At sea...


OYT South bulletin 29th May 2015

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *  

* Voyage news
Last weekend saw a short voyage for a crew which included eight young carers and some other individual bookings. They joined the boat in Southampton on Friday night, and there was time for introductions, some briefings and games before bed. On Saturday they finished the safety briefings and headed out into the mayhem that is the Solent on a Bank Holiday weekend - huge numbers of other boats were out. There wasn’t much wind and they motored westwards, getting out of the Solent just ahead and clear of a 150-boat racing fleet! They then sailed to Poole with all the young people having turns at steering, sail handling and manoeuvring the boat. In Poole they tied up alongside the sail training vessel Lord Nelson, which very kindly gave them a berth for the night. This meant an 0830 departure on Sunday as Lord Nelson needed to leave. Again, there wasn’t much wind to start with but it soon filled in and they had a good sail across Poole Bay and up the Solent as far as Beaulieu, where the wind died again and they had to motor the last stage up to Southampton. They got in at 3pm on Sunday and did a quick clean of the boat before voyage certificates were handed out (sadly there wasn’t time on such a short voyage to complete RYA qualifications). Overall, it was a good crew, with lots of enthusiastic young people - in some cases enjoying a much-needed break from difficult home lives and in others demonstrating the skills that could potentially have them coming back as future volunteers! Big thanks to sea staff Nic, Andy R, Miranda, Mike and Harri.

A new crew then joined on Monday - all Scouts and full of enthusiasm for a half-term voyage. They set off as quickly as possible and had dinner under way before picking up a buoy outside Yarmouth for the night. This allowed them to make an early start next morning, setting off at 0645 and heading through the Needles before turning south for a mixed day of sailing and motorsailing, before ending up in Guernsey. Next morning they had shore leave to explore St Peter Port, as well as time for training towards their RYA certificates, before a late lunch and then a great sail across to a beautiful anchorage in  Sark. Up to this point they had had a lot of sunshine but it had gone by Thursday; however, it did not dampen the high spirits on board. They thought about going ashore in the morning but the staff who took the dinghy to test the landing reported that it looked unsafe, so they did more RYA training on board for a while. As the tide rose and it became possible to take a dinghy higher up the beach, the landing got much safer and a short spell of shore leave was possible. Back on board for bacon sandwiches and then off to Alderney - eight and a half knots of boat speed, to windward. They got more shore leave in Alderney and a visit to the beach. There are some keen fishermen in the crew and there has been much crab-catching (all returned ot the sea unharmed). An early start this morning and they are currently making good speed back across the Channel. Big thanks to sea staff Andy V, Graeme, Harri, Miranda, Sam and Imogen, who is sailing as bosun for the first time.

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* 11 June evening boat delivery Southampton to Gosport
On 11 June we will be finishing a client day sail in Southampton at 5pm, and then that evening we have a team of sea staff to move John Laing round to Gosport ready for a maintenance day and then the Gosport Marine Festival. If anyone else - sea staff, other supporters and friends - would like to join us for a relaxed evening on the water, please email We don’t particularly need lots of extra help but this may be a chance for a few people who don’t often get out in the boat!

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* Sea staff bookings 2015 - vacancies

Current list of vacancies for the year - can you help with any of the following?

Email NOW if you are interested in any of these:

9-12 Sept - one more qualified watchleader
13 Sept - one more experienced watchleader for day sail with donors, clients etc.
18-20 Sept - experienced watchleaders for mates' training weekend
21-25 Sept - bosun and watchleader or trainee watchleader. There is an outside chance that we may have a crew this week hoping to make a film of their voyage, so any sea staff who are good at using a video camera would be especially welcome!
26-29 Sept - 2M or experienced 3M
5-10 Oct - 2M
19-23 Oct - 2M
23-27 Oct - bosun
28 Oct - 1 Nov - 2M

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 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

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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* Adult voyage 6-10 June - last few spaces available for anyone aged 18+, from complete novices to sea staff wanting more experience!

Is there anyone aged 18+ (no upper limit) who would like to join our adult voyage 6-10 June 2015 - Southampton - 4 nights - £350pp? Ideal for sea staff who want to practise their skills without the pressure of supervising young people at the same time; or for potential new volunteers who want to come along and find out what it's all about. Also great for small-boat sailors who want the experience of sailing a 55-tonne, 72-foot commercial vessel - or for anyone else who just wants some good sailing in good company. Please bring passports as we may be able to get to France. Bursary funding may be available for people who genuinely cannot afford the full price - especially qualified sea staff who are paid-up members if the skipper feels that the charity would benefit from you developing your skills - so if you want to devote more attention to navigation, boat handling or anything else, this could be the voyage for you. Email if you are interested. And please spread the word among your friends, family and colleagues!

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Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation - calling sea staff and trainee sea staff aged 16-24

OYT South is very proud to announce that we are to be one of the first recipients of a grant from the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation. Andrew Simpson was a gold-medal winning Olympic sailor who was tragically killed while training for the America’s Cup in 2013, and to have been chosen in the first round of grants by the foundation set up in his name is a tremendous honour.

Their grant is to support five young people who have sailed with Ocean Youth Trust South and shown the potential to train as volunteers and potentially make real progress in sailing, but who cannot afford to do additional voyages in order to reach the required levels of experience. These individuals will initially be trained as volunteer bosuns and will progress into a watchleader role once they are aged 18+. Once this training is complete each individual will then carry out these roles and will also help to inspire and teach the next generation of young people on board.

Ocean Youth Trust South’s project was identified by the Trustees of the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation as one that truly reflects the aims and objectives of the Foundation, transforming young people’s lives through sailing.

Mark Todd, OYT South’s Chief Executive, commented “We are very proud to be associated with the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation. This grant will help to offer significant development to young people who have the potential to stay in sailing for a lifetime, not only to enjoy the sport but also to become the future volunteers in sail training or even professionals in the industry. As volunteer bosuns and watchleaders with OYT South they will also be leading, teaching and inspiring some of the 450 young people who sail with us on residential voyages every year. These come from the widest possible variety of backgrounds, from keen young sailors wanting to develop their skills, to the most disadvantaged and vulnerable young people who will perhaps only have one chance in all their lives to try living and working on board a sailing vessel. Every week we see young people developing confidence, working as a team and broadening their horizons. A voyage really can transform a young person’s life, and the young volunteers who join our team with support from the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation can play a major part in helping us continue that work.” 

If you are aged under 25 and have been told by our skipper on a previous voyage that you should come back and train as a volunteer, please let us know if you would like to apply for a fully-funded or part-funded place using this grant. Priority voyages for this will be:

20-26 June - Southampton
27 June - 3 July - Southampton to Poole
13-20 August - Poole to London
Voyages in September and October

Email if you are interested.

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* 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.

1-5 June - Southampton to Southampton - 4 nights - 2 berths available - age 12-25 - £350pp.
6-10 June - Southampton to Southampton - 4 nights - adult voyage (age 18+, no upper limit) - 3 berths available - £350pp.
20-26 June - Southampton - 6 nights - 4 berths available - £510pp. Special voyage - see below! Passports required.
7-12 August - Poole- 5 nights - 1 berth possibly available tbc - please ask - age 12-25 - £440pp.
13-20 August - Poole to London - 7 nights - 6 berths available - age 12-25 - £575pp. Sail up the Thames and moor near Tower Bridge!
4-6 Sept - Southampton to Southampton- 2 nights - 1 berth available - age 12-18 - £195pp.
9-12 Sept - Southampton to Southampton- 3 nights - 12 berths available - age 16-25 - £265pp. Ideal for students and others of a similar age - this voyage is shortly after the schools go back but might suit people at college or uni who are still on holiday!
18-20 Sept - Southampton to Southampton - 2 nights - at least 6 berths available - age 18+ (adult voyage) - £195pp.
21-25 Sept - Southampton to Southampton - 4 nights - 12 berths available - age 12-25 - £350pp.
5-10 Oct - Southampton to Southampton - 5 nights - 12 berths available - age 12-25 - £435pp
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 16-25
This voyage would be perfect for anyone with an adventurous spirit, or maybe for a Duke of Edinburgh Gold Residential  - but perhaps not the ideal first voyage for a nervous novice....

20-26 June - Southampton - 6 nights - 4 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! 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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Gosport marine festival 13 June - help needed!
Can anyone help with our stand at the Gosport Marine Festival on 13th June? We need a few more volunteers on the day. Contact the office, 02392 602278 if you can help.

IJohn Laing will be there! Details and booking information here and here.

This date will also see the inaugural Gosport Peninsula charity pursuit, a sailing regatta aimed at raising funds for your chosen charity. You could take part with your own vessels, or forward the details to any supporters with yachts who might like to take part. The event is run along similar lines to the successful Eddystone Pursuit out of Plymouth, and awards prizes not for the fastest boat but the crew that has raised the most for charity. The event is organised by Gosport Marine Scene to coincide with the Gosport Marine Festival that will offer free ‘try watersports’ activities to locals. For full details, go to the Gosport Marine Festival website, or contact with any questions.

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Martyn’s Nightrider fundraising
One of our volunteer watchleaders (and newly-qualified first mate), Martyn Powe, and his daughter Katie are taking part in Nightrider - a 100km cycle around London and its major landmarks over the night of 6/7 June, to raise money for OYT South. Here’s Martyn’s fundraising page  - please do support him!

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Tigger’s haircut - please give generously!
TiggerMany of you will know one of our volunteers Dave “Tigger” Heffer - and may have noticed that in recent years his hair has been growing is rumoured there may even be a nest of partridges living somewhere at the back...Anyway, the time has come and Tigger is going to have a haircut, to raise money for OYT South. Depending on how much money is donated, he could have a number two cut, a number one, or a complete shave. Full details here. The big day will be 13th August in Poole when John Laing is alongside...

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OYT South branded clothing - including SLAM jackets
Slam jacketT-shirts, hoodies and more are always available here, but the one thing you can’t buy as an individual order is a SLAM jacket (modelled here by Mark):

The SLAM jackets are much more affordable if we order a batch of several at a time. We have five orders but if we can get another five, everyone gets 30% off! Retail price £126.

Email if you are interested.

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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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First aid course available in June
Yvonne Taylor, who runs many of our medical and sea survival courses, is offering an MCA Proficiency in Medical First Aid course (and perhaps First Aid at Work) 25-28 June at £40 for OYT South members - possibly slightly more for First Aid at Work. Email for details.

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Adult voyages
for training and selecting potential new volunteers
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 to book.

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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!

John Laing's planned maintenance days for 2015 are as follows
Friday 12 June - Gosport
Saturday 11 July - Plymouth
Monday 7 Sept - Southampton
Sunday 11 October - Southampton.

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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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 or have a look here: More news on this epic swim when we have it!

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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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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.

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