* Allocating volunteer mate and bosun berths for the season NOW!
We are deep in the process of allocating volunteer berths for the season, so if you want to sail as a volunteer this year and haven't already been in touch, please send in details of when you are available and how much time you can spare NOW - otherwise you may find that all the voyages you might have wanted have been filled! Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have NOT yet had a recommendation from our skipper to join our sea staff, you need to do a training/selection voyage first: see below:
If you have had a skipper's recommendation but are not yet an assessed and qualified member of sea staff, your next step is to sail on a youth voyage of four nights or more, for further training and assessment. Not all voyages are suitable for this but please send in details of your availability and we’ll aim to match you with an appropriate voyage.
Qualified sea staff (anyone who sailed as a watchleader or bosun with us last year) - ideally please give us voyage numbers of anything you would like to do (see here for voyage numbers); or give me names of any regular clients you'd particularly like to sail with. But if you have really flexible availability, the easiest thing is to tell us the maximum number of days you can offer this year.
Please note that it is much easier for us if you send in details of when you can sail and how much time you can offer, rather than emailing asking what dates are available. The reasons for this are complicated but I will try to explain the process - not to put you off (we do really want people to volunteer) but hopefully to help people understand how complex it is for us to get the volunteer bookings organised!
Essentially, it's not simply a question of finding dates that work for individuals and then just booking you. What we have to do is put together a TEAM of staff and volunteers for each voyage, with a skipper, 1M, 2M, 3M, bosun and often but not always a trainee mate, and we can't book anyone until we have at least some idea of who else is going to make up each team. For example, at least one adult on each voyage must be a woman, if there are girls in the crew; and then we have to think about special skills if the group includes people with disabilities or challenging behaviour. We also don't want to end up with a voyage where two or three of the mates are all newly-qualified at their particular level - if the second mate has only just passed his or her assessment then they shouldn't be paired with a brand-new first mate...Then sometimes the client will be a school or charity where a staff member has qualified or wants to qualify as a volunteer, so needs a staff berth. Meanwhile, some client groups are just not suited for brand-new trainee mates. Plus we have to think about some priority bookings (e.g. people who have been identified as fast-track first mates or skippers, if I can give them enough time on the boat). And we do promise that people who help the most at refit get priority over anyone who hasn't been along at all! We also give preference to people who raise money for us or introduce us to new clients.....And on top of all that we want to try to be fair to all our volunteers and make sure everyone gets at least a voyage or two!
I hope that explains things for you - so please get your bids in NOW if you possibly can. We are already starting to confirm some bookings and we’ll take into account the preferences of as many people as we possibly can. Once the main round of allocations is completed (hopefully by the end of February) we will advertise any remaining gaps, but you may find there’s not a lot of choice at that stage.
Please send bids or questions to email@example.com.
* February 2016 training weekend - anyone else want a first aid course?
Just a few people haven’t yet paid for courses or booked meals, accommodation and parking - please do sort this out NOW if you need to! The booking form and payment link is here.
If you have booked and paid, don’t forget that all the details such as address and timings are on the webpage here.
Please note that terms and conditions for shorebased courses are available here.
The Radar and Diesel courses are both FULL. One First Aid course is FULL but we do have some reserves and could run a second course if we can get enough people to make it cost-effective. We’d need at least another four people and the cut-off point is 6pm next Tuesday 9th February - if we don’t have enough people by then we will stick to just running the one course and sadly won’t be able to offer anything to the people on the current reserve list this time.
We can still fit in extra GMDSS assessments (this is the qualification for using the ship's radio) but please note these follow an online course which MUST be done befoere the training weekend so book NOW if you want to do this! See here for details.
There is no upper limit other than the size of classrooms for the number of people who can do the Chart Corrections or Youthwork courses so we can still add extra names to those lists - see here for details of what these courses involve and email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to book.
All these courses are open to anyone, although if courses are over-subscribed, priority is given to active OYT South members and those planning to join our sea staff.
We're not offering RYA Sea Survival over that weekend but we do recommend this course for all OYT South sea staff. KTY Yachts runs the course regularly and will offer good rates to our volunteers - you can book direct with them.
Don't forget that a Child Protection course (updated every three years), and Food Hygiene qualification are both compulsory for all sea staff and can be done quickly and cheaply online here (though we can accept alternative recognised training if you send us the details). The online course page also offers other valuable youthwork courses which you may find interesting - especially as you can do the whole lot for a single payment of £10, so if you are paying for Child Protection, you might as well do other courses while you're there.
We also recommend Powerboat Level 2 for everyone (required to drive Prolific's dinghy with an outboard engine), but we won't be running this at the February weekend - it can be difficult to get a group together for this one (it's a 2-day course). However, we have a volunteer who is a Powerboat instructor so if you want to do this course, email email@example.com and we'll put you in touch in the hope that you can sort out suitable dates between you.
* Refit news
Huge thanks to everyone who has been working incredibly hard at refit since the last newsletter: Andy, Josh, Josie, Lou, Ben, Chris, Jo Coomber, John Niven, David Griffiths and Helen Eltringham. Also Mark Boggis, who kindly took all the boat’s waterproof clothing home and has been hard at work getting them clean and ready for the season.
The team has finished all the tricky bits of the antifouling; the rubbing strakes should be finished today; the boot-top has been marked ready for painting; the boom has been stripped of all hardware; great progress is being made with both the engine and the heating system; the propeller is back on, with a new rope-cutter (huge thanks to International Paint for getting this for us); and dozens of smaller jobs are being completed. We really can’t thank the volunteer team enough - they are working so hard and doing an incredible job.
We still need plenty of help over the next few months, on weekdays (weekday volunteers are like gold dust, says Andy) and on a few special volunteer weekends (the next one is 12-13 March). If you can come and help for a day, a weekend, a week or more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org including your phone number and any details of when you are available. 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.
* Chris Ellis Award winner
Huge congratulations to Parice Smith, the winner of this year’s Chris Ellis award. This award, in memory of one of the charity’s founders, is given for the best piece of work (logbook, story, artwork etc) based on a voyage with OYT South. Parice’s entry, done after a voyage last season when she was aged 13, was a lively Powerpoint presentation describing her trip, including a map of their route, and concluding that her best bits were:
Meeting new friends
Being in control of such a big boat
Helping to cook dinner for everyone
Being part of an amazing team
…and “I can’t wait to go again”.
Well done, Parice - and we can’t wait to see you on board again!
Alfreton Park voyage appeal
Many of you will know that among the highlights of each year is our annual voyage with Alfreton Park Special School - young people with conditions such as Down’s, cerebral palsy or global development delay, who sail alongside adult carers. It is always inspiring to see how much these young people can achieve on board, and over many years this voyage has become a very special part of our season. However, the school itself has always struggled to pay for the voyage - not least because they need to pay for the carers as well as the students - and relies on a series of donors. This year we have a couple of significant donors already in place, but with school funding tighter than ever, they need a bit more help - at least for 2016, but even better, a long-term donor or group of donors to help secure this voyage for the future. Email email@example.com if you would like to help!
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.
If 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!
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to book.
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.
OYT South branded clothing
T-shirts, hoodies and more are always available here - do have a look!
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.
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.
Keep in touch with other OYT South people
Many of you are already friends with John Laing on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/johnlaingsailing) but we now have a new page: https://www.facebook.com/oytsouth - 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!
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!
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.