Prep and painting...


OYT South bulletin 21st February 2014

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *  

* Chris Courtauld memorial service
Following the announcement last month of the death of Ocean Youth Club founder Chris Courtauld, we can now give you details of his memorial Thanksgiving Service. It will be at 3.00 pm on Wednesday, 23rd April at St Paul's, Knightsbridge (very near Hyde Park Corner) - the church where Chris was vicar.

Please note that this has been arranged by the Courtauld family: Ocean Youth Trust South is not involved in organising the event or co-ordinating those who wish to attend (there seemed to be some misunderstandings after the initial announcement) - we have simply been asked to let people know because so many OYT members were obviously interested in being there. You do not need to let OYT South know if you are coming along. But Chris was a wonderful man whose contribution to sail training and to the Ocean Youth Club and Ocean Youth Trust was immense, so it would be lovely if OYC and OYT were well-represented at the service.

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* Training weekend Feb 2014 - a reminder of the details
If you're coming to the training weekend this weekend (Feb 22nd and 23rd)), you should have had joining instructions by email, but if by any chance it didn’t reach you, all the details and times are on the webpage. Basically you need to come to TS Hornet Sea Cadet Unit, Royal Clarence Yard, Weevil Lane, Gosport PO12 1AX. As you turn off Mumby Road into Weevil Lane, take the first entrance on the right into Royal Clarence, and you'll find yourself in a car park with buildings on all four sides. The Sea Cadet unit is the freestanding building ahead and to the left as you come through the entrance - easy to spot because it has a flagpole outside it! All courses are scheduled to start at 9am though there could be some flexibility for people who are coming to do their GMDSS assessment on Sunday, because that doesn't take a full day and doesn't need to be done all together, so if you are booked for that and it would suit you to come later, just let us know..

I hope everyone who wanted to park at the event has sent in their car registration number - the list has now gone in, and there will be notices to display in your car given out at the briefings at the start of each day. If you haven’t sent in your registration number, parking is limited to three hours and no returns – it is not a question of feeding a meter, you will need to park somewhere else, though we may be able to offer advice on where to go. Sorry about this but neither OYT South nor the Sea Cadet Unit controls the parking in Royal Clarence - it is out of our hands.

If you haven't yet booked, all courses are FULL except the following - contact me now if you want to take one of the empty spaces:

Saturday 22 February
Radar - £75 - 2 places available

Sunday 23 February
Prince's Trust youthwork - £10 - 3 places available

Email to book.
Online booking and payment facility here.

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* Refit news
It’s been a dusty week on board John Laing as the team has sanded the living daylights out of the vessel interior and are preparing for painting. They are also finishing off lots of other jobs. Terry Bufton has returned the sail tie locker lid and John Niven has painted all the galley doors. Big thanks to them and everyone else who has been on board this week: Andy, Harri, Dan, Jack, George, Amy, Lucinda, Nic Crawford, Ben Whinnett and Jack Trevail.

The final volunteer weekend will be 15-16 March (there's no volunteer weekend in February because of the shorebased training weekend), and we also welcome extra help on weekdays. Just call the boat on 07990 518915 or email (please don't try to book for refit by replying to this bulletin).

See here for general information about John Laing’s winter refit and how you can get involved. 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 this 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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* 2014 voyage programme - book now, or help us fill berths!
There are some great voyages available in 2014 for young people aged 12-25.: BOOK NOW, or email if you want to discuss voyage options or find out more.

Some voyages in the first few months of the season which still have spaces:

24-28 March - Southampton - 4 nights - up to 8 berths available tbc - age 12-25 - £345pp.
5-9 April - Southampton - 4 nights - 2 berths available - age 12-25 - £350pp. Easter holiday cruise.
10-15 April - Southampton - 5 nights - at least 2 berths available tbc - age 12-25 - £430pp. Easter holiday cruise.
16-21 April - Southampton - 5 nights - 4 berths available - age 12-25 - £430pp. Easter holiday cruise.
22-26 April - Southampton - 4 nights - 12 berths (full-boat booking) available - age 12-25 - £345pp.
2-4 May - Southampton - 2 nights - 4 berths available - age 12-25 - £195pp. Weekend voyage to join a group of keen young dinghy sailors.
5-10 May - Southampton - 5 nights - 12 berths (full-boat booking) available - age 12-25 - £425pp.
8-12 June - Southampton - 4 nights - 12 berths (full-boat booking) available - age 12-25 - £345pp.

Plus plenty more spaces later in the year.

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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* Sea staff bookings 2014
Many thanks to everyone who has sent in your available dates: I am now deep in the process of juggling conflicting bids and trying to make sure that everyone gets at least one of the voyages you have asked for; so many of you have already had an offer of voyage dates and if you haven’t yet, I am still working on it! Some volunteer allocations are awaiting decisions about crew bookings so we know exactly what’s needed. Once the initial volunteer allocation process is done, I should be able to offer extra voyages to some of the people who have asked for more.

If you haven’t yet sent in your dates, please do so but be aware that some times of the year are now looking very full! (NEW potential volunteers: please read this information first). For qualified sea staff with limited availability, what really helps is if you give me voyage numbers for voyages you could potentially do. Those who are more flexible can give me a rough idea of what might be possible. In either case it would be helpful have an idea of the maximum number of days you could manage. But please DON’T send in any voyage bids unless you have done some Child Protection training.

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* New Oysterband album...
Some of you may know that when not working for OYT South and writing these weekly bulletins, I have some slight interest in a band which I’ve been working with for several years....The only excuse for mentioning this in the bulletin is that Oysterband is hugely supportive of OYT South and interested in all we do. Anyway, they had a new album out on Monday, called Diamonds On The Water, and this has reached #24 on the official midweek national UK album charts. If anyone’s interested, it’s available here as well as all the usual outlets including Amazon and iTunes...We’re also just about to go on a UK-wide tour and while that’s on, these bulletins will appear on odd days when I can fit it in, rather than regularly on a Friday as normal!

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John Laing’s 2013 video!
Big thanks to former Staff Bosun Dave Bland who has been looking at all the footage shot on board during last year’s voyages and has put together this video on YouTube - do have a look!

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Lymington Waitrose charity appeal
Thanks to John Niven, who nominated us, Ocean Youth Trust South is one of the charities open to votes for donations in the Lymington branch of Waitrose in February. If you happen to be in the area, please buy something (there’s no minimum purchase) in the Lymington Waitrose, and use one of the green tokens to vote for us!

If you live near a Waitrose branch, please do nominate us - just ask in-store for a form. It’s very easy and we’re happy to help write the charity information for you.

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Tall Ships events 2014
In summer 2014, John Laing will be taking part in a very special Tall Ships race from Falmouth to Greenwich. We are now provisionally FULL for the race leg, but there is still a chance for people to join the previous voyage, which includes two days at the fabulous festival in Falmouth, at the end of a great cruise.

Places open to young people aged 15-25 - no sailing experience necessary - tell all your friends!

Voyage details: 23-30 August, ending in Falmouth, 7 nights, £565pp.

If you are desperate to do the race from Falmouth to Greenwich with us, do let us know as we can put your name on the reserve list in case anyone has to drop out. Voyage details: 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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Falmouth and Greenwich Tall Ships festivals seek volunteers
Both Tall Ships festivals in the UK this summer are seeking volunteers. See here for Falmouth volunteer information. The Greenwich festival is looking for volunteer ship liaison officers and other volunteers. It’s a great event to take part in; and when John Laing has visited other Tall Ships ports we have had tremendous support from local volunteers, so if OYT South members want to get involved, that would be great. But please contact Falmouth or Greenwich direct via their websites and don't reply to this newsletter if you want to volunteer - we are not directly involved with recruiting volunteers!

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Adult voyages 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:

28-30 March 2014 - Southampton - 2 nights - £195pp - provisionally full but we can take names for a reserve list in case anyone has to drop out..
11-17 Sept 2014 - London to Southampton - 6 nights - £495pp - a 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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OYT South - West Country support group  - date of next meeting
The next meeting will be in Plymouth on Sunday 9th March at 18:00 - venue TBC (if anyone has any ideas for a venue please email - all welcome! With John Laing spending much of the summer in the South West in 2014 we would like to get a crack team together to support her activities - and especially to make sure that as many local young people as possible will take the opportunity to come sailing with us!

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Fareham Sailing and Motor Boat Club support OYT South - a date for your diary
We are the nominated charity this year for the Fareham Sailing and Motor Boat Club. They are hosting an Ocean Youth Trust South Charity evening on August 30th at Fareham Sailing & Motor Boat Club at Fareham Quay. The Club’s resident band The Creekers will be playing at 19.00 ahead of the Saga Louts and there will be a BBQ and raffle. Further details to follow but if anyone can attend and represent OYT South, please keep the date free!

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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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Ben “Sparky” Whinnett

Sparky has left us! He is now Technical Estimator and Logistics Co-ordinator for the Yacht Care team at Universal Marina. However, since his leaving present fund was started very shortly before he left, we are keeping it open in order to make sure people have a chance to contribute. Ben started sailing with us in 2008 and was part of the full time refit team in winter 2008-9. Since then he has given us huge amounts of time at sea, as a first mate, and at refit - mostly as an unpaid volunteer until he took on the role of Refit Manager in winter 2012-13. This year he has been employed by us as Operations Support Officer - in particular, helping with the planning for the New Boat Project. We want to show him how much we appreciate his efforts over the last five years, so please see here for how you can contribute to the fund for his leaving present - please give generously!

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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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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 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.

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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 in 2014. 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.

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