At sea


OYT South bulletin 18th July 2014

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *  

* Voyage news
Last week's group from the Prince’s Trust, Jersey, completed an excellent voyage in Poole on Saturday, all earning their certificates and having put in a great effort to make it a really effective voyage.

On Sunday we were joined by a mixed group of young people - some from Applemore College and Forest Education Centre, plus a number of individual bookings. They left Poole that night for a big overnight sail, and were joined the following morning by more dolphins than anyone on board had ever seen together - estimates ranged between 50 and 70. They got into Salcombe on Monday and enjoyed some time there. Next day third mate Lucinda took charge of the pilotage out of the harbour and they sailed round to Fowey - the passage was made more interesting by having lots to look at, including plenty of warships! Trainee mate Bethany did the pilotage into Fowey.

On Wednesday they sailed round to Cawsand, just outside Plymouth, and did an exercise anchoring under sail and another exercise with radar pilotage up to Queen Anne’s Battery marina - big thanks to Chris Price and the other MDL staff there who have gone out of their way to make John Laing welcome.

The crew left yesterday with RYA Start Yachting certificates for all but two who had sailed with us before and completed the course already. Big thanks to sea staff Dougie, Andy, John, Patrick, Lucinda and special congratulations to Bethany who completed her third mate’s assessment!

Today the team is doing an adult day sail for a mix of old friends and new contacts in the south west, including members of our west country support group and others whom they wanted to introduce to the charity - many thanks to all involved in setting up the day and sending out invitations, and special thanks to sea staff Mark, Andy, John, Patrick, Lucinda, Tigger and Graeme.

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* 2014 voyage programme - only 6 places left in school summer holidays - BOOK NOW!
There are just a few places still available in 2014 for young people aged 12-25, including the last 6 berths during the summer holidays: BOOK NOW, or email if you want to discuss voyage options or find out more.

Current vacancies:

1-6 Aug, Brixham to Plymouth - 5 nights - 6 berths available - age 12-25 - £430pp.
11-17 Sept, London to Southampton - 6 nights - 3 berths available - aged 18+ (adult training voyage) - £495.
26-28 Sept, Southampton - 2 nights - 5 berths available - age 18+ (adult training weekend) - £195 pp.
13-17 Oct, Gosport to Southampton - 4 nights - 8 berths available - age 12-25 - £345pp.
20-24 Oct, Southampton - 4 nights - age 12-25 - £345pp. Berths possibly available, but there is also an option of breaking this voyage up into shorter blocks or day sails - please ask.
29 Oct - 2 Nov, Southampton - 4 nights - 1 berth available - age 12-25 - £350.

See here for updated availability.

One of the most useful things volunteers and supporters can be doing for us now is helping us to fill berths. If you have contacts in a school, youth club, sailing club, college, university etc, can you encourage people to look at our website, or put a flyer about us on a noticeboard? Or do you know anyone with children, grandchildren or other relatives or friends who might like to sail? PLEASE spread the word - every single booking really helps us. Email if you want a draft flyer or help putting an email together.

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* 2015 sailing programme
We are just working on a draft sailing programme for 2015. If you are thinking of organising a group booking (up to 12 berths) next year, it is still possible for us to alter dates and start and finish ports to suit you, so please get in touch NOW - for example if you have a school activities week and could only sail between certain dates. We need to juggle requests from different clients and create a programme without wasted days between voyages, which would cost us a lot of money, but we’ll certainly do our best to help if you talk to us SOON.

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* Sea staff bookings 2014 - surely someone wants a free bosun berth in August?
Please let me know now if you can help with any of the following vacancies. Mates' berths are open to qualified OYT South sea staff and bosun berths to anyone aged 16+ who has been told by a skipper that you should come back and volunteer (some voyages do need experienced bosuns, but please ask).

26-31 July -  Plymouth to Brixham - bosun or 3M or any other qualified watchleader
7-13 August - Plymouth to Mylor - bosun
18-21 Sept - Southampton - bosun
30 Sept - Southampton - one more watchleader for a day sail with one of our major sponsors
1-5 Oct - Southampton: 2M and 3M (ASTO Small Ships race)
20-24 Oct - Southampton: 2M
29 Oct - 2 Nov - Southampton: 2M and 3M and bosun

I've had offers for some of these dates, but usually from people who are flexible about when they sail and have already got several voyages booked, so we still have a chance to give other people a voyage. In some cases I am trying to fill the 18th berth so if you see a gap advertised for a 3M and think "hang on, I thought I was 3M that week!" we are probably just looking for someone extra - though do feel free to contact me and confirm.

Dates given are when young people are on board so please bear in mind that sea staff will normally be asked to join the night before, except for weekend voyages.

NEW potential volunteers: please read this information first.

No-one should send in any voyage bids unless you have done some Child Protection training.

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* Mates’ training weekend - “Thinking Outside the Box” with Ed Green
We still have five places available on a special mates’ training weekend running from 8pm on Friday 26th September to 5pm on Sunday 28th September, from Southampton (£195). Ed Green - Yachtmaster Instructor, Yachtmaster Examiner, twice round the world skipper and legendary Ocean Youth Club Staff Skipper, will be running it as a “Thinking Outside the Box” weekend - a chance to examine the way we do things and look at new approaches and different ideas. This will be a brilliant opportunity to look at the way we work, with someone who is a leader in the industry. This weekend is open to all qualified sea staff, trainee mates and bosuns aged 18+, and we can still also include some new potential volunteers who want to come along and find out more about us. Email NOW to book!

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* Can anyone donate a filing cabinet?
We need a lockable A4 filling cabinet for refit. It must have keys that work. If anyone has one they could donate to us, please email

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* OYT South's Annual Report
Our latest Annual Report is now available on our website - do have a look, it's not just the accounts but also lots of stories, facts and figures about what we have been doing. Hard copies are available as from the office ( if you would like to give them to potential sponsors, donors, clients and other supporters.

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Want to sail but can’t afford it?
If there is a voyage on the list above that you would love to do, but you really can’t afford it, don’t give up! Please talk to us as there may be some way we can help you. We do have some bursary funds available for specific purposes, so if you fit the criteria, it’s possible that a kind donor will help with your voyage fee. Or we may be able to set up a payment plan, so that you pay small amounts over time in order to make it affordable. Or you may be able to do something to earn a discount: for example, if we are trying to fill a voyage and you help us by advertising it - for example by talking to friends or doing publicity in a school, college or club - then we might agree to knock a certain amount off the cost of your own voyage for each extra booking that you bring us. All sorts of things are possible but the key is to discuss it with us. Just email telling us which voyage(s) you are interested in, how much (if anything) you or your family can afford to pay, and whether there are any specific circumstances you would like us to take into account. Then we can look at what’s possible in individual cases.

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Voyage funding available for young people living in Surrey
We have a grant from a donor based in Surrey to pay for two young people from the county who could not otherwise afford to sail this summer. We had allocated the places but sadly the young people involved have had to drop out for personal reasons. But we must either spend the grant or return it: so if you know anyone aged 12-18 living in Surrey who is disadvantaged or vulnerable for any reason, or even just from a family which can’t afford a proper holiday, please email me now. And please pass this on to any teachers, youth workers, social workers or other professionals in Surrey!

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Volunteers needed on board while John Laing is in London, 7-11 Sept
John Laing is taking part in the Falmouth to Greenwich Tall Ships race, and the race crew will be leaving us in London at 12 noon on 7th September. The next crew - for an adult voyage (spaces still available) - will join us at 2pm on 11th September. In between those times, we have plenty going on - visits to the boat, events on board, days when we have to move the boat, and participation in the Tall Ships Parade of Sail with guests on board on 9th September. We therefore need a good team of volunteers (including some qualified sea staff) on board each day. Can you let us know a.s.a.p. if you can spare one or more days during this period? The Tall Ships events end on 9th September so anyone helping out before that would have a chance to see the festival!

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Maintenance days - please help!
Help needed on any of the following maintenance days on board John Laing this season:

22 Aug - Plymouth
29 Sept - Southampton
12 Oct - Gosport

With John Laing in constant use, it's vital that we make the best possible use of every maintenance day in order to ensure that everything stays in good condition and that no-one has their voyage spoiled by defects or maintenance problems. So we really appreciate anyone who turns up to help on maintenance days! Both skilled and unskilled jobs available. Just call the boat (07990 518915) to book yourself in, so the skipper can plan jobs and make sure there is food for everyone who is coming.

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Fundraising event, Fareham
Fareham Sailing and Motor Boat Club (Lower Quay, Fareham, Hants PO16 0RA) are organising a fundraising event for Ocean Youth Trust South on 30th August 2014 from 1900. Lucky ticket, raffle, BBQ, Creekers and SAGA Louts playing - all lined up for a good night. Tickets £5.00, available from the OYT South office, all proceeds go to OYT South. Do go along - and huge thanks to the Club for supporting us!

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Adult voyages and new volunteer training / selection 2014
Are you aged 18+ and interested in an adults-only voyage this year? These voyages are ideal for new potential volunteers who need to get a skipper's recommendation to sail with us on youth voyages, as it allows you to get to know the boat and our routines without the pressure of working with young people at the same time. But they are also open to any adults who want to have a fun voyage, to learn a bit more about sailing, perhaps, or to try a larger boat than you are used to. Available dates are:

11-17 Sept 2014 - London to Southampton - 6 nights - £495pp - a very special adult voyage which begins with sailing down the Thames and might, weather permitting, allow us to cross the Channel on the way back to the Solent.
26-28 Sept 2014 - Southampton - 2 nights - £195pp.

If you have already had a skipper ’s recommendation to come back as a volunteer then you are welcome to join one of these voyages for extra experience, but otherwise your next steps are described here.

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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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Classic Regatta crewing opportunity for over-18s
Does anyone want to join two OYT South watchleaders (one of whom is also a Trustee) in their own boat for a classic regatta this summer?

Two race crew are wanted to join Wild Rival (Rival 34) for the Classic Regatta from Plymouth to Brest and Brest to La Rochelle, with social events in between.

Programme is as follows, with priority being to crew the race legs:
26-27 July: Passage Poole to Plymouth
30 July: Prologue Race Plymouth
31 July - 2 Aug: Race Plymouth to Brest
4-7 Aug: Race Brest to La Rochelle
24 Aug - 6 Sep: Cruise La Rochelle towards Poole

If tempted, please contact Steve or Cathy Lacey for further details / discussions on or

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Chris Ellis Award - win £££s off sailing

If you enjoy a voyage with OYT South and want to come again next year (and are 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. The prize is judged at the end of each season and the award can be spent on a voyage the following year. Entries should be emailed to or posted to the office to arrive by Christmas. See here for more details of this award, which was set up in memory of the charity's founder.

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New boat funding ideas
Matt Dewhurst is doing great work in the office researching funding ideas for the new boat, but he needs all the ideas he can get! We are 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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Has sailing with OYT South changed your life?
Have you done a voyage with OYT South that has made a real difference to you? Have you got a job or a college place because your confidence had improved, or because you talked about your voyage in an interview? Did a voyage change something for you at home or at school? Have you been able to do something you couldn’t do before? Did earning a sailing qualification make a difference to you? Did you make friends who have been important to you? Have you been happier or got on with anyone better since your voyage? If so, we really want to know! Please email and tell us your story. If there’s anything confidential, of course we promise to protect your identity if we ever use anything you tell us.

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Child Protection training

All sailing volunteers must have done some Child Protection training before booking any voyage.

If you have done a course 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 still need training, we recommend Child Protection 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.

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Food hygiene course
Owing to new regulations, it is now important that every voyage should have one or more people on board who has done a food hygiene course. Any sea staff who haven’t done this: please note that we offer a cheap and straightforward online food hygiene course via the same provider as the Child Protection training - in fact, if you paid for the child protection training in the current licence period, all the other courses on the list, including food hygiene, are already paid for! If not, then it’s still only £10 – so please can we encourage all sea staff to get on and do it. If you already have a food hygiene certificate that we don’t know about, please email a copy to the office and we will add it to your records.

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Volunteer berths in 2014
It might be worth explaining the process with sea staff bookings for the benefit of new volunteers.

If you haven't yet started the process of becoming a volunteer member of sea staff, you need to get a recommendation from one of our skippers. If you are aged 18+ you can do this on an adult voyage; if you are aged 12-25 you can do it on a standard youth voyage (so if you are 18-25 you have a choice - though it is possibly better to try a youth voyage as this gives the skipper a chance to assess how you work with younger crew members, which puts you one step ahead in the process).

If you have already 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 this 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 send in any bids for voyages, ideally by the end of January each year. 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 are 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. By the time we get into February each year, lots of volunteer berths will be filling up, so it's always worth getting your bids in early. After February, there may be a few spaces left - they will be announced in the newsletter as they arise.

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 we 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