HMS President's crew!


OYT South bulletin 19th May 2016

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

* Poole Boat Show - THIS WEEKEND

Big thanks to everyone who has volunteered to help at the Poole Boat Show this 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 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.

28 May - 3 June
- HALF TERM - Southampton - 6 nights - age 12-25 - £525 - 6 places available
25 June - 1 July - Southampton to Poole - 5 nights - £440 - 1 berth available. Others booked on this voyage are aged 16+ (including young adults - mainly medical students) and they are looking for friendly and enthusiastic people to join them!
19-24 July - Plymouth - 5 nights - age 12-25 - £440 - up to 8 berths available
25-29 July - Plymouth - 4 nights - age 12-25 - £360 - 3 berths available
1-7 August
- Plymouth - 6 nights - age 12-25 - £525  - 2 berths available
8-13 August - Plymouth - 5 nights - age 12-25 - £445 - up to 10  berths available
26 August - 2 September - Gosport to Southampton - 7 nights - age 12-25 - £610 - 4 berths available
4-8 September - Southampton - 4 nights - age 15-25 - £355 - 1 berth available. 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 - 4 nights - age 12-25 - £355 - 12 berths available
7-9 October (8pm Fri to 5pm Sun) - Southampton - 2 nights - age 12-25 - £195 - 5 berths available. The other places have been booked by a Scout group aged 14-18 and they are looking for people to join them!
17-21 October - Southampton - 4 nights - age 12-25 - £355 - 8 berths available
26-30 October - HALF TERM - Southampton - 4 nights - age 12-25 - £365 - at least 6 berths available.

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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* Baltic Adventure 2017
We are seriously looking at the possibility of sailing to the Baltic in 2017 to take part in some Tall Ships festivals and races, with independent cruises on the way there and back. This should be a really exciting programme, visiting Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Lithuania and Poland. To make this financially viable, we would want to secure advance commitments for a full group bookings of 12 on a few of these legs, and then the remaining voyages will be opened to individual bookings. If you or anyone you know might be interested in a GROUP BOOKING on one of these voyages, please email now to discuss options. Please note that we have already had provisional interest from some of our regular clients in a couple of these voyages, but nothing is yet set in stone, so the full list of voyages looks something like this:

14-20 June: Southampton to London cruise - ages 12-25 - £525. We have a provisional reservation for this voyage already but not yet confirmed and no deposit has yet been paid so if this is your group's first-choice voyage, do talk to us NOW in case the other client's plans change.
23 June - 1 July: London to Cuxhaven cruise - adult voyage, ages 18+, £645
2-8 July: Cuxhaven to Copenhagen cruise - ages 12-25 - £525.
9-15 July: Copenhagen to Stockholm cruise - ages 11-25 - £525.
16-22 July: Stockholm to Turku cruise including time at Turku Tall Ships festival - ages 15-25 - £525.
22-31 July: Turku to Klaipeda Tall Ships Race - ages 15-25 - £785
31 July - 7 Aug: Klaipeda to Szczecin Tall Ships Race - ages 15-25 - £625.
7-14 Aug: Szczecin to Cuxhaven cruise including time at Szczecin Tall Ships festival - ages 15-25 - £625
15-22 Aug: Cuxhaven to Ipswich cruise - ages 12-25 - £625
24-30 Aug: Ipswich to Southampton cruise - ages 12-25 - £525.

Even the race legs often allow time to visit at least one additional port on the way; the cruise legs will include stops in as many interesting places as we can manage, given the weather and the time available.

Tall Ships festivals run over three days and we have arranged the dates above so that both outgoing and incoming crews get some time at the festivals in Turku, Klaipeda and Szczecin. These are amazing events with vessels crewed by young people from all over the world, thousands of visitors, lots of activities, crew parties and more. But please note that the minimum age for these events is 15.

Please note that prices do not include travel to and from the boat and crew members / group organisers will be responsible for their own travel arrangements.

We may yet make changes to this outline - dates, ports and prices - but at this stage we just want to get some discussions started!

We are considering making one of these an adult voyage (age range 18+) so that no-one needs to miss out on this adventure. London-Cuxhaven looks like a strong contender for an adult trip - it’s during term-time so it might be hard to fill it with young people, and it would make a great mile-builder, as well as (weather permitting) a fascinating cruise which could include stops in the Frisian Islands or the Dutch inland waterways.

Please email us NOW if you have any ideas for filling these voyages. We’ll aim to confirm the programme once we are confident that we’ll have sufficient interest; but if it doesn’t work out then we’ll need time to plan an alternative programme closer to home - without causing too much inconvenience to any groups which would have been ready to commit to a Baltic Adventure voyage but who may have to rethink if there aren’t enough others to fill the rest of the legs!

See here for a flyer which you can save and email to others or print out for distribution or to stick on a noticeboard.

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* Voyage news

Big thanks to all who helped with the maintenance day last weekend: Andy, Lou, Josie, Ben, Jack, Jon, John, Imogen and Brian. They did lots of painting, chart corrections and the weekly checks, and fixed lots of defects - a great day’s work!

On Sunday we were joined by seven young people from St Matthew Academy, Lewisham and five from Bethnal Green Academy, all aged between 12 and 14 and selected and funded by HMS President, London’s Royal Naval Reserve Unit. After the usual safety briefings they had a chat about the weather and options for the trip, and the whole team decided that they wanted to cross the channel and go to Alderney. They had an early dinner and slipped lines late for Yarmouth as the first stop on the way. They motor-sailed there, arriving just before midnight. Everyone went to bed knowing that an early start was in store. Beauty, aged 13, took the helm to drive out of the harbour and they hoisted sails and headed past the Needles on a beam reach. The wind was forecast to veer round to the west but this happened earlier than expected and they were hard on the wind for the whole crossing. They made great time, arriving in Alderney and picking up a mooring buoy shortly before 1am on Tuesday - the second late finish! They all slept well and then after breakfast, shore leave was planned. Alderney never fails to deliver with a great ice-cream shop and an amazing beach. For Geoffrey, aged 12, this was the first time on a beach and he says “it was great fun”!

Weather and tide dictated that they couldn’t spend too long in Braye and so they slipped lines and sailed out of the harbour at around 4pm. This was a beam-to-broad reach all the way back to Weymouth with the cruising chute and winds around F3 to F4. Unfortunately the light wind sail had to come down with winds increasing to F5 gusting F6 as they closed towards Portland. Noelia, aged 14, became that day’s comms officer and really enjoyed looking after the VHF all day. Tying up at around 02:30 this was the third late night - but none of the crew had complained once! After a late breakfast everyone took part in some training towards their RYA certificates, had lunch and then slipped lines for another epic voyage: 40 metres to the fuel berth and back, but that was all they could manage after the last two hard days! Once safely alongside again, more ice cream was required to refuel the crew so shore leave was next. With another early start to get the best of the tides, dinner, bed and a story happened as quickly as possible. The next morning the crew were up at 05:40 and the boat slipped by 06:00 - a great effort from everyone. Libby, aged 14, drove them off the berth and out of the harbour and then the sails went up again. With little wind they started to motor sail but soon the wind built and another great sail took them past Swanage Bay and to an anchorage in Studland Bay today. After lunch the intention is to plan a passage into Poole, aiming to arrive and tie up by 8pm - a well-deserved early finish.

At the moment all the crew are on course to get their RYA Start Yachting certificates when the voyage ends tomorrow. It’s fair to say that if they hadn’t sailed the boat so well and hard they might have had more time for training and could have worked on the more advanced Competent Crew certificates, but that would have meant less sailing. They have actually covered over 190 nautical miles and smiled almost all the way! Big thanks to sea staff Andy, Martyn, Josie, Lou and Josh.

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 a bosun vacancy - 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!

8-13 Aug, Plymouth - additional watchleader or trainee watchleader
4-8 Sept
plus 3 Sept maintenance day, Southampton - bosun
16-18 Sept, Southampton - one more watchleader possibly needed. Must have enough experience to help us teach new potential volunteers.
17-21 Oct, Southampton - 2M and 3M (one must be female)
26-30 Oct, Southampton - 2M

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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* Heidi’s story - and JP's story - and do you have a story of your own?

You might have seen a link in last week’s bulletin to a video telling the story of a young man called JP and what has happened to him since he first sailed with us as a thirteen-year old in 2003. If you haven’t yet watched it, please do - it’s very well worthwhile:

This week, we have added a new video, this time the story of sopmeone working in a school, who has regularly sent young people for voyages:

We are keen to add more videos - so do you have a story of your own about what your involvement with Ocean Youth Trust South has meant to you? If you have a story that is worth sharing with others, please do tell us - if you are coming to the boat, then we can arrange to film you. Heidi’s and JP’s videos were shot on a mobile phone and each took only a few minutes, so you can even film yourself telling your own story at home, and send it in - though we reserve the right to edit any videos before we publish them!

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* Day skipper training next winter

Andy is thinking of running an RYA Day Skipper course for sea staff next winter. This has to take place in a boat smaller than John Laing (or Prolific!) and it’s a great step for people who are wanting boat handling experience and a chance to try some of the command and decision-making which is hard to start learning in a large sail training vessel. If you might be interested, please email and we’ll create a list of names and keep you all informed once Andy has an idea of dates and prices.

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* Prolific
refit news - help still needed!
The engineering team will be back at work next week - 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 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

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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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 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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Boat maintenance days

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!

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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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 to the Peter Harrison Foundation for another very generous donation towards bursaries for young people who could not otherwise afford to sail; and big thanks to John Niven who raised £135 for us by selling Prolific’s old davits at Beaulieu boat jumble! Thanks also to Barclays who provided match funding after a contribution from staff.

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