At sea - and a helicopter winchman drops in!


OYT South bulletin 25th September 2015

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

* Prolific maintenance - help needed - big week next week!
Lots of support needed on board Prolific in Southampton next week - can anyone help? The plan is to get the booms off on Monday and get other things prepared on Tuesday, ready to move her down to Hamble Point on Wednesday when the masts will come out. The masts will then be secured on deck and she will come back to Ocean Village where more kit will come off the boat and go into the store. Then on Friday she will move to Saxon Wharf ready for the boat to be lifted out of the water. So we need as much help as we can possibly get, both for moving kit and crew members for the various boat moves. Email if you can offer a day or more - it really will be appreciated!

The refit continues once the boat is out of the water so if you can’t help next week but 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! Please note that we cannot have under-18s involved at refit (except for an official trainee bosun weekend which will be planned over the winter, when we can ensure there is adequate supervision and safety for 16 and 17-year olds).

Big thanks this week to Chris R, Chris W, Richard Griffiths, John Niven, Steve Lacey and Nic Crawford for work on board, and to our vice-Patron Michael Campbell who came for a first visit to the boat! Major tasks this week included identifying and fixing a fault with the bow thruster, and getting the sails off the boat - a huge job.

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 - and with a possibility of starting earlier if appropriate)? 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
Last weekend was a mates’ training voyage with a mix of new potential volunteers plus some current members of sea staff coming along for extra practice. It was a great group of people, some who would bring really valuable skills and experience to the charity, and hopefully we’ll see many of the new faces staying involved with us. Unfortunately it was a weekend of very light winds (and occasionally no wind at all) but we managed to get a lot of practice at hoisting and lowering sails and putting in reefs, in order to get people confident at how they might run these things with a watch of young people. On Saturday we also did an MOB recovery demonstration and lots of useful briefings, including a session of “good watchleader, bad watchleader” where we go round the table asking people for alternating examples (“A good watchleader lets everyone have a turn at every job”, “a bad watchleader doesn’t plan ahead”) and then we talk about examples of what works well and what causes problems - always an interesting exercise.

On Sunday we got the mizzen staysail and cruising chute up and did more drills before finally getting a breeze on the last stretch and thankfully at last being able to show people how John Laing really sails! The voyage ended on Sunday - big thanks to sea staff Andy V, Sparky, Andy R, Rooby, Emily and Caz.

This week’s crew consisted mainly of young people from local schools and pupil referral units. They joined on Monday in Ocean Village and sailed to Cowes in time for an evening walk out to Egypt Point to look at navigation lights. On Tuesday they filled up with fuel, had showers and then set off into the western Solent for exercises and a man overboard recovery drill before a cracking sail down to Poole. They had shore leave in Poole on Wednesday morning before sailing John Laing off the quay and out of the harbour, followed by a great sail all the way to Sandown Bay. They anchored (under sail) there for the night near another sail training vessel and by morning had been joined by two more. Yesterday’s highlight was taking part in an exercise with Solent Coastguard’s helicopter, doing hi-line transfer practice; and the voyage ended in Ocean Village today with RYA Start Yachting certificates for seven young people. It was a challenging week with a number of young people on board with a track record of struggling to manage their own behaviour; but it still seems to have been a week where people made progress and there were worthwhile outcomes. Extra special thanks to the sea staff Andy, Rooby, Di, Jon, Annant and congratulations to Vicky who is now a qualified relief bosun.

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* Harri’s leaving present
You may know that in recent years we have offered a Staff Bosun role on a two-year contract to allow people to develop skills and experience in both sailing and vessel maintenance before hopefully moving on to more senior roles elsewhere. This means that Harri is approaching the end of her two years with us. In recognition of all her hard work, we have opened a fund for her leaving present - see here for how to contribute. Please give generously!

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* New Staff Engineer!
A big welcome to Josh Caudery who will be joining us in November as Prolific’s Staff Engineer! Many of you will know Josh, a qualified marine engineer who became involved with John Laing’s refits during his apprenticeship and has also done a number of voyages as relief bosun and more recently completed a third mate assessment. We are delighted that Josh has decided to join us full-time and he will be a great addition to the team.

As Prolific is larger and more technically complex than John Laing, it was agreed that the Staff Bosun role should give way to someone with more engineering and electrical skills, and as previously noted in this bulletin we will be looking for volunteer relief engineers to cover when Josh is not on board (our staff work on a pattern of approximately four weeks on and two off). 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 Josh can build a good team who all have some familiarity with the boat.

For all those young people who have qualified or been recommended as relief bosuns this season, don’t worry - we still need you! The plan is to get you sailing as bosun’s mates - supporting Josh and his team but also helping the other mates and developing your skills. Some of you may be more technically minded and will be interested in working up towards the relief engineer role; others may be less into engineering and electrical stuff and will want to learn more on the sailing side with the aim of becoming watchleaders. But the bosun’s mate role will continue to be the entry-level position for those aged 16 and upwards who have earned a recommendation to join our volunteers. As Prolific has more berths than John Laing, there should actually be more opportunities for young volunteers and trainee sea staff in future!

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* Sea staff bookings 2015 - vacancy NEXT WEEK and NEW November day sails
30 Sept - 4 Oct - one more watchleader for a voyage which includes the ASTO Small Ships Race.
2 and 3 November - a full team of sea staff needed for day sails - preference given to people who can do both days but we’re happy to hear from people who can do one or the other. As in previous years, we are offering these days through the RYA to Cruising Instructors and Yachtmaster Instructors who are interested in a day’s experience in a larger vessel than many of them normally sail. We’ll also be hoping to recruit some skilled and experienced new volunteers who would like to sail in Prolific! So we need a strong team of experienced sea staff to help us run these day sails.

If you are interested in any of this please email

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* Berths available in 2015 for young people
The last few voyages still available in John Laing this year:

19-23 Oct - Southampton to Southampton - 4 nights - at least 4 berths available -age 12-25 - £350pp.
28 Oct - 1 Nov -Southampton to Southampton - 4 nights - 1 or 2 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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* OYT South AGM 7th November - Trustees - and curry!
OYT South's 2015 AGM will take place on Saturday 7th November at The Southampton Seafarers Centre, 12-14 Queens Terrace, Southampton SO14 3BP. The official AGM mailing will go out to paid-up members on or around 12th October but in the meantime you can find more details here, including a link to book and pay for the curry evening after the meeting, in a local restaurant - BOOK NOW!

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 note that the Board’s primary role is about governance, not active day-to-day management of the charity; but new Trustees with strong links to major donors, for example, might be welcome! If you are thinking of standing for election, we’ll need you to return a formal proposal by 9th October in order to include you in the mailing to members. If you are interested in shorebased support for the charity outside the governance role - e.g. helping us attract new clients, improving what we offer to young people etc. - then we certainly welcome your involvement but being on the Board may not be the best way to do this unless in a specific role such as Youth Trustee - please get in touch and we can discuss what might be possible!

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

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* Baz Bew
Sadly we have just heard from former OYC skipper Paul Bew that his dad Baz died on Monday. Baz was for many years an OYC First Mate, mainly sailing with Ron Lovelady in Samuel Whitbread and Ginge Sargent in Grania. Paul says: “He got me into sailing and OYC, and many years later when I was a skipper he was a regular First Mate for me on GMC, Lord Rank and Samuel Whitbread.” If anyone would be interested in going to the funeral, please email and we will pass your details on to Paul.

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* February 2016 training weekend
We are looking at 20 and 21 February for the traditional OYT South winter shorebased training weekend where we hope to offer courses such as first aid, GMDSS assessments, chart corrections, diesel engines and more - as well as a great social evening on the Saturday. More details to follow but keep the dates free!

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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 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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* 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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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