Refit - scaffolding and tent complete!


OYT South bulletin 28th November 2014

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *  

* Refit news
We’ve got 16 weeks (including Christmas and New Year) to get all the work done!

The boat is now fully-tented, with a roof, so the team can work under cover and keep in the warmth (they have got the boat heater working). They have spent time this week putting up loads of protection to keep the dust off different areas of the boat; they are still rust-busting in the bilges; and they have started work on the hull.

Huge thanks to Andy, Joe, Holly, Aga, Dom, Amy, Katie Outlaw and Nikki Abbott.

See here for information about John Laing’s winter refit and how you can get involved. The 2014-15 refit runs until Friday 20th March 2015.

We have some volunteer weekends arranged so that people who are busy on weekdays can get involved:

13/14 December - we are hoping to use this weekend to involve some young people and potential relief bosuns. If you sailed on a voyage this year and were told that you had done really well and should come back and train as a volunteer, this could be the ideal weekend for you. Email for more information. We also need older volunteers for this weekend (with DBS clearance) not just to help with the work but also to supervise and train any young bosuns who come along.
20/21 December - this wasn't intended to be a working weekend but the core team have decided to do this in order to give themselves a slightly longer Christmas break. Please go along, lend a hand and keep them company. Mince pies, chocolate etc always welcome! This weekend might be an opportunity for students who have been asking about helping at refit over their Christmas break, only to find the refit closed while they are available...
17/18 January
7/8 March.
(NB There is no volunteer refit weekend in February because there will be a shorebased training weekend instead).

The refit Christmas break will now start on Monday 22nd December, and they will be back at work and needing help from Monday 5th January.

On weekends other than designated refit weekend the boat is normally closed so that our staff can have time with family and friends! But we can also use volunteers during the working week, Monday-Friday. Most people come and help for a day or two, but it is possible to come for longer and we can usually offer accommodation.

We need as many volunteers as possible, skilled or unskilled - email to get yourself booked in!

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* Items needed for refit - and refit house
The refit team would still really love to have one more sturdy wardrobe in the refit house – has anyone got one you don’t need? Please call the boat phone 07990 518915 or email

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* Shorebased training weekend 21-22 Feb 2015 - more details!

OYT South's 2015 shorebased training weekend will take place on Saturday 21st February and Sunday 22nd February 2015.

We hope to run the following courses if we can get enough bookings to make each of them cost-effective.

RYA One-day First Aid - Saturday 21st February (possible second course on Sunday if we get enough people), £75 including first aid handbook. Instructor Tony Salmon. The Saturday course is almost full but it would be good to run this course on both days - in which case there are still plenty of spaces!
First aid and resuscitation techniques for yachtsmen, including a knowledge of the treatment for hypothermia. Recommended for ALL sea staff, required for second mates and above, compulsory updates every 3 years - check when your certificate goes out of date.

RYA Radar - Saturday 21st February. £75. Instructor Yvonne Taylor. At least 4 places left - this course needs more bookings before we can guarantee to run it.
Basic understanding of radar and set controls. Plotting and collision avoidance. Navigation techniques. Recommended for first and second mates, required for skippers.

RYA Diesel engines - Sunday 22nd February (possible second course on Saturday if we get enough people), £70. Instructor Jason Morgan. At least 2 places left.
Basic maintenance and engine care. Awareness of the main systems of a marine diesel engine. Able to take simple measures to prevent mechanical breakdown at sea and rectify defects which do not require workshop support. Recommended for bosuns plus second mates and above.

RYA Marine Radio Short Range Certificate GMDSS assessment - £40 plus exam fee (currently £60). Assessor Mark Todd. Saturday 21st February (though it might be possible to run a few assessments on the Sunday if we need to),
Use of marine radios including GMDSS. Routine, distress, urgency and safety procedures. We run this using an online course which MUST be completed in advance of the training weekend (it takes around 6-10 hours). Then on the day you will have a chance to familiarise yourself with the equipment, followed by a written and practical assessment. You must also be over the age of 16 to do the assessment. Recommended for third mates, required for second mates and above.

Disability Awareness - Sunday 22nd February. £10. Instructor: RYA Sailability - This course needs more bookings before we can guarantee to run it.
OYT South does a lot of voyages with young people who have special needs: not just the obvious ones like the annual voyage for Alfreton Park Special School and the MACS partially-sighted group, but also a huge number of mixed voyages including young people with conditions ranging from ADHD to dyspraxia.RYA Sailability introduces over 40,000 people with disabilities to sailing each year. This day is designed to help us ensure that all those who sail with OYT South get the best possible experience. Recommended for ALL sea staff.

Chart corrections - free! Available on both Saturday and Sunday, with Emma Burrows.
A free workshop aimed at people who are likely to be involved in keeping John Laing's charts up to date during the season. If you sail with us fairly regularly, or often come to maintenance days, and have some knowledge of or interest in navigation, this could be the course for you. Don't forget that chart corrections MUST be done during our voyages and the person doing them is often inside in the warm and dry while everyone else is wet and cold on deck...We will use the day to show you how to keep our charts up to date and the system for recording corrections, and to make sure that as many charts as possible are ready for the season!

All courses will be based around TS Hornet Sea Cadet Unit, Gosport.

Most courses will run from 9am to 5pm (except the GMDSS assessment, which is shorter - we will allocate individual times to each candidate), so you can only do one course per day.

There will be a supper and social event on Saturday evening after the courses - all welcome, whether or not you are taking part in the training.

A hot lunch will be available each day for £5, Saturday's supper will cost £10, and for those who want it there will be basic accommodation (mattresses on the floor of the Sea Cadet Unit) plus breakfast for £5.

For all courses, email to reserve a place. We will start taking formal bookings and payments as soon as we know which courses have enough people to go ahead.

All these courses are open to anyone, although if courses are over-subscribed, priority is given to active OYT South members and those planning to join our sea staff.

Details here.

We're not offering RYA Sea Survival over that weekend but we do recommend this course for all OYT South sea staff. KTY Yachts runs the course regularly and will offer good rates to our volunteers - you can book direct with them.

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: we are moving towards making this a compulsory qualification for all sea staff so we STRONGLY RECOMMEND that people get on and do it before the start of next season! 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.

We also recommend Powerboat Level 2 for everyone, which we won't be running at the February weekend - it can be difficult to get a group together for this one (it’s a 2-day course) so you might like to look on the RYA website and see if there is a good sea school offering the course in your area.

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* RYA Day Skipper and Yachtmaster Coastal / Offshore - new vacancies
Our Chief Executive Mark Todd (who is also an RYA Yachtmaster Instructor, and a Yachtmaster Examiner) will be running some small-boat courses over the winter. We thought we were fully-booked but we’ve just had one cancellation for December and it's now possible someone may need to drop out of another course in February - would anyone else be interested?

RYA Day Skipper - 5-10 December: Learn to sail and skipper small yachts in familiar waters by day. Pre-course knowledge required for Day Skipper: basic knowledge of navigation to the level of the Day Skipper Theory Course and basic sailing ability including at least 5 days' sailing, 100 miles and 4 night hours. Courses generally run from 1830 on the start date and finish c.1700 on the end date. Special price for OYT South volunteers: £370 per person.

RYA Yachtmaster Coastal or Yachtmaster Offshore Prep and Exam course - 1 -6 Feb with the MCA/RYA exam 6-8 Feb. This is ideal for anyone aiming to do the Coastal or Offshore exam, but it's also open to others who may not think they are quite at that level but who would like to join in with a week of training and get a much better idea of the requirements and standards.

Pre-course knowledge required for Yachtmaster Offshore: 50 Days (5 days as skipper), 2500 miles, 5 passages over 60 miles (including 2 overnight and 2 as skipper), navigation to Coastal/Yachtmaster theory standard, VHF/SRC licence, First Aid certificate. Passing the Yachtmaster Offshore exam means you would be competent to skipper a cruising yacht on any passage during which the yacht is no more than 150 miles from a harbour.

Pre-course knowledge required for Yachtmaster Coastal: 30 days’ sailing (2 days as skipper), 800 miles, 12 night hours, navigation to Coastal/Yachtmaster theory standard, sailing to Day Skipper standard. Passing the Yachtmaster Coastal exam means you would have the knowledge and ability to skipper a yacht on coastal cruises but not necessarily the experience needed to undertake longer passages. The same theoretical knowledge as a Yachtmaster but not as much practical experience to perform as smoothly or consistently.

Courses generally run from 1830 on the start date and finish c. 1700 on the end date. The course fee for OYT South volunteers will be £450 per candidate plus the exam fee - currently £177 for Yachtmaster Coastal and £205 for Yachtmaster Offshore.

Email to apply.

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2015 sailing programme
The 2015 programme is now available. Email to ask about bookings.

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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 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

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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 if you’d like to be involved. The current Crew Handbook is on the website if you want to have a look.

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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.

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* Financial appeal
Huge thanks this week for two very generous donations which allow us to remember individuals who had very close relationships with Ocean Youth Trust South. Chris Courtauld was one of the two founders of the charity, in 1960, and he sadly passed away earlier this year. We were informed this week that Chris had very kindly remembered us in his will. And Helena Frost was another wonderfully generous supporter of OYT South until her death in 2011: however, we are still in regular contact with her family, and this week the Patrick and Helena Frost Foundation made another very generous donation towards John Laing’s refit.

We also had a great donation this week from Fareham Sailing and Motor Boat Club - huge thanks to Dee Orme and her team for all their efforts on our behalf!

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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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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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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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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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