Sailing in poor visibility!


OYT South bulletin 13th May 2016

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

* JP’s story
In 2003, a thirteen-year old boy called JP came for his first voyage in John Laing. Last weekend, aged 27, JP came back for an adult day sail and we made the video below. It illustrates just how Ocean Youth Trust South’s charitable work transforms young lives - please watch it, show it to others, and spread the word. Big congratulations to JP for all he has achieved, but also to our volunteers, sponsors, donors, staff and other supporters - stories like this wouldn’t happen without your efforts!

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* Boat maintenance day TOMORROW

There is a boat maintenance day tomorrow, Saturday 14th May, in Southampton - please call 07990 518915 if you can help!

Our full list of 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!

Saturday 14th May - Southampton
Sunday 19th June - Southampton
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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* Voyage news
Last weekend we had two great adult day sails - sunshine, a decent breeze and great company! Both days involved teachers and others who have sent young people on voyages in the past or intend to do so in future, as well as other people who have supported the charity in various ways or hope to start doing so. These day sails really are a fantastic way to show people what the charity can offer and we still have spaces on other dates this year - do let us know if you would like to come along or if you can think of anyone we might invite. Big thanks to sea staff who helped over the weekend: Mark, Brigid, Jack (special congratulations to Jack as he has passed his Day Skipper Theory course this week!), Ben, Josie, Joe M, Joe P, Dave, Annant, Matt and Caz.

This week’s voyage has been with Compass School, Southampton. Compass works with young people who are not in mainstream education and a lot of them have exceptionally difficult home lives and can show some very challenging behaviour. However, we have worked with the school for a number of years and have found their staff to be inspirational, and this year was no exception - skipper Dougie said the staff were “absolutely brilliant, outstanding rapport with the young people, endless patience, an amazing level of engagement with the whole voyage experience.” They sailed to Cowes on the first night, where two of the young people left as they were just not in the right place mentally or emotionally to benefit from the voyage. But the rest of the group sailed to Portland on Tuesday in fog all the way and had an evening of games. On Wednesday they had more fog but sailed back to Yarmouth - this was a really great day for the young people, with a lot of positive engagement, and a BBQ at the end of the day. On Thursday they had a proper sailing wind for the first time and managed some good sailing in the western Solent before making their way to Gosport. They were back in Ocean Village last night, which marked the end of the sailing, so three of the young people went home at that stage, but others stayed for the last night and clean-up and debriefs this morning. All who stayed until last night got OYT South voyage certificates, and four of the young people achieved Royal Yachting Association Start Yachting certificates. Dougie said he had seen some great teamwork – two boys who had learned to tie knots working with a third just to make sure he would get up to the standard to earn his certificate. Those who didn’t complete their RYA qualifications still got some sections signed off so there is a record of what they have achieved. Big thanks to sea staff Dougie, Rooby, Jon, Josie, Ben and Lou. This is always a challenging week but clearly worthwhile for young people who would not normally get a chance to do anything like this, and most of whom showed some good progress at times during the week.

Don't forget that you can follow the progress of any voyage via our new improved vessel tracking page, generously sponsored by the Graham High Charity, which shows John Laing's position, course, speed and more!

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* Sea staff bookings 2016

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!

9 June, Southampton, day sail - one or two more watchleaders or a bosun. This is a corporate day for a major donor so we are looking for people who can talk enthusiastically about voyages with young people!
10-12 June, Southampton - it's not yet certain we'll be sailing this weekend, but if we are then we'll need one more watchleader
19-24 July, Plymouth - female watchleader needed.
4-8 Sept plus 3 Sept maintenance day, Southampton - 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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* Prolific refit news - help still needed!
The engineering team of Chris and Josh has been working on the main engine and generator this week, and we are also grateful to volunteers for their help. Phil Hookham (who should be congratulated on becoming a grandfather this week!) has been installing cables; and Steve Lacey has been working on the plumbing. Big thanks to all involved - and we still need more help! At this stage we are really looking for support from 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.

4-8 June - Southampton - 4 nights - berths possibly available - please ask - £355pp.
10-12 June - Southampton - 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.
19-24 July - Plymouth - 5 nights - 2 berths available - please ask - £440pp.
25-29 July - Plymouth - 4 nights - 5 berths available - £360pp.
1-7 August - Plymouth - 6 nights - up to 3 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 - up to 5 berths available - £445pp. Others already booked on this voyage are aged 15-18.
26 August - 2 September - Gosport to Southampton - 7 nights - 4 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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* 2016 adult day sails - NEW corporate or teambuilding day available

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

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 - Southampton
Sat 30 July - Plymouth
Sun 31 July - Plymouth
NEW: Fri 9 Sept - Southampton - suitable for a group booking rather than individuals. Ideal for corporate or team-building day?
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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* Poole Boat Show - NEXT WEEKEND

Big thanks to everyone who has volunteered to help at the Poole Boat Show next weekend - we should have an excellent team on board but it may not be too late to get involved if anyone else wants to come along! Otherwise, if you live near Poole or know anyone who will be in the area, do encourage as many people as possible to come and see us. It’s a great chance to look round the boat, meet some members of our team, and talk about how new people can get involved with the charity, as volunteers, by joining an adult or youth voyage, or by encouraging young people to come sailing!

John Laing
will be at the Poole Boat Show from Friday 20th May to Sunday 22nd May. Email if you can help for one or more days.

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2016 adult voyages - including training volunteers and selecting potential new volunteers
There is one remaining scheduled adult weekend 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:

13-17 June (2pm Monday to 12 noon Friday) - Southampton - 4 nights - age 18+. £355pp (only 3 or 4 places left)
16-18 Sept (8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday) - Southampton - 2 nights - age 18+. £195pp

Please email to book.

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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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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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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