Training weekend


OYT South bulletin 26th February 2016

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

* Shorebased training weekend report
Huge thanks to everyone involved in the training weekend, especially Tony and Nix for the venue and all the food; the instructors Tom, Mark, Andy, Tony, James, Lucinda, Jennie and Adam; the office team for looking after all the payments and bookings; and everyone who came along and created a great atmosphere and a very sociable event!

Three people successfully completed the GMDSS assessment, 13 did First Aid, 6 did Diesel; at least 10 helped with chart corrections; 8 did Radar; and 32 did the Youthwork day - 72 training days completed in total! We also had lots of people there for meals, including 46 people for dinner on Saturday. And we had a great audience for our Chief Executive, Mark Todd, whose presentation on Saturday evening covered some of the high points of last season, plans for the coming year; a review of a few key incidents and lessons learned; and a discussion of some interesting feedback from junior sea staff organised by our Youth Trustee, Jack Dignan.

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* Refit news
Massive thanks this week to Andy, Josie, Lou, Ben, Alex Ahmann, Chris, Charlie Bowen, Allen Swift, John Niven, Juley Simmonds, Nick Steel, Jon Dobbin, David “Tigger” Heffer, Dom Coleman, Miranda Camping and Mike Bunton. On board Prolific, the through-hull fittings are all done; the fridge-freezer system is partly installed; the fire system is done and lots of work has been happening on the bows. Meanwhile over on John Laing, the Dorset Support Group team did a deep clean and had a massive session on the list of routine checks which are carried out on a daily, weekly or monthly basis during the sailing season, just to bring us up to date.

The plan now is to wrap up the current work on board Prolific by 4th March. This includes a big clean, and clearing all the kit from the scaffolding and the area below the boat - the tent and scaffolding will be coming down from 10th March onwards. Meanwhile, from 7th March, the refit focus moves over to John Laing. Obviously all this requires as much help as we can get on weekdays, but there is also the volunteers’ weekend on 12th and 13th March. There’s a huge amount to do on that weekend and we can use all the time anyone can offer; but there will be a particular need for people who are familiar with John Laing’s kit, with someone needed in the refit house to make sure that the right kit gets sent to the boat, and people on board able to organise it all to be put in the right places. Email or call the boat phone on 07990 518915 if you can help with any of this. After the volunteers’ weekend, we’ll again be needing as much weekday help as possible. We’ll have some shakedown sailing on 22nd and 23rd March with an invited team on board which Andy will organise, but if you are available and would like to be invited, please let Andy know a.s.a.p! The mission on the shakedown is to ensure that everything is working as it should, which means again there’s a need for some people who are familiar with how things usually work on board John Laing.

The first voyage of the season starts on 26th March - we have exactly a month to go!

If you can come and help for a day, a weekend, a week or more, please email including your phone number and any details of when you are available; or call 07990 518915. Please also let us know if you have any technical skills or boat maintenance experience - these will obviously be useful but not essential as there will also be days when the help needed is more about things like moving gear around! We can usually offer accommodation to helpers, space permitting. See here for more details about our refit.

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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.

25 April - Southampton - day sail - £80pp - 12 berths available. This could be used EITHER for a youth group OR adult clients - individuals, corporate clients, teambuilding or anything else. Please email to discuss.
6 May - Southampton - day sail - £80pp - 12 berths available. This could be used EITHER for a youth group OR adult clients - individuals, corporate clients, teambuilding or anything else. Please email to discuss.
4-8 June - Southampton - 4 nights - 12 berths possibly available - please ask - £355pp.
10-12 June - Southampton to Gosport - 2 nights - £195pp - 12 places available. This could be used EITHER for youth groups OR adult clients - individuals, corporate clients, teambuilding or anything else; and it could be a weekend from 8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday, or two separate day sails on Saturday and Sunday - please email to discuss.
25 June - 1 July - Southampton to Poole - 6 nights - £525pp. up to 4 places available. Some berths on this voyage have been reserved by a group of university students - they are happy to mix with others - ideal for people of student age, or a minimum age of at least 15, DofE Gold Residentials etc. Passports definitely needed as the student group will want to try for France or the Channel Islands if the weather allows.
19-24 July - Plymouth - 5 nights - up to 4 berths possibly available tbc - please ask - £440pp.
25-29 July - Plymouth - 4 nights - up to 9 berths available - £360pp.
1-7 August - Plymouth - 6 nights - up to 10 berths available - £525pp.
8-13 August - Plymouth - 5 nights - up to 4 berths possibly available tbc - please ask - £445pp. This voyage has been part-booked by a school group aged 15-18 (both boys and girls) and they may well be looking for friendly, enthusiastic people to help them make up a full crew.
26 August - 2 September - Gosport to Southampton - 7 nights - up to 9 berths available - £610pp.
4-8 September - Southampton - 4 nights - 1 berth available - £355pp. Others booked on this voyage are aged around 16-21 and will have significant sailing experience so they are looking for friendly and enthusiastic people to join them!
3-9 October - Southampton - 6 nights - 12 berths available (full-boat booking if required) - £525pp. It might be possible to split this period to create shorter, cheaper voyages (or a voyage plus a day sail) if required - please ask.
17-21 October - Southampton - 4 nights - 8 berths available - £355pp.
26-30 October - Southampton - 4 nights - at least 6 berths available - £365pp. Half term voyage.

There is a sailing programme for 2016 and an updated availability list. If you are thinking of making a booking for 2016, or you would like to discuss ideas and options, please contact

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* 2016 adult day sails
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

Mon 25 April - Southampton
Fri 6 May - Southampton
Sat 7 May - Southampton
Sun 8 May - Southampton
10-12 June - Southampton - the boat is available from Friday to Sunday and this could be separate day sails or a residential weekend - please email to discuss.
Sat 18 June - Gosport
Sat 30 July - Plymouth
Sun 31 July - Plymouth
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 are two scheduled adult weekends and one longer adult voyage which can be used for sea staff training, selecting new volunteers - and any other over-18s (no upper limit) who want to find out more about OYT South, or just come for a great sail and some valuable training:

22-24 April (8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday) - Southampton - 2 nights - age 18+. £195pp (Provisionally full but we can take names for a reserve list in case anyone drops out)
13-17 June (2pm Monday to 12 noon Friday) - Gosport - 4 nights - age 18+. £355pp
16-18 Sept (8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday) - Southampton - 2 nights - age 18+. £195pp

Please email to book.

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Prolific appeal
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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Update on plans for the 2016 sailing season (in case you missed recent newsletters)

As you know, we have been working hard towards replacing John Laing with our new boat Prolific. Sadly we have had to take the decision that we are not able to do this in time for the 2016 season, and this year’s voyages will be run in John Laing, with Prolific coming into service for the 2017 season.

The key issue for us has been the safety of everyone on board, and our ability to deliver the quality of voyage that our clients expect from Ocean Youth Trust South. The background is simply that, on expert advice, we have to replace the mizzen mast, and the timescale for designing and building a bespoke mast means that Prolific could not be ready until well into the season. This creates a second issue: we need to provide training for our staff and volunteers so they can run safe voyages for young people in a very different boat; but once we’ve started the season in John Laing, we would struggle to run proper Prolific training - we just don’t have enough staff and volunteers to keep both boats sailing at the same time. Therefore, we have very reluctantly concluded that it would not be safe or sensible to try to bring Prolific into service for the 2016 season.

Andy, Josh and the team have been working miracles to try and get Prolific ready - really no-one could have worked harder, and we can’t thank them enough for their efforts, alongside all those of you who have been along to help. But sadly the timescale for a new mast is out of our control.

The plan now is to run another full season in John Laing, and then complete all the training and preparation required for Prolific over next winter (including weekends and whatever we can do to help volunteers with limited availability), so that by the start of the 2017 season we have everything ready to offer all our clients the quality of experience they should expect from us. You probably know that we have just been awarded the trophy for Sail Training Vessel of the Year by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency and the Association of Sail Training Organisations, which is a wonderful recognition of the standards we offer on board, and we don’t want to let those standards slip by rushing to bring a new boat into service before everything is quite ready.

We are so sorry if this is disappointing for anyone but we do hope you will all feel that we have made the right decision. We bought Prolific with a view to securing the future of the charity in the long term - so we can all still look forward to many years of great sailing in her!

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* Financial appeal
Big thanks this week to Matt Lovett and Rosalie Sanders for generous donations! In Rosalie’s case, the money was raised through a cake sale - a great way for one of our new young volunteers to support the charity!

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

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