John Laing at sea


OYT South bulletin 6th June 2014

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *  

* 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.

Current vacancies:

22-28 June - Southampton - 6 nights - 5 berths available - age 12-25 - £495pp.
13-17 July, Poole to Plymouth - 4 nights - 7 berths available - age 12-25 - £345
19-25 July - Plymouth - 6 nights - 7 berths available - age 12-25 -  - £495
1-6 Aug, Brixham to Plymouth - 5 nights - 12 berths available - age 12-25 - £430pp.
7-13 Aug, Plymouth to Falmouth - 6 nights - 2 berths available - age 12-25 - £495pp.
14-21 Aug, Falmouth to Plymouth - 7 nights - 3 berths available - age 12-25 - £565pp.
11-17 Sept, London to Southampton - 6 nights - 6 berths available - aged 18+ (adult training voyage) - £495.
26-28 Sept, Southampton - 2 nights - 9 berths available - age 18+ (adult training weekend) - £195 pp.
6-11 Oct: Southampton to Gosport - 5 nights - 12 berths (full-boat booking) available - age 12-25 - £425pp.
13-17 Oct, Gosport to Southampton - 4 nights - 12 berths (full-boat booking) available - age 12-25 - £345pp.
29 Oct - 2 Nov, Southampton - 4 nights - 1 berth available - age 12-25 - £350.

See here for updated availability.

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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Want to sail but can’t afford it?
If there is a voyage on the list above that you would love to do, but you really can’t afford it, don’t give up! Please talk to us as there may be some way we can help you. We do have some bursary funds available for specific purposes, so if you fit the criteria, it’s possible that a kind donor will help with your voyage fee. Or we may be able to set up a payment plan, so that you pay small amounts over time in order to make it affordable. Or you may be able to do something to earn a discount: for example, if we are trying to fill a voyage and you help us by advertising it - for example by talking to friends or doing publicity in a school, college or club - then we might agree to knock a certain amount off the cost of your own voyage for each extra booking that you bring us. All sorts of things are possible but the key is to discuss it with us. Just email telling us which voyage(s) you are interested in, how much (if anything) you or your family can afford to pay, and whether there are any specific circumstances you would like us to take into account. Then we can look at what’s possible in individual cases.

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Sea staff bookings 2014 - new vacancies
Please let me know now if you can help with any of the following vacancies. These are open to all qualified OYT South sea staff and the trainee mate berths to anyone who has done an adult training voyage and been told we would like to see you again (as well as young people who have been told by a skipper that you should come back and volunteer - aged 16+ for bosuns and 18+ for trainee mates) - please do get in touch! If you had previously sent in bids for sailing dates but not yet been allocated any voyages, do let me know NOW; if you have some sailing booked but would like more, now is the time to say!

7-12 July - Poole: second mate or additional third mate. Ideal for someone who did the Prince’s Trust training day with us in February though this is not essential!
1-6 Aug - Brixham to Plymouth: additional 3M or trainee mate
14-21 Aug - Mylor to Plymouth: additional 3M or trainee mate
18-21 Sept - Southampton - 2M
1-5 Oct- Southampton: 2M and 3M (ASTO Small Ships race)
6-11 Oct - Southampton to Gosport: 3M and/or trainee mate and bosun
13-17 Oct - Gosport to Southampton: 3M
20-24 Oct – Southampton: 2M or additional 3M or trainee mate
24-28 Oct - Southampton: 2M
29 Oct - 2 Nov - Southampton: 2M and 3M and bosun

I've had offers for some of these dates, but usually from people who are flexible about when they sail and have already got several voyages booked, so we still have a chance to give other people a voyage. In some cases I am trying to fill the 18th berth so if you see a gap advertised for a 3M and think "hang on, I thought I was 3M that week!" we are probably just looking for someone extra - though do feel free to contact me and confirm.

Dates given are when young people are on board so please bear in mind that sea staff will normally be asked to join the night before, except for weekend voyages.

NEW potential volunteers: please read this information first.

No-one should send in any voyage bids unless you have done some Child Protection training.

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* Voyage news
Lots to report on since the last newsletter!

On Saturday 17th May we had an adult day sail for sponsors, clients, donors and potential supporters – a good day with not much wind. Many thanks to sea staff Mark, Sparky, Vince, Andy, Harri and Caz.

This was followed by a maintenance day when Andy, Harri, Dave Bland, Brigid, Amy and Karl Granger did loads of jobs on board - huge thanks to all of them!

Next came the annual voyage for Park House School...ten young people aged 12 and 13, plus two staff members, one of whom (George) used to sail with us as a teenager, They set off on the first day and had a short but cracking sail tacking down Southampton Water until the breeze died and then carried on under engine to Cowes. The next day there were showers and shore leave allowing the crew to nose around Cowes. Then the crew did a sterling job of carrying the no.2 headsail back to the boat from Ratseys sailmakers after a repair (the carrying bit had nothing to do with Andy forgetting to bring a trolley!!). They set off for Weymouth sailing in the sun and heavy rain.  The next day they came back east sailing in light winds all the way to the north channel when the wind finally gave up. They then motored on to Lymington. That evening they played games and had a rather wet wash up. The next day Vince and the crew went for a walk round the local countryside. Whilst wandering (the skipper might have got a little lost!!) they happened upon a scene of a cow chasing down a man and head butting him to the floor. They checked the man was OK before deciding to avoid that field. Then they set off for a sail in the Solent, practising a man overboard drill under sail, until finally dropping the sails before some heavy squalls came through with more rain. Then they motored up Southampton water for another wet wash up, had a great cleanup the next morning and played games until the bus arrived. Well done to everyone for earning their RYA Start Yachting certificates. Many thanks to sea staff Vince, Andy, Carrie, Amy and special congratulations to Rab Mulholland who successfully completed a second mate’s assessment.

After that we had voyages for two new clients, starting with a weekend for the Saints Foundation - part of Southampton Football Club. They brought eight individuals with physical or learning difficulties, plus four carers. Skipper Andy Brown said “The Saints crew were fantastic. They were all enthusiastic, up for absolutely everything, told (very) bad jokes and volunteered for all duties (even cleaning) with a smile. We covered 73 nautical miles during the weekend and had moderate winds (F5-6) but managed to miss most of the heavy rain that seemed to fall over Southampton for the bank holiday weekend. We sailed from Ocean Village out into a windy Solent for some sail training on the Saturday morning. Everyone had a turn at driving the boat as we set all plain sail with the No 2 jib and had some great fun sailing in the Western Solent. We then attempted to head for Chichester harbour hoping that the wind would moderate - but the wind and sea state was a little more than expected. We had a couple of hours of some really exciting sailing and then turned back to an anchorage just south of Mother Bank (close to Ryde on the Isle of Wight). Following a drink and cake we headed over to Haslar Marina with some interesting navigation through the Swashway and into Portsmouth harbour. Mike and Dave with 2nd mate Mark prepared a fantastic meal of meatballs and the most amazing sauce anyone had ever tasted! Wayne and Connor were the champions of the extreme chocolate mousse challenge followed a close third by Brigid, the first mate. The extreme washing up that followed was pretty extreme! On Sunday Red watch brilliantly navigated from Gosport to the Prince Consort buoy just off Cowes when Green watch took over to navigate us back into Southampton water and up to Ocean Village. We have never seen so many lookouts reporting the same green buoy in five different directions!” Many thanks to the sea staff Andy, Brigid, Mark, Sally and Carrie and to the Saints Foundation helpers: Gary, Jayne, Keith and Joanna for making this trip happen.

Next came a voyage with MACS (the Micro and Anophthalmic Children’s Society which exists to help children born without eyes and with underdeveloped eyes). They kindly invited the sea staff to a meal in the furthest away restaurant in Southampton on the Sunday night before the voyage. The sea staff were late due to Mark’s land navigating skills, only to find that they had run out of profiteroles. The first night the voyage went to Hamble with the crew being lulled to sleep by Little Wolf, which was read by Mark. On Tuesday they sailed to Poole after Robbie, the most visually impaired person, drove John Laing out between several boats - well trained by OYT Scotland. Before coming in the crew were excited to take part in the fire drill... The crew were allowed showers in Poole, shortly followed by the crème caramel game, where Jessie learned that Marmite does not go well with crème caramel. They left Poole at 7am on Wednesday for a great sail down to Weymouth where the crew relaxed by playing rounders on the beach. On Thursday they enjoyed Weymouth and prepared for the epic voyage over to Portland through the rain. After some RYA training and games with rain on Chesil beach, the crew decided to grace Portland with a loud rendition of Katy Perry’s Firework. There was a slow start to Friday after preparing for a speedy getaway only to get hit by rain. Colin and his watch did an excellent job of putting on the number one headsail. Deciding to risk it, they left Portland with Jack leading a mainsail hoist to make their way to Worbarrow Bay. Some of the staff and crew went ashore to sing loud songs and all came back with wet feet ready for the anchor watch. After a night of creating a fantastic story, they were overjoyed to be woken up at 0530 on Saturday to make their way back to the isle of Wight. Lunch was had in Cowes and the crew enjoyed some shore leave with much ice cream and then split into watches and prepared to navigate us up the Solent to Ocean Village, where the voyage came to a finish after a large morning clean up. Once they all got back in safely, and the crew departed, Mark finally got his profiteroles from Jessie’s mum. Big congratulations to the crew as all those who didn’t have it already earned an RYA Start Yachting certificate. Many thanks to sea staff Mark, Brigid, Colin, Carrie, Harri and Robbie.

This week is the annual voyage for Alfreton Park special school – young people with multiple moderate to severe physical and learning difficulties, with lots of adult carers. As always, it’s a lovely group and the sea staff are thoroughly enjoying having them on board. They sailed first to West Cowes and then had a good sail to Yarmouth under mizzen and jib. A wet morning in Yarmouth didn’t dampen their spirits. Then back to East Cowes under jib only. There they had a birthday celebration for crew member Gemma and everyone got all dressed up. Then out to an anchorage in Osborne Bay for a fabulous lunch in the sunshine, followed  by a motor to Beaulieu in light winds. They have been sitting on the lawn, playing games, dancing to Abba, having a go in the dinghy and generally enjoying themselves! Many thanks to sea staff Ed, Graeme, Tigger, Carrie, Harri and Charmaine.

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* Adult day sails 14 and 15 June
We have two days set aside next weekend to take adults out who might be interested in supporting the charity and learning more about us. This can include potential sponsors and donors; individuals such as teachers or youth workers who might organise a group booking; current sponsors or clients who want to learn a little more about what we do; shorebased volunteers who do a lot for the charity and rarely get a chance to sail; and people who might help with our New Boat Project. Dates are 14th or 15th June. Places are limited but if you would like to come or know anyone we might usefully invite, please email These are always fun, relaxed day sails and one of the best opportunities to introduce people to the work of OYT South.

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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:

11-17 Sept 2014 - London to Southampton - 6 nights - £495pp - a very 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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* Maintenance days - please help!
Help needed on any of the following maintenance days on board John Laing this season:

16 June- Southampton
6 July - Poole
22 Aug - Plymouth
29 Sept- Southampton
12 Oct - Gosport

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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* Financial appeal
Huge thanks to the Baltic Charitable Fund for a generous donation to pay for voyages for young people who couldn’t otherwise afford to sail.

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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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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Has sailing with OYT South changed your life?
Have you done a voyage with OYT South that has made a real difference to you? Have you got a job or a college place because your confidence had improved, or because you talked about your voyage in an interview? Did a voyage change something for you at home or at school? Have you been able to do something you couldn’t do before? Did earning a sailing qualification make a difference to you? Did you make friends who have been important to you? Have you been happier or got on with anyone better since your voyage? If so, we really want to know! Please email and tell us your story. If there’s anything confidential, of course we promise to protect your identity if we ever use anything you tell us.

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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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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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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!

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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