Galley repainted!


OYT South bulletin 19th March 2015

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *  

* Refit news - last week of refit - John Laing will be sailing tomorrow!
Huge thanks to everyone who has been working on the boat in the last week of refit: Andy, Harri, Joe, Ivor, Bee Kew, Chris and Josh, Andrew Wilkes, John Niven, Katie Outlaw, Jo Coomber, Dave Bland and Terry Bufton. Extra thanks also to Emma, Juan, Charlie, Ben and Emily who formed a London-based chart corrections team and got everything ready for the season.

On board John Laing, the team has spent the week putting everything back together, as well as finishing all the interior painting, including the companionway, saloon and galley, and varnishing loads of woodwork. The floor is back, lots of mechanical jobs have been finished; a new compass has been fitted, the sails and halyards are back in place and the dinghy is back on board.

This afternoon we had a successful coding inspection, which means John Laing is clear to sail as a commercial vessel for the season. This is down to an enormous amount of hard work by everyone involved over the winter so massive thanks to you all and many congratulations to everyone for a job well done!

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* Help still needed by refit team
Two jobs remain where the refit team would love to have some help!

The first is cleaning the refit house in Southampton - not a glamorous job but really worthwhile as it ensures we get our deposit back and that we have a good reputation with the agents next time we need a house. The second is washing and sorting the refit overalls, throwing away those which are no good and telling us how many decent sets we still have.

If you can help with either of these jobs, please call Andy on 07990 518915 or email

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* Vessel tracking - see where John Laing is sailing
Vessel tracking has been switched on again for the season - see here if you want to know where John Laing is sailing. Unfortunately it doesn’t work on most mobile devices; but otherwise you should be able to see where we are, plus course and speed. It’s only updated at intervals but you can still keep an eye on where the boat is going. And if she comes into your home port, do pop down and say hello. (NB visitors bearing cake, flapjacks, biscuits etc are for some reason especially welcome).

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* Sea staff bookings 2015 - vacancies!
If you sent in bids for voyages this year, then you should have had an email offering you some dates - if you haven't heard anything do let me know!

We are quite over-subscribed for some periods of the season but we do have a few gaps in the next few months which we are struggling to fill - can anyone help?

30 March - 3 April - bosun or trainee bosun
25-31 May - third mate or trainee mate plus bosun or trainee bosun
6-10 June - bosun (adult voyage)
15-19 June - third mate and bosun. This is our annual voyage with Alfreton Park Special School and normally a very popular trip with sea staff, but this year two of the volunteers who were booked have had to drop out so there are spaces! The crew will consist of 6 young people with conditions ranging from Downs to cerebral palsy, plus 6 adult carers. It’s not a voyage for anyone who likes hard sailing – we usually cover only 40 miles or so in the week with this group, and have a lot of activities in harbour - but it is a brilliant trip for volunteers who want to see how these young people can achieve more than many people might think possible, and to help them grow in confidence and have a really fun voyage.

There are other spaces later on but we need to fill these first! And do keep checking back as some places have been provisionally filled by people who need to sort out work or other arrangements, so if any plans change we’ll be advertising extra spaces.

Don't forget that any qualified or new trainee mates are also eligible to sail as bosun, and this can be a great way of getting to know the boat and how things work. New volunteers please note that your DBS and Child Protection training must be completed before you can sail in any capacity.

Please send bids or questions to

If you are aged 25 or under, please also look at the berths available for young people - there are plenty more spaces 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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* Berths available for young people
Parts of the sailing season are very much booked up now, but we do have a few early-season gaps, some of which fall in the Easter holidays, and various gaps or possible gaps later in the season depending on whether or not provisional bookings are confirmed. Please spread the word and help us find people who might like to come. Bursary funding MAY be available on application for people who can't afford the full voyage fee.

30 Mar- 3 Apr - Southampton to Southampton - 4 nights - possibly 1 berths available tbc - please ask - £350pp.
13-19 Apr - Southampton to Southampton - 6 nights - 1 berth available - £510pp.
20-25 April - Southampton to Southampton - 5 nights - 6 berths available - £435pp.
4-8 May – Southampton to Poole – 4 nights – berths possibly available – please ask - £350pp.
11-16 May - Poole to Southampton - 5 nights - 4 berths available - £435pp. Others on this voyage are all aged 15+.
22-24 May - Southampton to Southampton - 2 nights - 10 berths available - age 12-25 - £195pp - half-term weekend!
1-5 June - Southampton to Southampton - 4 nights - up to 11 berths available - age 12-25 - £350pp.
20-26 June - Southampton - 6 nights - 6 berths available - £510pp. Special voyage - see below! Passports required.
4-10 July - Poole to Plymouth - 2 berths possibly available tbc - age 12-18 - £435pp. Others in this group are aged 14-17, all have passports and are very keen to cross the Channel if weather allows, so anyone joining this voyage MUST have a passport.
7-12 August - Poole- 5 nights – 1 or 2 berths possibly available tbc - please ask - age 12-25 - £440pp.
30 Aug - 4 Sept -Southampton to Southampton - 5 nights - 6 berths available - £435pp. Others on this voyage are all aged 15+.
4-6 Sept -Southampton to Southampton- 2 nights - 12 berths possibly available - please ask - age 12-25 - £195pp.
21-25 Sept -Southampton to Southampton - 4 nights - 12 berths available tbc - please ask - age 12-25 - £350pp.
12-16 Oct -Southampton to Southampton- 4 nights - 11 berths available -age 12-25 - £350pp.
19-23 Oct -Southampton to Southampton- 4 nights - 12 berths available -age 12-25 - £350pp.
28 Oct - 1 Nov -Southampton to Southampton- 4 nights - at least 4 berths available -age 12-25 - £350pp - half-term voyage.

For the full updated voyage programme, see here or here.

Email with bookings or enquiries.

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Special June adventure voyage for crew members aged 18-25
20-26 June - Southampton - 6 nights - 7 berths available - £510pp.

This trip has been half-filled by Hull York Medical School's Wilderness Medicine Society, who say: “We're all hardy outdoorsy types and would like to cover a lot of miles which might mean some slightly tough sailing, and trying to get somewhere interesting (France/Channel Islands) if the conditions are right! All the crew so far are keen to get their competent crew certificates, and a 7-day voyage is a good chance to do this without having to squeeze it in. Being into wilderness and survival, we'd maybe like to do a little bit more man overboard recovery practice and some more sea-survival teaching! Oh yeah, and we're all keen to find a pub or two along the way...The voyage starts on Saturday 20th June in Southampton and ends on Friday 26th June in the same place. Cost £510. Who wants to join us?”

Email for more information.

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Adult voyages
Adult voyages in 2015 (18+ with no upper limit) are:

27-29 March 2015 - Southampton - 2 nights - age 18+. £195pp (full though we can take names for a reserve list in case anyone has to drop out).
6-10 June 2015 - Southampton - 4 nights - age 18+. £350pp.
18-20 Sept 2015 - Southampton - 2 nights - age 18+. £195pp.

If you are interested in doing a voyage with a view to seeing whether you might enjoy volunteering with us, we strongly recommend the longer voyage. With a group of 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: where you go depends on the weather and on what people want: France, the Channel islands, the west country?

This is the route into sailing as a volunteer if you are aged over 25. If you are aged 18-25 then you can choose whether to aim for your volunteer’s recommendation on an adult voyage or 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. This may be a better option than an adult voyage for many potential volunteers in the 18-25 range as we get to see how you work with other young people from the outset.

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 to book.

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* Maintenance days 2015
John Laing’s planned maintenance days for 2015 are as follows
Sunday 26 April - Southampton
Sunday 17 May - Southampton
Friday 12 June - Gosport
Saturday 11 July - Plymouth
Monday 7 Sept - Southampton
Sunday 11 October - Southampton.

Please put the dates in your diary and come and help us! 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.

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* Adult day sails 2015
Each year OYT South runs a few adult day sails. These are designed so that current or potential sponsors and donors can see the boat in action and find out what we do; teachers and youthworkers who are sending young people can experience life on board, which helps them do better follow-up work after a young person has sailed; potential clients can get to know us; and volunteers and supporters who are not sea staff and therefore don’t often get to sail can have a day on board. Basically anyone who is a current or potential supporter of the charity in any way can talk to us about places on day sails. If you would like to come or can suggest someone else we should invite, please email Dates this year are:

Sat 2 May - Solent day sail (start and finish Southampton)
Sun 3 May - Solent day sail (start and finish Southampton)
Sun 14 June - Solent day sail (start and finish Gosport)
Sat 18 July - day sail (start and finish Plymouth)
Sun 19 July - day sail (start and finish Plymouth)
Sun 13 Sept - Solent day sail (start and finish Southampton)

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* Financial appeal

Many thanks this week to the Monica Rabagliati Charitable Trust for a generous donation towards the bursaries fund.

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 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 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.

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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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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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