Sections which have changed since last time marked *
* New baby!
Congratulations to Ben “Sparky” Whinnett and Vikki Maxwell on the birth last week of baby Logan! Many of you will know both Ben and Vikki as longstanding OYT first mates, and Ben also as a refit manager and our Operations Support Officer until the end of last year. We have kept his leaving fund open because we knew the baby was on the way and we thought people might like to contribute to a present at this stage - so now is your last chance to put something towards it. See here for how to donate: - the fund will close on Friday 14th March!
* Training weekend report
Many thanks to all who helped organise the training weekend - with extra special thanks to Tony and Nix who provided the venue and all the food! 12 people earned the RYA diesel certificate; 36 completed the Prince’s Trust youthwork course; 5 earned RYA Radar certificates; 5 completed the GMDSS assessment; 24 earned an RYA first aid certificate; and six people helped Emma and Andy with chart corrections - 88 completed courses in total. It’s great to see our volunteers so committed to improving their skills - congratulations to all involved, and big thanks to all the instructors!
* Refit news
All the bilge pumps have been serviced, along with nearly all the winches. The new forehatch has been fitted and all the final titivating on deck. The cockpit locker lids have been fibreglassed; and the team has started on the interior painting. Big thanks to Andy, Harri, Jack, Amy, George, Dan, Nic Crawford, Rich Cantilon, Beth Eaton and Chris Haxley, as well as Chris and Josh from Contact Marine.
The final volunteer weekend of the refit will be 15-16 March, and we also welcome extra help on weekdays. Just call the boat on 07990 518915 or email firstname.lastname@example.org (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.
* 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 email@example.com 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 - 1 berth available - age 12-25 - £430pp. Easter holiday cruise.
22-26 April - Southampton - 4 nights - 12 berths (full-boat booking) available - age 12-25 - £345pp.
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.
17-21 June - Southampton - 4 nights - 11 berths available - age 12-25 - £345pp.
22-28 June - Southampton - 6 nights - 12 berths (full-boat booking) available - age 12-25 - £495pp.
7-12 July - Poole to Brixham - 5 nights - 12 berths (full-boat booking) available - age 12-25 - £425pp.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you want a draft flyer or help putting an email together.
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 most of the year is now very full!
NEW potential volunteers: please read this information first.
No-one should send in any voyage bids unless you have done some Child Protection training.
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.
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 - 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! Anyone interested in coming along to the meeting, please email email@example.com.
* Phil Whiffing raises funds for hospices
One of our regular volunteers, Phil Whiffing - a great supporter whenever John Laing is in the Ipswich area - has signed up to do a leg of an Atlantic circuit raising money for some hospices. In addition to the fundraising, on each leg will be a person with a life limiting illness getting their once in a lifetime experience. Details here. We don’t normally advertise fundraising for causes other than OYT South but we wish Phil all the best!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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.
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!
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 email@example.com. 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.
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.
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.