Alfreton Park crew (and Polly, the Isle of Wight Support Dog!


OYT South bulletin 24th June 2016

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

* 2016 voyage availability for young people
- LAST few places available!
We have now filled the great majority of our voyages for the remainder of the year - we have something like 36 berths not yet fully-booked and paid for, but if all provisional bookings are confirmed this goes down to more like 11 berths still available. Please helps us to get them ALL filled! Spaces are as follows:

19-24 July - Plymouth - 5 nights - age 12-25 - £440 - up to 8 berths available. We are hoping for some confirmed bookings from a Scout group so some of these places may fill up quite rapidly, but we definitely have space for one or two more people and maybe more - PLEASE let us know a.s.a.p. if you could do this voyage or would like to be on the reserve list if the Scouts don’t fill all their places.
25-29 July - Plymouth - 4 nights - age 12-25 - £360 - 1 or 2 berths available
8-13 August - Plymouth - 5 nights - age 12-25 - £445 - up to 2 berths available
14-18 August - Plymouth to Brixham - 4 nights - age 12-25 - £360. We have a provisional full-boat booking for this voyage but not yet confirmed with payment and booking forms so we are happy to start putting together a reserve list just in case we end up with spaces.
26 August - 2 September
- Gosport to Southampton - 7 nights - age 12-25 - £610 - 2 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 someone friendly and enthusiastic to join them!
7-9 October (8pm Fri to 5pm Sun) - Southampton - 2 nights - age 12-25 - £195 - 1 berth available.
17-21 October - Southampton - 4 nights - age 12-25 - £355 - up to 3 berths available
26-30 October - HALF TERM - Southampton - 4 nights - age 12-25 - £365 - up to 5 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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* 2017 DRAFT voyage programme
We have now written a DRAFT sailing programme for 2017. At this stage it is mainly for discussion - very few things are set in stone and it is not too late to try and alter some of the dates, durations and ports to suit you, as long as it doesn’t clash with the needs of other clients. If you are thinking of making a booking for 2017, or you would like to discuss ideas and options, please contact Please also let us know if you spot any mistakes on the draft programme!

See below for more details on our plans for a Baltic Adventure in 2017.

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* Voyage news

Two weeks’-worth of voyage news now as I was at sea last Friday…

The weekend of 10-12 June was used for maintenance, cleaning, chart corrections and more - big thanks to Jack, Harry, Ben and Carrie for lots of work on board. This was followed by an adult week, training some new potential volunteers but also involving other adults, including a booking from Help for Heroes for an utterly inspirational individual who had been through some exceptionally tough times while serving overseas but is now throwing herself into new experiences such as sailing.

We had on board a great group of keen new volunteers. We anchored on the first night and then thought of going to Poole, but with wind over tide, the Needles Channel would not have been a good place to be so we turned and went the other way. This also involved encountering some lively seas but we still managed a lot of good training, culminating in skipper Dougie’s very stylish masterclass in picking up a man overboard (not a real one, just a bucket and fender exercise) under sail, without any engine, in challenging conditions. We spent that night in Gosport where crew member Nick was able to celebrate his 24th birthday, and we also had a ship’s band consisting of a fiddle and two guitars.

On Wednesday there was more training which ended in a pilotage exercise with one watch taking us into Beaulieu. This was made more of a challenge by the fact that their carefully made plans, with bearings, tidal heights and more, all on a piece of paper, somehow went missing, and they had to redo all the planning just as we were making our way in - which they accomplished successfully. Thursday involved yet more training and the other watch taking charge of pilotage into the Hamble; and the voyage ended back in Ocean Village on Friday. Julie from Help for Heroes earned her RYA Competent Crew certificate, and among the others we have a great group of people who earned volunteer recommendations and we are very much looking forward to having them back on board and working on youth voyages. Big thanks to sea staff Dougie, Paul, Jack, Carrie, Harry, Caz and a special mention for Adam and Miranda who were doing some first mate training and made huge progress.

Saturday was an adult day sail which included a lot of very interesting people – several who have supported the charity in a variety of ways; the head of residential care for Hampshire who has sent young people sailing with us in the past; the head of Sutton’s Virtual School for children in care who will be sending their first group later this year; two people from an Isle of Wight homelessness project who may send people to us in future; and  two from the Bavaria Owners Association which made a generous donation to us this year. And then there was Paul from Fyffes, the banana importer, who is looking at options for working with us and is also involved in Seafarers Awareness Week. Clearly anyone who needs to be bringing in shiploads of bananas on a grand scale has an interest in getting young people to consider a career at sea. Paul possesses an inexhaustible supply of fascinating facts about bananas - there was a moment over lunch when he offered to stop talking about bananas and there was a cry of “no, don’t stop” from all the other guests. This led us to set up a banana Q&A on the boat’s Facebook page, with people sending in their queries and Paul telling us the answers (did you know that the banana is technically a herb? Or that they come in different flavours?). There wasn’t much wind but we did manage some sailing in amongst all the banana facts, and it was a fun day with a lot of time to talk to guests about what we do and how it all works. Big thanks to sea staff Andy V, Andy R, Jack, Carrie, Harry, Ben, Emily, Annant and Caz.

Sunday was a maintenance day - big thanks to Andy V, Josh, John, Ollie, Andy R, Marcus, Jack, Carrie, Ben and Harry for cleaning the diesel tanks, working on the hull, the fridge and freezer, Prolific’s diesel tanks, chart corrections and more, including a lot of tidying and small jobs.

This week has been the annual voyage for Alfreton Park Special School: six young people with multiple moderate to severe physical and learning difficulties, sailing with six adult helpers in addition to our own sea staff. This is always a great week: the young people arrive and initially struggle with all the basics such as climbing up and down the companionway steps, but by the end of the week they are doing all that sort of thing with confidence as well as joining in with all the sailing. They joined on Monday and sailed to Hamble Point marina that night. Next day they filled the tanks with diesel and then had a sail round the Bramble Bank, ending in Cowes for shore leave, icecream and extreme washing up. Next day they woke to fog so had showers and shore leave in the morning, setting off when conditions cleared after lunch. They did a man overboard recovery exercise and then sailed to Yarmouth. There they met two members of our Isle of Wight Support Group, Marion and our official Isle of Wight Support Dog Polly. The crew took Polly for a walk which they much enjoyed - Polly kept them entertained and even acted as a finishing post for some races!

Yesterday there was no wind but they motorsailed all the way to the top of Southampton Water, beyond Ocean Village, for a good look around before ending back in the marina for games and the traditional Alfreton Park last night fish and chips. The After Eight game (stick one to your forehead and then manoeuvre it down into your mouth without using your hands…as it melts) proved particularly popular. The crew managed a great clean up this morning and set off for home having sailed 51 miles in the week, a great achievement for young people with these difficulties. Big thanks to sea staff Andy V, Andy R, Josh, Di, Ben and special congratulations to Harry Warley who is with us for month’s work experience and this week completed his RYA Competent Crew qualification.

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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* 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.

19-23 Sept, Southampton - qualified second mate. Ideally we need a female 2M but this is a CHASE Children's Hospice siblings voyage and they generally come with female staff so any available male 2Ms please let me know! We have someone who may be able to do EITHER this voyage OR the next one on the list, so there is really only one vacancy between the two voyages and it all depends on which of the two someone else offers to do.
28 Sept – 2 Oct, Southampton: qualified third mate or additional second mate or bosun - must be female. We have someone who may be able to do EITHER this voyage OR the previous one on the list, so there is really only one vacancy between the two voyages and it all depends on which of the two someone else offers to do.
10-14 Oct (including 10 Oct maintenance day) AND 14-16 Oct, Southampton - bosun. Priority will be given to someone who can do the full week 10-16 Oct.
10-14 Oct (including 10 Oct maintenance day), Southampton - additional 3M or trainee mate. The group will consist of young people who are not in (or have been excluded from) mainstream school.
21-25 Oct, Southampton - 2M plus one other qualified or trainee watchleader - one of these must be female.
26-30 Oct, Southampton - 2M

Do keep an eye on future editions of this bulletin as there may be additional vacancies if anyone’s plans have to change!

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* Joe’s Round the Island challenge
Joe Macgregor, who was ;part of our full-time refit team in 2014 and is now a watchleader, is planning to sail round the Isle of Wight in a laser dinghy to raise money for OYT South. You can see details of his challenge here and you can support Joe here.

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* Graham’s cycling challenge
Graham High, whose charity supports OYT South in so many ways, has been cycling from Land's End to John O'Groats to raise money for us. This morning he only had 83 miles to go so he should be nearly there by now – a fantastic effort and £850 raised already!

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Sara ’s swimming challenge

You may remember that last year, OYT was the nominated charity for Swim2Bestival - a fantastic team of people raised a great sum of money for us by swimming across the Solent. We were delighted to learn that they have chosen to support us again this year during the swim on September 8th! And just to make things even better than last year, one of our volunteer watchleaders, Sara Turnbull, will be among the swimmers. Sara has now started her training and set up her fundraising page – please support her if you can!

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* Prolific
refit news - help still needed!
We still need more help in the week beginning July 4th! 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 - including Plymouth vacancies
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

We are particularly keen to use the two Plymouth dates to meet anyone in the west country who might like to sail with us, organise a group of young people to sail, or help us in other ways. If you know anyone in the south west who might be interested, please do pass this on, or send us their contact details so we can invite them!

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 voyage

There is one remaining scheduled adult weekend 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:

16-18 Sept (8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday) - Southampton - 2 nights - age 18+. £195pp (up to 4 places left)

Please email to book.

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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. We already have two schools which have provisionally reserved voyages, so we are making real progress! 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 - ages 12-2, or possible adult voyage? - £645
2-8 July: Cuxhaven to Copenhagen cruise - ages 12-25 - £525.
9-15 July: Copenhagen to Stockholm cruise - ages 11-25 - £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.
16-22 July: Stockholm to Turku cruise including time at Turku Tall Ships festival - ages 15-25 - £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.
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!

There is a flyer here which you can download and email to others, or print and give to people, or stick on a noticeboard. Please help ensure we can make this adventure work!

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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!

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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* Wedding news - congratulations John and Lisa!
Huge congratulations to John Snowden and Lisa Davis, both former John Laing watchleaders, who got married last week!

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Annual Report

A copy of our Annual Report is now available. Do have a look - it contains much more than just the financial statements and it’s a great summary of everything that happened within OYT South in the last financial year. Hard copies are now available from the office so let us know if you would like some.

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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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* 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 to John Niven for a very generous donation towards this week’s voyage for the young people from Alfreton Park Special School.

We need a regular flow of funds to cover at least three major areas: bursaries for young people who could not otherwise afford to sail; vessel maintenance and equipment; and staff salaries - please help, or pass on our details to anyone you come across who might make a grant, large or small.

See here  for how to make a donation - you can contribute by cheque, phone or PayPal, but please do something if you possibly can. Don't forget that if you complete and return a Gift Aid form we can claim back tax on your donation.

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OYT South branded clothing - temporary website problem

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

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Youth Trustee - speaking up for young people

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

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Raise And Sail - website for anyone looking to raise money to come sailing
Raise And Sail is a section of this website full of ideas, information and support for young people who would like to raise money in order to come sailing with us. Huge thanks to Fiona Keen and Emma Burrows for putting Raise And Sail together. We hope you will find it useful - let us know how you get on as we can add success stories and new ideas to the site in due course.

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Online navigation training for volunteers and young people
OYT South has been offering basic navigation training through the RYA's Essential Navigation & Seamanship course - do have a look and sign up if you want the qualification.

For those of you who want something a little more advanced, one of our relief skippers, Simon Jinks, is offering online distance learning systems for the theory courses for Day Skipper, Coastal/Yachtmaster and Yachtmaster Ocean. Simon is a great sailor and a top instructor so this is very highly recommended. Details here. He is also offering a one-day Weather for Sailors course. Please note that Simon's website also includes Essential Navigation and the PPI course, both of which OYT South can offer in-house.

With our own courses and Simon's we now have navigation courses to suit everyone from total beginners right up to the most advanced level - please give it a go and do ask for advice if you are not sure which course is right for you.

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Keep in touch with other OYT South people
Many of you are already friends with John Laing on Facebook ( but we now have a new page: - please do give us a Like! At the moment we are mainly putting posts on both pages but in the long run we will be using the OYT South page more so it would be great if more people started using that page.

Please note that OYT South has a policy that our adult staff and volunteers should not make or accept individual online friend requests with crew members aged under 18. Young crew members can use the sites to stay in touch with the boat and with each other, but not with individual adults.

We are also on Twitter @oytsouth so please follow us!

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Survey - tell us what you think
If you have recently completed a voyage, please help us by filling in our web-based survey. It really helps - we use the data to keep improving our voyages, and to help us raise funds!

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New readers' welcome and introduction
If you have recently registered your interest in OYT South, welcome to our e-newsletter, which is sent out almost every week, normally on a Friday. It includes a wide range of news from the boat and from the charity, including details of voyages available for young people; adult voyages; opportunities for adult volunteers both ashore and afloat, and much more. We find that while some people read the bulletin almost every week, many others dip in and out, and read it when it's convenient - which is why some items are repeated. The new items are marked with an asterisk * so that if you did read it last week, you can see which sections you can safely skip.

Please feel free to join in any OYT South activities - nothing here is restricted to long-standing members or people who already know one another. New people are always very welcome!

If you need an introduction to the work of OYT South, you should find a lot of useful information on our website. But essentially, we are a registered charity (no. 1079959) which exists to offer adventure under sail as a personal development opportunity for young people aged 12-25, from the widest possible range of backgrounds. A high proportion of our young crew members are disadvantaged or deserving in some way: many of these sail in groups organised by other charities, youth clubs, special schools and so on, and will fill the bulk of our term-time voyages. But those from more fortunate backgrounds are also welcome to sail, either in groups or by coming as individuals on a mixed voyage. Every year we run a variety of shorter local voyages plus longer adventure trips - sometimes including Tall Ships races during the summer holidays. If you are aged 12-25 and hoping to sail as a crew member, take a look here - and this section is also useful for adults who are thinking of organising a voyage for a young person. Adults planning to organise a full group voyage should also see here. Adults who want to sail themselves should see here. And there is a video here, made by a crew from the Prince's Trust, to give you an idea of what a voyage might be like!

We have a professional staff skipper and engineer, but our watch leaders are normally all volunteers, who combine sailing skills with an interest in working with young people. You can find more information here - how the system works, how to join, and profiles of existing staff and volunteers.  

To volunteer for OYT South ashore, please see here. To help with the vessel's annual refit, 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