Sanding Prolific...


OYT South bulletin 4th December 2015

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

* Refit news
A great volunteers’ weekend last weekend and we are really cracking on with the work! One major task that is almost done is sanding the hull ready for painting: the team has done the whole area twice in order to get the best possible finish, and the entire job looks like taking 12 person-days in total. Compare that with John Laing’s steel hull which needed endless grinding, several coats of priming, sanding, filling - we used to spend something like 70 days to get to the stage we have reached so quickly and easily this year. Plus, where the job needed doing every other year with John Laing, just to keep the rust at bay, we’re anticipating that Prolific’s hull might only need to be painted every five years. And that’s just the hull - John Laing also had massive amounts of time spent on grinding, priming, filling, sanding and painting areas like the bilges and cockpit lockers, all of which is time that can be saved with Prolific.

We have also done the preparation for antifouling; we have got the main mast ready for painting (and almost finished building a mast tent for this); the scaffolding on the boat is done and the main tent is starting to go on; the last few (very heavy) items of kit are off the boat now; and the anchor chain has been measured at 100 metres.

Huge thanks to everyone who has been working so hard: Andy, Josh, Lou, Josie, Ben, John Niven, Allen Swift, Jon Seddon, Carrie Potter, Amy Brown, Mike Bunton, Miranda Camping and Joe Macgregor.

Meanwhile there are important refit jobs being done away from the boat - big thanks this week to Mark Boggis who has collected all the waterproof clothing from the boat and taken it home for washing.

In November we had a total of 95.5 days’ volunteer help at refit plus 52.5 days worked by the staff, making a total of 148 days. The refit house accommodated volunteers for 52 nights and staff for 41 nights, making a total of 93 nights’ accommodation provided.

We still need plenty of help over the next few months, on weekdays and on a few special volunteer weekends (see below). 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! We can usually offer accommodation to helpers, space permitting. See here for more details about our refit.

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* Junior bosun training weekend at refit - adult help needed 19-20 December
We’ve got a good group of junior sea staff and trainee bosuns, many aged 16 or 17, coming for a training weekend at refit on 19th and 20th December. We could do with a few more adult volunteers - who MUST have DBS clearance - to come along for the weekend and help to make sure that the junior sea staff get all the support, safety and supervision they need. Email if you can help.

We probably have about as many junior sea staff booked in for the weekend as we can manage, but if you are aged 16+ and were told by the skipper or other sea staff on a voyage this year that you would be welcome to come back to train as a volunteer bosun and hopefully sail on voyages next year, then do get in touch - it’s just possible that we can still fit you in for the weekend and if we can’t, at least we will know that you are keen and we can keep you in mind for any future opportunities. Just email

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* Refit volunteer weekends
If you haven't already booked yourself in to help at refit, please do so as we need lots of help! Email or phone the boat on 07990 518915. Food and accommodation available for volunteers.

We can normally use help on weekdays; but additional volunteer weekends are arranged so that people who may not easily be able to help on weekdays can lend a hand at refit (and, this year, start getting to know Prolific!). It also means we can plan jobs that need an extra-big team for a couple of days. Refit weekends this winter will include:

19-20 December (this weekend is specifically for junior sea staff and bosuns aged 16+, and we need a few adult volunteers who MUST have DBS clearance, to help support and supervise them)
16-17 January

Email if you would like to be involved with either of these weekends.

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* Refit house - clothes airers needed!

We’ve had one clothes airer donated to the refit house (thanks to John Niven) but we still seem to have clothes drying all over the house (a big team of people working hard and getting dirty every day) so if anyone else is able to donate a clothes airer we would be very grateful! Please email if you would like to give us a clothes airer (or the money for one.).

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* February 2016 training weekend - NEW courses - bookings needed NOW
The traditional OYT South winter shorebased training weekend will take place on 20 and 21 February 2016 in TS Hornet Sea Cadet Unit in Gosport.

We hope to run the following courses if we can get enough bookings to make each of them cost-effective.

RYA One-day First Aid - Saturday 20th February (possibly with a second course on the Sunday depending on the level of interest), £75 including first aid handbook. Instructor Tony Salmon. First aid and resuscitation techniques for yachtsmen, including a knowledge of the treatment for hypothermia. Recommended for ALL sea staff, required for second mates and above, compulsory updates every 3 years - check when your certificate goes out of date. If we only run one course there are just 2 places left but if we add a second course there will be plenty of space.

RYA Radar - Saturday 20th February. £75. Instructor tbc. Only a couple of places left on this course! Basic understanding of radar and set controls. Plotting and collision avoidance. Navigation techniques. Recommended for first and second mates, required for skippers.

RYA Diesel engines - course could run on either Saturday or Sunday, or both, depending on the level of interest. £75. Instructor Jason Morgan. Basic maintenance and engine care. Awareness of the main systems of a marine diesel engine. Able to take simple measures to prevent mechanical breakdown at sea and rectify defects which do not require workshop support. Recommended for bosuns plus second mates and above. More bookings needed if this course is to run.

RYA Marine Radio Short Range Certificate GMDSS assessment - £40 plus exam fee (currently £60). Assessor Mark Todd. Saturday 20th February (though it might be possible to run a few assessments on the Sunday if we need to), Use of marine radios including GMDSS. Routine, distress, urgency and safety procedures. We run this using an online course which MUST be completed in advance of the training weekend (it takes around 6-10 hours). Then on the day you will have a chance to familiarise yourself with the equipment, followed by a written and practical assessment. You must also be over the age of 16 to do the assessment. Recommended for third mates, required for second mates and above.

Chart corrections - free! Saturday 20th February, with Andy Viney. A free workshop aimed at people who are likely to be involved in keeping Prolific's charts up to date during the season. If you sail with us fairly regularly, or often come to maintenance days, and have some knowledge of or interest in navigation, this could be the course for you. Don''t forget that chart corrections MUST be done during our voyages and the person doing them is often inside in the warm and dry while everyone else is wet and cold on deck...We will use the day to show you how to keep our charts up to date and the system for recording corrections, and to make sure that as many charts as possible are ready for the season!

Youthwork - £35 - Sunday 21st February. This will be run by Lucinda Neall, one of our second mates and the author of "How to Talk to Teenagers". Lucinda ran a popular day at the training weekend in 2013, and the 2016 day will be useful as a refresher for people who were involved last time as well as for newer volunteers. We are going to look particularly at the sorts of challenging behaviour we sometimes see on board and how sea staff can best respond. The day will also incorporate a session by Jennie Hogan from Hampshire County Council. Mollie and Caz recently attended a conference run by Hampshire's Children in Care team and heard Jennie deliver an excellent session on the lasting effects of neglect and trauma in earliest childhood and how that can affect teenage behaviour - it was so interesting that we have asked Jennie to come and repeat it for our volunteers. Recommended for ALL sea staff.

Fire Marshall course - Sunday 21st February - price tbc depending on the number of participants but is likely to be around £100. The course will cover such things as fire prevention and use of extinguishers etc. Recommended for all sea staff but particularly skippers, bosuns and engineers. This course MUST have some more bookings before it can go ahead - please tell us NOW if you are interested, otherwise we may have to cancel.

Most courses will run from 9am to 5pm (except the GMDSS assessment, which is shorter - we will allocate individual times to each candidate), so you can only do one course per day.

There will be a supper and social event on Saturday evening after the courses - all welcome, whether or not you are taking part in the training.

A hot lunch will be available each day for £5, Saturday's supper will cost £10, and for those who want it there will be basic accommodation on Saturday night (mattresses on the floor of the Sea Cadet Unit) plus breakfast for £5.

For all courses, email to reserve a place. We will start taking formal bookings and payments as soon as we know which courses have enough people to go ahead.

All these courses are open to anyone, although if courses are over-subscribed, priority is given to active OYT South members and those planning to join our sea staff.

We're not offering RYA Sea Survival over that weekend but we do recommend this course for all OYT South sea staff. KTY Yachts runs the course regularly and will offer good rates to our volunteers - you can book direct with them.

Don't forget that a Child Protection course (updated every three years), and Food Hygiene qualification are both compulsory for all sea staff and can be done quickly and cheaply online here (though we can accept alternative recognised training if you send us the details). The online course page also offers other valuable youthwork courses which you may find interesting - especially as you can do the whole lot for a single payment of £10, so if you are paying for Child Protection, you might as well do other courses while you’re there.

We also recommend Powerboat Level 2 for everyone (required to drive Prolific’s dinghy with an outboard engine), but we won't be running this at the February weekend - it can be difficult to get a group together for this one (it’s a 2-day course). However, we have a volunteer who is a Powerboat instructor so if you want to do this course, email and we’ll put you in touch in the hope that you can sort out suitable dates between you.

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Chris Ellis award - win £££s off sailing in 2016
If you enjoyed a voyage with OYT South in 2015 and want to come again in 2016 (and are aged 12-25), please think about entering for this award. You can win up to £200 off the price of another voyage, by sending in an account of a voyage you have already done with us. It can be a logbook, diary, story, pictures, video - anything which gives the judges an idea of why you had a good time and would like to come again. The prize is judged at the end of each season and the award can be spent on a voyage the following year. Entries should be emailed to or posted to the office to arrive by Christmas. See here for more details of this award, which was set up in memory of one of the charity's founders.

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Pre-season 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 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 sea staff will want 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 three or four-day trips including weekends, so people only need to take a day or two off work. We'll tell you more as soon as we possibly can - please bear with us but we are juggling quite a lot at the moment!

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Sea staff and new volunteers - 2016 bookings
If you want to start sending in bids for voyages next year, please do so.

If you have NOT yet had a recommendation from our skipper to join our sea staff, you need to do a training/selection voyage first:: see below.

If you have had a skipper’s recommendation but are not yet an assessed and qualified member of sea staff, your next step is to sail on a youth voyage of four nights or more, for further training and assessment. Not all voyages are suitable for this but please ask - email

Qualified sea staff - ideally please give us voyage numbers of anything you would like to do (see here for voyage numbers); or give me names of any regular clients you’d particularly like to sail with. But if you have really flexible availability, the easiest thing is to tell us the maximum number of days you can offer next year.

The process of booking volunteers is really complicated - it’s not simply a question of finding dates that work for individuals and then booking you. What we have to do is put together a team of staff and volunteers for each voyage, with a skipper, 1M, 2M, 3M, bosun and often but not always a trainee mate, and we can’t book anyone until we have at least some idea of who else is going to make up each team. At least one adult on each voyage must be a woman, if there are girls in the crew; and then we have to think about special skills if the group includes people with disabilities or challenging behaviour. We also don’t want to end up with a voyage where two or three of the mates are all newly-qualified at their particular level - if the second mate has only just passed his or her assessment then they shouldn't be paired with a brand-new first mate...Then sometimes the client will be a school or charity where a staff member has qualified or wants to qualify as a volunteer, so needs a staff berth. Meanwhile, some client groups are just not suited for brand-new trainee mates. Plus we have to think about some priority bookings (e.g. people who have been identified as fast-track first mates or skippers, if I can give them enough time on the boat). And we do promise that people who help the most at refit get priority over anyone who hasn’t been along at all, so we can’t confirm anyone until refit is well under way. We also give preference to people who raise money for us or introduce us to new clients.....And on top of all that we want to try to be fair to all our volunteers and make sure everyone gets at least a voyage or two!

So although we can start collecting bids now, the aim is to have the main allocations done by the end of February - this normally gives people enough time to plan leave and other commitments for the year but if you really need to get your sea staff bookings confirmed earlier, do let us know!

Please send bids or questions to

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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 while 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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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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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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2016 adult voyages - including training volunteers and selecting potential new volunteers
Apart from pre-season sea staff training in Prolific, there are two scheduled adult weekends which can be used for sea staff training, selecting new volunteers - and any other over-18s (no upper limit) who want to find out more about OYT South, or just come from a great sail and some valuable training:

22-24 April (8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday) - Southampton - 2 nights - age 18+. £195pp
16-18 Sept (8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday) - Southampton - 2 nights - age 18+. £195pp

Please email to book.

There will also be at least one longer adult voyage at some stage - date to be decided when we can see which week isn’t needed for a youth voyage.

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Help us fill berths in Prolific

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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Gosport Peninsula Charity Pursuit
For those of our friends, supporters and volunteers who have boats of your own! Why not join the inaugural sail for the prestigious GasWorks Challenge Cup on Saturday 21st May 2016 and raise money for Ocean Youth Trust South?

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* London Boat Show 2016 - team outing 11th January
The London Boat Show will run from 8th to 17th January 2016. John Goode has again kindly arranged for discounted Boat Show tickets for OYT South members, families and friends. If you receive the email version of this newsletter, you can see the discount details, which we can't put on a public website.

There will be a staff and refit team outing to the Boat Show on Monday 11th January so if anyone would like to meet up with us, that ’s the day to be there! It would be great to see lots of OYT South supporters at the show.

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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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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