Hard at work...


OYT South bulletin 13th February 2015

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *  

* Refit news - help needed URGENTLY
We've got five weeks to get all the work done! And three weeks until John Laing is back in the water!

However, the last of our four original core team members, Joe Mcgregor, has got a well-deserved job as a mate with another sail training organisation and will need to leave us shortly. We’re delighted for him but it means we are even more reliant on everyone else helping out to get the boat finished - whether you can only come for a day or for the full five weeks!

We’re always happy to see people on weekdays; and we have a volunteers’ weekend planned for 7-8 March. However, in the hope of getting more help from people who can only manage weekends, we are looking at adding an extra volunteers’ weekend (14/15 March) - please email refit@oytsouth.org NOW if you can help on weekdays or either or both of these weekends, and we’ll confirm 14/15 March if we can get enough extra people then to make it worth doing. Food and accommodation can be provided.

Don't forget that if several volunteers want to sail on the same voyages, we may give priority to those who have been to refit (as well as those who raise money, recruit crew members etc.), ahead of those who haven't been involved over the winter!

Huge thanks to those who have been working this week: Andy, Harri, Joe M, Joe C, Dave, Nikki, Tom, Naomi, Tigger, Katie, Tim Bayley, Juley Simmonds, Roger from International Paint and Chris and Josh our engineers.The scuppers are now all primed, the filling and fairing of the hull is virtually finished, the underwater section is ready for antifouling, the steering gear has been inspected and all bilge pumps have been serviced.

See here for information about John Laing’s winter refit and how you can get involved. The 2014-15 refit runs until Friday 20th March 2015. We need as many volunteers as possible, skilled or unskilled - email refit@oytsouth.org or call 07990 518915 to get yourself booked in!

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* Refit core team vacancies

With the departure of all the members of the original core volunteer team (we recruited such good people...no wonder other organisations wanted to employ them), we would be delighted to find a couple more full-time volunteers to help out between now and 20th March!

If you want to come and volunteer full-time on the refit and maybe learn a lot of boat maintenance skills in exchange for food and accommodation, please email refit@oytsouth.org. This might be ideal for someone who is taking a gap year, retired or not currently working, perhaps looking to build your skills, maybe hoping to move into a career in the marine industry. 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! More details here. Start date a.s.a.p., end date Friday 20th March 2015, though if we can’t find someone to do the whole thing, we would consider people able to offer several weeks during that time.

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* Shorebased training weekend 21-22 Feb 2015 - time, place and other details - and who wants to fill the last places on First Aid and Disability Awareness courses?
If you have booked for OYT South's 2015 shorebased training weekend, we are looking forward to seeing you next weekend. All the information on where to go and what time is on the website here (but it's essentially TS Hornet Sea Cadet Unit, Gosport., 9am-5pm).

If you are doing the GMDSS assessment, don’t forget you MUST do the online course in advance. Do let us know if you are having any problems with it.

If you are doing the diesel course, bring warm clothes. Your course includes classroom sessions which should be warm enough, but the practical sessions with an engine are under cover but otherwise open to the air!

If you aren’t doing a course, you are still welcome to come for a meal and to see everyone. Use the form here to book and pay. The deadline for meal bookings is 5pm next Wednesday 18th Feb - that allows time to buy the food!

We still have room for a few people on the RYA one-day first aid course (either day) or the Disability Awareness course (Sunday) - see here for details and email caroline.white@oytsouth.org if you would like to book.

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

Don't forget that a Child Protection course (updated every three years) is compulsory for all sea staff and can be done quickly and cheaply online here (though we can accept alternative recognised child protection training if you send us the details). The online course page also offers other courses including Food Hygiene: we are moving towards making this a compulsory qualification for all sea staff so we STRONGLY RECOMMEND that people get on and do it before the start of the season! If you already have a food hygiene certificate that we don't know about, please email a copy to the office and we will add it to your records.

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

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Sea staff qualifications and certificates
We need to have records of relevant qualifications and certificates for all sea staff - if we haven’t got yours, you should have had an email explaining what we need. But anyone (including new potential volunteers) who is coming to the training weekend, please bring your certificates (RYA courses plus other things such as Child Protection and Food Hygiene) and Brian will be there with a scanner!

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Sea staff bookings 2015 - please send in your bids now!
If you are a qualified member of sea staff, or have received a skipper’s recommendation on an adult or youth voyage and now need to come and qualify as a mate, please send in your bids for sailing dates NOW!

If you are coming to the training weekend, do let me have your bids beforehand - then I may be able to confirm your bookings when I see you. If you are NOT coming to the training weekend, PLEASE let me have your bids before then as otherwise you may find the voyages you wanted have been taken by other people!

Qualified sea staff - ideally please give me voyage numbers of anything you would like to do (see here for voyage numbers); or give me names of any regular clients you'd particularly like to sail with. But if you have really flexible availability, the easiest thing is to tell me the maximum number of days you can offer during the year, and any periods you can’t manage.

If you have had a skipper's recommendation but are not yet an assessed and qualified member of sea staff, your next step is to sail on a youth voyage of four nights or more, for further training and assessment. Not all voyages are suitable for this but please ask.

The process of booking volunteers is really complicated - it's not simply a question of finding dates that work for individuals and then booking you. What we have to do is put together a team of staff and volunteers for each voyage, with a skipper, 1M, 2M, 3M, bosun and often but not always a trainee mate, and we can't book anyone until we have at least some idea of who else is going to make up each team. At least one adult on each voyage must be a woman, if there are girls in the crew; and then we have to think about special skills if the group includes people with disabilities or challenging behaviour. We also don't want to end up with a voyage where two or three of the mates are all newly-qualified at their particular level - if the second mate has only just passed his or her assessment then they shouldn't be paired with a brand-new first mate...Then sometimes the client will be a school or charity where a staff member has qualified or wants to qualify as a volunteer, so needs a staff berth. Meanwhile, some client groups are just not suited for brand-new trainee mates. Plus we have to think about some priority bookings (e.g. people who have been identified as fast-track first mates or skippers, if I can give them enough time on the boat). And we do promise that people who help the most at refit get priority over anyone who hasn't been along at all. We also give preference to people who raise money for us or introduce us to new clients.....And on top of all that we want to try to be fair to all our volunteers and make sure everyone gets at least a voyage or two!

So although we can start collecting bids now, the aim is to have the main allocations done by the end of February - this normally gives people enough time to plan leave and other commitments for the year but if you really need to get your sea staff bookings confirmed earlier, do let us know!

Please send bids or questions to webmaster1@oytsouth.org.

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New sailing volunteers in 2015 - and other adult voyages
If you have NOT yet had a recommendation from our skipper to join our sea staff, you need to do a training/selection voyage first. If you are aged 18-25, you can do this on any standard youth voyage - just book a voyage from the list but make sure you tell your watchleader when you join the boat that you are hoping to earn a sea staff recommendation - they may be able to give you some extra responsibilities and training during the voyage.

Alternatively, anyone aged 18+ (no upper age limit) can book on an adult training voyage to earn their volunteer recommendation. Adult voyages in 2015 are:

27-29 March 2015 - Southampton - 2 nights - age 18+. £195pp.
6-10 June 2015 - Southampton - 4 nights - age 18+. £350pp.
18-20 Sept 2015 - Southampton - 2 nights - age 18+. £195pp.

If you are available, we strongly recommend the longer voyage. With twelve potential new volunteers on board, there just isn’t time in a weekend for everyone to have a go at leading exercises such as sail hoists; but the longer voyage gives you time both to learn and then lead every exercise which you would have to do if you come back as a watchleader. Also the longer voyage allows for plenty of great sailing: it may start in Southampton and end in Gosport, but where you go in between depends on the weather and on what people want: France, the Channel islands, the west country?

Adults who are not looking to join our sailing volunteers are welcome to join any of these voyages, just to enjoy the sailing.

Please email webmaster1@oytsouth.org to book.

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2015 sailing programme
The 2015 programme is now available. Email caroline.white@oytsouth.org to ask about bookings.

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Financial appeal
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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Child Protection training

All sailing volunteers must have done some Child Protection training before booking any voyage.

If you have done a course in the last three years, please email us with the name of the course, the awarding body, and the date of the training, and we'll add that to your records.

If you still need training, we recommend Child Protection in Sport and Active Leisure which you can do very cheaply online and in your own time. It's not complicated or time-consuming - you should be able to complete it in a couple of hours and some people are getting through it much faster.

The online training page not only gives OYT South members access to child protection training at the bargain price of £10: that single one-off payment gives you access to a range of recommended courses. We would very much like all sea staff to do the food hygiene course; and there are several other courses you will find interesting and relevant. The system is very straightforward - each course is broken into a number of short modules and you just have to read each module and then answer some questions about it. You can save a course at any point and come back later to where you left off. They are all recognised courses and you will get a certificate for each one you complete successfully. We can see at a glance who has signed up and who has completed a course.

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OYT South clothing range
OYT South clothing - hoodies, t-shirts, polo shirts, fleeces, caps, ties and more - is all available through this webpage. A donation will be made to OYT South for every item they sell.

The Slam jackets (which you may have seen sea staff wearing) are also available but they are cheaper in bulk, so they aren't on the webpage just now - if you wanted to order one, email webmaster1@oytsouth.org. If we only order one or two, they will cost £110 plus postage, but this will be cheaper if we can order five or more at the same time.

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Raise And Sail - website for anyone looking to raise money to come sailing
OYT South has recently launched Raise And Sail, a new website full of ideas, information and support for young people who would like to raise money in order to come sailing with us. Huge thanks to Fiona Keen and Emma Burrows for putting Raise And Sail together. We hope you will find it useful - let us know how you get on as we can add success stories and new ideas to the site in due course.

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Online navigation training for volunteers and young people
For some time now OYT South has been offering basic navigation training through the RYA's Essential Navigation & Seamanship course. Now for those of you who want something a little more advanced, one of our relief skippers, Simon Jinks, is offering online distance learning systems for the theory courses for Day Skipper, Coastal/Yachtmaster and Yachtmaster Ocean. Simon is a great sailor and a top instructor so this is very highly recommended. He is very generously offering a 15% discount for OYT South members and volunteers, so do mention your role with us if you get in touch. Details here. He is also offering a one-day Weather for Sailors course. Please note that Simon's website also includes Essential Navigation and the PPI course, both of which OYT South can offer in-house.

Simon has also very kindly offered one course a year as a prize for a promising member of sea staff who genuinely can't afford to get their next qualification. If you are really keen to climb the sea staff ladder and hoping to do lots of sailing with us, email us or talk to the skipper on your next voyage to see if you can enter for this prize.

With our own courses and Simon's we now have navigation courses to suit everyone from total beginners right up to the most advanced level - please give it a go and do ask for advice if you are not sure which course is right for you.

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Keep in touch with other John Laing people
We have tried a number of social networking websites to allow crew members to keep in touch with the boat and with each other - Facebook is by far the most active and popular, so that’s the one that now gets updated regularly. People can swap stories, post photos and more. For some overseas voyages, we will even set up online groups well in advance, restricted only to people who will actually be sailing on that particular voyage, so that people can compare travel plans and arrange to travel together. See here for how to join.

Please note that OYT South has a policy that our adult staff and volunteers should not make or accept individual online friend requests with crew members aged under 18. Young crew members can use the sites to stay in touch with the boat and with each other, but not with individual adults.

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Survey - tell us what you think
If you have recently completed a voyage, please help us by filling in our web-based survey. It really helps - we use the data to keep improving our voyages, and to help us raise funds!

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New readers' welcome and introduction
If you have recently registered your interest in OYT South, welcome to our e-newsletter, which is sent out almost every week, normally on a Friday. It includes a wide range of news from the boat and from the charity, including details of voyages available for young people; adult voyages; opportunities for adult volunteers both ashore and afloat, and much more. We find that while some people read the bulletin almost every week, many others dip in and out, and read it when it's convenient - which is why some items are repeated. The new items are marked with an asterisk * so that if you did read it last week, you can see which sections you can safely skip.

Please feel free to join in any OYT South activities - nothing here is restricted to long-standing members or people who already know one another. New people are always very welcome!

If you need an introduction to the work of OYT South, you should find a lot of useful information on our website. But essentially, we are a registered charity (no. 1079959) which exists to offer adventure under sail as a personal development opportunity for young people aged 12-25, from the widest possible range of backgrounds. A high proportion of our young crew members are disadvantaged or deserving in some way: many of these sail in groups organised by other charities, youth clubs, special schools and so on, and will fill the bulk of our term-time voyages. But those from more fortunate backgrounds are also welcome to sail, either in groups or by coming as individuals on a mixed voyage. Every year we run a variety of shorter local voyages plus longer adventure trips - including Tall Ships races during the summer holidays. If you are aged 12-25 and hoping to sail as a crew member, take a look here - and this section is also useful for adults who are thinking of organising a voyage for a young person. Adults planning to organise a full group voyage should also see here. Adults who want to sail themselves should see here.

We have a professional staff skipper and bosun, but our watch leaders are normally all volunteers, who combine sailing skills with an interest in working with young people. You can find more information here - how the system works, how to join, and profiles of existing staff and volunteers.  

To volunteer for OYT South ashore, please see here. To help with the vessel's annual refit, or with maintenance days spread throughout the year, see here.

It is a very expensive business maintaining a boat, running an office and employing staff. If you want to help us, please become a member of OYT South. Or see here for information on making a donation.

If you have any questions, please do email - or contact the office.

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“To be honest I never wanted to come, but I'm glad I did because I have learnt and seen so much!" Charlotte