SLC crew at sea, while Prolific returns to Ocean Village with masts lowered and stored on deck!


OYT South bulletin 9th October 2015

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

* John Laing's final maintenance day THIS WEEKEND - please help
John Laing's final planned maintenance day is this Sunday 11 October - Southampton (Ocean Village).

Call the boat phone 07990 518915 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. PLEASE come and help if you possibly can! Maintenance days run from 9am to 5pm and it is usually possible to offer accommodation on board for the night before or after.

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* Prolific maintenance - help needed!

Big thanks to everyone who has been helping on board Prolific this week. They spent the early part of the week preparing for the rig to come out, and yesterday went down to Hamble where the masts were lifted and stowed on deck before Prolific returned to Ocean Village this morning - with an engine test on the way. Thanks to Chris and Chris, John Niven, Marcus Hardiman, Richard Griffiths, Di Roberts, Nic Crawford, Steve Lacey and Dave Heffer for help this week.

Lots more help needed next week (any day except Monday) and in the weeks to come - please let us know if you can spare any time on weekdays! 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).

As well as casual helpers, we'll also still be looking for a 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 - and with a possibility of starting earlier if appropriate)? 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 ful;-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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Refit accommodation needed
Once Prolific is out of the water, we need somewhere for staff and volunteers to live while working on her - does anyone own or know of a three- or four-bedroom house that might be available to us for an affordable rent in the Southampton area? Email

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John Laing voyage news
Last week’s newsletter ended with a crew from the Saints Foundation heading into Cowes to get ready for the ASTO Small Ships event, racing against other sail training vessels, which took place last Saturday. Sadly there were very light winds, but it was a beautiful day on the water and everyone sailed the boat well. One of our vice-patrons, Michael Campbell, was out on the water in his own boat and came to see us. The team were pleased with their finishing position on the water but unfortunately John Laing’s handicap makes it extremely difficult for us to be competitive and the final result saw us at the back of the fleet on handicap. The crew enjoyed the party in Cowes that night, and they had a busy morning next day getting the boat back to Ocean Village and doing a clean-up before the voyage ended. Special congratulations to Hamilton who earned his RYA Start Yachting certificate! And big thanks to sea staff Mark, Clare, Emily, Stuart, Harri and Jack.

This week’s crew came from Sherborne Learning Centre - a lively group who sailed first from Southampton to Cowes on Monday. After a boisterous night, it was decided that the next day would be spent beating to windward all the way to Weymouth. This turned out to be a cracking sail, and was followed by lots of activities in Weymouth that evening and the next morning - drills, training and shore leave. The former deputy head of Sherborne Learning Centre came to the boat to say hello and was really enthusiastic about the value of these voyages: “It’s amazing the change you see in the kids when they get back to school.” Crew member Hayden steered the boat off the berth and the team said goodbye to one sail training vessel, Jack Petchey, alongside whom John Laing had been berthed, and hello to another, Lord Nelson, which was coming into harbour as John Laing left. The rest of Wednesday was spent in a good downwind sail to Poole with some man overboard recovery drills on the way. OYT South’s Treasurer Brian Eyres came down to say hello in Poole. Thursday was a day of no wind and a mirror-calm sea so they motored back to the Solent, with more drills on the way. They anchored in Newtown River for dinner and trips in the dinghy, and planned a night navigation exercise back up to Ocean Village, which the young people did really well. The voyage finished today with six RYA Start Yachting certificates awarded - five to young people and one to a staff member from Sherborne. Big thanks to the sea staff Andy, Andrew, Amy, Lucinda, Clara and Chris.

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* Sea staff needed for November day sails
Thanks to all the sea staff who have volunteered to come and help with day sails for RYA instructors on 2 and 3 November - we are getting close to having a strong team on board of people who know John Laing well and are familiar with all our routines and our work with young people, so they can help introduce the RYA instructors to OYT South. However, at the moment we have a number of potential offers of help from people who still haven’t quite been able to confirm time off work, so it would be useful to hear from anyone else who might be around to help on those days if needed. Please email

We had a huge level of interest from RYA instructors, many of whom have said they might be interested in joining our volunteers and getting involved with Prolific next season, so we should have two really useful days. Unfortunately there were so many applications for places that we couldn’t fit in anything like all the instructors who wanted to come; but we hope as many people as possible will get involved with us in other ways.

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* Berths available in 2015 for young people
The last few places still available in John Laing this year:

12-16 Oct - Southampton to Southampton - 4 nights - 1 berth available -age 15-25 - £350pp
19-23 Oct
- Southampton to Southampton - 4 nights - 3 or 4 berths available -age 15-25 - £350pp.
28 Oct - 1 Nov -Southampton to Southampton - 4 nights - 2 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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* Refit weekend 7-8 November - volunteers needed
There will be a refit weekend for Prolific on 7th and 8th November - please come and help! We need lots of support and it’s also a great way for our volunteers to start to get to know the boat. Email if you can come and lend a hand. See 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 - book now!

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 will go out to paid-up members on or around 12th October but in the meantime you can find more details here, including a link to book and pay for the curry evening after the meeting, in a local restaurant - BOOK NOW!

Only members can vote at the AGM - join now.

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
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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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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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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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, we have opened a fund for her leaving present - see here for how to contribute. Please give generously!

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* Swim2Bestival - update

Regular readers will remember that last month a group of people swam across the Solent to raise money for various charities including Ocean Youth Trust South. The total they have raised for us now stands at not far short of £5,000, to be spent on places next season for young people who could not otherwise afford to sail. Huge thanks to all involved! There's a great video of the event here with a guest appearance by John Laing - thanks to Andy Brown and his crew for sailing down to support the swimmers!

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* Financial appeal
Big thanks this week to the Joan Braithwaite Sailing Trust for a very generous donation - as well as to various individual donors who may 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
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