Southampton Boat Show: MDL Award Winners Lowri and Joe meet Lord Iliffe and Dean Smith from MDL; and Jack Dignan (right) talks to ASTO's Lucy Gross at a Gosport Marine Scene Reception


OYT South bulletin 18th September 2015

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

* Berths available in 2015 for young people
The full list of voyages still available in John Laing this year:

21-25 Sept - Southampton to Southampton - 4 nights - 2 berths available - age 12-25 - £350pp.
19-23 Oct - Southampton to Southampton - 4 nights - 7 berths available -age 12-25 - £350pp.
28 Oct - 1 Nov -Southampton to Southampton - 4 nights - 2 or 3 berths possibly available -age 12-25 - £350pp - half term voyage.

For the full updated voyage programme, see here or here - or here for 2016!

Email with bookings or enquiries.

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* Prolific maintenance - help needed next Tues / Weds to move sails
Maintenance and refit of OYT South's new boat Prolific has started and the team on board are looking for help on weekdays in Southampton! If you have any weekday availability over the next couple of months, 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! Accommodation often available on board.

This week there has been lots of planning as the refit schedule is being drawn up. We’re now working towards a lift-out on 2nd October so there is plenty to do before then! Big thanks this week to Lydia Wright and John Niven who came along to help take out all the old domestic batteries, which have been scrapped, and got the new batteries on board. Thanks also to Chris R and Chris W who are getting the refit underway!

The major task for next week is to get the sails off the boat - if anyone can help from Tuesday onwards, please email NOW (including your phone number).

As well as casual helpers, we’ll also still be looking tor a core refit team for the winter. Are you planning a gap year, or not working over the autumn and winter for any other reason? Would you like to join our core refit team between November and March (ideally the full four and half months, but otherwise for at least a month during that time)? Food and accommodation provided as well as valuable experience in boat maintenance which in previous years has helped many people move into paid sailing work. If you think you might be interested in a full;-time role, details and an “expression of interest” form to complete are available here. There will be opportunities for effective members of the core refit team to sail on board next season.

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* John Laing voyage news
The previous bulletin left John Laing in Poole last Friday morning. Colin (2nd Mate) took John Laing expertly off the quay and we then sailed to Cowes via the Needles channel. We had a beat into a fresh easterly wind into the Solent. Once in the Solent we practised some more tacking, putting in and shaking out reefs in the main and a couple of heave-to exercises. Sally had a go at picking up a buoy just off Cowes and Jack berthed John Laing alongside in Shepherds Marina. Each watch then prepared a passage plan for the sail back into Southampton where we conducted a sail past the Southampton boat show under all plain sail waving in unison to the huge crowds cheering on the pontoon. After a thorough clean up and end of trip photos the voyage ended on Saturday with three RYA Start Yachting certificates for the crew members who were new to sailing.  Big thanks to sea staff Andy B, Lee, Colin, Sally, Jack and Sue.

Sunday was a day sail for clients, sponsors, donors and other adult supporters - a great group of people who have been involved with the charity in so many different ways. We had a good sail in the Solent with lunch on board, and at the end of the day were able to take many of the guests for a tour of Prolific. Big thanks to sea staff Andy, Mark, Sara, Jack, Rosie, Gina and Caz - as well as Naomi and Rachel who joined the day sail at the very last minute after two guests had to drop out!

This week has seen our annual voyage for the siblings programme at CHASE Children’s Hospice. They joined in Southampton on Monday and stayed in harbour on the first night because it was so windy. Next day the weather still wasn’t good so they did sail training in the Solent and finished up in Cowes with games before bed. On Wednesday they managed to get to Poole but torrential rain rather dampened the enthusiasm towards the end of the day! Finally yesterday they got the weather they really wanted and sailed back to Cowes in glorious sunshine. The voyage ends today and all should get their RYA Start Yachting certificates apart from one person who has it already. Big thanks to sea staff Andy, James, Harri, Sara, Matt and Frederik.

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* Southampton Boat Show
Two great events at the Southampton Boat Show this week have involved OYT South. On Tuesday, our sponsors MDL Marinas presented trophies to young people who had won this year’s MDL Awards and sailed on a voyage with us earlier in the year. OYT South’s Chief Executive Mark Todd took the opportunity of thanking MDL for all their support, from the marina staff who are so welcoming and helpful to John Laing, to Lord Iliffe, Managing Director Eamonn Feeney and Operations Director Dean Smith who have all played such an important role in helping OYT South acquire our new boat Prolific and bring her to a berth in Ocean Village.

Yesterday, 18-year old OYT South watchleader Jack Dignan took part in a Boat Show reception organised by Gosport Marine Scene. They are working to get more young people involved both in watersports and in maritime careers, and invited three young people to the show to talk about their own experiences - and Jack was selected to talk about sail training. This took the form of a question and answer session with Lucy Gross from the Association of Sail Training Organisations, and here’s what Jack told the audience:

How did you get involved in sail training?

I was born unable to see out of my left eye and since a young child have been part of the charity MACS, who bring children with same condition together. I have always been a keen dinghy racer and when I was offered the place on Ocean Youth Trust South's sail training vessel, John Laing, I couldn't wait to experience sailing a larger boat. I had an amazing voyage on John Laing and don't have a bad word to say about my week on board. At the end of the voyage I was asked back to volunteer with the charity and since have trained to become a relief bosun and a 3rd mate/watch leader and am on my way to achieve my 2nd Mate’s assessment.

How has sail training influenced your plans for the future?

Whatever happens, I want to remain involved in sail training, particularly with OYT South. My relatively short period of time in sail training has been truly life changing for me, and has given me the chance to learn so much, and has ultimately steered me into the degree course I am starting this Saturday: Geography with Oceanography.

What is it that you like about volunteering in sail training?

I always find it difficult to summarise what it is that's so special about sail training, as it's really a number of things coming together in a way that simply cannot be replicated elsewhere. I have been fortunate enough to meet so many amazing, inspiring young people, as well as meet many skilled industry professionals who have passed on their skills to me. As well as being educationally advantageous, I find that being a catalyst for the personal development of the young people that step on board is an incredibly humbling position to be in. When these people join the boat, as a group of people who sometimes already know each other, yet they finish the voyage as a kind of family, looking out for and helping each other to get the job done. This combination of contributory advantages is what makes sail training what it is, something that I am yet to find other organisations with similar goals to be able to achieve.

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* Sea staff bookings 2015 - last few vacancies
Email NOW if you are interested in any of these:

30 Sept - 4 Oct - there MAY be room for one more watchleader for a voyage which includes the ASTO Small Ships Race - let me know if you might be available to help out if needed
12-16 Oct - Southampton - there MAY be room for one more watchleader or trainee mate - let me know if you might be available to help out if needed
19-23 Oct - Southampton - 1M

If you are interested in any of these dates please email

New volunteers please note that your DBS and Child Protection training must be completed before you can sail in any capacity.

If you are aged 25 or under, please also look at the berths available for young people - we have just a few spaces still available and young volunteers can be treated as an extra member of staff and get training and experience by sailing in a crew berth. Funding help is often available for young people who have been recommended as volunteers and would benefit from the experience so a crew berth may not cost you anything.

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OYT South AGM 7th November - and Trustees
OYT South’s 2015 AGM will take place on Saturday 7th November at The Southampton Seafarers Centre, 12-14 Queens Terrace, Southampton SO14 3BP. More details to follow soon but it’s likely to involve drinks in the bar from 1730, a short AGM, a review of the year and then curry in a local restaurant. As last year, we’ll aim to sort out bookings and payments for curry in advance - keep an eye on this newsletter over the next few weeks if you’d like to come along.

If anyone might be interested in standing for election to the Board of Trustees (including Youth Trustees aged 25 or under), please email and we can arrange for an informal chat about what might be required.

Please keep the AGM date free! Only members can vote at the AGM - join now.

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* Prolific
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 - we’ve had some great donations this week. 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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Prolific - volunteer relief engineers needed
In the 2016 season, Prolific will need a small team of volunteer relief engineers who will sail when key staff members are on leave. If you have a strong technical background, experience in marine engineering and, in particular, electrical skills (qualifications such as a BTEC or City & Guilds in electrical engineering, for example) and you would be interested in sailing for a few weeks in 2016, please email Ideally we’ll be looking to get potential relief engineers involved in Prolific’s refit over the coming months so we can build a good team who all have some familiarity with the boat.

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2016 DRAFT sailing programme

There is a draft sailing programme for Prolific in 2016. It is not too late to try and alter some of the dates, durations and ports to suit you, as long as it doesn't clash with the needs of other clients. If you are thinking of making a booking for 2016, or you would like to discuss ideas and options, please contact Please also let us know if you spot any mistakes on the draft programme!

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John Laing’s final maintenance day - please help
John Laing's final planned maintenance day is:

Sunday 11 October - Southampton (Ocean Village).

Call the boat phone 07990 518915 a few days beforehand so the skipper can plan jobs and buy food for everyone who is coming. All over-18s welcome - skilled and unskilled, there are jobs for everyone. If you are aged 16 or 17, then check with the skipper - we'll generally have you at maintenance days if we can but it slightly depends on who is there and what needs doing. PLEASE put the date in your diary and come and help if you possibly can! Maintenance days run from 9am to 5pm and it is usually possible to offer accommodation on board for the night before or after.

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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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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 ttraining

All sailing volunteers must have done some Child Protection training (updated every three years) 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. This includes 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 NOW! 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.

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