2015 sailing season!


OYT South bulletin 2nd April 2015

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *  

* Voyage news
Lots to report as there was no newsletter last week!

John Laing’s sailing season began on 20th March when a team of staff and volunteers joined for a shakedown weekend to finish all the last-minute jobs and make sure everything was working. It was the weekend of the biggest tides in 18 years and this put a constraint on the plans: at low tide, many of the places we can normally go just didn’t have the depth of water that John Laing needs...and those that did were already full of other boats who also needed the depth. Even on our own berth in Ocean Village, the depth went as low as 2.8m, which is the minimum we need! So we didn’t sail on Saturday and everyone did a lot of hard graft on board. In the evening, the team revisited the Frog and Frigate, which used to be a popular local pub among our volunteer team. It had been closed for years but we are happy to report that now it has re-opened, nothing seems to have changed whatsoever, and even the guitar player is still there!

The team went for a sail on Sunday and got everything in good working order ready for the first youth crew to join the next day. Huge thanks to Andy, Mark, Dave, Joe, Rosie, Emma, John P, Katie, John N, Jo, Juan, Bee, Ivor, Nikki and Emily.

The first full voyage of the season was with Sherborne Learning Centre - regulars in recent years and it was good to see them back on board again. They joined on Monday and sailed to Cowes that night, and enjoyed seeing one of the big cruise liners on the way. On Tuesday they had shore leave and training before setting off for a great sail to Poole, speeding past the Needles, before Chris Hutton, the staff member who came with the group, planned the pilotage into Poole Harbour. Next day they sailed out of the harbour and had another good sail to Weymouth. On Thursday, things got even better as John Laing touched 12 knots on the way back towards the Solent. They made such good time that they actually stopped in Cowes for dinner before a night sail up to Southampton, during which they had to avoid four big ships. The voyage ended with three RYA Start Yachting Certificates for the people who hadn’t been before. Many thanks to sea staff Andy, Harri, Andrew Wilkes, Dave Bland and special congratulations both to Chris Hutton from the school and Joe Mcgregor from the full-time refit team who successfully completed third mate assessments!

This was followed by a mates’ training weekend with a mix of new potential volunteers and some current sea staff looking for extra practice. They spent some time on exercises such as the best way to manage sail hoists and reefing with a watch of young people, and had lots of sailing in Southampton Water in very big winds before going back into Ocean Village for the night. Next day it was even windier and we had to do a lot of training in harbour, including detailed tours of the boat, engine room etc. It was a really good group and we hope to have gained a lot of really promising new volunteers who will all be welcome back on board. Big thanks to sea staff Andy V, Andrew W, Andy R, Mark, Harri, Joe and Rooby.

This week’s crew joined on Monday - a mixed group organised through various local schools and charities as well as a couple of individual bookings. They have been really unlucky with the weather - Mark, who is skippering and was previously our staff skipper for nine years, says he has never known it so windy. We registered more than 40 knots of wind while in harbour and the reports from Dockhead mentioned 57 knots - heading into territory technically known as “Violent Storm”. So there was no sailing at all on Monday afternoon or Tuesday, but they did a lot of training on board and also had a trip to the cinema and all learned how to be good Boov (an animated alien race).

Yesterday they finally got to sea, with a faint hope of making it as far as Poole, but it was still blowing Force 6 and cold, and there was some seasickness, so they turned back to Cowes in the afternoon and had shore leave and some training with charts and knots. Today the wind has dropped right off so they should be having a better day! But they are a great group and all being very positive about a tough and challenging experience. Big thanks to sea staff Mark, Andrew, Bill, Harri and Rooby.

Back to index

* Sea staff bookings 2015 - vacancies! (ONE URGENT)
Please can you help with any of the following?

13-19 April - one more qualified watchleader (at any level) - URGENT!
2 and 3 May - one or two more experienced members of sea staff for day sails with donors, clients etc
4-8 May - second mate
1-5 June - one more watchleader, trainee watchleader or bosun
6-10 June - one more watchleader, trainee watchleader and/or bosun (adult voyage)
11, 13 and 14 June - one more experienced watchleader or bosun for day sails with donors, clients etc. Happy to take someone for the whole period (including 12 June maintenance day), or for one or two days at a time.
15-19 June - bosun. This is our annual voyage with Alfreton Park Special School and normally a very popular trip with sea staff, but this year one of the volunteers who was booked has had to drop out so there is a space! 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.
27 June-3 July - possible 2M needed tbc
18-19 July - watchleaders needed for day sails or possible weekend out of Plymouth
26-31 July - experienced 2M for a voyage starting and finishing in Jersey
4-6 Sept - one more watchleader for weekend voyage
8 Sept - one more watchleader and bosun for corporate day sail for a donor
9-12 Sept - one more qualified watchleader
13 Sept - one more experienced watchleader for day sail with donors, clients etc.
18-20 Sept - experienced 1M, 2M, 3M and bosun for mates’ training weekend
21-25 Sept - 2M, bosun and possibly trainee watchleader.
26-29 Sept - 2M and 3M or trainee mate
30 Sept - 4 Oct - one more qualified watchleader for ASTO Small Ships Race
5-10 Oct - 2M and additional 3M or trainee mate
12-16 Oct - 2M and additional 3M or trainee mate
16-18 Oct - 2M and bosun for weekend voyage
19-23 Oct - 2M and bosun
23-27 Oct - bosun
28 Oct - 1 Nov - 2M and 3M

This list is changing a lot as people drop in and out, and others are doing assessments or first voyages early in the season which will dictate what they can do later on. There are also voyages where we don't yet know who the client might be and that will affect the levels of experience we might need among the staff. So we may not be able to confirm new bookings straight away, but if you are interested in any of these dates - especially the April and May ones! - please email me now.

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 webmaster1@oytsouth.org.

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.

Back to index

* Berths available for young people

Please spread the word and help us find people who might like to come sailing this year! Bursary funding MAY be available on application for people who can't afford the full voyage fee.

20-25 April - Southampton to Southampton - 5 nights - 1 berth possibly available tbc - £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 tbc - age 12-25 - £350pp.
20-26 June - Southampton - 6 nights - 7 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 webmaster1@oytsouth.org with bookings or enquiries.

Back to index

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 webmaster1@oytsouth.org for more information.

Back to index

Adult voyages

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

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 webmaster1@oytsouth.org to book.

Back to index

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.

Back to index

* 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 webmaster1@oytsouth.org. 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) (possibly full tbc but we can take names for a reserve list)
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)

Back to index

* Financial appeal

Huge thanks this week to the Henry Smith Charity for an extremely generous donation towards the skipper’s salary; and to another Foundation which prefers to remain anonymous for a general grant which we may use to help fund places for disadvantaged young people who cannot 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.

Back to index

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.

Back to index

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.

Back to index

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.

Back to index

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.

Back to index

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.

Back to index

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!

Back to index

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.

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.

Back to index


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