The refit team


OYT South bulletin 18th November 2016

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

* OYT South AGM report

We had a successful and well-attended AGM last weekend. The formal business of the meeting was completed very quickly indeed, but we did re-elect four Trustees whose turn it was to stand down in rotation and who had chosen to offer themselves for re-election: Fred Cole, Eamonn Feeney, Fiona Pankhurst and Yvonne Taylor. We also elected one new Trustee, Lesley Robinson. Lesley is Managing Director of MDL Marinas, our major sponsors, and she says: “I have a commercial, international and business development background, in a variety of sectors including leisure, media, IT and FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods). I am passionate about the charities I actually support and am currently treasurer for a foundation for women enhancing women’s empowerment in the third world. I also run, enjoy my family life and do the odd bit of sailing when I can.” We are delighted to welcome Lesley to the Board and look forward to working with her.

Details of our full Board of Trustees can be found here..

The formal AGM was followed by Mark Todd’s review of the year, and then 41 people moved on to the curry night and a great social evening followed!

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* Refit news
Big thanks to the team who have been working hard at refit lately - including lots at the volunteers’ weekend. We are really grateful this week to Andy, Josh, Peta Koczy who has now joined us full-time as our Sailing Support Officer (welcome!), Sophie, Matt, Tom, Louis, Chris, Lauren Mackenzie, Marcus Hardiman, Brigid Stoney, Phil Bacon, Carrie Potter, Tom Knight, Joseph Macgregor, Josephine Griffith, Nick Steel, David Blogg, John Niven, Caz, Harri Smith, Andy Haynes, Lizzy Parker and Steve Lacey.

Chris has been working on heating and radiators, and otherwise there has been a massive effort to remove kit from John Laing, either to Prolific or to the store; to set up new stowage plans for Prolific and get everything tidy and sorted; and to clear all OYT South branding from John Laing. Otherwise it’s been lots of little jobs and getting everything organised. Tigger has returned the deck boxes to the boat after lots of work and they look beautiful; and Dave the gas man has started sorting out the gas system for us.

There is still plenty to do on board and 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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2017 February shorebased training weekend - details
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 and we have now agreed dates and prices as follows - please email if you haven’t already done so and you want to join any of these courses. For those who have already reserved places, a booking form for courses, meals, accommodation etc will be available on the website very shortly:

RYA One-day First Aid - £75 including first aid handbook. Instructor Tony Salmon. Course running on Saturday 25th February and there is currently at least one space still available. If there is sufficient demand we could still add an extra course on the Sunday which would allow for up to 12 more people (we would need to get up to 8 or so to make it really cost-effective). This course covers first aid and resuscitation techniques for yachtsmen, including a knowledge of the treatment for hypothermia. Recommended for ALL sea staff, required for second mates and above, compulsory updates every 3 years - check when your certificate goes out of date. Course runs 9am to 5pm.

RYA Marine Radio Short Range Certificate GMDSS assessment - £40 plus exam fee (£60 payable to the RYA - this exam fee MAY be increased slightly in January but we will let you know as soon as we have any more information). Assessor Lee Mosscrop. This course consists of the RYA interactive online course which MUST be completed in advance (it takes around 6-10 hours) plus a short practical session and exam which can take place on either Saturday 25th February or Sunday 26th February. The practical plus exam takes less than half a day so anyone booking this course could also book an afternoon radar session (see below) or join the Prolific training on the same day. Individual GMDSS times will be allocated to each candidate depending on what else you are doing on the day. This course covers use of marine radios including GMDSS, and routine, distress, urgency and safety procedures. You must also be over the age of 16 to do the assessment. Recommended for third mates, required for second mates and above.

A taster course is available to students via This gives you a chance to see a few screens of the course and importantly use the interactive radio and check that the course will run on your device. We strongly advise you to download and try this taster on the device you will use for the course, before buying the full course. If the taster works on your device, the full course will work too. You can also opt for your course notes to be sent to you in a printed version or an ePack. eBooks are enhanced digital versions of RYA printed books containing animations, video and interactive tools to help illustrate the key points and skills. As such, these eBooks are a great resource. eBooks can be viewed using a tablet, smartphone or computer which has the free RYA Books app installed. Visit for more information on devices currently supported. In general the app is supported on Windows PCs and laptops, Mac computers and laptops, iPhone, iPad, iPod touches and android phone and tablets, Kindle Fire tablets. If you wish to opt for an ePack please check that you have a suitable device compatible with the RYA Books app prior to purchase. Go to the RYA Books app download page Please note ePacks can only be returned if they are faulty.

Radar - £55 (full day, suitable for anyone new to radar or those wanting a full refresher) or £30 (afternoon practical session only, suitable for people with some radar experience). Instructor Alan Watson. Course running on Saturday 25th February (at least 3 places available) or Sunday 26th February (at least 3 places available). Please note that this is NOT the RYA Radar course and will not be awarding the RYA certificate. Alan Watson is an outstanding instructor, who has been involved with development and testing of Raymarine's kit. Mark Todd attended a session he ran at the RYA Instructors' conference last year and said it was the most interesting radar session he had ever attended and he strongly recommends it! Anyone attending an afternoon session only is free to do a GMDSS assessment or Prolific training in the morning if you wish. Course runs 9am to 5pm (full day) or 2pm to 5pm (afternoon only).

RYA Diesel engines - £75. Instructor Jason Morgan or Adam Turner. Course on Sunday 26th February (currently two spare places) though we could potentially run a second course on the Saturday if there is sufficient demand - adding 6 extra places. Course covers basic maintenance and engine care. Awareness of the main systems of a marine diesel engine. Able to take simple measures to prevent mechanical breakdown at sea and rectify defects which do not require workshop support. Recommended for bosuns plus second mates and above. Course runs 9am to 5pm. Bring warm clothes - this course includes classroom sessions which should be warm enough, but the practical sessions with an engine are under cover but otherwise open to the air!

Prolific familliarisation - FREE. Prolific should be in Haslar on both days and we aim to run familiarisation for as many people as possible - though you only need to book one day each as the training will basically be repeated on the two days. This could cover daily and weekly checks for bosuns; use of anchor windlass; launching the RIB; fire drills; tours of the boat so you know where everything is; and whatever else we can fit in. People who have a confirmed place on the Prolific training session 23-26 February will be sailing on the Thursday and Friday (including getting the boat to Gosport) and will then be involved in training alongside except where they have also booked any of the other courses above. Otherwise, we will aim to add as many extra people as we can fit on the boat.

There will be the usual very cheap and basic accommodation on the floor in the Sea Cadet Unit) for those who want, plus 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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* Can anyone lend us a supply of camping mattresses for Feb 25-26?
Just wondering if anyone is involved with a Scout group or similar and might have access to a stash of camping mattresses that we could borrow for the weekend of 25-26 Feb? The reason is that we always used to have bunk cushions we could use for accommodation in the Gosport Sea Cadet Unit during the training weekend; but this year Prolific’s bunks are nearly all being used for people doing the training slot 23-26 Feb, so we need to sort out something for anyone else coming to the training weekend, if they don’t have their own camping mattress. Email if you can help.

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* 2017 sea staff bookings - please send in your bids|
We have now started 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 get 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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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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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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John Laing tributes
Massive thanks to everyone who has contributed to the tribute to John Laing which we posted a couple of weeks ago - 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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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

Huge thanks this week for a very generous donation towards bursaries in 2017 for young people who could not otherwise afford to sail, from a donor who prefers no publicity!

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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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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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