Prolific (foreground) escorting Alex Thomson into Gosport!


OYT South bulletin 17th February 2017

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

2017 February shorebased training weekend - joining instructions and details - plus available spaces!

Full details of all the courses and training on offer are on the website here, along with information about timings, location, meals, accommodation and more. If you are sailing in Prolific from 23 Feb, see below for your joining instructions and don’t forget to let us know a.s.a.p. if you are arriving on Wednesday night in time for dinner or not.

The first aid and diesel courses are full and first aid has a waiting list - we can still add names for a reserve list for diesel in case we get any last-minute cancellations (email If you are doing diesel, don’t forget to bring warm clothes - the course is all under cover but the practical sessions are open to the air.

The radar courses and Prolific familiarisation are pretty full but if you email a.s.a.p. it may just be possible to squeeze you in (especially for Prolific familiarisation on the Saturday). Some of the Prolific training will be on deck so you need warm and waterproof clothing. There are oilskins on board if needed.

We could still add more people for the GMDSS training but please note this includes an online course which MUST be completed in advance so you need to sign up a.s.a.p. in order to ensure you complete it. Those who have already signed up should have had an email reminding them what to bring, so don’t forget anything (e.g. the passport photo for your radio licence).

We have a lot of people coming for meals but if you want to join us for lunch either day or dinner on Saturday, please email a.s.a.p. The cut-off point for adding new names will be whenever Tony and Nix do the shopping next week so don’t leave it too late!

If you are sleeping in the Sea Cadet Unit, don’t forget to bring a camping mattress - at present we’re not aware of anyone who hasn’t got one so we are not planning to provide any spares.

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.

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* Can anyone make us an anchor ball and motoring cone?
We need an anchor ball and motoring cone big enough for Prolific - can anyone make them for us? Andy Viney can give you details and dimensions but essentially each is composed of two robust flat wooden sections painted black that slot together to make a 3D object with attachments for a halyard and downhaul so they can be hoisted. Email if you can help.

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* Help needed in the yard next week
We’ve been asked to clear some stuff from the refit yard in Southampton on Monday and Tuesday next week - email if you can help.

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* Berthon blog
Berthon - the company which helped us to sell John Laing - has recently published on their website a very enthusiastic piece about the work of OYT South. We are extremely grateful to them for their support - it’s well worth a read.

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* Prolific news
it’s been a while since the last bulletin as we have been so busy with two blocks of sea trials and staff training. Big thanks to all involved: Andy, Mark, Josh, Peta, Tom, Sophie, Matt, Caz, Andy Brown, Sally Brown, Dave Bland, Peter Mercer, Steve Lacey, Ben Whinnett, Martyn Powe, Vince Brodie, Diggory Rose, Dougie Walker, Lee Mosscrop, Matt Lovett, Amy Brown, Andrew Wilkes, Jack Dignan, Graeme Cole, Ben Martin, Rosie Todd, Lou Wildblood and Allen Swift.

The first of the two teams had bad weather at the start but used the time for all sorts of jobs: tracing systems, sorting the medical kit, getting sails on board, working on the risk assessment and much more, including getting all the electronics signed off by Raymarine. They finally got to sea and hoisted four sails, including the brand-new mizzen, and had a good chance to practise sail handling and for several people to try driving back to an MOB. There was a good deal of work with the two headsails - jib and staysail - developing our techniques and looking at bowsprit working. Meanwhile Vince’s catering was a highlight of the weekend.

The second team got the brand-new staysail on board and sailed to Gosport with lots of opportunities for practising drills and skills in very cold conditions. Lou’s 22nd birthday was celebrated with cake. Friday was just a day sail, and then last Saturday morning we joined the parade of sail to welcome Alex Thomson home to Gosport - a great event which attracted a big crowd. Then we sailed to East Cowes where we practised various scenarios including the use of the anchor windlass and fire pump, and also spent some time getting teams to identify every seacock and through-hull fitting on the boat. On Sunday we sailed back to Ocean Village and had a look at the daily engine checks and the muster stations.

Big thanks to everyone for lots of hard work, both on the training voyages and in between - including engineer Chris.

If you have any spare time in the coming weeks, please email or phone the boat on 07990 518915 to see if there are suitable jobs for you during the time when you are available. All offers of help hugely appreciated!

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* Prolific
training documents and videos - MORE now available
There is now a good selection of documents and videos in the password-access Members Only section of the website for current active sea staff. Anyone taking part in Prolific training and / or 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

More to come including sail hoists - we are waiting for new cordage to be delivered and we don’t want to post descriptions of sail hoists until the pictures can show the right colour of rope for each sheet, halyard, topping lift, 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 closer 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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* Prolific
sea trials and volunteer training - joining instructions - and NEW availability
If you are booked for training in February and/or March, all the slots except the last one run Thurs-Sun and we'd like people on board from 0930 on the Thursday to 1700 on the Sunday. You are welcome to join on the Wednesday night but please let us know what time you plan to arrive and whether you would like to eat on board that night (in which case we'd expect to see you by 1930). All the training slots start and finish in Ocean Village, except Feb 23-26 where the plan is to start in Ocean Village and take Prolific round to Gosport by Friday night for the shorebased training weekend, and for those of you involved in the weekend training, that will finish in Gosport on the Sunday at 1700.

The final training slot is Mon 20th to Thurs 23rd March but we'd expect the timings to be the same - 0930 Monday to 1700 Thursday, with the option of joining on the Sunday night - again, let us know your arrival time for Sunday and whether you want dinner or not.

When you arrive in Ocean Village for any of these sessions, you can contact the boat on 07990 518915 to find out about gate codes, parking etc.

Please email with your arrival time and dinner requirements - then we'll know for sure who has actually seen these joining instructions and that will save us contacting lots of people individually!

We’ve had a few people dropping out of the training slots so we may be able to offer extra places, either to people who have already done training or are booked for training but would like more, or to anyone else booked to sail as a mate, bosun or engineer at any point in 2017. Please email now if you are interested in any of these dates:

Feb 23-26
March 2-5
March 9-12
March 16-19
March 20-23

In most cases, if you can’t do the full four days, there may be opportunities for a few people to join or leave part-way through if you are flexible about where: our plans will generally be dictated by the weather but it’s likely that we may be in the Solent or at least no further away than Poole.

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* Update on volunteer sea staff bookings - and current availability
We should now have been in contact with everyone who bid for places on voyages this year to try and confirm your bookings - if you were expecting to hear from us and haven't had an email, please let us know now.

The following dates have not yet been confirmed as bookings for anyone and MAY be available either to people who didn't bid for anything in the first round, or to people who already have something booked but who are available for more:

8-13 April - another 2M or 3M
24-28 April - 3M or trainee mate. Preference given to volunteers who enjoy working with complex young people.
28-30 April - experienced 2M or 3M
7-12 May - 1M, plus additional 3M
15-19 May - Southampton to Poole - 3M. Preference given to someone who can stay until 21 May to help with Poole Boat Show.
27 May - 1 June - Gosport to Southampton - 2M or experienced 3M
5-11 June - 3M and bosun. Preference given to volunteers who enjoy working with complex young people.
14-20 June - Southampton to London – engineer and bosun, 3M or trainee mate. Preference given to people who can help with maintenance in Southampton 12-13 June and/or events in London 21-22 June.
2-8 July - Cuxhaven to Copenhagen - 1M
22-31 July -Turku to Klaipeda - engineer or additional watchleader tbc
7-14 Aug - Szczecin to Cuxhaven - 3M tbc
15-23 Aug - Cuxhaven to Ipswich - additional watchleader or trainee mate tbc
23-30 Aug - Ipswich to Southampton - 3M
31 Aug - 3 Sept - 2M
11-15 Sept - engineer or additional 2M, 3M or trainee mate tbc
18-22 Sept - bosun, mate or trainee mate
24-29 Sept - 2M
30 Sept - 3 Oct - 1M or engineer, plus additional 3M and bosun
4-8 Oct - 3M or additional 2M, and engineer
9-13 Oct - bosun, mate or trainee mate
13-15 Oct - 3M or bosun
16-20 Oct - 3M and trainee mate
20-24 Oct - 2M and additional 3M
25-29 Oct - 2M and additional 3M

NB dates given are when young people are on board - we generally need sea staff the day before. 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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* Day sail and evening event 6th May (and maintenance day 7th May)
We have a day sail on Saturday 6th May which MAY need one or two more sea staff; but at the end of the day (from 1730) we should be hosting an event on board for a major sponsor, and we’ll need quite a few sea staff to help. It probably does need to be active sea staff rather than other volunteers as we’ll need to be supervising safe access via the gangway and then having several people to show groups around the boat. Let me know if you are interested in sailing during the day and/or coming along to help in the evening. There is a maintenance day on the Sunday so if you were planning to come for that and could join around 5pm on the Saturday, that might be really useful! Email if you can help.

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* 2017 voyage programme - including Baltic adventure
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

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:

14-18 April: Southampton - 4 nights - up to 3 berths available - age 12-25 - £375pp.
28-30 April: Southampton - 2 nights (weekend voyage, 8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday) - up to 4 berths available - age 18+ (adult voyage, also suitable for training new potential volunteers, or extra Prolific training for existing volunteers) - £200pp.
8-12 May: Southampton to Southampton- 4 nights - 12 berths possibly available - please ask - age 12-25 - £375pp. The client which provisionally reserved the voyage doesn't yet have enough young people to confirm the voyage and if they can't get their numbers up they will release the voyage. We would like to start a reserve list for this week in case the other client has to cancel.
15-19 May: Southampton to Poole - 4 nights - age 12-25 - £375pp. Berths possibly available tbc. The client which has provisionally reserved this voyage should have a decision on whether their funding for the voyage is available or not by mid-February. If they can't confirm the booking at that stage, the places will be open for other bookings. We can take names now for a reserve list if people would like.
22-26 May: Poole to Gosport - 4 nights - age 12-25 - £375pp. Berths possibly available tbc - please ask.
1-4 June (half term): Southampton - 3 nights - age 12-25 - £285pp - 12 berths available tbc.
23 June - 1 July: London to Cuxhaven - 8 nights - 1 berth available tbc - 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 3 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?
7-14 Aug: Szczecin (Poland) to Cuxhaven (Germany) - 7 nights - at least 6 berths available - age 12-25 - £625pp - starts with a day at a Tall Ships festival.
31 Aug- 3 Sept: Southampton - 3 nights - 8 berths available - age 12-25 - £285pp.
8-10 Sept: Southampton - 2 nights (weekend voyage, 8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday) - at least 4 berths available - age 18+ (adult voyage, also suitable for training new potential volunteers) - £200pp.
25-29 Sept: Southampton - 4 nights - age 12-25 - £375pp - 12 berths available tbc.
4-8 Oct: Southampton - 4 nights - age 12-25 - £375pp. Berths possibly available tbc. The client which has provisionally reserved this voyage should have a decision on whether their funding for the voyage is available or not by mid-February. If they can't confirm the booking at that stage, the places will be open for other bookings. We can take names now for a reserve list if people would like.
25-29 Oct (half term): Southampton to Southampton - 4 nights - 2 berths available - age 12-25 - £380pp.

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Adult voyages

The list above shows three adult voyages planned for 2017. 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) - up to 4 berths available - age 18+ (adult voyage, also suitable for training new potential volunteers) - £200pp.
23 June - 1 July 2017 - London to Cuxhaven - 8 nights - 1 berth available tbc - 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) - at least 4 berths available - age 18+ (adult voyage, also suitable for training new potential volunteers) - £200pp.

Please email to book.

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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.

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Huge thanks once again to everyone who has been contributing to the Prolific Appeal to ensure that we can do all the work needed to bring our new boat Prolific into service. It has been incredibly heartwarming to see so many people giving what they can afford - some really generous donors making very significant contributions but also some people who genuinely don't have much money putting in £5, £10 or £20 just so they can feel part of the project. If you haven't yet contributed, PLEASE help us now! The new boat project has been going for so long but the end is really in sight, we are so nearly there, and your contribution could just get us over the line.

Itextf you were thinking of donating to OYT South's New Boat Appeal but thought that your contribution couldn't make enough difference to the overall total, or you planned to donate as we came closer to completing, NOW is the moment when we need you to help us complete the work on Prolific. Your contribution, however large or small, is really needed so PLEASE give us whatever you can afford! Prolific needs items ranging from sails at a few thousand pounds each, down to small things costing under a hundred pounds. If you are ever going to make a donation, NOW is the time to do so. If you'd like to see Prolific sailing with an Ocean Youth Trust South crew and be able to feel that you were part of the project, please do give something, however large or small. £1,000, £100, £50 or even £10 will mean that you had a hand in making this work, and even young crew members can be involved! The Ocean Youth Club and Ocean Youth Trust has 55 years' history as a charity to which hundreds and even thousands of individuals have a lasting commitment and an emotional connection. Prolific will be joining this fine tradition so please become a part of it, take your share in the project and welcome Prolific to the OYT family by contributing to the appeal. If you are part of OYT South, Prolific will be YOUR boat so please help us to get her ready! Anything you can give really will make a difference. See here for how to donate, or click below to donate online:

Please donate NOW while you are thinking about it - don’t be left regretting that you weren’t involved in getting this lovely boat working with us!

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* Financial appeal

Big thanks this week to Juan Silveira for a generous donation. Thanks also to John Vearncombe who is  raising money for us while competing in the 2017-18 Clipper round the world race

We need a regular flow of funds to cover at least three major areas: bursaries for young people who could not otherwise afford to sail; vessel maintenance and equipment; and staff salaries - please help, or pass on our details to anyone you come across who might make a grant, large or small.

See here for how to make a donation - you can contribute by cheque, phone or PayPal, but please do something if you possibly can. Don't forget that if you complete and return a Gift Aid form we can claim back tax on your donation.

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OYT South branded clothing - 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
Many of you are already friends with John Laing on Facebook ( but we now have a new page: - please do give us a Like! At the moment we are mainly putting posts on both pages but in the long run we will be using the OYT South page more so it would be great if more people started using that page.

Please note that OYT South has a policy that our adult staff and volunteers should not make or accept individual online friend requests with crew members aged under 18. Young crew members can use the sites to stay in touch with the boat and with each other, but not with individual adults.

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

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Survey - tell us what you think
If you have recently completed a voyage, please help us by filling in our web-based survey. It really helps - we use the data to keep improving our voyages, and to help us raise funds!

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New readers' welcome and introduction
If you have recently registered your interest in OYT South, welcome to our e-newsletter, which is sent out almost every week, normally on a Friday. It includes a wide range of news from the boat and from the charity, including details of voyages available for young people; adult voyages; opportunities for adult volunteers both ashore and afloat, and much more. We find that while some people read the bulletin almost every week, many others dip in and out, and read it when it's convenient - which is why some items are repeated. The new items are marked with an asterisk * so that if you did read it last week, you can see which sections you can safely skip.

Please feel free to join in any OYT South activities - nothing here is restricted to long-standing members or people who already know one another. New people are always very welcome!

If you need an introduction to the work of OYT South, you should find a lot of useful information on our website. But essentially, we are a registered charity (no. 1079959) which exists to offer adventure under sail as a personal development opportunity for young people aged 12-25, from the widest possible range of backgrounds. A high proportion of our young crew members are disadvantaged or deserving in some way: many of these sail in groups organised by other charities, youth clubs, special schools and so on, and will fill the bulk of our term-time voyages. But those from more fortunate backgrounds are also welcome to sail, either in groups or by coming as individuals on a mixed voyage. Every year we run a variety of shorter local voyages plus longer adventure trips - sometimes including Tall Ships races during the summer holidays. If you are aged 12-25 and hoping to sail as a crew member, take a look here - and this section is also useful for adults who are thinking of organising a voyage for a young person. Adults planning to organise a full group voyage should also see here. Adults who want to sail themselves should see here. And there is a video here, made by a crew from the Prince's Trust, to give you an idea of what a voyage might be like!

We have a professional staff skipper and engineer, but our watch leaders are normally all volunteers, who combine sailing skills with an interest in working with young people. You can find more information here - how the system works, how to join, and profiles of existing staff and volunteers.  

To volunteer for OYT South ashore, please see here. To help with the vessel's annual refit, 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