John Laing sails to London - Prolific arrives in Southampton!


OYT South bulletin 20th August 2015

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

* Prolific - OYT South’s new boat arrives in Southampton
OYT South's new boat, Prolific has arrived in Ocean Village, Southampton! (Massive thanks to MDL for providing Prolific with a new home).

Big thanks to Mark, Graeme, Steve, Matt, Chris, Chris, Di, Dom, Andrew, Maire, Mike and Brian who were all involved in bringing her back from Norway. They were in Peterhead when the last bulletin was written and from there they completed the voyage home in two legs with just one overnight stop in Lowestoft.

Huge thanks also to David Marshall who arranged for his boat plus photographer Andy Wales to meet Prolific in the Solent yesterday. Also out on the water with us were Kit Power, governor of the charity in the 1960s, and our newest watchleader Jack Dignan - aged 81 and 18 respectively!

And massive thanks to everyone who has been contributing to the Prolific Appeal to ensure that we can do all the work required over the winter to get Prolific ready for next season. 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 read on...

textIf 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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* John Laing voyage news
- arrived in London!
Last week’s bulletin ended with John Laing on a mooring buoy outside Cowes surrounded by the cream of British yacht racing. They watched a lot of race starts, picked up some fuel, did a man overboard recovery drill (during which Sophie the relief bosun thoroughly checked the drysuit for leaks!)  and then set off for Dieppe - a great sail averaging 7 knots all the way across. They arrived at 2pm on Saturday and found that Dieppe had laid on fireworks and a rap concert. John Laing’s crew remain undecided regarding French rap...

They spent the whole of Sunday in Dieppe and left at 6am on Monday in a dead calm, motoring along the coast to Calais and doing fire drills and other exercises. Then they crossed over to the UK side, found a little wind, and continued alternately sailing and motoring to Queenborough, arriving at 7.30am on Monday. They then went to bed for the morning, got up for lunch and had a great afternoon of tacking and gybing in the Medway, and doing a man overboard recovery drill under sail, before returning to Queenborough for dinner and games.

Next morning the young people took charge of the boat and navigated her all the way to the Thames Barrier, where they found a nice south-westerly wind and managed to short-tack all the way up the Thames from the Barrier as far as Tower Bridge - a really fantastic day’s sailing!

The crew left today with five RYA Competent Crew certificates earned (the others already had them).

Big thanks to sea staff Andy, Martyn, Harri, Carrie, Phil and Sophie - who has been signed off as a fully-fledged bosun (with spaghetti-burning endorsement... see last week’s bulletin). .

The programme of visits to the boat has already started with a guest appearance from John Snowden, who used to sail as first mate and is taking the team for a curry this evening!

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* John Laing
in London tomorrow and Saturday
John Laing is in London and available for visits!

We are looking forward to seeing all those who have arranged to come and visit John Laing in London over the next few days. If you haven’t booked in but would still like to come, then please call the boat phone (07990 518915) - ideally giving us a few hours’ notice as we have to arrange to get you through security as we are berthed at HMS President. You will need to bring ID (preferably a passport).

It is important to note that there are two HMS Presidents on the Thames: one is a ship on the Embankment (we won't be there) and the other is a shore establishment which is where we will be: just downstream of Tower Bridge, overlooking the entrance to St Katharine Docks.

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Facebook and Twitter
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.

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

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* Berths available in 2015 for young people - DISCOUNTED places in September!

We have one voyage in September which really needs a few extra crew members and we are now offering DISCOUNTS just to fill a few more places!  The voyage is only a short one, 9-12 Sept - Southampton to Southampton - 3 nights - age range 15+. It might be ideal for students whose term hasn’t started yet. If you had exam results recently and now know where you will be going next term, if you're doing something that starts after 12th September, do think about whether you and any friends might like to come for a sail before you have to get back to your studies! Email for more information.

The full list of voyages still available in John Laing this year:

23-29 Aug - London to Southampton - 6 nights - 2 berths possibly available - please ask! - age range 12-25 - £510pp.
9-12 Sept - Southampton to Southampton - 3 nights - 4 berths available - price on application (discounts available) - age range 15-25.
5-10 Oct - Southampton to Southampton - 5 nights - 11 berths possibly available tbc - age 12-25 - £435pp
19-23 Oct - Southampton to Southampton - 4 nights - 12 berths available -age 12-25 OR possible adult voyage tbc - £350pp.
28 Oct - 1 Nov -Southampton to Southampton - 4 nights - up to 4 berths 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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* Sea staff bookings 2015 - last few vacancies

Email NOW if you are interested in any of these:

30 Aug - 4 Sept - Southampton - 3M tbc
8 Sept
- Southampton - one more watchleader for client day sail
13 Sept - Southampton - one more watchleader for day sail with donors, clients etc.
12-16 Oct - Southampton - bosun and possibly also one more watchleader
19-23 Oct - Southampton - 1M
28 Oct - 1 Nov - Southampton - additional 3M or trainee mate

If you are interested in any of these dates 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.

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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2016 DRAFT sailing programme
A while ago we wrote to all our current group clients asking them to think about whether they might like to book another voyage for 2016, and to let us know if they had any particular requests for dates. Based on their answers we have now written 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 - farewell adult voyage?
We have one remaining completely unsold John Laing voyage this year and if there is sufficient interest, we could run 19-23 October as an adult voyage aimed at people who would like one last sail in John Laing. If you'd like to do this, do let us know by 1st September. as we will only make it an adult voyage if we are confident there is sufficient interest. The basic voyage price is £350 per person but anyone who can pay more and contribute to the Prolific Appeal fund will be especially welcome. Please email if you would like to be part of a farewell adult cruise for John Laing.

For those who want to say goodbye to John Laing but can’t manage a full voyage, we'll be arranging another sort of farewell for John Laing, which has been a fantastic boat for the charity over the last 25 years, possibly on the day of our AGM, which should be Saturday 7th November - details to be confirmed as soon as possible.

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Adult day sail Sunday 13th September
We have a few spaces left on board John Laing for an adult day sail on Sunday 13th September, 0930-1700, starting and finishing in Ocean Village, Southampton. The key aim of the day is to allow current or potential sponsors, donors, group organisers etc to come out on the boat and see what we do - please do let us know if you would like to come or if you know anyone who should be invited. But if we have spare places, we can fill them with any adults who would like one last day sail in John Laing - please email if you might be interested.

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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)? There is also the possibility of some Prolific refit work available in September and October for core refit volunteers able to start sooner. 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, details and an “expression of interest” form to complete are available here. At this stage, we’re really thinking about the full-time team - if you want to come for a few days or the odd weekend then we’d love to see you but we will sort this out nearer the time, after we have the core team in place.

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* Swim2Bestival - a tale of terror and jellyfish!
OYT South is delighted to have been chosen as the nominated charity for Swim2Bestival in 2015 - a lovely group of people are going to raise money for us by swimming across the Solent. On condition that a 55-tonne ketch with a distinctive red hull, erratically steered by teenagers, doesn't come too close to swimmers' heads in the water! Please like Swim2Bestival on Facebook!

One of the swimmers, Elaine, wanted to tell us how her training has been going - please read on and see what hardships people are prepared to face in order to raise money for us!:

“On Sunday I took on the 1.4 mile Bournemouth to Boscombe pier swim....A British Heart Foundation fundraiser.  It was the most stunning day and the water was the flattest I have ever seen it. As I entered the water it took my breath away - it was crystal clear and so beautiful. I enjoyed a leisurely swim for a while, weaving through the other swimmers, really enjoying it... Until.....I saw a humongous blueish jellyfish lingering at the sea bottom! I kept going, thinking it must've been my imagination. But no - I saw a few more and honestly did freak out quite a bit. I looked back and I saw I wasn't half way. The tide was against me but I trudged on a bit.....then my hand went through a jellyfish. .....I screamed a proper girlie scream which caught all the lifeguards’ attention which point I had to apologise and explain the issue! I then had serious words with myself and carried on with the swim. Despite wanting to swim to shore the thought of having the Bestival swim ahead of me meant I was determined to finish and did so in 50 minutes. When I got out realised my wet suit also had leaked so I had been held back by that as well. So now I have lots of practice to overcome my fear of sea creatures!! To sponsor me please visit:"

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* Financial appeal
Huge thanks this week to the Quilter Cheviot Foundation and to the Baily Thomas Charitable Fund for very generous donations to the Prolific Appeal - plus the many other donors who prefer to remain anonymous!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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John Laing maintenance days - please help
We haven't always had as much help as we needed at recent maintenance days - PLEASE put these dates in your diary and come and help on any of them if you possibly can! Maintenance days generally run from 9am to 5pm and it is usually possible to offer accommodation on board for the night before or after.

John Laing's planned maintenance days for 2015 are as follows:
Monday 7 Sept - Southampton (Ocean Village)
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.

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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
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 - 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