Amy and Tigger and special congratulations to Andy who successfully completed his Part One skipper assessment - a big step towards being fully-qualified!

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* Refit news
Hard to believe it has come round already but the 2013-14 winter refit started on Monday!

We have a new team of full-time volunteers whom we should introduce now as we hope they will be with us until March - unless they change their minds and try to escape; but it is all looking good so far. There are four of them this year:

Regular readers of this bulletin will have heard of Amy Brown, We came across her wandering around the Baltic during the Tall Ships race series looking for the meaning of life, and on board John Laing she seems to think she has found it as she has done as many voyages as she possibly could all through the autumn. Aged 18, she is hoping to find work in sailing.

Dan Grinter is the nephew of Marcia who works at the Association of Sail Training Organisations, who recommended him to us and vice versa. Aged 23, he has been travelling the world and describes himself as “a nomadic philosopher and pole-dancer.” He thinks John Laing’s refit will be better than the tedious temporary industrial work he has been doing lately.

Jack Frith, also 23, has a fast-track Yachmaster course booked for next season and hopes to go on to work in the industry - and also to do some sailing with us.

Finally, George Hill, aged 19, took part in Tall Ships events with his school and saw John Laing around at the time. He has already done the fast-track Yachtmaster course and our refit is the next stage in developing the experience he needs to get a job in sailing.

George, Jack, Dan and Amy have joined our staff Dave, Andy and Sparky, plus volunteers Katie Outlaw and John Niven who did a lot of work with us last winter, and all week they have been clearing kit off the boat as well as getting the refit house set up. Thanks to all those who have donated furniture: Dave says it would still be good to have some more bedroom furniture, plus a rug for the sitting room, if anyone has anything to spare?

The core team members are already working hard but they can't do a whole refit by themselves - so we need all our volunteers to come and give us a day, a weekend or longer. Don't forget that when sea staff bookings for 2014 are being sorted out, people who have been to refit or helped in other ways (raising money, filling crew berths) get priority!

This weekend (9-10 November) is the first volunteers’ weekend of the winter and we have lots of helpers already but wouldn’t say no if anyone else wanted to come along - just call the boat on 07990 518915 or email On Sunday afternoon John Laing will be moved round to the Hamble where the mast will come out on Monday, and on Tuesday the boat will come out of the water for just two weeks for essential work, before being re-launched and going round to Saxon Wharf for the rest of the winter.

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. There is 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

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

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* South West Support Group - NEW - please get involved!
There will be an inaugural OYT South - South West Support Group Meeting on Sunday 17th November at 1900 hrs at the Mayflower Sailing Club, Phoenix Wharf, Madeira Rd, Plymouth.

With John Laing heading for the South West in 2014 we would like to get a crack team together to support her activities in the South West and beyond. All are welcome, in particular if you are able to help with support while the vessel is in the South West; or if you have links with local schools and organisations in the South West who can be a source of young people to sail with us; or you can help to fund raise to support a young person to sail with us or to go towards the New Boat.

The Mayflower sailing club have supplied the venue free of charge and will kindly open the bar for us. The meeting will start with a talk and a short film and introduce the new boat project.

We will be looking to recruit core members to a leadership team to include: Chair and Deputy; Treasurer; Secretary; SW Fund raising coordinator; Publicity coordinator; Schools Liaison coordinator; Youth Organisation coordinator; Vessel support coordinator.

This meeting is just the start and we would welcome any thoughts or ideas. Please email if you have anything specific that you would like us to discuss and add to the agenda.

We hope lots of people will come along on 17th November. Please can you email if you are planning to come or give him a call on 07702 557875 so that we can give the Mayflower Sailing club an idea of numbers. If you cannot make the Sunday night but would like to get involved, please give Andy a call!

[Please note: we also have active support groups on the Isle of Wight and in West Sussex - if you live in one of those areas and would like to get involved, email and we can introduce you to your local organiser.]

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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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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 - next week - 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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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.

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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
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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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