Mates' training weekend


OYT South bulletin 15th September 2017

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

* NEW Staff Skipper
OYT South is delighted to announce that our new Staff Skipper, taking over in November when Andy leaves, will be Peta Koczy.

We had a strong field of applicants including some very talented individuals, but following recent interviews, the job was offered to Peta, Peta Koczywho has been with us since last November as our Sailing Support Officer. She is an RYA Yachtmaster Instructor who spent several years with OYT Scotland, qualifying as a first mate, before becoming a key member of the team which brought Prolific into service for the start of this season. Plenty of our volunteers, clients and crew members reading this bulletin will know Peta and we’re sure everyone will want to give her huge support and encouragement as she takes on a challenging new role!

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* Skipper, staff and volunteer training in November
We’re not going to go straight into refit right at the start of November this year, but instead we are going to use some of the time while Andy is still with us to give Peta the chance of some extra training and practice at sea. We’ll therefore be taking Prolific out in the first couple of weeks of November to work on command skills, technical stuff, boat handling, man overboard recovery etc. Details are yet to be finalised but we will definitely want volunteers on board during this period and it should offer really interesting training and experience for all involved. Some of it is likely to be day sails but we might also try some longer passages. So if you are a member of sea staff or a volunteer with experience on board Prolific and you would be available for one day or longer between Thursday 2nd November and Sunday 19th November to support Peta’s training, please email now and tell us which days you would be available and how many days in total you can do. We won’t be sailing every day in that period but we can try and plan which are day sails, which are days off and which might be longer passages, to fit around where we can bring together the most useful teams of people – so a quick reply will really help our planning! This period obviously includes the weekend of the AGM on 4th November but whether that Saturday and Sunday become sailing days or are used for volunteer teams to do other work on board, has yet to be decided, so please do include those days when you are telling us about your availability!

Refit will start once this training period is over - more details to follow.

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* Andy's leaving present - please give generously!
Now that we have appointed Andy’s successor as Staff Skipper, it’s time to focus on raising some money for his leaving present. He’s given us five years, which involved our final seasons with John Laing, plus a major refit and the first season with Prolific. No other Staff Skipper for OYT South has been asked to run a full sailing season in one boat at the same time as managing the biggest refit we have ever done, on another boat, so we really do need to show Andy how much we appreciate all his efforts. Please give generously! There is a webpage here with a paypal link and details of other ways of contributing.

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OYT South AGM 4th November - curry night bookings now OPEN
OYT South's AGM will take place on Saturday 4th November - this is normally a VERY short meeting combined with a lively social evening.

The AGM itself will take place at the Royal Southampton Yacht Club, 1 Channel Way, Ocean Village, Southampton, SO14 3QF - drinks at the bar from 1730, with the meeting itself at 1800. There will then be a review of the year before a curry night. As in previous years, we'll be going to Kuti's, Oxford Street, (a short walk from the Royal Southampton Yacht Club) for their excellent all-you-can-eat hot buffet. As we need to give numbers to the restaurant in advance, the curry night is ONLY available to those who book and pay in advance: £16.95 per head. Payment link here.. Please note this advance payment is just for food - you will need to pay for any drinks or a tip on the night. Please book now!

Please note that only paid-up members can vote at the AGM (you can join now here) but all OYT South supporters are very welcome to take part in everything else over the weekend.

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

The AGM and curry might be a chance for some people to say goodbye to Andy before he leaves, so do come along! Whether we will need a team of volunteers working on board Prolific that weekend, or whether she’ll be sailing on either or both days, remains to be seen - alongside the question of whether we’ll be able to offer accommodation on board after the curry. Please keep an eye on future editions of this newsletter for more information as soon as we have it!

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* Winter refit core team needed
Peta and Josh are going to need lots of help at refit this winter! We’ll be looking for volunteers to work for odd days or longer from mid-November onwards, after we complete a couple of weeks of training at sea (see above); but we’ll also need a full-time core team as we have had in recent years. Any members of this core team who are recruited in time can obviously take part in the sailing at the start of November, and we expect there will also be a sailing period for training at the end of refit, before the season begins in April, so full-time core team volunteers should get a good mix of sailing and refit work between November and March.

If you are planning a gap year, or you are between jobs or for any other reason potentially available for several weeks or months this winter, might you be interested in joining our full-time refit team? More details here, including an initial expression of interest form. Plenty of our previous refit volunteers have gone on to great jobs in the marine industry - it really helps to have maintenance experience as well as good sailing skills when applying for sailing jobs! And any refit volunteers who want to sail in Prolific can be offered berths as watchleaders, bosuns, or relief engineers. So it's a great way of developing useful experience, contributing to a good cause, securing free food and accommodation for a few months, and having a positive experience with a fun group of people!

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* Prolific
maintenance day 24th September - help needed
Just one planned maintenance day left this season - please put the date in your diary and come and help if you possibly can:

Sunday 24th September - Southampton

Email or phone the boat on 07990 518915 to let us know you are coming so we can plan jobs and make sure there is food on board for all helpers!

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* Voyage news
We had a great mates' training voyage last weekend – two days with an excellent bunch of people, most of whom were interested in finding out how to volunteer with the charity or how to bring groups of people for voyages. They joined on Friday evening and had some briefings and chats about the charity, which continued on Saturday morning before they were able to set off at around 10am. They spent some time doing sail hoists, reefs, tacking and man overboard recovery drills, at the end of which there was a discussion about whether to head straight for port or do a bit more sailing first - as an ominous black cloud rolled up over the horizon. Shortly afterwards there was an absolutely torrential downpour, though it’s fair to say the team on deck were mainly well-prepared and smiling throughout!

They spent that night in Cowes with more chats about the charity and how to volunteer, plus fajitas and the crème caramel game. On Sunday the plan was to have fewer drills and more of a sail to show people what Prolific can do, and they had a cracking day - sailing off the berth and out of the harbour and then a great upwind session and a very speedy return. Prolific was doing well over 10 knots up Southampton water. The crew left with nine people having earned sea staff recommendations and we hope to see them all back on board! Big thanks to sea staff Andy V, Peta, Sparky, Andy R, Allen, Jake, Caz and special congratulations to Charles Kingston who completed his third mate’s assessment over the weekend!

Monday’s crew were siblings of life-limited children from CHASE Shooting Star Children’s Hospice - always an excellent group. This time there were six young people and two adult leaders. They sailed to Cowes on Monday night, and then on Tuesday had a blustery sail to Lymington - by the time they got in the winds were force 6 with much bigger gusts. Between 11pm and 3am that night the winds were generally over 40 knots and parts of the Solent were clearly experiencing force 10 gusts. Next day they watched the forecast carefully and had some shore leave while they waited for the wind to die, before making a passage to Cowes with just the staysail hoisted. They got some fuel and then had showers, dinner and games before bed. On Thursday they were sailing all day before heading into Cowes again for dinner and to plan their night navigation exercise. Everyone has been working very hard and two people have earned RYA Start Yachting certificates - the others had done it on a previous voyage. Big thanks to sea staff Andy, Peta, Graeme, Colin, Frederik, Cathy, Glyn and special congratulations to Eleanor Barnwell who has completed her third mate’s qualification!

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* 2017 voyage programme - LAST FEW berths available this year
Only one remaining voyage currently has spaces - but do also keep looking out for any short-notice cancellations!

16-20 Oct - Southampton - 4 nights - up to 3 berths available - age 12-25 - £285pp. This voyage has had an unavoidable cancellation by a group which had already paid a non-refundable 25% deposit, so the price has now been reduced from £375 per person.

Other than that, anyone who wants to sail should let us know, especially if you might be available at short notice - then if we get cancellations on any other voyages this autumn, we will let you know straight away. Please email

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* Volunteer sea staff needed

The following dates have not yet been confirmed as bookings for anyone so please let us know if you can help to fill any of the gaps. Although we are running with extra sea staff this year, we definitely want to fill any spaces - please don't think we might not really need you if we already have a good team on board, because we definitely do need you!

Dates marked tbc have been offered to someone but not confirmed (e.g. they may not have got permission from employers to take leave for the voyage) so please bid for them if you wish and we will let you know as soon as possible if there is space for you or not.

9-13 Oct - one more watchleader, trainee watchleader or bosun
13-15 Oct (weekend voyage) - possible vacancy tbc for another watchleader or bosun

NB dates given are when young people are on board - we generally need sea staff the day before (except for weekend voyages). All voyages start and finish in Southampton unless otherwise stated.

Bear in mind that we are carrying extra sea staff in Prolific's first season so if we appear to be advertising for someone in your role on dates you have already accepted, don't worry - it's unlikely we have forgotten you; but there is space for someone else as well.

If you can help with any of these, please email

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* Mainsail hoist video
See here for a step-by-step video showing how to hoist Prolific’s mainsail safely - a useful reminder for less experienced or trainee watchleaders!


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* Day Skipper practical course
Does anyone want to do an RYA Day Skipper practical qualification this winter? This needs to be completed in a smaller boat than Prolific and we will run one if we can get enough people. The date will depend on when people are available, and the price will depend on numbers on board, but if you might be interested, please email with any information about your availability, and we’ll put together a mailing list of people who would like to be kept informed as we get closer to being able to firm up any details.

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DRAFT 2018 sailing programme
We have published a draft 2018 programme based on spending the summer in the west country (specific ports yet to be decided). We are taking bookings for next year, which sometimes involves shuffling things around to get dates and voyage durations to suit as many people as possible. This means that parts of the programme are not yet set in stone; but some periods of the 2018 season are already filling up very fast, so if you are interested in a group or individual voyage next year, do please email and let us know what you want, so that we can see what might be fitted around clients who have already put in their voyage requests.

Please note that we are NOT looking for volunteer sea staff bids yet! That process will start in November or December.

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From youth crew to volunteer
Have you just done a voyage as a young crew member, enjoyed it, and been told by the skipper or any of the other sea staff to think about coming back as a volunteer on board? This is how many of our watchleaders and bosuns started, and it’s a great opportunity for getting years of very cheap sailing, plus something impressive to add to your CV, college or job applications. If you start volunteering with us and do well, you could gain invaluable experience in leading and motivating teams, looking after safety issues, taking responsibility and more - especially if you end up volunteering on some of our voyages with highly disadvantaged and vulnerable young people.

If you’ve had a recommendation from the skipper, it’s still really up to you to decide whether you are keen and ready to take this step - moving from being a young crew member who can be looked after and supported by the sea staff, into a position of responsibility where you will be looking after other people and responsible for helping to deliver a successful voyage to others, and accepting that this can involve hard work - though we hope our volunteers also have plenty of fun! Junior volunteers will still get support and advice from more experienced sea staff, but you really have to be ready to get stuck in when there are things to do and your effort can help make the difference to keeping the boat working smoothly and ensuring that another group of young people has the best possible experience!

But the next stage is really up to you. There are plenty of young people who impress us on voyages each year, but the ones who get to come back for more voyages, training and qualifications are the ones who show a real interest and make the effort to keep in touch - we simply don’t have the time to chase all of you individually if we don’t hear from you. Reading this weekly newsletter is vital - you will see when we are advertising for trainee mates or bosuns, or offering courses, or asking for help with maintenance or other events. You may also sometimes see that we have a short-notice vacancy for a crew berth - if we can’t fill the place with a paying customer, offering it as a cut-price or even free place to a new potential volunteer whom we know will be an asset to the team is much better than sailing with an empty berth. So if you are keen, PLEASE read the bulletin and don’t be afraid to reply and ask questions - if you’re not sure whether an opportunity is suitable for you or not, or if there might be age restrictions, just ask. We really do want to hear from you!

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Southampton Boat Show 2017 - special offer
The Southampton Boat Show will run from 15th to 24th September 2017. John Goode has again kindly arranged for discounted Boat Show tickets for OYT South members, families and friends. If you receive the email version of this newsletter, you can see the discount details, which we can't put on a public website.

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Financial appeal

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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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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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 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.

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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
We are on Facebook at - please do give us a Like! if you were friends with John Laing on our old page ( please do move to the new page now.

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

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.

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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, 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