Josie and Lou - and Prolific's main mast!


OYT South bulletin 13th November 2015

In this Bulletin
Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Refit news!
Another busy week at refit, starting with the arrival of the first two members of the core team of full-time volunteers who will be with us for the whole winter. A big welcome to Lou Wildblood and Josie Griffith. Both are experienced sailors, RYA Cruising Instructors, who have been doing flotilla work or teaching during the season, and now want to spend the winter developing their boat maintenance skills. Lou has been a flotilla skipper in Turkey this year and applied for the refit position via the website. Josie has been working in all sorts of places including Greece, Egypt and the Canaries this year but hadn’t really thought about spending the winter with us until she came on one of the day sails organised for RYA instructors at the end of the season and realised what was on offer - accommodation, food and valuable experience (in exchange for lots of hard work). We look forward to having Lou and Josie with us for the winter and hopefully also on some voyages next season. There will be other members of the core team - Andy is working on filling one or even two more places; but it’s not too late for anyone keen to apply.

With a big team of volunteers at the first refit weekend of the winter, plus a strong team this week, we were able to move into the refit house and get that all set up, and huge amounts of kit have also been moved off John Laing and into the store. The team has also been moving more kit off Prolific and started work on the main mast, which is being completely stripped so that the surveyors can take a look at it. Meanwhile Josh has been working on some of Prolific’s electrics. Big thanks to everyone who has been involved since the last newsletter: Andy, Harri, Josh, Chris, Lou, Josie, Joe Macgregor, John Niven, Andy Royse, Brigid Stoney, Tom Axton, Mark Boggis, Matt Lovett, Suzy Lovett, Nick Steel, Brian Almond, Stuart Barrett, Gina Seller, Marcus and Jay Hardiman.

We still need plenty of help over the next few months, on weekdays and on a few special volunteer weekends (see below), the next one being 28-29 November. If you can come and help for a day, a weekend, a week or more, please email including your phone number and any details of when you are available. Please also let us know if you have any technical skills or boat maintenance experience - these will obviously be useful but not essential as there will also be days when the help needed is more about things like moving gear around! Please note that we cannot usually have under-18s involved at refit (except for an official trainee bosun weekend when we can ensure there is adequate supervision and safety for 16 and 17-year olds). We can usually offer accommodation to helpers, space permitting. See here for more details about our refit:

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* NEW refit weekend dates (NB change)

Through the winter, we will normally be looking for volunteer help on weekdays; but we’ve also arranged a number of special volunteer weekends, starting with 28-29 November (NOT 5-6 December as advertised last week - apologies for any inconvenience caused by this change) and 16-17 January. These weekends allow people to come and help who wouldn't be available on weekdays, but it also means we can plan jobs that need an extra-big team for a couple of days. These dates are generally only open to over-18s though it MAY be possible to make the occasional exception for 16 and 17-year old bosuns who are already well-known to us, if we can arrange the necessary supervision But there will also be a refit and training weekend specifically for junior bosuns on 19-20 December, open to current and potential bosuns aged 16+. We will need a few adult volunteers (with DBS clearance) to help us look after and train the junior bosuns on this weekend - if you have bosun experience and might like to come and help, do let us know. Email if you would like to be involved with any of these weekends.

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Junior bosun training weekend at refit
If you are aged 16+ and were told by the skipper or other sea staff on a voyage this year that you would be welcome to come back to train as a volunteer bosun and hopefully sail on voyages next year, then please put the weekend of 19-20 December in your diary - we’ll be running a training weekend at refit just for you, with food and accommodation provided (Andy promises lots of Haribo and cake). The idea is introduce you to our new boat and give you an idea of some of the jobs that bosuns may be asked to do during a voyage. The weekend is designed to be fun but at the same time you should learn a lot! Email if you are interested in coming along. If you might have wanted to come but can’t manage those dates, do email and tell us - if we don’t hear anything from you then we don’t know if you are still interested or not! And if you are not quite sure whether you are eligible for this weekend, please ask!

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* Refit house - clothes rails needed!

Huge thanks to everyone who has donated items for the refit house! The next thing we need is couple of sturdy clothes rails - we’ve got dozens of sets of waterproof clothing which all need to be washed and repaired but then stored carefully so they stay in good condition for next season, and we really want somewhere to hang them up (not just this winter but in future winters too) - can anyone help? Please email if you would like to give us clothes rails (or the money for them).

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* OYT South AGM report
We held a successful and well-attended AGM in Southampton last Saturday - big thanks to all involved and to the Southampton Seafarers Centre for the use of their facilities and their bar!

The main business of the AGM was transacted very quickly - we approved the accounts and the minutes of the last meeting, reappointed the accountants and made some changes to the Board of Trustees. We said thank you and goodbye to two Trustees, Emma Burrows and Vicky Botting, who are both moving on due to work commitments. We have a rule that one-third of our Trustees have to offer their resignation each year, but can choose to stand for re-election, and accordingly we also had resignations from our Treasurer, Brian Eyres, and our Child Protection Officer, Steve Lacey - and both were re-elected. That just left the matter of replacing our Youth Trustee, since we have a rule that whenever possible, we should have at least one Trustee in the age range 18-25, and Vicky’s departure left a vacancy. This was a slightly unusual election as the one candidate, Jack Dignan, was in hospital at the time, but by the magic of technology he was able to attend the meeting anyway via Skype, and with his hospital room projected on to the wall of the AGM venue we could see him as he was elected - and he could hear and see the proceedings. As our only new Trustee, it’s worth giving Jack an introduction for those who don’t know him. He first sailed with us as a young crew member in 2014 on a voyage organised by MACS, the Micro and Anophthalmic Children’s Society - the UK’s national charity for children born without eyes or with underdeveloped eyes. He made an instant impression and was invited back to train as a member of our volunteer sea staff, progressing quickly from bosun to third mate, and then last month to second mate. He has also been involved in supporting OYT South in other ways at various events, and those who haven’t already seen it might like to read this speech he gave at the Tall Ships Festival in Greenwich last year. So we are delighted to welcome Jack to the Board and we wish him a speedy recovery so he can get fully involved!

After the formal part of the AGM, we were treated to a review of the year by Chief Executive Mark Todd, who gave us the highlights of the season on board John Laing plus an insight into the purchase and plans for Prolific. It has been a tremendous and hugely eventful year for OYT South and we really are enormously grateful to every single person who has contributed in any way to all that has been achieved. We can’t possibly mention everyone here but it is worth highlighting one staffing change as Harri Smith will shortly be leaving us after two hard-working years as our Staff Bosun - everyone sent thanks and best wishes to Harri, and we also welcomed Josh Caudrey who was at the AGM as our new Staff Engineer!

Following the AGM and Mark’s speech, 40 people moved on to a nearby restaurant for curry and a convivial evening ensued!

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* February 2016 training weekend - NEW courses - bookings needed NOW
The traditional OYT South winter shorebased training weekend will take place on 20 and 21 February 2016 in the Sea Cadet Unit in Gosport. Please start thinking NOW about which course(s) you might like to do, and let us know - some of the instructors are looking for a firm decision on whether or not their course will have enough people to go ahead.

We're looking at offering RYA First Aid (Saturday though we may be able to run a second course on Sunday if there's a lot of interest); RYA Diesel (could be either day, or both); RYA Radar (almost certainly Saturday); GMDSS assessments (this is a practical session following an online course which you can do at home) (assessments could be either day); chart corrections (Saturday - maybe Sunday as well tbc); a Fire Marshall course (Sunday) covering things such as fire prevention and use of extinguishers etc.; and we have just added a plan for a youthwork day on Sunday. This will be run by Lucinda Neall, one of our second mates and the author of “How to Talk to Teenagers”. Lucinda ran a popular day at the training weekend in 2013, and the 2016 day will be useful as a refresher for people who were involved last time as well as for newer volunteers. We are going to look particularly at the sorts of challenging behaviour we sometimes see on board and how sea staff can best respond. The day will also incorporate a session by Jennie Hogan from Hampshire County Council. Mollie and Caz recently attended a conference run by Hampshire’s Children in Care team and heard Jennie deliver an excellent session on the lasting effects of neglect and trauma in earliest childhood and how that can affect teenage behaviour - it was so interesting that we have asked Jennie to come and repeat it for our volunteers.

In most cases, we need to make sure there will be enough interest before we can confirm the instructor bookings, so do let me know which course(s) you want to do. First Aid, Radar and Diesel cost in the range £70-£78, youthwork will be cheaper, and chart corrections is free; GMDSS cost £100 last year, including online course, radio licence and exam fee; and Fire depends on the number of participants but is likely to be around £100.

There will be the usual very cheap and basic accommodation (boat mattresses on the floor in the Sea Cadet Unit) for those who want, food, and a great social evening on the Saturday.

Email and let us know what you’d like to do. We’ll ask for formal bookings and payments in due course but for the moment we just need an idea of which courses will have enough people to be worthwhile and cost-effective.

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Chris Ellis award - win £££s off sailing next year
If you enjoyed a voyage with OYT South this year 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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Pre-season sea staff training in Prolific

We're not yet in a position to give final details on our plans but we wanted to keep all our regular volunteers informed about what we are thinking. Obviously we want as many people as possible to be familiar with Prolific before we start sailing with young people next season. We're aiming to get her refit finished as early as we can, ideally in February, and then run sea trials and training in late February and March. Some of this will happen at weekends but owing to limited space and the likelihood that sea staff will want time to get used to the boat, it would be great if people could plan around having at least a little time to spare on weekdays as well. For example, we might run some three or four-day trips including weekends, so people only need to take a day or two off work. We'll tell you more as soon as we possibly can - please bear with us but we are juggling quite a lot at the moment!

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Prolific extended placements for trainee sea staff
Because Prolific has space for extra sea staff, one idea we are considering is extended placements in 2016 for trainee or junior volunteer sea staff who can sail for as much as a month at a time, developing skills while becoming really useful to us as you will develop a familiarity with the boat and give us continuity on board to back up our regular volunteers who change from voyage to voyage and will only just be getting used to the boat themselves. This role would be ideal for young people aged 18-25, preferably with some experience in sail training or other sailing and an ability to work well with young people from all backgrounds. DBS checks will be required but we can arrange this for you. If you might be interested in this sort of role, please email webmaster1@oytsouth, tell us a little about your experience and your plans and availability next year, and please include your phone number. Please note that we expect that there may be a lot of interest in summer holiday places from individuals who have already sailed with us and earned recommendations from the skipper, and there is no guarantee that we will offer anyone as much as a month on board in July and August - we’ll have to see what options are available to us; but at this stage we are certainly keen to hear from people available in the first few months of the season, particularly the period from late March to the end of May.

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Prolific appeal
Huge thanks once again to everyone who has been contributing to the Prolific Appeal to ensure that we can do all the work needed to bring our new boat Prolific into service. It has been incredibly heartwarming to see so many people giving what they can afford - some really generous donors making very significant contributions but also some people who genuinely don't have much money putting in £5, £10 or £20 just so they can feel part of the project. If you haven't yet contributed, PLEASE help us now! The new boat project has been going for so long but the end is really in sight, we are so nearly there, and your contribution could just get us over the line.

Itextf you were thinking of donating to OYT South's New Boat Appeal but thought that your contribution couldn't make enough difference to the overall total, or you planned to donate as we came closer to completing, NOW is the moment when we need you to help us complete the work on Prolific. Your contribution, however large or small, is really needed so PLEASE give us whatever you can afford! Prolific needs items ranging from sails at a few thousand pounds each, down to small things costing under a hundred pounds. If you are ever going to make a donation, NOW is the time to do so. If you'd like to see Prolific sailing with an Ocean Youth Trust South crew and be able to feel that you were part of the project, please do give something, however large or small. £1,000, £100, £50 or even £10 will mean that you had a hand in making this work, and even young crew members can be involved! The Ocean Youth Club and Ocean Youth Trust has 55 years' history as a charity to which hundreds and even thousands of individuals have a lasting commitment and an emotional connection. Prolific will be joining this fine tradition so please become a part of it, take your share in the project and welcome Prolific to the OYT family by contributing to the appeal. If you are part of OYT South, Prolific will be YOUR boat so please help us to get her ready! Anything you can give really will make a difference. See here for how to donate, or click below to donate online:

Please donate NOW while you are thinking about it - don’t be left regretting that you weren’t involved in getting this lovely boat working with us!

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2016 sailing programme

There is a sailing programme for Prolific in 2016 and an updated availability list. If you are thinking of making a booking for 2016, or you would like to discuss ideas and options, please contact

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* 2016 adult voyages - including training volunteers and selecting potential new volunteers
Apart from pre-season sea staff training in Prolific, there are two scheduled adult weekends which can be used for sea staff training, selecting new volunteers - and another other over-18s (no upper limit) who want to find out more about OYT South, or just come from a great sail and some valuable training:

22-24 April (8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday) - Southampton - 2 nights - age 18+. £195pp
16-18 Sept (8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday) - Southampton - 2 nights - age 18+. £195pp

Please email to book.

There will also be at least one longer adult voyage at some stage - date to be decided when we can see which week isn’t needed for a youth voyage.

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Help us fill berths in Prolific next season

If you know anyone who either works directly with young people (teachers, youthworkers, social workers, charity staff, club organisers etc), or who is involved with an organisation which supports young people such as a local council, please print out a copy of this leaflet for them, and encourage them to think about whether they know anyone who would benefit from sailing in Prolific - and then get in touch with us!

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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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* Gosport Peninsula Charity Pursuit
For those of our friends, supporters and volunteers who have boats of your own! Why not join the inaugural sail for the prestigious GasWorks Challenge Cup on Saturday 21st May 2016 and raise money for Ocean Youth Trust South?

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Powerboat Level 2 course
Does anyone want a Powerboat Level 2 qualification (needed to drive John Laing’s dinghy with an outboard engine)? One of our volunteers who is a Powerboat instructor has offered to put together a course just for us but it needs three participants available for a 2-day course. Let me know if you might be interested and I will put you in contact with each other in the hope that you can sort out suitable dates between you.

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OYT South branded clothing

T-shirts, hoodies and more are always available here - do have a look!

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Child Protection and Food Hygiene training

All sailing volunteers must have done some Child Protection training (updated every three years) and a Food Hygiene course before booking any voyage.

If you have done a Child Protection 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.

Likewise, if you already hold a Food Hygiene qualification, just send us the details or a copy of your certificate. Otherwise you can do it online here - all included in a single bargain price of £10 along with the child protection course and a range of other courses which you might well find useful and interesting - once you've paid your £10, it's well worth doing several of the courses!

The system for these online courses 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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Raise And Sail - website for anyone looking to raise money to come sailing
Raise And Sail is a section of this 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
OYT South has been offering basic navigation training through the RYA's Essential Navigation & Seamanship course - do have a look and sign up if you want the qualification.

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. 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.

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
Many of you are already friends with John Laing on Facebook ( but we now have a new page: - please do give us a Like! At the moment we are mainly putting posts on both pages but in the long run we will be using the OYT South page more so it would be great if more people started using that page.

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.

We are also on Twitter @oytsouth so please follow us!

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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 - sometimes 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. And there is a video here, made by a crew from the Prince's Trust, to give you an idea of what a voyage might be like!

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