The Needles glimpsed through fog...


OYT South bulletin 3rd October 2014

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *  

* Voyage news

The last bulletin left John Laing sailing with a crew from CHASE Children’s Hospice: brothers and sisters of life-limited children, plus two staff. The ten young people were aged 12-14 - it was a great group and we were determined to use the voyage to give them a good break from the pressures at home. They joined on the Monday and after safety brief and a practice evacuation and abandon ship they sailed to Cowes, getting the main and mizzen up on the way. They awoke on Tuesday to thick fog and foghorns, but by the time happy hour was done the fog was gone and we made our way into Poole Bay in glorious sunshine, spent the afternoon anchored in Studland Bay where the crew went ashore for ice creams and to play on the beach. Spent the night in Poole where showers were taken to wash off the last of the sand. An early start on Wednesday and they managed achieve the week’s objective to get around the Isle of Wight. They finished up in Haslar marina after some great sailing in sunshine but also some wallowing in the pouring rain on the way -  thank heavens for fish finger sandwiches! On Thursday morning Pam and Sally (the hospice staff) took the group to Gunwharf Quay and organised a trip up Spinnaker Tower, then back aboard for some brilliant sailing up to Osborne bay.  Whilst the watches took turns to plan the night pilotage back to Ocean Village, everybody chipped in to make a fabulous final dinner - fish pie (thanks Andy for all the fish!) and apple crumble.  Then a delightful potter back to Ocean Village with some great night time pilotage skills on show.  Sally and Pam, who had sailed with us in previous years, managed to finish off their RYA Competent Crew qualifications, and everybody else got their Start Yachting certificates.  A lovely week with a lovely group! Big thanks to sea staff Ed, Richard, John, Andy, Frederik and Harri.

We crewed up again on Friday night for a mates training weekend: a combination of new potential volunteers plus some old faces looking to work on their next level of assessment. After the standard set of briefings and dinner, they went to the pub. The next day they were up early for a windless but bright day. They spent the morning finishing off the safety briefings, including a thorough deck walk and inspection of the chart room and safety features. This was followed by sweating and tailing exercises, while hoisting the emergency water up the forestay. They then set off, getting the sails up while going down Southampton Water and eating lunch on the go. They then did a number of man overboard exercises, despite OYT South’s distinguished Chief Executive (sailing with friends for the weekend in another boat) turning up in the middle of the exercise, stealing the practice man overboard and sailing off with it before dumping it in a more difficult position! That evening John Laing sailed down to Yarmouth, picked up a mooring buoy and had a delicious curry, followed by a quiet night on the boat, for most...Sunday, against the forecast, had a bit more breeze, and after a short happy hour, they went for a fantastic sail, short tacking up the Solent, while doing some traffic avoidance with the late summer Solent chaos, allowing a refresher on Collision Regulations. They sailed up past Cowes and anchored off Hamble for lunch while doing some navigation and tidal height calculations. They then weighed anchor, and set off back to Ocean Village. We’ve evidently found some great new volunteers from this weekend and we look forward to seeing them on board again. Many thanks to sea staff Ed, Ben, Emily, Emma, Chris and Harri.

After that came a maintenance day with lots of hard work from Andy, Harri, Martyn, Dan, John, Katie and Caz - big thanks to all.

On Tuesday this week we had a day sail for the Quilter Cheviot Foundation, which has been one of our major donors over the last three years. We really wanted to give some of their staff a great day on the water to thank them for all they had done for us, so were disappointed to wake to rain, grey skies and no wind. However, shortly after the group came on board, the skies miraculously cleared, a breeze got up and we ended up having a fabulous sail in warm and sunny conditions - better than anything we had dared hope for!  Quilter Cheviot has done a huge amount for us in recent years, and they are also lovely people so it was great to be able to enjoy the day with them. Big thanks to sea staff Andy, Mark, Martyn, Harri, Di, Caz, and also Dan from Quilter Cheviot who had just done the mates’ training weekend, earned his recommendation to become a volunteer watchleader, and was able to start putting the weekend’s experience into practice!

The current crew joined on Wednesday: the second group of the year sponsored by the Saints Foundation at Southampton Football Club. This is a group of local young people who are not in education,employment or training and are doing really well on board. Tomorrow they will be competing in the Solent Small Ships race organised by the Association of Sail Training Organisations, and the idea is to give them a few days’ experience on board before they race. This has been made more complicated by a lack of wind all week for their training but a forecast of strong winds for the race itself! They sailed to a buoy outside Yarmouth on the first night and woke to fog, which lifted as they came out through the Needles. Then they motored to Swanage and dropped the anchor in bright sunshine - proper shorts and t-shirts weather, remarkable for October! There were dinghy runs ashore and then the young people planned the pilotage up through Poole Harbour, which they executed very well. This morning they were setting off back towards the Solent as they need to be in Cowes tonight for the race tomorrow - good luck to them! And big thanks to sea staff Andy, Clare, Amy, Harri, Mark and Jon who is one of this season’s new volunteers and making good progress with his mate’s assessment.

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* Job advertisement - Operations Assistant
Ocean Youth Trust South is seeking to recruit an Operations Assistant to work closely with the charity’s Chief Executive, Business Manager and New Boat fundraising team. This is an exciting opportunity to be involved at the heart of an award-winning charity. This is a new role and its prime purpose is to free up some of the senior management team’s time to concentrate on other objectives set by the Trustees. The post is initially offered on a 6-month basis though should the role be successful and funds be available it may be extended. The salary will be in the region of £12,000 per annum pro rata and the post will be based in the Trust’s Gosport office.

The successful applicant will have a knowledge and understanding of sail training, combined with excellent written and verbal communication, good people skills and competence with IT systems.  You will also have an eye for detail, the ability to prioritise multiple tasks and the capacity to work independently, without close day-to-day supervision. This would be an ideal job for a bright, enthusiastic graduate. Start date at the beginning of December.

More details here.

Apply by 17th October 2014 with CV and covering letter to

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* RYA practical qualifications for OYT South volunteers

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:

RYA Day Skipper - 5-10 December OR 18-23 January
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 prices for OYT South volunteers: 5-10 Dec £370 per person or 18-23 Jan £340 per person (there’s a difference to the vessel cost as the December course runs over a weekend)

RYA Yachtmaster Coastal or Yachtmaster Offshore Prep and Exam course (1 space left) - 1 -6 Feb with the MCA/RYA exam 6-8 Feb.

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

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.

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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* 2014 voyage programme
One last voyage with places available this year:

13-17 Oct, Gosport to Southampton - 4 nights - 6 berths available - age 12-25 - £345pp.

Plus lots more in 2015!

See here for updated availability or the full 2014 programme. or draft 2015 programme. BOOK NOW, or email if you want to find out more.

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* OYT South AGM - last call for new Trustees and any other business
The formal mailing for the AGM will go out to members in the first half of October. We need to be notified of two things in advance so they can be included in that mailing if required:

a) Any member who wishes to stand for election as a Trustee is requested to complete the proposal form and to return it, with brief details on your background and skills, to the Registered Office of the Company (Ocean Youth Trust South, 8 North Meadow, Weevil Lane, Gosport, PO12 1BP) by 4pm on Tuesday 7th October. If you are considering standing for election as a Trustee, you might like to look at the Charity Commission’s guidance about what the role involves. You are also welcome to contact us to discuss the role.

b) Matters for inclusion on the agenda for the meeting are also to be notified to the Registered Office of the Company by 4pm on Tuesday 7th October.

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* OYT South 2014 AGM and supper, Saturday 8th November - BOOK NOW for curry afterwards!
We're trying a different approach with this year's AGM which we hope might make it easier for more people to come along - and cheaper for those who want to stay for a meal together afterwards. The plan this year is that there will be a refit volunteers' weekend 8th and 9th November in Ocean Village and we'd love to see as many people as possible helping on the boat. Then from 6pm on the Saturday we have a room booked for the AGM at the Royal Southampton Yacht Club (that's the one in Ocean Village, NOT the Royal Southern Yacht Club in the Hamble where we have held AGMs over the last few years). All welcome - whether or not you can help at the refit!

After the AGM we hope people will join us to go out for a curry - please let me know as we’ll be a big group and we need to give the restaurant an idea of numbers.

If you are not currently a paid-up member of OYT South but would like to vote at the AGM , please contact the office a.s.a.p.

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* Maintenance day - please help!
Help needed on the final maintenance day on board John Laing this season:

20 Oct - Southampton

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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* Training weekend 2015 - what courses do you need?
We've got the option of using the Gosport Sea Cadet unit for the traditional winter shorebased training weekend on 21st and 22nd February 2015 - please keep the date free! We would hope to offer RYA courses including First Aid, Radar, the GMDSS radio exam (which follows an online course), Diesel Engines, and other options such as chart corrections or youthwork, depending on demand. We also have the offer of a disability awareness course run by RYA Sailability, who are supporting us with a project to get more young people with disabilities involved with John Laing, following the success of groups like Alfreton Park Special School and the MACS partially-sighted crew.

If you want to do one of these courses, let us know and we’ll finalise prices, agree which courses happen on which day, and book instructors as soon as it looks as though we have sufficient interest. If there’s another course you would like to do, let us know and we’ll see whether it’s possible to arrange it.

We won't be 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:

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2015 sailing draft programme now available!
The draft 2015 programme is now available. There's still time to try and change it if your group needs something which is not currently on offer.

Please also do look through the programme for any mistakes and let us know! If we have one voyage starting before the previous one ends, or a voyage marked as 4 nights when it is really 5, or a price that doesn't seem to make sense compared with other voyages, do let us know before we start taking confirmed bookings!

Email to ask about bookings or with any comments on the programme.

Some people may wonder why we are not planning to take part in the Tall Ships Race series which goes to Norway in 2015. The answer is that Race 1 and the cruise in company both fall in school term-time and, at 13 and 10 nights respectively, would be very expensive for participants - Race 1 over £1,100 per person - and we just didn't think we could sell them. Race 2 is the only one we could be reasonably confident of filling. Plus we would need to get the boat to Belfast for the start (more expensive voyages not only in term-time but actually during the exam season) and back from Aalborg at the end (school holidays but still involving flights). If we got interest from a number of clients able to make group bookings for these voyages, we could still reconsider; but as things stand we are concentrating on some more accessible voyages which hopefully will attract a lot of young people.

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Core refit team - winter volunteer positions available
If you are taking a gap year, not working over the winter, looking to build your skills, maybe hoping to move into a career in the marine industry - why not think about applying to join our full-time refit team this winter? Details here including how to apply. Food and accommodation provided.

All of last year’s full-time refit volunteers have gone on to other sailing or boat-related activities. Amy has spent a lot of the season with us, working her way up as bosun, third mate and now second mate. Jack is also still in sail training, with a job on board Ocean Spirit, Gordonstoun school’s boat. George has been all over the world working in yacht delivery. And Dan is currently out in Greece, fitting teak decks.

We have been offering core refit team places for years, and we are still in touch with dozens of past volunteers - both those working in sailing, and those who have gone on to university or other work, many of whom are still sailing with us as volunteers and would say that the refit is a hugely valuable experience, a lot of work but also a lot of fun!

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Voyage funding available for members of the Reserve Forces and Cadets
OYT South has been approved as a provider by the Connaught Trust, which can help with voyage funding for members of the Reserve Forces and Cadets in Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and adjoining counties. If you are eligible and would like to sail with us, please contact us for details.

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* Financial appeal
Huge thanks this week to a number of generous donors: Emma Burrows, Chris Lane, the Graham High Charity which funded bursaries and equipment in 2014 and has very generously increased their grant for 2015; and the Openwork Foundation for a great contribution to bursaries - thanks to Val Hague, one of our sea staff who introduced us to Openwork. Also thanks to the Friends of Parkside School, one of our regular clients, who have chosen OYT South as their Charity of the Year!

Don’t forget that volunteer watchleader David Price is aiming to raise some money for us by tackling the Great South Run  - please sponsor him!

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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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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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