Shooting Star Chase hospice siblings ... cruising under mizzen staysail


OYT South bulletin 23rd September 2016

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

* Voyage news

Last week’s newsletter left a crew of Shooting Star Chase Children’s Hospice siblings in Gosport, from where they sailed to Cowes and then did the usual night navigation exercise back to Ocean Village where five RYA Start Yachting certificates were awarded at the end of a great week.

The weekend was spent on a mates’ training voyage, where we had a fantastic group of new potential volunteers with a wide range of backgrounds, skills and interests. Everyone quickly bonded into a friendly and very positive crew and worked hard to learn as much possible. We lost count of the number of man overboard recovery exercises that were carried out, alongside sail hoist and drops, fire drills, navigation and pilotage, tacking and general watchleading skills. We sailed out through the Needles and down to Freshwater Bay on Saturday, where we dropped the anchor (and had another MOB recovery drill using the dinghy), and then sailed back to Cowes for the night. On Sunday morning we had an interesting exercise in extracting John Laing from a very tight berth, and then plenty more sailing before ending up back in Ocean Village on Sunday night. The one disappointment was that the winds stayed light all weekend and we weren’t able to show the new volunteers how John Laing can sail at her best. But everyone in the crew had something to offer the charity and all of them would be welcome back – we look forward to getting them more involved! Big thanks to sea staff Andy Bristow, Ben, Jack, Miranda, Josh and Caz.

Shooting Star Chase Children’s Hospice was back again this week with a different group of young people - the previous week had been all about young people who were new to the boat, while this week was all about returners who had sailed with us previously and were looking for something a little more challenging. They sailed to Cowes on the first night, and on Tuesday motor-sailed to Poole - there was very little wind in the Solent but things picked up as they went further west. On Wednesday they managed a fantastic sail, reaching 10 knots as they went to Weymouth. In Weymouth they discovered that the ice cream shop doesn’t sell Spam ice cream but does sell pretty much every other flavour. Spam was a big feature of the week as the crew were fans of the Spam comedy sketch and there were lots of Spam songs and Spam jokes. Next day they anchored in Studland and then did a longer navigation exercise with night pilotage through the Needles and all the way up to Southampton, where the voyage ended today with nine RYA Start Yachting certificates awarded. There’s a short video on Facebook of sailing off St Alban’s.: Big thanks to sea staff Dougie, Andrew W, Miranda, Josh, Andy Gissing and special congratulations to Allen Swift who successfully completed a third mate’s assessment on his first youth voyage, and clearly has the potential to go further as his familiarity with OYT South increases.

Don ’t forget that you can always see where John Laing is sailing using our vessel tracking page, generously sponsored by the Graham High Charity.

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* Wedding news

Huge congratulations to one of our relief skippers Nic Crawford and former watchleader (and one of our first-ever core team refit volunteers) Jenny Swatton (aka Phoebe), who got married last weekend!

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* MDL Award Winners presentation

Our major sponsors, MDL Marinas, select six exceptional young people every year to join a voyage with us, and later on the winners come to the Southampton Boat Show to collect their trophies. This year’s voyage took place back in April where the crew had to endure Storm Katie before they could actually get any sailing. It was great to see some of the winners again at the Boat Show this week - see below for a photo of Jayden and Dylan along with MDL’s Dean Smith, our Patron Lord Illife, and OYT South’s Chief Executive Mark Todd. Over many years, the support of MDL for OYT South really has been invaluable – they do so much for us and it’s a partnership that means a tremendous amount to us and makes a huge difference to every young person who sails with us.

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* Prolific
Lots of experts visiting Prolific this week as we finalise plans for the new mast and rigging, and also look at new radar equipment. Meanwhile, the engineering team of Chris and John has been repiping the starboard heads, testing the electrical systems on the main engine, and doing more work on the bow thruster. Big thanks to everyone for their help.

We still need lots of support over the coming weeks, both before and after the launch. 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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* OYT South AGM - curry night bookings now OPEN, plus information on Trustee elections and volunteers' weekend

OYT South's AGM will take place on 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. Payment link here.. Please note this advance payment is just for food - you will need to pay for any drinks or a tip on the night.

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 take part in everything else over the weekend.

If anyone might be interested in standing for election to the Board of Trustees, please email and we can arrange for an informal chat about what might be required.

Please also email if you can help with work on the boat on the Saturday and/or Sunday. We need lots of people - this could be a big weekend for clearing kit off John Laing. Priority for accommodation on board after the curry night will go to people who are also there to help!

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2016 voyage availability for young people

We have a few places where final payments haven’t yet been made or booking forms completed, but if all comes through as expected then we are potentially FULLY BOOKED until the end of the 2016 sailing season! However, it is always possible that someone may have to drop out, so if you would still like to sail, please contact the office and we can put your name on the reserve list.

There is a sailing programme for 2016 and an updated availability list.

Our 2017 programme is here.

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Baltic Adventure 2017 - bookings OPEN
We are now able to confirm our plans for sailing to the Baltic in 2017: As we’ve said all along, we needed some confirmed group bookings to be sure the whole project could be viable; but we now have some groups confirmed plus a few further provisional group bookings where organisations are still working out how many places they can fill. In order to ensure that we still have space for individuals as well as the organised groups, we have reserved three of these voyages for individual bookings only - one for adults (18+ ) - the London to Cuxhaven cruise; and two for age range 15-25 (the minimum age of 15 is to fit in with the rules for Tall Ships events): the Tall Ships race from Turku to Klaipeda, and the cruise from Szczecin to Cuxhaven (which includes time at the Szczecin Tall Ships festival). Bookings for these three voyages are now OPEN - please email to reserve a place.

In due course there may also be spaces on additional voyages if group booking aren’t confirmed or if they can’t fill all their spaces and need others to join them. The latest status of the full range of voyages for the whole period away from our home port of Southampton is as follows:

14-20 June: Southampton to London cruise - ages 12-25 - £525. Reserved for group booking (deposit paid)
23 June - 1 July: London to Cuxhaven cruise - adult voyage, aged 18+, £645
2-8 July: Cuxhaven to Copenhagen cruise
- ages 12-25 - £525. We have some interest in this voyage for a small group booking but they are unlikely to fill the boat and will almost certainly want others to join them. Please contact us for more information.
9-15 July: Copenhagen to Stockholm cruise
- ages 12-25 - £525 - provisionally reserved for a group booking but no deposit paid, so if this is your first-choice voyage, do please discuss it with us.
16-22 July: Stockholm to Turku cruise
including time at Turku Tall Ships festival - ages 15-25 - £525 - Reserved for group booking (deposit paid)
22-31 July: Turku to Klaipeda Tall Ships Race - ages 15-25 - £785. Open for individual bookings.
31 July - 7 Aug: Klaipeda to Szczecin Tall Ships Race - ages 15-25 - £625. We have a school interested in booking this one and they are aiming to have numbers and deposits during October, so if they can't fill the voyage, places will be released then.
7-14 Aug: Szczecin to Cuxhaven cruise including time at Szczecin Tall Ships festival - ages 15-25 - £625. Open for individual bookings.
15-22 Aug: Cuxhaven to Ipswich cruise - ages 12-25 - £625 - provisionally reserved for a group booking but no deposit paid, so if this is your first-choice voyage, do please discuss it with us.
24-30 Aug: Ipswich to Southampton cruise
-ages 12-25 - £525 - provisionally reserved for a group booking but not confirmed and no deposit paid, so if this is your first-choice voyage, do please discuss it with us.

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.

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2017 voyage programme
The full sailing programme for 2017 is available here. If you are thinking of making a booking for 2017, or you would like to discuss ideas and options, please contact

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Winter Prolific training for volunteers - dates
Most of our volunteers will know that we are planning opportunities for you to become familiar with Prolific before we start running youth voyages in 2017. The plan is to spend the first part of the winter with a team of the more experienced staff and volunteers on board, establishing new routines and re-writing the voyage handbook, and after that we want to run training voyages for as many volunteers as possible - open to all current qualified volunteers and anyone who has been recommended by the skipper to join our volunteers’ team as a watchleader, bosun or relief engineer.

We are looking at four-day training voyages, Thursday to Sunday, to minimise the amount of time people need to take off work; but if you really can’t manage that then it will also be possible for some people to join from Friday night to Sunday. Please look at the draft list of dates below and email to tell us which of these dates you can manage, in order of preference if you like. Please give us as many options as you possibly can as we’ll want to arrange things so that the maximum number of people get a chance to do some training before the season starts.

Feb 2-5
Feb 9-12
Feb 23-26
March 2-5
March 9-12
March 16-19.

Please note that we will have to give priority to people who have arranged some training when we start taking sea staff bookings for the 2017 season - especially if you want to be involved in the Baltic Adventure voyages!

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Winter core team and 2017 volunteers needed
Regular readers will know that for many years, OYT South has taken on a small team of full-time volunteers over the winter to work on vessel refits in exchange for food, accommodation and the chance to develop their boat maintenance skills and experience. Winter 2016-17 will be different as we’ll be moving over to our new boat Prolific. Prolific has been in refit for some time while our current vessel, John Laing, completes the 2016 sailing season. Once the 2016 season is over, attention turns to Prolific: completing any outstanding refit tasks, conducting sea trials and dealing with any issues that arise, establishing new standard operating procedures and then running training voyages and weekends so that all our staff and volunteers can get used to a different boat before we start sailing with young people.

We are hoping to recruit a small team of young people aged 18-25 for full-time volunteer positions over the winter (November to March and possibly beyond). The core team will be involved in maintenance and practical tasks, including helping to keep the vessel clean and tidy, and in all the sea trials and training, in order to provide continuity on board alongside other volunteers who may only be available to sail for a few days at a time. We are looking for people who can quickly become familiar with the boat and her routines and can offer reliable, enthusiastic and hard-working support to our professional skipper and engineer.

The hope is that one or two members of the winter team will excel enough to be invited by the skipper to stay on board for significant periods during the 2017 season and take part in our programme of voyages. This will mean that as our regular volunteers get used to running a very different boat, there will be one or two extra people who are familiar with everything. This will be a great opportunity for young people who wish to develop their sailing skills, qualifying as watchleaders or bosuns and learning from our engineer.

A place on the core team is worth considering if you are between jobs or on a gap year or have recently left school, college or university. It could be ideal for someone considering a career in the marine industry, but is also suitable for anyone who likes the idea of contributing to a good charitable cause.

If you are interested in applying for the core team for the winter, or you just want us to contact you for a chat about what's involved, please complete the form on the website here..

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Adult voyages

Apart from winter training for current volunteers, there will be several adult voyages 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; 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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Boat maintenance days - NEW dates - please help!

Our remaining 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!

Monday 10th October - Southampton
Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th November - Southampton - volunteers’ weekend including short AGM and a social event on the Saturday night.

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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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

Big thanks this week to Fareham Motor Boat and Sailing Club, and to Stuart Lothian, for very kind donations.

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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* Swim2Bestival report
A couple of weeks ago we were using this bulletin to send best wishes to everyone involved with Swim2Bestival - an intrepid group of swimmers planning to cross the Solent to raise money for us. In the event our best wishes were not enough to give them the weather conditions they needed and it was genuinely too rough for the full Solent swim to be completed safely, but, undaunted, they did a 2-mile swim on the River Yarn instead. Even there, it was windy and provided tough condition for them. However, all 25 swimmers completed the course - the fastest in around 35 minutes and all in by 1 hour 10 minutes. Photos are available here and a video here. Huge thanks to all involved..

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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, 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