Sections which have changed since last time marked *
We need as many volunteers as possible, skilled or unskilled - email firstname.lastname@example.org to get yourself booked in!
Items needed for refit - and refit house
Has anyone got a vacuum cleaner you don’t need? The team really needs one for the refit house. They would also love to have one more wardrobe. And the refit could really do with some strong stackable plastic crates (like the ones that are used in the veg locker during the season). Please call the boat phone 07990 518915 or email email@example.com if you can donate any of these!
We could also use 24 very sturdy coathangers for the oilskins!
Don't forget that a Child Protection course (updated every three years) is compulsory for all sea staff and can be done quickly and cheaply online here (though we can accept alternative recognised child protection training if you send us the details). The online course page also offers other courses including Food Hygiene which is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED for all sea staff.
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.
Sea staff and new volunteers in 2015
If you want to start sending in bids for voyages next year, please do so.
If you have NOT yet had a recommendation from our skipper to join our sea staff, you need to do a training/selection voyage first: please email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
If you have had a skipper’s recommendation but are not yet an assessed and qualified member of sea staff, your next step is to sail on a youth voyage of four nights or more, for further training and assessment. Not all voyages are suitable for this but please ask.
Qualified sea staff - ideally please give us voyage numbers of anything you would like to do (see here for voyage numbers); or give me names of any regular clients you’d particularly like to sail with. But if you have really flexible availability, the easiest thing is to tell us the maximum number of days you can offer next year.
The process of booking volunteers is really complicated - it’s not simply a question of finding dates that work for individuals and then booking you. What we have to do is put together a team of staff and volunteers for each voyage, with a skipper, 1M, 2M, 3M, bosun and often but not always a trainee mate, and we can’t book anyone until we have at least some idea of who else is going to make up each team. At least one adult on each voyage must be a woman, if there are girls in the crew; and then we have to think about special skills if the group includes people with disabilities or challenging behaviour. We also don’t want to end up with a voyage where two or three of the mates are all newly-qualified at their particular level - if the second mate has only just passed his or her assessment then they shouldn't be paired with a brand-new first mate...Then sometimes the client will be a school or charity where a staff member has qualified or wants to qualify as a volunteer, so needs a staff berth. Meanwhile, some client groups are just not suited for brand-new trainee mates. Plus we have to think about some priority bookings (e.g. people who have been identified as fast-track first mates or skippers, if I can give them enough time on the boat). And we do promise that people who help the most at refit get priority over anyone who hasn’t been along at all, so we can’t confirm anyone until refit is well under way. We also give preference to people who raise money for us or introduce us to new clients.....And on top of all that we want to try to be fair to all our volunteers and make sure everyone gets at least a voyage or two!
So although we can start collecting bids now, the aim is to have the main allocations done by the end of February - this normally gives people enough time to plan leave and other commitments for the year but if you really need to get your sea staff bookings confirmed earlier, do let us know!
Please send bids or questions to email@example.com.
Review of crew handbook and pre-voyage information
We are planning a complete rethink this winter of the information we send out to young people before they sail and the handbooks that can be used on board during a voyage - we want to make them more accessible for young people while ensuring that we don’t miss out anything that people really need to know. If you are a group organiser or parent who has regularly sent young people to sail, or if you have sailed as a young crew member and have views on what was useful, what was not useful and anything you really wished you had known in advance, would you be prepared to take part in a survey? Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to be involved. The current Crew Handbook is on the website if you want to have a look.
London Boat Show 2015
The London Boat Show will run from 9th to 18th January 2015. If you receive the email version of this newsletter, you can see details of a special offer for discounted tickets for OYT South members and supporters, which we can't put on a public website.
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.
Mike James & Associates
A few weeks ago we reported that OYT South had secured a very generous grant of £10,000 from the Openwork Foundation, part of a network of financial advisors. Our bid was very kindly sponsored by Mike James of Mike James & Associates. He would be very happy to talk to any members and supporters of OYT South if you are looking for advice on pensions and retirement planning, investments, mortgages, life insurance, will-writing, and estate planning. He's been in business now for 19 years and he'd love to hear from you: http://www.mikejamesfinancial.co.uk/.
Obviously OYT South is not in a position to vouch for any particular financial advice so do consider carefully before choosing any advisor!
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 email@example.com 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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.