Ambition, Aspire, Achieve - on board Prolific in Shoreham!


OYT South bulletin 16th June 2017

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

* 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.

7-14 Aug - Szczecin to Cuxhaven - 3M tbc
23-30 Aug - Ipswich to Southampton - engineer or experienced bosun tbc
24-29 Sept - 2M
30 Sept - 3 Oct - additional 3M or trainee mate
4-8 Oct - 3M or additional 2M (space for two more sea staff) - this voyage includes the ASTO Small Ships Race so we want a strong team!
9-13 Oct - bosun, mate or trainee mate tbc
13-15 Oct - 3M or bosun tbc
16-20 Oct - 3M; and trainee mate tbc
20-24 Oct - 2M or additional 3M
25-29 Oct - 2M and additional 3M
30 Oct - experienced watchleaders for day sail

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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* Voyage news
The last newsletter ended with the crew from Oversands School heading west through the Needles. They ended up in Studland that afternoon, with time ashore and a trip to a café. That evening they had a movie night on board - lots of people wrapped in duvets in the saloon and plenty of hot chocolate!  On Saturday they sailed to Yarmouth and picked up a buoy before going ashore for a beach BBQ. Later that evening they sailed to Lymington. Saturday saw another sail to an anchorage in Osborne Bay before a night sail to Ocean Village during which a couple of the young people were able to help with the navigation. Big thanks to sea staff Dougie, Hels, Peta, Josh, Jack, Patrick and Charlotte, as well as the school staff who did a fantastic job with some very needy young people.

Monday and Tuesday were set aside to get Prolific ready to leave the Solent for two months - she won’t be back until the end of August. Huge thanks to all who came and got through a  tremendous amount of work - Andy, Peta, Josh, Mollie Crawford, Annie Holt, Phil,Hookham, Brian Eyres, Martyn Powe, Adam Lane, Simon Bowcock, John Niven, Glyn Collins, Rooby Woods, Val Hague, Dom Coleman, Jonathan Cheshire and Tom Mallett. The team did a huge shop and got everything stowed away - we are trying to carry as much non-perishable food as possible so that we don’t need to buy it in the Baltic ports. They also did some great work on chart corrections, davits, windex, capping rail, wiring for the new fridge and more. We also have some new seat cushions on board - big thanks to Chris Lane.

We crewed up again on Wednesday, with a group from a London charity called Ambition, Aspire, Achieve who had their first voyage with us a year ago. Several of the same young people came back again, and the voyage started with a lovely sunny evening sail to Cowes and drills on the way. Yesterday was another day of great weather and they had a cracking sail to Shoreham - Prolific’s first visit there and everyone was very friendly and welcoming! The group had shore leave this morning and are heading towards Ramsgate later. They are due in London on Monday and it will be great to sail up the Thames with a crew of disadvantaged young Londoners. Big thanks to sea staff Andy, Rooby, Peta, Holly, Glyn, Dom and Tom.

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* Vessel tracking as we head for London and the Baltic

Prolific will be in some interesting cruising grounds over the next couple of months. Don’t forget you can always see where Prolific is sailing by using the vessel tracking page on our website, generously sponsored by the Graham High Charity. This updates every few hours. If you are really keen and want up-to-the-minute vessel positions and more information, there are various apps for smartphone users (not always free) - MarineTraffic is a good option.

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* 2017 voyage programme - berths available
The current vacancies list is as follows but where anything is marked on this list as "tbc" it means that someone has asked for that berth but their booking is not yet formally confirmed - please ask us now if you would be interested in taking a "tbc" berth if the other booking is not confirmed:

23 June - 1 July 2017: London to Cuxhaven - 8 nights - 1 berth 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.
7-14 Aug: Szczecin (Poland) to Cuxhaven (Germany) - 7 nights - 1 berth available - age 12-25 - £625pp - starts with a day at a Tall Ships festival.
15-22 Aug: Cuxhaven (Germany) to Ipswich - 7 nights - age 12-25 - £470pp - at least 5 berths available
31 Aug- 3 Sept: Southampton - 3 nights - 3 berths possibly available tbc - please ask - age 12-25 - £285pp.
8-10 Sept: Southampton - 2 nights (weekend voyage, 8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday) - 1 or 2 berths possibly available tbc - please ask - age 18+ (adult voyage, also suitable for training new potential volunteers) - £200pp.

The full sailing programme for 2017 is available here, including latest availability for our Baltic Adventure. If you would like to sail in 2017 as a young crew member, please do think about it NOW and contact

Seventeen out of 22 remaining voyages are already fully-booked this year (though there are still some voyages which have been provisionally reserved subject to funding or to a group getting enough people - any spare places will be released as soon as we know that anything can't be confirmed).

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Tall Ships races 2018
We are hoping to be able to take part in the Tall Ships race series in 2018 and - as ever – this involves not just the Tall Ships events themselves but also cruises to get us to the start in Sunderland and back from the finish in Harlingen (Netherlands). We can only take part if we are confident that we can fill the various legs – no point sailing the boat to Norway if we can’t find a crew interested in bringing her home again! So, as usual, we are looking for advance commitments for full group bookings of 12 on a few of these legs, and then the remaining voyages will be opened to individual bookings. If you or anyone you know might be interested in a GROUP BOOKING on one of these voyages, please email now to discuss options.

The provisional list of voyages looks something like this though nothing is yet set in stone:

25 June - 1 July 2018:
Southampton to London cruise (age range 12-25) - £550
4-13 July 2018:
London to Sunderland cruise - ending at Sunderland Tall Ships festival (age range 15-25, or possibly an 18+ adult voyage tbc) - £550
13-20 July 2018:
Sunderland to Esbjerg - Tall Ships race 1 - festivals in Sunderland & Esbjerg (age range 15-25) - £650 plus travel
20-28 July 2018:
Esbjerg to Stavanger - Tall Ships cruise in company - festivals in Esbjerg & Stavanger (age range 15-25) - £735 plus travel
28 July - 5 Aug 2018:
Stavanger to Harlingen - Tall Ships race 2  - festivals in Stavanger & Harlingen (age range 15-25) - £735 plus travel

After that things become more flexible. We have from 5th August to the end of the school holidays to get from the Netherlands back to Southampton; we don’t want to be back in the Solent in mid-August as it is too busy for us to get affordable berths; so we can construct a series of cruises depending on what clients want - as long as we can put together a seamless programme with no costly wasted days. We’re looking at places with relatively straightforward travel links, so if we divide this period into four 6-night voyages we could perhaps think about something like this:

5-11 Aug 2018:
Netherlands cruise - Harlingen to e.g. Hook or Rotterdam (age range 12-25) - £550 plus travel
12-18 Aug 2018:
Normandy cruise - e.g. Hook or Rotterdam to e.g. Cherbourg or Guernsey (age range 12-25) - £550 plus travel
19-25 Aug 2018: S
outh west cruise - e.g. Cherbourg or Guernsey to e.g. Plymouth (age range 12-25) - £550 plus travel
27 Aug - 2 Sept 2018:
Homecoming cruise -.e.g. Plymouth to Southampton (age range 12-25) - £550 plus travel

However, these four voyages are just the beginnings of an idea - we can do longer or shorter voyages, we can aim to visit other places - just let us know what your group might want and we can see if it could be made to fit together with other clients’ requirements.

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2018 draft sailing programme
We have been working on a full draft sailing programme for 2018, including the Tall Ships and summer programme outlined above but also the usual UK voyages March-June and September-October. An initial draft has just been sent out to our regular clients plus some new people who are looking at 2018 group bookings, as a consultation which may well require some alterations before the programme is finally published. If you haven’t received a copy of the draft but would like one - especially if you are thinking of organising a group booking (up to 12 people) in 2018, please let us know - email At this stage it might still be possible to alter some dates, ports and voyage durations to suit our clients; but once we have started selling voyages, most of the programme is fixed and it becomes very difficult to change anything. (NB we can’t generally make changes to the programme for individual bookings - at this stage we are mainly looking at groups - e.g. a school which can only sail in a particular week).

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* Winter refit core team needed
We haven’t yet finalised plans for Prolific’s winter refit 2017-18, but 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 interest 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! If you fill in the online form we can keep in touch with you as plans for the winter become clearer.

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Adult voyages
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 were able to 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.

23 June - 1 July 2017 - London to Cuxhaven - 8 nights - 1 berth 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) - 1 or 2 berths possibly available tbc - please ask - age 18+ (adult voyage, also suitable for training new potential volunteers) - £200pp.

Please email to book.

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* Prolific
maintenance days 2017 - help needed
The remaining list of 2017 maintenance days is as follows - please put these dates in your diary and come and help on any of them if you possibly can:

Wednesday 23rd August - Ipswich
Sunday 24th September - Southampton

Email 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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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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New leaflets for OYT South
OYT South now has a new set of publicity material - much-needed as all our previous leaflets only featured John Laing and not Prolific - big thanks to Mike and Jess from the Marine Advertising Agency for lots of hard work. They are available here as pdf files and you can also get printed copies from the office - please do use them to help spread the word about OYT South.

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New crew logbook

This season we are introducing a new crew logbook which will be available on board so that young people can record their experiences and what have they have learned each day, and take it away as a permanent record at the end to show other people what they have achieved. It may not be needed on all voyages but we hope it will be of real value with many groups of young people. You can have a look here (pdf).

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training documents and videos
There is now a good selection of documents and videos in the password-access Sea Staff Only section of the website for current active sea staff. Anyone taking part sailing as a member of staff or adult volunteer on voyages this season, please keep an eye on this page. Already posted:

- Fire safety systems and fire pump
- Heads
- Bilge pumps
- Anchor windlass
- Generator start / stop
- Rigging the gangway
- Pinrails
- Winches, jammers and constrictors
- Emergency steering
- Sea staff deck walk and interior refresher
- Muster stations
- and an updated draft for a Prolific Baboon File!

We have been working hard on a complete update of the Voyage Handbook / Baboon File (so called because an early edition some years ago had an ape on the cover). There's still a bit to do but we thought there was enough there now to make it worth letting people have a look. The text is colour-coded. Black text is for things that have changed little if at all compared with John Laing (but please email if you spot anything that you think should have been updated and hasn't been). Blue text is for things that have been substantially updated and should now be broadly correct for Prolific (though we may yet amend them further if we discover better ways of working). Red text is for things which haven't been updated or agreed yet, or for queries and things which need to be settled. There are also some sections yet to be written at all. We'll keep amending this document, removing the red bits and filling in the blanks, so do check back from time to time. And please let us know if you spot anything that isn't right or could be improved!

More to come including sail hoists - new cordage has only just been fitted  and we need a bit more time to get descriptions and photos with the right colour of rope for each sheet, halyard, topping lift, downhaul, outhaul, kicking strap, reefing line and cunningham!

Any active members of sea staff who don't have a login or have forgotten it, email but PLEASE check carefully first to make certain you haven't got the details somewhere already (they will have been emailed to you if you have ever asked for a login before) as we can't cope if 100 volunteers all suddenly email about their logins!

As the webpage says: do bear in mind that the levels of knowledge and skill required to sail in Prolific will vary with your role on board. This training material is available for everyone including skippers and experienced engineers. Especially if you are a newly-qualified third mate or a 17-year old bosun and there are things here that you don't understand, DON'T PANIC ! It may be something you don't need to know; but if it is important for you to understand it, you can be given more training on board. We will be sailing with additional sea staff in Prolific's first season precisely so that there should be someone available to explain, supervise and support you as needed.

Please note that everything here is a work in progress - some things are still being modified as we learn the best ways of working - or the best ways of explaining them. Please look at the videos and documents on the website, and check for new ones being added, but we suggest you don't print them out or save them, at least not at this stage, in case you end up working from an out-of-date document. As we get to the start of the season, systems and procedures will become more fixed, though we may still be making further improvements during the season. We welcome your feedback on any of this training material (email

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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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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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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