Josh and the refit team: Matt, Sophie, Tom, Louis


OYT South bulletin 11th November 2016

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

John Laing tributes
Massive thanks to everyone who has contributed to the tribute to John Laing which we posted last week - if you haven’t seen the comments on Facebook, do have a look at some of the things people have been saying about this fantastic boat which has now completed her last Ocean Youth Trust voyage: Please keep adding more!

Don’t forget we are in the process of moving from the old John Laing Facebook page to the new page which will replace it .

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* Volunteers' weekend 12-13 November - THIS WEEKEND - help needed!

We could still use more help on the two boats this weekend, Saturday 12th and/or Sunday 13th November. Please email of phone 07990 518915 if you can help. There is still space for people to stay on board on Saturday night if needed, and to come to the curry night - as long as you get in touch TODAY!

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* OYT South AGM 12th November - curry night TOMORROW!
OYT South's AGM will take place TOMORROW Saturday 12th November - this is normally a VERY short meeting combined with a lively social evening and a weekend of work on the boat for volunteers.

The AGM itself will take place at the Royal Southampton Yacht Club, 1 Channel Way, Ocean Village, Southampton, SO14 3QF - drinks at the bar from 1730, with the meeting itself at 1800. There will then be a review of the year before a curry night. As in previous years, we’ll be going to Kuti’s, Oxford Street (a short walk from the Royal Southampton Yacht Club) for their excellent all-you-can-eat hot buffet. As we need to give numbers to the restaurant in advance, the curry night is ONLY available to those who book and pay in advance: £15.95 per head. Booking and payment link here (you can pay using PayPal or a credit card). Please note this advance payment is just for food - you will need to pay for any drinks or a tip on the night. Over 40 people have booked already but we’ll keep bookings open as long as we can in case anyone else wants to come - if the booking link is still there on the website then you are welcome to book! If we reach a point where the restaurant can’t add anyone else, we’ll just take the link down.

Please note that only paid-up members can vote at the AGM ( you can join now here) but all OYT South supporters are very welcome to attend and take part in everything else over the weekend. The official AGM mailing has gone out by email so if you think you are a member and you haven’t received it, please let us know NOW!

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* 2017 sea staff bookings - please start sending in your bids|
We can now start noting bids for sea staff berths for 2017!

Please note that this is NOT first-come, first-served and it does take much of the winter to get sea staff bookings sorted out; but it will really help if people can start getting their bids in now.

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

Tall Ships bookings and overseas voyages: as we haven’t done Tall Ships for a while, there may be a high demand from sea staff wanting to sail on these voyages. Please note that sea staff are responsible for their own travel costs to and from voyages starting overseas; and as with normal voyages, we do need sea staff to help either side of the time the young people are on board. We are VERY unlikely to allocate a berth on a popular overseas voyage to anyone who can’t join the day before to help with jobs! And if you are bidding for a berth on an overseas voyage, please list all the voyages you could do (in order of preference if you like); then we can aim to juggle things around so that as many people as possible get a chance to do one of these voyages.

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, engineer and/or 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 we can give them enough time on the boat). And we do promise that people who help the most at refit, or raise money for us, or introduce us to new clients, get priority over anyone who hasn’t done so much to support the charity.

We will also give priority to people who are up to date with any training and qualifications and who send certificates promptly to the office when asked. We don’t want to allocate a place on one of the really popular voyages to someone who then takes up a lot of the office team’s time chasing you for paperwork!

Please send bids to

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 here for details .

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

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* Winter
Prolific training for sea staff - being finalised NOW
Most qualified skippers, first mates and watchleaders who have expressed an interest in Prolific training this winter have now either been allocated specific dates or should have had an email trying to get this finalised - please do respond NOW so we can see where we might have any spare spaces as most of the slots are pretty over-subscribed. There are plenty of people who are keen on taking additional training slots if there is space, and we haven’t yet allocated training berths to bosuns or trainee mates, so if qualified sea staff don’t get their places nailed down in the next week or so, there may not be any space for you!

Most of the training slots are Thurs-Sun so people only need to take a couple of days off work; but we have recently added an extra training slot which is Mon-Thurs 20-23 March - if you are available on weekdays and can do this slot, please let me know (including anyone who has already been allocated another slot but might be able to swap - it would be good to free up weekend places for people who really need them).

Bosuns and engineers: until we can see if there is space for any of you to sail on a Prolific training slot, your priority should be to come to the February shorebased training weekend 25-26 February if you can, where Prolific will be in harbour and we can run training sessions on the daily and weekly checks for you.

Anyone who doesn’t manage to get on a Prolific training slot, don’t worry - we’ll still be able to train you during regular voyages next year, especially now we have extra help from our Sailing Support Officer, Peta - part of her role is to assist sea staff as they get to know the boat.

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* Refit news
Big thanks to the team who have been working hard at refit this week: Andy, Josh, Sophie, Matt, Tom, Louis, Chris, John Niven, Harri Smith, Steve Lacey, Jack Dignan and Peter Randall. They have been removing OYT South branding from John Laing - from the lettering on the hull to the stitching on the sail covers. There has also been a John Laing engine service; while over on Prolific, there has been progress with the heating system as well as a lot of tidying and small jobs. Big thanks also to Andy Cassell who has been on board to discuss new sails, and to Spinlock who have been exceptionally generous with new kit for Prolific.

There is still plenty to do on board and - apart from the volunteers’ weekend tomorrow and Sunday - we are looking for volunteers on weekdays right up to the Christmas break. Skilled and unskilled help needed - jobs range from the highly technical through to simple cleaning, tidying, shifting and carrying; but it all needs doing! Please email if you are able to come and help. We can generally offer accommodation on board. Refit helpers should normally be aged 18+ though we can sometimes involve 16 and 17 year olds, especially if you have been recommended for bosun training - please ask about attending refit at a time when there is appropriate support and supervision available.

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* Making a lasting difference
We obviously have plenty of great clients, many of whom send young people to sail with us year after year; but perhaps not all our supporters are aware of just how much effort the best of our partners put in to ensure that a voyage really makes a long-term difference to the lives of young people. We only have them on board for a few days, but we work with some really skilled and dedicated teachers, youth workers and others who do incredible work before and especially after a voyage.

This week we heard from the Vyne School, Basingstoke, about the impact of their voyage last month: “As per our two previous voyages, the students had a fantastic adventure. They were so grateful that 'strangers' paid for them to have this experience of a lifetime. Many of the students on this voyage would never have been given an opportunity like this had it not been for your donors. Our students really embraced the voyage/journey/experience with joy and appreciation. Please let your donors know that we as a school are really thankful to them for giving our children this opportunity. On a few occasions since we have returned I have had to remind one or two of [the students] how to use what they had learned on the boat to overcome a difficulty they were facing. I was really impressed to see that this experience had given them the confidence to deal with the situation in a mature and sensible manner. The students seem much happier since their trip and I believe that they will remember this for a long time to come. I was also speaking to some of our students who were on previous voyages as they wanted to come again. One boy in particular thanked me for the opportunity as it changed his life and his learning perspective. He has really put his head down and is focussing on his studies. Had he not been on the trip, I am not sure he would be as optimistic and confident as he is now.”

This email was accompanied by detailed information on each of the young people who took part in the recent voyage: work being done in school to build on the voyage experience; how the voyage contributed to individual goals and targets, especially concerning attitudes and behaviour, and the changes they have observed in each individual  It’s all impressive stuff which really goes to the heart of why our voyages matter, and why all the efforts of our staff, volunteers, donors and other supporters are so valuable!

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2017 February shorebased training weekend - dates and courses available!
The traditional OYT South winter shorebased training weekend will take place on 25 and 26 February 2017 in and around the Sea Cadet Unit in Gosport. The courses we offer will depend on the level of demand but could include RYA First Aid (recommended for all sea staff, required for second mates and above); RYA Diesel (recommended for bosuns plus second mates and above); Radar (recommended for first and second mates, required for skippers); and GMDSS assessments (this is a practical session following an online course which you can do at home) (recommended for third mates, required for second mates and above). Apart from the shorter GMDSS assessment, all the others are full one-day courses, so you can only do two over the weekend - assuming we can schedule your two chosen courses on different days, which depends on instructor availability and on organising the weekend so that the maximum number of people can do their preferred combination of courses! Prices vary from course to course but average around £75. Please tell us NOW if you would be interested in one or two of these qualifications - we will only book instructors where we are sure we can get enough people to make it cost-effective.

For those who don't need one of these qualifications this year, we have a berth for Prolific in Gosport and we plan to run a full programme of training in anything that can be done alongside rather than sailing. This could include general tours so people know where everything is; daily and weekly checks for bosuns and engineers; fire drills; RIB launches and everything else we can think of that can be fitted into the days! So please put the dates in your diary and make sure you can come along.

First aid should definitely be going ahead - the usual excellent course run by Tony Salmon - as we've already had several people asking to do that qualification. We've also definitely got one of our usual diesel instructors (Jason or Adam) but we need six bookings to make the course cost-effective. GMDSS assessments can go ahead with either Mark Todd or Lee Mosscrop. And we've got a different option for the Radar course. We've had an offer from an outstanding instructor, Alan Watson, who has been involved with development and testing of Raymarine's kit. His suggestion is that instead of running the RYA Radar course, he will instead run a day in two parts: a morning session for people who are new to using radar, and an afternoon practical session both for those who were there in the morning but also for others who have used radar before but want a really good practical session which could be using a professional bridge simulator, or else using the actual equipment on board Prolific. Mark saw Alan deliver a session at the RYA Instructors conference and says it was excellent and he strongly recommends that anyone from novices to experienced radar users should come along. The advantage of running the day in two parts like this is that people who only want to attend the afternoon practical session can also do some Prolific familiarisation in the morning.

There will be the usual very cheap and basic accommodation (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.

If you want to do RYA Sea Survival, this is not being run as part of the training weekend but KTY Yachts will include OYT South volunteers on one of their courses at the discounted price of £80 - contact them direct to arrange a course.

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Small boat training opportunities for sea staff
A while ago we consulted sea staff about the need for a small boat so that people can practise skills which aren’t easily learned in Prolific. While we have concluded, that - for the time being - the cost and workload of having a training boat of our own didn’t make that a good option, there was nevertheless a clear demand for access to a small boat. We have therefore made an arrangement with our good friends at the Discovery Sailing Project for the occasional use of their 34-foot Alexander Fairey. The yacht is currently having work done and will be lifted at the end of January and back in service around mid February. She can be chartered by OYT South sea staff on the following conditions:

The person in charge must have a full Day Skipper qualification and a recommendation from Mark Todd or Andy Viney confirming that you are an active member of OYT South sea staff with an appropriate level of competence; and there must be a second person on board with Day Skipper or suitable experience in case the skipper is incapacitated. Additionally someone must have RYA First Aid (or equivalent) and hold a valid VHF Radio Licence. At the moment the price is £250 for a weekend (Friday evening to Sunday afternoon) and £100 per day mid-week. This cost is ‘bare boat’. Cost for gas is included and diesel is charged at an hourly rate, deducted from a £20 cash deposit paid before takeover. The balance will be fully refunded if the vessel is left clean - if not, a deduction will be made for cleaning. Cleaning materials are provided.

Alexander Fairey sleeps a maximum of 8 people so might be suitable for a group of OYT South sea staff to get together and develop boat handling skills and command experience. Anyone interested should contact Clive Fisher at with preferred dates - obviously the boat is used for their own sea staff so the issue will always be about making sure they can fit everyone in.

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celebration event 13th May 2017
More details to follow but for now, please put Saturday 13th May in your diaries as a Prolific celebration event (late morning / lunchtime in Ocean Village). At that stage we’ll have run some voyages; some young people and volunteers will have sailed in her; and we’ll be holding the formal celebration event to mark Prolific’s arrival as OYT South’s new sail training vessel.

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2017 voyage programme - including Baltic adventure

The full sailing programme for 2017 is available here, including latest availability for our Baltic Adventure. We have already had some really strong advance bookings for 2017 so if you would like to sail next year as a young crew member, please do think about it NOW and contact

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Adult voyages

We have three adult voyages planned for next year:

28-30 April 2017 - Southampton to Southampton - 2 nights (weekend voyage, 8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday) - 11 berths available - age 18+ (adult voyage, also suitable for training new potential volunteers) - £200pp.
23 June - 1 July 2017 - London to Cuxhaven - 8 nights - at least 4 berths available - age 18+ (adult voyage, also suitable for training new potential volunteers) - £645pp. North Sea crossing with cruising options in Holland and the Frisian islands.
8-10 Sept 2017- Southampton to Southampton - 2 nights (weekend voyage, 8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday) - 12 berths available - age 18+ (adult voyage, also suitable for training new potential volunteers) - £200pp.

Any of these voyages would be ideal for people aged 18+ who might be interested in volunteering with us and want to come and see how it all works; or for current volunteers wanting more training (especially people who can’t manage Prolific training over the winter, or whom we can’t fit it); or for anyone who just wants to come for a good sail and to find out a bit about the charity.

Please email to book.

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Chris Ellis Award - win £££s off sailing
If you enjoy a voyage with OYT South 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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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

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 - temporary website problem

T-shirts, hoodies and more are normally available here: - but the company involved (which is not part of OYT South) has encountered a major problem with their web hosting and it may take a few weeks to fix it. Do try the link but if it’s not working, you can call Spyprints on 01983 299314 and they can still take an order over the phone.

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Youth Trustee - speaking up for young people

OYT South has a rule that at least one member of the Board of Trustees - which runs the charity - should be in the same age range as the young people who sail with us. The current Youth Trustee is 19-year old student Jack Dignan, who did his first voyage with us a couple of years ago. Jack is in a position to speak up for young crew members, suggest changes in the way the charity operates or to do anything else which will improve the experience of the young people who sail with us. If you are a young person and you have ideas or suggestions for how we can do better, and you want to talk to someone close to your own age, you can contact Jack. If you’re not happy with something and want to know what to do about it, you might want to start by talking to Jack. If you want to get more involved - whether by just doing another voyage, or by training as a volunteer - Jack can point you in the right direction. You can email him at

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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, 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