Deck painting


OYT South bulletin 31st January 2014

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *  

* Chris Ellis Award - winners announced
We are delighted to announce that the winner of the 2013 Chris Ellis award for the best piece of written or artwork based on a voyage with us was Ellesha Meadow Sams (14), for a fabulous and heartwarming piece of writing, with a highly commended second prize to Liam Portrey (16). You can see both entries here - do have a look as they really illustrate to all of us why the efforts that so many people put into OYT South are all worthwhile.

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* Chris Courtauld
Thanks to all those who responded to the news in the last bulletin of the sad death of Ocean Youth Club founder Chris Courtauld. We were sent a lot of fond memories and heartfelt tributes to a lovely man who did so much to get young people sailing. If you missed the appreciation of Chris Courtauld written by Kit Power and Emma Ellis, you can still see it here. Many people have asked to be informed about the planned Memorial Service and we will of course do this once details are available.

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* Training weekend Feb 2014 - updated vacancies - PLEASE BOOK AND PAY NOW, AND SEND CAR REG NUMBERS
If you have reserved a place on a course at our training weekend in Gosport. 22 and 23 February, please can we have your payment now including any bookings for meals or accommodation? And crucially, if you want to park at the event, we need your car registration number in advance, otherwise parking will be strictly limited to three hours.

Details here; and an online booking and payment facility here.

Several courses are now full and we may be turning away potential bookings, so if there is any chance that you might need to drop out of anything you have booked, please let me know NOW.

If you haven't yet booked, the latest news on availability is as follows:

Saturday 22 February
Diesel - £70 - provisionally FULL but we can take names for a reserve list
Prince's Trust youthwork - £10 - 2 places available
Radar - £75 - 1 place available
First Aid - £70 - provisionally FULL but we can take names for a reserve list, or potentially swap people between Saturday and Sunday if needed.

Sunday 23 February
Diesel - £70 - provisionally FULL but we can take names for a reserve list
Prince's Trust youthwork - £10 - 3 places available
GMDSS assessments - £40 for online course plus £60 exam fee - 3 or 4 places available
Chart corrections - free - provisionally FULL but we can take names for a reserve list
First Aid - £70 - provisionally FULL but we can take names for a reserve list.

Email to book.

All these are full one-day courses, so you can only do one course per day. Where a course is running on both days, it's a repeat to allow us to include more people, so you only need to sign up for one day per course.

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* Refit news
Huge thanks to all the people who have been to refit since the last bulletin – including the volunteers’ weekend: Andy, Harri, Amy, Dan, Jack, George, Brigid, Emily, Charlotte, Tom, Dave, Neil, Marcus, Kylie, Jay, Eric, Mark, John, Terry, Dave, Mike, John, Richard, Katie and two great teams from law firm HFW: Katie Lilley, Tor Coren, Matt Dow, Joanne Bunton, Mark, Matthieu and Rob Blundell. Special thanks to Brigid and Marcus for bringing cake and flapjacks respectively; and to Paul Havill who returned all the oilskins washed and dried...

At the refit weekend the team sanded the deck, the coach roof, the cockpit and the living accommodation, as well as doing some work on the water tank and a lot of cleaning and masking. On Saturday night they went out for drinks, and after another hard day’s work on Sunday, Brigid led an OYT South expedition to the local bouldering wall on in the evening to help get rid of the last remaining dregs of energy!

The next few days saw lots more masking and taping of the deck (as well as discovering and fixing more holes in the deck...) before the first of two volunteer teams from HFW turned up for the great deck-painting session. The first team got a coat on the deck and also the crew quarters, as well as removing all the paint from the primary winch pedestal. Next day, a second HFW team got a second coat on the deck and crew quarters and a first coat on the cockpit - as well as the first of five coats of primer on the winch pedestal.

Friday was the ASTO conference and the whole core refit team was there - making new friends, catching up with old ones and, crucially, not making any more holes in the deck. After all that the refit team deserved a weekend off so Andy took them sailing (not in John Laing!). They started with a windy forecast and a late night trip to Cowes, staying at Victory Yard courtesy of Vivian, George’s mum’s partner. On Saturday they practised manoeuvres and then set off for Newtown Creek, but with the wind building, decided that Southampton Water and the Hamble were the better option and had a cracking sail all the way to the Jolly Sailor. By the time they left the boat the wind had built to almost 50 knots and they struggled to get down the pontoons safely, thankful to have called it a day at the right moment!

This week has seen more work on deck. Terry returned some excellent pieces of woodwork to the boat; Tigger returned the mended sole boards and took away the companionway steps; and Chris Lane returned the repaired bunk cushions and took away the sole boards for varnishing - big thanks to all three.

The welder has removed the forehatch - followed by Andy having a panic attack about whether the fenders would fit through the new hatch (the blue ones do, not sure about the orange ones, might try green instead unless anyone can suggest another colour that would fit better?).

Various people have been tackling the stern platform while standing in the dinghy, though this operation was interrupted by bird attacks! Meanwhile the team have been carrying on with any painting not completed by the HFW teams: the crew quarters, coach roof, cockpit, winch pedestal, more deck and many other things (most of which did need painting).

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). There are just 32 working days left before the vessel has to be ready to be inspected for the season!

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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Sea staff bookings 2014 - PLEASE get in touch NOW!
I'm trying to get some sea staff bookings sorted out earlier than usual for 2014, owing to other commitments in late February and March when I normally do it!  So if qualified volunteers, and anyone who did a training / selection voyage last year and got a skipper's recommendation, would like to keep sending in details of what you would like to do, I'll aim to start making some decisions. I have lots of third mate and trainee mate bids so anyone else wanting those berths should definitely contact me soon, especially if you want to sail in school or uni holidays. But I also need to hear from 1Ms and 2Ms a.s.a.p., and make sure I can get both male and female sea staff on every voyage. (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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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.

The Easter holidays are really starting to fill up now so do get in touch if that’s when you’d like to sail!

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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* 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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* Greenwich Tall Ships festival seeks volunteers
The Greenwich festival organisers are 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 Greenwich direct via their website 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 - PLEASE NOTE: this voyage is filling fast! We are just waiting for confirmations to see if all berths are full or whether we might need a reserve list.
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
Our new support group in the South West has already had two meetings in Plymouth, but will now be having a meeting in Falmouth on Sunday 9th February at 1800 hrs. Venue tbc but they are trying to get an idea of how many people might like to attend. Please email if you are interested - even if you can’t make 9th February but would still like to get involved.

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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* Financial appeal
Enormous thanks to Hampshire County Council who have confirmed another year of grants for disadvantaged and vulnerable young people from the county to sail with us. The grant has actually been increased since last year, a real tribute to our work in the face of widespread funding cuts, so everyone who was involved with any of last year’s Hampshire groups or individual voyages should be very proud!

Huge thanks also to Drew Marine who have once again agreed to donate the flares we need on board for the season - a very generous contribution of some vital safety equipment.

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 recomemndation 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 next 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 next season. 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 will loads of 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.

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