Chairman Richard in Prolific's bilge...while John Laing's crew learn about collision avoidance!


OYT South bulletin 30th October 2015

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

* Refit weekend 7-8 November - volunteers REALLY needed

There will be a refit weekend NEXT WEEKEND 7th and 8th November - please come and help! We need lots of support, mainly to shift masses of gear off John Laing. We’ve only got a couple of volunteers booked so far and we are desperate for more! Email if you can come and lend a hand. See also below for AGM and curry on the Saturday night.

Through the winter, we will normally be looking for volunteer help on weekdays; but we'll also arrange a number of these special volunteer weekends when people can come and help who wouldn't otherwise be available. More dates to be announced shortly.

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* OYT South AGM 7th November - and curry - still time to book!

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 has gone out to members (email if you think you are a paid-up member but haven't had this email). Non-members are also welcome though you can't vote at the AGM - but you can become a member!

You can find details of the event here, including a link to book and pay for the curry evening after the meeting, in a local restaurant - BOOK NOW! We had around 25 bookings by yesterday but the restaurant have now agreed we can carry on taking additional bookings next week so you are not too late.

See above for details of help needed with refit over the AGM weekend. If anyone needs accommodation after the curry night, priority will be given to people who also come and spend some time working on the boat!

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* Prolific maintenance - help needed!

Work has continued on board Prolific this week, though the boat has been closed to volunteers for a few days while the team got on with a few jobs which would have made it unsafe to have more people on board. They have lifted out three fuel tanks (and cleaned ten years’-worth of detritus out from underneath). This allowed them to expose the keel bolts in that area - half of Prolific’s keel bolts have now been checked, cleaned and re-tightened, a major job which will give us security for years to come.

The team has also dropped the anchor and flaked out the chain; removed all the saloon bilge pump pipework for an overhaul, and replaced two of the three fuel tanks - the third one needs the work on the piping to be complete, plus repairs to the tank supports, before it can go back.

Big thanks to the team of Chris, Josh, surveyors Di and Nic, and the Chief Executive and Chairman, Mark and Richard, for all their help this week!

We still need plenty of help over the next few months, on weekdays and on a few special volunteer weekends, starting with 7-8 November. If you can come and help for a day, a weekend, a week or more, 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).

We now have a refit house so can offer accommodation to helpers over the winter, space permitting.

As well as casual helpers, we’re also still looking to complete our 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? 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
Two half-term voyages to report on. The first began last Friday night when we welcomed a new client, the children in care team from Hackney - ten young people and two fantastic group leaders. Skipper James said that after all his years in sail training, this was a particularly lovely group and they had a brilliant week despite the wind (either not enough or too much). The young people brought exactly the right combination of sass and cheek and personality plus co-operative enthusiasm. They arrived in time for dinner on Friday night and had games before bed. On Saturday they finished the safety briefings and had an easy sail to Gosport where there was time for showers. On Sunday the weather was beautiful but there was no wind at all, and they made their way to Yarmouth where they had a BBQ and played football and frisbee until it was too dark to see. On Monday they sailed to Cowes and had time ashore, while it was very windy in the afternoon. The young people took charge of the vessel that night and navigated her safely back to Ocean Village, where they left on Tuesday with everyone - young people and group leaders - having earned their RYA Start Yachting certificates. One of the group leaders, Hannah, commented: “Thank you to everyone who made ALL the effort to make the trip fun and safe. Thank you for treating each young person as an individual and bringing out the best in them - that is a real special quality.” So extra-big thanks to sea staff James, Andrew, Di, Vicky and Harri, and special congratulations to Lucinda who successfully completed her second mate’s assessment. Congratulations also to Jack Dignan as he was signed off as a second mate a couple of weeks ago but not included in the bulletin at the time!

We’re now part-way through the final youth voyage of the season: a mix of individual bookings including several young people booked by our Isle of Wight Support Group plus a number of young bosuns and trainee bosuns coming along for extra experience. It’s another great group of enthusiastic and willing young people. They joined on Wednesday and motor-sailed to Cowes where they had dinner and games before bed. On Thursday they had more drills and training towards RYA certificates while they waited for some bad weather to calm down, and then they sailed off the berth and tacked down the western Solent to anchor in Alum Bay. No sooner had they done this than the wind direction changed utterly, making the anchorage unsafe, so they left again and picked up a buoy instead while they waited for enough tide to enter Yarmouth. This morning they were again working towards their certificates and doing rowing practice before setting off in the direction of Poole. Big thanks to sea staff Andy, Andrew, Steve, Harri, Hannah and Claudia.

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* Sea staff training in Prolific
We’re not yet in a position to give final details on our plans but we wanted to keep all our regular volunteers informed about what we are thinking. Obviously we want as many people as possible - certainly skippers and first mates, and then second mates, but also as many other volunteers as possible - to be familiar with Prolific before we start sailing with young people next season. We’re aiming to get her refit finished as early as we can, ideally in February, and then run sea trials and training in late February and March. Some of this will happen at weekends but owing to limited space and the likelihood that senior sea staff at least will need time to get used to the boat, it would be great if people could plan around having at least a little time to spare on weekdays as well. For example, we might run some four-day trips including weekends, so people only need to take a couple of days off work. We’ll tell you more as soon as we possibly can!

Obviously if there is space then we’ll fit third mates and trainee mates into this training schedule as well; but the key thing will be to make sure we train the senior staff and volunteers first as they can then be training others on youth voyages in the usual way. We’ll also have mates’ training weekends and volunteer familiarisation voyages during the season as normal; and we'll need to arrange training for bosuns and relief engineers.

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* Prolific extended placements for trainee sea staff
Because Prolific has space for extra sea staff, one idea we are considering is extended placements in 2016 for trainee or junior volunteer sea staff who can sail for as much as a month at a time, developing skills at the same time as becoming really useful to us as you will develop a familiarity with the boat and give us continuity on board to back up our regular volunteers who change from voyage to voyage and will only just be getting used to the boat themselves. This role would be ideal for young people aged 18-25, preferably with some experience in sail training or other sailing and an ability to work well with young people from all backgrounds. DBS checks will be required but we can arrange this for you. If you might be interested in this sort of role, please email webmaster1@oytsouth, tell us a little about your experience and your plans and availability next year, and please include your phone number. Please note that we expect that there may be a lot of interest in summer holiday places from individuals who have already sailed with us and earned recommendations from the skipper, and there is no guarantee that we will offer anyone as much as a month on board in July and August - we’ll have to see what options are available to us; but at this stage we are certainly keen to hear from people available in the first few months of the season, particularly the period from late March to the end of May.

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* Refit house - beanbags and washing machine needed!
Once again we have an unfurnished rented refit house so we can accommodate staff and volunteers over the winter. We’ve got a good collection of furniture saved from previous refit houses (thanks to generous donors!) but the one thing we don’t have is a sofa; and because it’s unlikely that anyone will donate one, and they can be hard to transport and store even if we got one, Andy has come up with the idea of appealing for people to donate a beanbag instead! If we can get a few big beanbags, we can have a comfortable living room for tired refit workers. Please email if you would like to give us a beanbag (or the money for a beanbag).

The other thing this particular refit house lacks is a washing machine - obviously important for people working hard in dirty conditions, and no-one finds the idea of going to a laundrette particularly appealing at the end of a long day! So if anyone has a washing machine in good working order that they can donate (or the price of one - secondhand is fine), then please email

Many thanks!

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February 2016 training weekend
The traditional OYT South winter shorebased training weekend will take place on 20 and 21 February 2016 in the Sea Cadet Unit in Gosport. We’re looking at offering RYA First Aid (Saturday though we may be able to run a second course on Sunday if there’s a lot of interest); RYA Diesel (could be either day, or both); RYA Radar (could be either day but not both); GMDSS assessments (this is a practical session following an online course which you can do at home) (assessments could be either day); chart corrections (Saturday - maybe Sunday as well tbc); and a Fire Marshall course covering things such as fire prevention and use of extinguishers etc. We could also look at offering some kind of youthwork course if there are enough people not involved in other courses.

In most cases, we need to make sure there will be enough interest before we can confirm the instructor bookings, so do let me know which course(s) you want to do. First Aid, Radar and Diesel cost in the range £70-£75, youthwork if we run anything should be cheaper, and chart corrections is free; GMDSS cost £100 last year, including online course, radio licence and exam fee; and Fire depends on the number of participants but is likely to be around £100.

There will be the usual very cheap and basic accommodation (boat mattresses on the floor in the Sea Cadet Unit) for those who want, food, and a great social evening on the Saturday.

Email and let us know what you’d like to do.

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Prolific appeal
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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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 and her achievement in reaching first mate standard, see here for how to contribute to her leaving present: Please give generously!

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* 2016 sailing programme

There is a sailing programme for Prolific in 2016 and an updated availability list. If you are thinking of making a booking for 2016, or you would like to discuss ideas and options, please contact

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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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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 training

All sailing volunteers must have done some Child Protection training (updated every three years) and a Food Hygiene course before booking any voyage.

If you have done a Child Protection 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.

Likewise, if you already hold a Food Hygiene qualification, just send us the details or a copy of your certificate. Otherwise you can do it online here - all included in a single bargain price of £10 along with the child protection course and a range of other courses which you might well find useful and interesting - once you've paid your £10, it's well worth doing several of the courses!

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