* Making a long-term difference - a contact from the past!
We received a lovely email this week which - with the writer’s permission - we wanted to share with all our volunteers and supporters as it is a great example of how all the hard work that so many people put in to the charity can have a profound and lasting positive impact on those who sail with us.
The email came from a man now in his fifties who sailed with us as a teenager in 1979, and he said:
"For me, not coming from any sort of nautical background, it provided a complete change from my normal environment, which was exactly what I needed following my mum’s death whilst I was only just 17. I found I had time to reflect especially when I was on the night watch and each of the adult crew was approachable. Not like teachers, more like much older siblings. I had a little tearful moment one morning, it was only a few weeks after she had gone so emotions were raw. One of the crew members noticed. Quietly went and made a couple of cups of tea. And didn't say anything directly but just stayed with me for a while drinking his tea. And I got through that moment and felt better. It was the year of the Fastnet disaster when a massive storm cost several lives and we were outside the harbour unable to enter until the waves died down a bit. And for a lad who was even a little uncomfortable on a cross channel ferry, I have to say I was one of the only crew that wasn't sick that night. Everything seemed safe - we had lines to secure us in the event of being swept overboard, and I seem to remember I was positioned as a lookout at the front of the boat being hit by the spray from the waves, and I found it exhilarating. I've never had a problem with nervousness since that experience. Now you're going to think I'm being a bit over dramatic, but I remember thinking I have survived the death of my parent which also meant losing my home and even my dog was given away, that I could deal with any troubles in life. The boat going up and down all over the place became a positive exciting experience, as I was able to rationalise that I'd taken all the safety precautions and our boat was if I remember 75' long and not some little dinghy. I went home feeling I’d grown up just that little bit more. Truthfully was the best experience at just the right time.”
2017 sea staff bookings - please send in your bids ASAP
Any volunteers who haven’t yet sent in bids to sail in 2017, please do so NOW. We are very close to being able to start allocating voyages for the whole season so if you haven’t told us when you are available or when you would like to sail, you may risk discovering that other people have filled the voyages you wanted.
It still takes a long time to get the whole thing sorted out, so those of you who have sent in your bids shouldn’t worry if you don’t get a quick answer; but once the process is underway it is hugely complicated to unpick anything if we get late bids for voyages where all the places have been provisionally allocated.
Qualified sea staff - ideally please give us voyage numbers of anything you would like to do (see here for voyage numbers); or give us names of any regular clients you’d particularly like to sail with; or details of the time of year you would like to sail. But if you have really flexible availability, the easiest thing is to tell us the maximum number of days you can offer next year.
Tall Ships bookings and overseas voyages: as we haven't done Tall Ships for a while, there may be a high demand from sea staff wanting to sail on these voyages. Please note that sea staff are responsible for their own travel costs to and from voyages starting overseas; and as with normal voyages, we do need sea staff to help either side of the time the young people are on board. We are VERY unlikely to allocate a berth on a popular overseas voyage to anyone who can't join the day before to help with jobs! And if you are bidding for a berth on an overseas voyage, please list all the voyages you could do (in order of preference if you like); then we can aim to juggle things around so that as many people as possible get a chance to do one of these voyages.
The process of booking volunteers is really complicated - it's not simply a question of finding dates that work for individuals and then 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, engineer and/or 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. 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 we can give them enough time on the boat). And we do promise that people who help the most at refit, or raise money for us, or introduce us to new clients, get priority over anyone who hasn't done so much to support the charity.
We will also give priority to people who are up to date with any training and qualifications and who send certificates promptly to the office when asked. We don't want to allocate a place on one of the really popular voyages to someone who then takes up a lot of the office team's time chasing you for paperwork!
Please send bids to email@example.com.
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 here for details .
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 ask - email firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Relief engineers and junior bosuns
Thanks to all those people who have already expressed an interest in sailing as engineer on some of the voyages when Josh is on relief. If any other sea staff are sending in voyage bids following the request above, and you have some engineering skill or strong practical experience with things like engines and electrics, please do let us know if you would like to be considered for engineer berths as an occasional alternative to sailing in your usual capacity.
Junior bosuns: anyone who is already a bosun or who has had a recommendation from the skipper to join our volunteer team as a bosun, please consider booking Prolific familiarisation at the February training weekend as this will be an opportunity to go through things like the daily and weekly checks which bosuns are expected to do during voyages. But please make sure you have also sent in your voyage availability as above, if you want to sail in 2017. Berths in school and college holidays are obviously particularly popular and likely to be over-subscribed.
* Refit news
Big thanks to the team who have been working hard at refit in the last couple of weeks: Andy, Josh, Peta, Sophie, Matt, Tom, Chris, Steve, Ollie and Megan. Lots of work on the chainplates (some of which need moving to fit the new mizzen rig), heating, fridge and freezer, water tanks and more. The team also finished moving all our kit from John Laing.
2017 February shorebased training weekend - please confirm and pay now
The traditional OYT South winter shorebased training weekend will take place on 25 and 26 February 2017 in and around the Sea Cadet Unit in Gosport. Full details of all the courses and training on offer are on the website here.
Several of the courses are now very close to being full so if you have reserved a place but not yet confirmed and paid, please do so a.s.a.p. - we don’t want to be turning people away and saying there is no space for them if there is any risk of someone with a reserved place changing their minds so there would have been space after all!
If we get enough interest we can add an extra first aid course on the Sunday and take up to 12 more people; and we could also add a second diesel course on the Saturday if there is enough interest, and that will give us 6 more places. So if you do want to do one of the courses that may be full, PLEASE ask - you might be the one last person we need to make the extra course possible!
There is still scope for more people to do GMDSS assessments and radar training, and lots more scope to add extra people to the Prolific training sessions over the weekend. Please have a look and email now if you want to do any of the courses. If you have already had confirmation that you have a place reserved on your chosen course(s) then you can use the booking form on the website to book and pay not just for training but also for meals, accommodation etc. If you have not yet had a place reserved for you, PLEASE email email@example.com to get confirmation before booking - just to check that other people haven't got in ahead of you and that there is still space for you!
If you want to do RYA Sea Survival, this is not being run as part of the training weekend but KTY Yachts will include OYT South volunteers on one of their courses at the discounted price of £80 - contact them direct to arrange a course.
* Prolific delivery Gosport to Southampton 27th February - can you help?
Prolific will be in Gosport for the training weekend 25-26 February, but on Monday 27th we will probably need to move her back to Ocean Village and we’ll need a team on board to sail her round. Adult sea staff - please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you might be available to help.
2017 voyage programme - including Baltic adventure
The full sailing programme for 2017 is available here, including latest availability for our Baltic Adventure. We have already had some really strong advance bookings for 2017 so if you would like to sail next year as a young crew member, please do think about it NOW and contact email@example.com.
There are still some voyages which have been provisionally reserved subject to funding or to a group getting enough people, but the current vacancies list is as follows:
8-13 April: Southampton - 5 nights - up to 3 berths available - age 12-25 - £465pp.
14-18 April: Southampton - 4 nights - up to 5 berths available - age 12-25 - £375pp.
28-30 April: Southampton - 2 nights (weekend voyage, 8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday) - 10 berths available - age 18+ (adult voyage, also suitable for training new potential volunteers) - £200pp.
8-12 May: Southampton - 4 nights - 12 berths possibly available - please ask - age 12-25 - £375pp.
28 May - 1 June (half term): Gosport to Southampton - 4 nights - 12 berths available - age 12-25 - £375pp.
1-4 June (half term): Southampton - 3 nights - 12 berths possibly available - please ask - age 12-25 - £285pp.
23 June - 1 July: London to Cuxhaven - 8 nights - up to 7 berths available - age 18+ (adult voyage, also suitable for training new potential volunteers) - £645pp. North Sea crossing with possible cruising options in Holland and the Frisian islands.
2-8 July: Cuxhaven (Germany) to Copenhagen (Denmark) - 6 nights - age 12-25 - £525pp. Up to 5 places available. This voyage has been part-booked by an international school for young people aged around 12 - there are some spaces available, suitable EITHER for other younger crew members, or for older ones who are prepared to support and help the younger ones. Ideal for DofE Gold Residential?
22-31 July: Turku (Finland) to Klaipeda (Lithuania) - 9 nights - up to 3 berths available depending on whether or not provisional bookings are confirmed - please ask - age 15-25 - £785pp - Tall Ships Race.
7-14 Aug: Szczecin (Poland) to Cuxhaven (Germany) - 7 nights - 11 berths available - age 12-25 - £625pp - starts with a day at a Tall Ships festival.
31 Aug- 3 Sept: Southampton - 3 nights - 10 berths available - age 12-25 - £285pp.
8-10 Sept: 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.
25-29 Oct (half term): Southampton to Southampton - 4 nights - 2 berths available - age 12-25 - £380pp.
The list above shows three adult voyages planned for next year. 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 (especially people who would like more Prolific training than they or we can manage over the winter); or for anyone who just wants to come for a good sail and to find out a bit about the charity.
28-30 April 2017 - Southampton to Southampton - 2 nights (weekend voyage, 8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday) - 10 berths available - age 18+ (adult voyage, also suitable for training new potential volunteers) - £200pp.
23 June - 1 July 2017 - London to Cuxhaven - 8 nights - up to 7 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.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to book.
Prolific celebration event 13th May 2017
More details to follow but for now, please put Saturday 13th May in your diaries as a Prolific celebration event (late morning / lunchtime in Ocean Village). At that stage we’ll have run some voyages; some young people and volunteers will have sailed in her; and we’ll be holding the formal celebration event to mark Prolific’s arrival as OYT South’s new sail training vessel.
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 email@example.com 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.
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!
OYT South branded clothing - temporary website problem
T-shirts, hoodies and more are normally available here: http://www.spyprints.com/shop/oyt-south.html - 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.
Small boat training opportunities for sea staff
A while ago we consulted sea staff about the need for a small boat so that people can practise skills which aren’t easily learned in Prolific. While we have concluded, that - for the time being - the cost and workload of having a training boat of our own didn’t make that a good option, there was nevertheless a clear demand for access to a small boat. We have therefore made an arrangement with our good friends at the Discovery Sailing Project for the occasional use of their 34-foot Alexander Fairey. The yacht is currently having work done and will be lifted at the end of January and back in service around mid February. She can be chartered by OYT South sea staff on the following conditions:
The person in charge must have a full Day Skipper qualification and a recommendation from Mark Todd or Andy Viney confirming that you are an active member of OYT South sea staff with an appropriate level of competence; and there must be a second person on board with Day Skipper or suitable experience in case the skipper is incapacitated. Additionally someone must have RYA First Aid (or equivalent) and hold a valid VHF Radio Licence. At the moment the price is £250 for a weekend (Friday evening to Sunday afternoon) and £100 per day mid-week. This cost is ‘bare boat’. Cost for gas is included and diesel is charged at an hourly rate, deducted from a £20 cash deposit paid before takeover. The balance will be fully refunded if the vessel is left clean - if not, a deduction will be made for cleaning. Cleaning materials are provided.
Alexander Fairey sleeps a maximum of 8 people so might be suitable for a group of OYT South sea staff to get together and develop boat handling skills and command experience. Anyone interested should contact Clive Fisher at firstname.lastname@example.org with preferred dates - obviously the boat is used for their own sea staff so the issue will always be about making sure they can fit everyone in.
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 email@example.com.
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, 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.