MACS voyage


OYT South bulletin 3rd September 2015

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

* Berths available in 2015 for young people
We’ve still got a few spare places on a short voyage next week, 9-12 Sept - Southampton to Southampton - 3 nights - age range 15-25, and we have bursary funding to help fill the berths - it might not cost you any more than a contribution to your food on board, though of course if you can afford any more it does help us to run our voyages. Email for more information.

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

9-12 Sept - Southampton to Southampton - 3 nights - 5 berths available - age 15-25 - £265pp at full price but funding help is definitely available - please ask.
21-25 Sept - Southampton to Southampton - 4 nights - 11 berths available - age 12-25 - £350pp.
5-10 Oct - Southampton to Southampton - 5 nights - 11 berths possibly available - age 12-25 - £435pp.
19-23 Oct - Southampton to Southampton - 4 nights - 12 berths available -age 12-25 - £350pp.
28 Oct - 1 Nov - Southampton to Southampton - 4 nights - 3 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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* John Laing voyage news

The previous bulletin saw John Laing safely arrived in London, where we had a couple of days with various visitors, including people from HMS President (huge thanks to them for hospitality), the Prince’s Trust, the police, Help for Heroes, the London Tigers, Tower Hamlets Integrated Youth and Community Services, Rusthall Community and Youth Project, Scott who previously sailed with us via Kids Company, and some potential new volunteers. Big thanks to the sea staff who helped out with visits and jobs on board: Andy V, Andy B, Brigid, Harri, Jamie, Jack, Emily, Caz, and Rob.

We were then joined by a crew from MACS, the Micro and Anophthalmic Children’s Society - the UK’s national charity for children born without eyes or with underdeveloped eyes. Alongside HMS President, right next to Tower Bridge, is a great place to start a voyage! Following the critical safety drills and briefings we departed for Gravesend at 4pm on Sunday. Some of the group had sailed with us before so were familiar with the onboard routines and briefings. We were secure on the Gravesend pontoon by 8:45 pm. Jack gave us a running commentary on the river (which he had studied as part of a school project). Sailing under the Dartford bridge, we decided that we did not need a fender to help get the mast under it! There was lots of clearance. At Gravesend we completed a full abandon ship drill which was good fun!

Leaving Gravesend the next morning we sailed into the Thames Estuary and braved very heavy rain. Jamie's watch managed a whole hour without rain, much to the envy of Jack’s watch. We were lucky that it was not cold so we saw it as just liquid sunshine. We got into Ramsgate at 7pm, berthing astern of a French racing boat. We had to wait on weather in Ramsgate for two days while a complex system of low pressures sent 40 knot winds from the South West funnelling up the English Channel into the Dover Straits. This was the direction that we needed to travel! For the next 48 hours we completed lots of RYA training. Four start yachting certificates were obtained by Ben, Ellen, Tom and Clevelan. Progress toward competent crew or watch leader certificates was made by George, Jessica, Angel, Zeena and Jess. During a run ashore the crew went to the Ramsgate Maritime Museum and bought a chocolate fountain from a charity shop! It was a welcome treat after the evening meal!

Leaving Ramsgate early on Thursday morning, we had a good sail down to Dover and were treated to a fly-past by the Red Arrows, plus we saw the Coastguard helicopter checking on vessels in the shipping lanes. While sailing past Dungeness Power Station, Beachy Head and Selsey Bill, we played great music and sang songs, sailed through a fishing fleet and past a ship dredging up sand for building. In spite of the conditions (some wind and more rain!) we managed to cook every meal to a  high standard (great flapjacks!). Through the night we were sailing on a glistening sea lit up by the sparkling moon. The stars came and went and the warm bunks called when each watch went off shift.

On the last full day sailing John Laing was pleased to be back in the Solent. A huge cruise ship, Oriana, was greeted with an OYT South Mexican wave. They had 2,636 people onboard - some waved in return. Imagine doing an abandon ship drill on there! The voyage ended in Ocean Village last Saturday - big thanks to sea staff Andy B, Brigid, Harri, Carrie, Jack and Jamie. Last year Jack was a new crew member as part of the MACS group, and is now a qualified watchleader; Jamie is a watchleader with OYT Scotland sailing with us for the first time and is now on OYT South’s books as a third mate.

On Sunday we were joined by a new group. Six young people were selected by the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation, who have all been involved with the National Schools Sailing Association for several years so are keen and competent dinghy sailors, and they have been awarded this voyage in recognition of the value they have offered in terms of giving back to their local teams - e.g. training and mentoring younger sailors. Five others were recruited by HMS President: including some from the London Tigers; and the twelfth crew member was doing his Duke of Edinburgh Award Gold Residential.

Tim Anderton from the ASSF came along at the start of the voyage and stayed for introductions and safety briefings; and then the boat set off for Cowes, motor-sailing in little wind. They picked up a buoy for the night and the next morning filled up with fuel and headed out into the western Solent for some drills and sail training. They got through the Needles, hoisted the cruising chute and were off towards the Channel Island as the wind filled in, giving them a flying passage in glorious sunshine all the way to about 15 miles north of Alderney where they dropped the cruising chute again at around 7pm. The passage had been so unexpectedly fast that they arrived well before the tide was due to turn in their favour so the last leg of the passage was much slower and they finally got into Guernsey in the small hours. They had some sleep and shore leave for the rest of the day, but set off again in the evening as the wind was due to go northerly and would have given them a tough passage home, so it made sense to sail ahead of the wind change. This proved to be a very wise move - a favourable tide and beam reach through the Alderney Race saw them making 11 knots over the ground, and then they were able to hold best course to windward all the way back across the Channel, averaging seven and a half knots and  reaching the Needles at 0730 on Wednesday. The wind then dropped but it was still very sunny, and they sailed into Cowes again for shore leave, icecream, games and some boat maintenance. Today they are doing sail training exercises in the Solent, and the young people are planning to depose the sea staff after dinner and take charge of getting the vessel safely back to Ocean Village tonight. It’s a great group and they have been a pleasure to sail with. Big thanks to sea staff Andy V, Martyn, David, Clara, Amy (who joined us as an 18-year old crew member two summers ago, became part of the refit team and qualified as a second mate before taking a sailing job with the Sea Cadets this year, and is now starting some first mate training with us - fantastic progress!), and Chloe, who is an RN reservist with HMS President, stepped in at short notice and without a training voyage when one of their team who had been selected to join our sea staff this week had to drop out, and has done extremely well - we hope to see her on board again!

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John Laing maintenance day NEXT MONDAY - 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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* Adult day sail Sunday 13th September - places available

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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* Prolific - OYT South’s new boat
Hopefully most readers have heard about OYT South's new boat, Prolific. One of the nicest comments on her arrival came from Steve Ellis whose father Chris was one of the charity’s two founders in 1960, saying “Dad would have loved Prolific.”

Prolific has been in Ocean Village for the last couple of weeks, and next week has a day’s sea trials to look at her rig and sails. After that the refit begins in earnest and we have a massive amount to do in order to get her ready for sailing next season. Huge thanks once again to everyone who has been contributing to the Prolific Appeal to ensure that we can do all this work. 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.

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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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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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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* John Laing
- farewell and AGM
We still don’t have final details but we are hoping to arrange a 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 - we’ll give you more information as soon as we possibly can but please keep the date free!

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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 - NEXT WEEK
OYT South is delighted to have been chosen as the nominated charity for Swim2Bestival 2015 - a lovely group of people are going to raise money for us by swimming across the Solent NEXT THURSDAY 10th September. If you happen to be out on the water that day and see the event, please give them all your support - and don’t run them over!

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* Financial appeal
Huge thanks this week to Mercury Yacht Harbour and to Northney Marina for raising money for us at their berthholders parties, as well as to everyone who has been supporting the Prolific Appeal - many of whom are listed here, though there have been other equally generous 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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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