At sea!


OYT South bulletin 1st April 2016

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

* Voyage news
The 2016 sailing season has begun! Although the first crew of the year approached the boat at around the same time as Storm Katie so it wasn’t the easiest start to a season… it wasn’t just a question of whether it was safe to go sailing, it was a question of making sure we were safe even in harbour. The skipper took the decision before the voyage to move John Laing into a more sheltered berth before the crew arrived. The group included the MDL award winners, selected by our major sponsors as young people who had been particularly impressive in the face of difficulties at home or at school, as well as some individual bookings and places for a couple of young trainee sea staff.

They joined on Saturday and spent the afternoon doing briefings and playing games. Sunday remained far too windy for sailing but they did manage some rowing practice in the marina, as well as lots of knots and other training towards their RYA qualifications, and exercises including lowering the bosun over the side in a harness as we might do to recover a man overboard. There was also a trip to the cinema for Kung Fu Panda 3, and an Easter egg hunt. That night saw 38 knots of wind even on our sheltered berth - but many of the crew still slept soundly and some even said they enjoyed the rocking motion! The skipper commented that this crew was fantastic given the amount of time they had to spend stuck in harbour - there was absolutely no frustration or moaning at the lack of sailing and they happily threw themselves into other activities, making friends and generally being a pleasure to have on board.

On Monday morning the weather forecast still didn’t look good, but it improved as the day went on and finally they ventured out for a sail to Cowes - iIn 33 knots of wind with just staysail and mizzen. They had more games in Cowes that night, and next morning they had time to go ashore and explore the town. We also had a visit from our sailmaker, Andy Cassell, who reinforced how sensible we had been not to try sailing at the weekend, as he described racing in Saturday in 50 knots of wind - but Andy is a Paralympic gold medal-winning sailor!

Around 11am on Tuesday they set off again on a gusty and overcast day - they didn’t really enjoy being faced with sleet as they entered Yarmouth, and a tea-towel became an essential item of navigational equipment for allowing the skipper to see through his glasses. Fish and chips made everyone feel better, and we also had a visit from one of our Patrons, Jamie Sheldon, who gave everyone a £10 voucher to spend in his shop - very much appreciated!

Finally on Wednesday they got the glorious sail that this crew very much deserved - a sunny day, Force 4 winds from the south west which meant a lovely downwind sail up the Solent with hardly any other boats around. They also did lots of tacking and gybing practice and an MOB recovery drill, before anchoring for dinner in Osborne Bay. They were divided into two teams to plan the pilotage up to the Hamble in the dark, which they carried out very well - particularly 15-year old Kieran who took charge of the final stage of pilotage to the marina, and did a great job, arriving at 0130.

On Thursday they had an early start after their late arrival and cleaned the boat while on passage from Hamble to Ocean Village. Jax from MDL came down to see the award winners and to listen to the debrief. Nine young crew members earned their RYA Start Yachting certificates and the skipper says he would very happily have every single one of them back for another voyage. Big thanks to the sea staff Mark, Josh, Rooby, Jack, Ben Mahoney from the refit team who successfully completed a third mate’s assessment, and trainee sea staff Jake Clark who made excellent progress towards becoming a third mate (all the more impressive since he can’t formally take on the role until he turns 18 in August), and Ollie Navin who worked really hard towards becoming a qualified bosun.

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* Prolific
refit news- help still needed!
Big thanks to Chris the engineer for his work on board Prolific this week - he’s been busily connecting things to the new generator. Prolific’s refit will be closed for the next couple of weeks but Chris may be looking for some help on board from around 18th April onwards - at this stage we are really looking for competent, fit, responsible adults, ideally with some technical skills. If you would be interested in helping out from time to time, please email and we can tell you more. Volunteer help on Prolific by arrangement only - please don't just turn up! We don’t have the same facilities and supervision that we have during the full refit when we have lots of volunteer help, so only authorised individuals are allowed on site for the moment.

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* 2016 voyage availability for young people
Big thanks to everyone who has already booked voyages or organised groups to sail this year. We've filled a lot of voyages and part-filled others, and here's what's left - if you are aged 12-25 and would like to sail with us, do have a think about whether any of these dates would suit you; and if you are over 25, please think about any young people you know - or any teachers, youth workers, social workers, outdoor activity instructors, parents, grandparents, carers or anyone else who might like to know that these opportunities exist.

6 May - Southampton - day sail - £80pp - 12 berths available. This could be used EITHER for a youth group OR adult clients - individuals, corporate clients, teambuilding or anything else. Please email to discuss.
4-8 June - Southampton - 4 nights - 12 berths possibly available - please ask - £355pp.
10-12 June - Southampton to Gosport - 2 nights - £195pp - 12 places available. This could be used EITHER for youth groups OR adult clients - individuals, corporate clients, teambuilding or anything else; and it could be a weekend from 8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday, or two separate day sails on Saturday and Sunday - please email to discuss.
25 June - 1 July - Southampton to Poole - 6 nights - £525pp. 1 place available. Some berths on this voyage have been reserved by a group of university students - they are happy to mix with others - ideal for people of student age, or a minimum age of at least 15, DofE Gold Residentials etc. Passports definitely needed as the student group will want to try for France or the Channel Islands if the weather allows.
19-24 July - Plymouth - 5 nights - 1 or 2 berths possibly available tbc - please ask - £440pp.
25-29 July - Plymouth - 4 nights - at least 5 berths available - £360pp.
1-7 August - Plymouth - 6 nights - at least 7 berths available - £525pp. Several of the other bookings for this voyage are for DofE Gold Residentials - this would be an ideal voyage for anyone else doing the Duke of Edinburgh's Gold Award..
8-13 August - Plymouth - 5 nights - 1 or 2 berths possibly available tbc - please ask - £445pp. This voyage has been part-booked by a school group aged 15-18 (both boys and girls) and they may well be looking for friendly, enthusiastic people to help them make up a full crew.
26 August - 2 September - Gosport to Southampton - 7 nights - up to 8 berths available - £610pp.
4-8 September - Southampton - 4 nights - 1 berth available - £355pp. Others booked on this voyage are aged around 16-21 and will have significant sailing experience so they are looking for friendly and enthusiastic people to join them!
3-7 October - Southampton to Southampton - 4 nights - 12 berths available (full-boat booking if required) - age 12-25 - £355pp.
7-9 October (weekend voyage, 8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday) - Southampton to Southampton - 2 nights - age 12-25 - £195pp. berths possibly available - the weekend has been booked by a Scout group but they may not need all the places – please ask if you want to join them.
17-21 October - Southampton - 4 nights - 8 berths available - £355pp.
26-30 October - Southampton - 4 nights - at least 6 berths available - £365pp. Half term voyage.

There is a sailing programme for 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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* Sea staff bookings 2016 - vacancies
Can anyone help with any of the following? (NB dates given are when young people are on board - we normally need staff and volunteers the afternoon or evening before). Please email if you can do any of these voyages.

The list includes some possible bosun vacancies - these berths are open to watchleaders as well as new trainee sea staff as it's always useful for anyone to get experience in how the boat works!

6 May, Southampton - 1M possibly needed tbc
23-27 May, Poole to Southampton - 3M. We have two open days at the Poole Boat Show 21 and 22 May so will give priority to sea staff who can volunteer for this too!
10-12 June, Southampton - it's not yet certain we'll be sailing this weekend, but if we are then we'll need two more watchleaders
10-18 July, Plymouth - 3M
19-25 Aug, Torquay to Gosport - 3M
26 Aug - 2 Sept plus 3 Sept maintenance day, Gosport to Southampton - 1M and bosun
4-8 Sept plus 3 Sept maintenance day, Southampton - 2M and bosun

Do keep an eye on future editions of this bulletin as there may be additional vacancies as the year goes on.

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2016 adult day sails
We have the following day sails set aside for donors and potential future donors, clients and potential clients (e.g. a teacher who is considering booking places for students and wants to know more), sponsors and suppliers, shore volunteers who rarely get a chance to sail, and any other over-18s with an interest in OYT South’s work. If you would like to come along or you can think of anyone we ought to invite, please email

Fri 6 May - Southampton
Sat 7 May - Southampton
Sun 8 May - Southampton
10-12 June - Southampton - the boat is available from Friday to Sunday and this could be separate day sails or a residential weekend - please email to discuss.
Sat 18 June - Gosport
Sat 30 July - Plymouth
Sun 31 July - Plymouth
Sat 10 Sept - Southampton
Sun 11 Sept - Southampton

Places on adult day sails are usually free for people who are already supporting the charity in various ways, and for potential donors and clients. Other adults are welcome on these day sails if there is space, in exchange for a suitable donation which will help us to keep offering places to more young people!

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2016 adult voyages - including training volunteers and selecting potential new volunteers

There are two scheduled adult weekends and one longer adult voyage 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 for a great sail and some valuable training:

22-24 April (8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday) - Southampton - 2 nights - age 18+. £195pp (Provisionally full but we can take names for a reserve list in case anyone drops out)
13-17 June (2pm Monday to 12 noon Friday) - Gosport - 4 nights - age 18+. £355pp
16-18 Sept (8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday) - Southampton - 2 nights - age 18+. £195pp

Please email to book.

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Boat maintenance days 2016

Our planned boat maintenance days for 2016 are as follows - PLEASE put these dates in your diary and come and help on any of them if you possibly can!

Thursday 5th May - Southampton
Saturday 14th May - Southampton
Sunday 19th June - Gosport or Southampton tbc.
Saturday 2nd July - Poole
Saturday 3rd September - Southampton
Monday 10th October - Southampton

Call Andy on 07990 518915 a few days beforehand so he can plan jobs and buy food for everyone who is coming. All over-18s welcome - skilled and unskilled, there are jobs for everyone. If you are aged 16 or 17, then check with the skipper - we'll generally have you at maintenance days if we can but it slightly depends on who is there and what needs doing.

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New improved vessel tracking
Check out our new improved vessel tracking page - see exactly where John Laing is sailing, course, speed and more!

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NEW voyage handbook (baboon file)
There is a NEW edition of the voyage handbook (commonly known as the baboon file but only because of an illustration that used to be on the cover!) available online for sea staff and volunteers. This document covers a huge range of material that watchleaders need to know, from our standard routines for sail hoists and drops, what to do in emergencies, and how to fill in the logbook, launch the dinghy, organise an anchor watch, fit preventers and more. It also has a set of key policy documents. NEW for 2016 is a complete revision of our Child Protection / Safeguarding policy; and some changes from the RYA to the syllabus for Competent Crew and Start Yachting certificates which sea staff need to teach on board. It’s obviously a long document but do please use it to give yourself confidence before a voyage and remind yourself about anything where you might be unsure! Sea staff who don’t have a login for the members-only section of the website, please email

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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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* Financial appeal

Thanks to several individuals who prefer not to be named but who have made generous donations lately!

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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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 OYT South 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 engineer, 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