One picture is a pair of pumpkins, the other a pair of sea staff - can you spot the difference?


OYT South bulletin 6th November 2015

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

* Refit weekend THIS WEEKEND 7-8 November - volunteers needed - PLUS new refit weekend dates
There will be a refit weekend THIS WEEKEND 7th and 8th November - please come and help! We need lots of support, mainly to shift masses of gear off John Laing. Email if you can come and lend a hand, or call the boat phone 07990 518915. Andy and the team will be on board John Laing in Ocean Village from 0930 on Saturday. If you are coming to refit and would like to stay on board on Saturday night, please talk to Andy today as we need to make sure we have bunks available for everyone. 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, starting as follows: 5-6 December, and 16-17 January - when people can come and help who wouldn't otherwise be available. There will also be a refit and training weekend for junior bosuns on 19-20 December, open to potential bosuns including 16 and 17 year olds who are not normally allowed to come to refit as it’s usually restricted to over-18s. We will need a few adult volunteers (with DBS clearance) to help us look after and train the junior bosuns on this weekend - if you have bosun experience and might like to come and help, do let us know. Email if you would like to be involved with any of these weekends..

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* Junior bosun training weekend at refit
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 please put the weekend of 19-20 December in your diary - we’ll be running a training weekend at refit just for you, with food and accommodation provided (Andy promises lots of Haribo and cake). The idea is introduce you to our new boat and give you an idea of some of the jobs that bosuns may be asked to do during a voyage. The weekend is designed to be fun but at the same time you should learn a lot! Email if you are interested in coming along. If you might have wanted to come but can’t manage those dates, do email and tell us - if we don’t hear anything from you then we don’t know if you are still interested or not! And if you are not quite sure whether you are eligible for this weekend, please ask!

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* THIS SATURDAY OYT South AGM 7th November - and curry - book by 8pm tonight!

OYT South's 2015 AGM will take place on Saturday 7th November at The Southampton Seafarers Centre, 12-14 Queens Terrace, Southampton SO14 3BP from 1730. 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 BY 8pm TONIGHT (Friday 6th November) - after that we’ll be giving final numbers to the restaurant.

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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* 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 the Sea Cadet Unit in Gosport. Please start thinking NOW about which course(s) you might like to do, and let us know - some of the instructors are looking for a firm decision on whether or not their course will have enough people to go ahead.

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 (almost certainly Saturday); 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); a Fire Marshall course (Sunday) covering things such as fire prevention and use of extinguishers etc.; and we have just added a plan for a youthwork day on Sunday. 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.

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-£78, youthwork will 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. We’ll ask for formal bookings and payments in due course but for the moment we just need an idea of which courses will have enough people to be worthwhile and cost-effective.

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* John Laing voyage news
We left the last full voyage of the season in Yatrmouth last Friday and about to head to Poole. They spent Friday night there and had a very early start next day – Andy says the crew were brilliant as it only took 20 minutes from getting up to having everything ready and slipping lines! They made their way back to Cowes for a late lunch and then divided the afternoon between planning for a night pilotage up to Southampton, and carving pumpkins! They had a cracking sail up to Ocean Village and then a great Hallowe’en party, before cleaning the boat and leaving on Sunday with RYA Competent Crew certificates for everyone who didn’t already have them - a great achievement! Big thanks to sea staff Andy, Andrew, Steve, Harri, Hannah and Claudia.

After that we spent Monday and Tuesday doing day sails for RYA instructors - partly to support the RYA in giving their instructors some experience in a boat of John Laing’s size, but also to help us meet people who might be interested in volunteering for us in Prolific. There was fog and very little wind so we didn’t get great sailing on either day, but we managed lots of boat handling and other exercises, and we met some lovely people who seemed really interested in getting involved with the charity, bringing very strong sailing skills and keen to learn about how we work with young people. We look forward to seeing a lot of these RYA instructors in future! Big thanks to all the sea staff who came for one or both days: Andy, Lee, Emma, Sparky, Caz, Joe, Mike, Harri, Matt, Annant and Kirsty.

And that was the end of the 2015 sailing season... We’ll add up some facts and figures for you in due course, but we can tell already that it was another great season with hundreds of young people enjoying their voyages and learning a huge amount - massive thanks to everyone who made it possible!

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* Chris Ellis award - win £££s off sailing next year
If you enjoyed a voyage with OYT South this year and want to come again next year (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 the charity's founder:.

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* Refit news!
Now that the sailing season has ended, the John Laing team and the Prolific team can finally start to come together as one refit team! A big welcome to Josh Caudrey who has now started work as our Staff Engineer, and also to the first two volunteer members of the full-time core refit team, Josie Griffith (who started yesterday) and Louise Wildblood (who joins tomorrow). Andy is just in the process of finalising the rest of the team, but it’s great to see some good new people getting involved.

On board Prolific this week, the keel bolts have all been checked and have passed the inspection - great news as it could have been a time-consuming and expensive job to replace them! The team were then able to replace the tanks and have been getting on with lots of small jobs. Meanwhile another team has started clearing kit off John Laing and has been to do an inventory of the refit house - which is a little further from the boat than we might have liked but in other respects is one of the best winter refit houses we have had for years.

Big thanks to everyone who has helped this week: Andy, Josh, Chris, surveyors Di and Nic, Mark, Josie, Joe Macgregor, Marcus Hardiman and John Niven.

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 usually have under-18s involved at refit (except for an official trainee bosun weekend when we can ensure there is adequate supervision and safety for 16 and 17-year olds). Because we now have a refit house, we can usually offer accommodation to helpers, space permitting.

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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 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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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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* Refit house - beanbags needed!
Huge thanks to everyone who responded to the request in last week’s bulletin for a washing machine for the refit house - we must admit we didn’t really expect to get an offer and we were amazed to get several! Andy is following up the closest offer, in Chichester (thanks, Chris!), but we really are grateful to others further afield who also offered to donate washing machines!

We’ve also had at least one offer of a beanbag (we are appealing for beanbags rather than a sofa because they can be hard to transport and store even if we got one) – we could do with a few more to create 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).

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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

Big thanks this week to the SS Uganda Trust for a very kind contribution towards new charts for Prolific, as well as to a number of private individuals for generous donations!

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