Refitters !


OYT South bulletin 27th February 2015

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *  

* Refit news - help needed URGENTLY
We've got three weeks to get all the work done! And John Laing is being launched 10/11 March (there is still work to do once she’s back in the water).

Again we’ve had a great turnout of helpers this week - if we can keep this up for the next couple of weeks we’ll be doing really well! Huge thanks to Andy, Harri, Joe, Ivor, Tom L, Tom B, Nikki, Vicky, Dave Bland, Gregory Ellis, Tigger, John Niven, Jo Coomber, Amy, Sara Turnbull, Bill Rayner, Gerry Moore, Juley Simmonds, Ross and Laura from UKSA, Tezza, Katie Outlaw and Pete Croly.

The antifouling is now done, the boot topping is done and the masking tape removed from the hull, and the portholes finished and should now let in about 20% more light! The cockpit has had one coat of paint and parts of the deck have had a coat, and the rest of the deck is almost ready for painting. The forehatch and coachroof should be done by the end of today, and the deck fittings are all painted. The crew quarters have been sanded ready for painting. And in their spare time the team has been making clouds - as seen in a science project on children's TV - in the refit house!)

This is all an absolutely fantastic effort but we need to keep at the same level for the next couple of weeks to get everything ready in time, so PLEASE come along and join in for a day or more if you possibly can!

We're always happy to see people on weekdays; and we have a volunteers' weekend planned for 7-8 March - potentially fully-booked now though if that’s the only time you can come, do let us know! However, in the hope of getting more help from people who can only manage weekends, there’s still a possibility of an extra volunteers' weekend (14/15 March) - please email NOW if you can help on weekdays or either or both of these weekends, and we'll confirm 14/15 March if we can get enough extra people then to make it worth doing. Food and accommodation can be provided.

Don't forget that if several volunteers want to sail on the same voyages, we may give priority to those who have been to refit (as well as those who raise money, recruit crew members etc.), ahead of those who haven't been involved over the winter!

See here for information about John Laing’s winter refit and how you can get involved. The 2014-15 refit runs until Friday 20th March 2015. We need as many volunteers as possible, skilled or unskilled - email or call 07990 518915 to get yourself booked in!

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* Sea staff bookings 2015  - some early-season spaces!
Many thanks to everyone who has sent in their dates for voyages this year. First mates and second mates should now have had an email telling you where the spaces are (let me know if this email hasn’t reached you). For third mates, new trainee mates and relief bosuns, we have had a lot of bids and I now face a massive juggling exercise to ensure everyone gets at least one of the voyages they want before offering the rest to people who can do more than one voyage.

However, there are some early season gaps which no-one has bid for specifically - can anyone help with these?

23-27 March - ideally a qualified third mate, but a trainee mate might be an option
30 March - 3 April  second mate and relief bosun
3-7 April - third mate and relief bosun
8-12 April - second mate and third mate
13-19 April - second mate and relief bosun
20-25 April - second mate and relief bosun
27 April - 1 May - first mate (tbc), plus second and third mates
4-8 May - second OR third mate, and relief bosun

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

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* Early-season 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. 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 he full voyage fee.

30 Mar- 3 Apr
- Southampton to Southampton - 4 nights - 7 berths available - £350pp.
3-7 April
- Southampton to Gosport - 4 nights - 1 berth available - £350pp
13-17 Apr
- Southampton to Southampton - 6 nights - 6 berths available - £510pp.
20-25 April
- Southampton to Southampton - 5 nights - 12 berths available - £435pp.

The first three voyages on the list are ideal for people of school age; the age range for the fourth trip depends on what bookings we can get.

For the full voyage programme and vacancies later in the season, see here or here.

Email with bookings or enquiries.

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* Shorebased training weekend report

Many thanks to everyone involved in the shorebased training last weekend - it was a great couple of days with some lovely people and excellent courses. Seven people completed the GMDSS assessment and got their radio licences; 22 people completed the first aid qualification; 12 completed diesel, 8 did radar, 19 did the disability awareness course and at least 7 helped with chart corrections though others also popped in and out of this workshop to help. That’s at least 75 courses done. Huge thanks to the instructors Mark, Jason, Yvonne, Leon, Andy and Tony - who along with Nix deserves extra-special thanks for the use of the Sea Cadet unit and all the food!

During the weekend, there were two special presentations: one to Brian Eyres, former skipper and now OYT South’s treasurer, in honour of his 70th birthday this year; and the other to John Parkin, who has been one of our key first mates for many years, but is now retiring from first mating (though we will still see him involved in less demanding roles). Big thanks to both of them for all they have done for the charity for such a long time.

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* Adult voyages
Adult voyages in 2015 are:

27-29 March 2015 - Southampton - 2 nights - age 18+. £195pp (provisionally FULL).
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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Ray Kipling and the RNLI
Ray Kipling, who is helping us with New Boat fundraising, has written a book about his early years working for the RNLI. It’s called “Call the Lifeboat” and it’s only available as an eBook - for just £2.99 though you can read the first two chapters for free!

Do have a look, post reviews on and, and spread the word!

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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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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