OYT South team before sailing to Cowes for Prolific's Commissioning Dinner


OYT South bulletin 17th May 2017

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

* Prolific Commissioning Dinner
OYT South’s Patrons very kindly arranged a Commissioning Dinner for Prolific at the Royal Yacht Squadron last Saturday and invited many of their friends with a view to raising a significant amount of money through an auction to support the new boat.

OYT South Patron
Lord Iliffe with one of our Vice Patrons,
Libby Purves, at the helm of
Prolific in Ocean Village,
before the Commissioning Dinner.

The event was a tremendous success with huge numbers of guests visiting Prolific before the dinner and then a fabulous meal. Our Youth Trustee Jack Dignan was guest speaker and really moved the audience by describing what the charity has meant to him. Nick Bonham very kindly conducted the auction which raised a very substantial sum from some incredibly generous bidders (and thanks to some equally generous donors). Huge thanks to everyone involved but particularly to Jamie Sheldon, Michael Campbell, Lord Iliffe and Mandy Miles.

Members of
OYT South's team as you have never seen them before ... and may never see them again!

One of OYT South's Vice Patrons, the writer, journalist and broadcaster Libby Purves, also attended the dinner and contributed the following limerick:

If you run a fine ship like Prolific
The expenses get truly horrific..
But one riotous night
On the Island of Wight
The money she raised was terrific!

Libby has offered a prize of £25 for the best limerick each season from a young crew member sailing on board Prolific - but it must scan! Entries to webmaster1@oytsouth.org, please.

Big thanks also to the [people who helped sail Prolific from Southampton to Cowes for the event, and back again the next day - including members from our Isle of Wight Support Group.

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* New Chairman for OYT South’s Board of Trustees
The Chair of OYT South’s Board of Trustees since January 2013 has been Richard Griffiths, who first joined the Board in 2009 as a barrister advising on the Trust’s legal and regulatory affairs. Recently Richard has been appointed a District Judge and moved to Devon, and having overseen the Prolific project from the start all the way through to running successful youth voyages, Richard is now standing down as Chairman of the Board. Richard’s tireless commitment and expertise has played a huge part in the success of the project, helping to raise the funds, advising on complex matters such as currency transactions and import technicalities when we bought a boat in Norway, and generally keeping the project on track and under control with supreme efficiency. He has been an absolutely superb chairman and everyone in the charity is extremely grateful for all his efforts over the last four years.

Richard formally stood down last Saturday and our Chief Executive Mark Todd and Patron Lord Iliffe presented him with an original drawing of Prolific by marine artist Colin Baxter.

Outgoing Chairman Richard Griffiths receiving a picture of Prolific from
Chief Executive
Mark Todd and
our Patron Lord Iliffe

OYT South’s new Chairman is Eamonn Feeney, who has been a member of the Board of Trustees since January 2013. A Chartered Accountant who retired in 2015 as Managing Director of the MDL marina chain, Eamonn provides invaluable expertise in finance and general management, and we wish him all the best as Chairman.

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* Baby news - James Boyce and Clare Thorpe
Huge congratulations to OYT South’s former Staff Skipper James and volunteer first mate Clare on the arrival on Sunday of Alexander James Boyce, weighing 7lb14oz. Mother and baby all well. A berth on board Prolific has been reserved for a voyage in summer 2029…

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* Marine Advertising Agency Press Lunch
Big thanks to Mike Shepherd and the Marine Advertising Agency for inviting Prolific to their annual press lunch in Gosport last Friday. This event is attended by marine journalists and leading figures from across the marine industry. OYT South’s Chief Executive Mark Todd gave a speech about the work of the charity, and lots of people came for a tour of Prolific. It was an excellent and well-attended event which will have done a lot to raise the profile of the charity and introduce people to our wonderful new boat. Thanks also to all the staff and volunteers who helped take Prolific to Gosport on Thursday, showed people round the boat on Friday, or helped take her back to Southampton after the event.

Mike Shepherd of the Marine Advertising Agency visits Prolific
in Gosport

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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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* Poole Harbour Boat Show THIS WEEKEND and Gosport Marine Festival NEXT WEEKEND - help needed!

Prolific will be taking part in the Poole Harbour Boat Show (afternoon Friday 19 May and all day Saturday and Sunday 20 and 21 May) and the Gosport Marine Festival (Saturday 27 May). Both events attract large numbers of visitors and Prolific will be moored alongside and open to the public. We need big teams of volunteers on board for both events and we could still do with a few more people - we have to ensure that visitors get safely on and off the boat, run tours above and below decks, and talk about how people can sail with us and support us. If you can help with any of the dates at either event, please email molliecrawford@oytsouth.org. Both events are great opportunities to show off our lovely new boat and get people excited about getting involved with us! If you know anyone who will be around for either event, do encourage them to come and say hello to us.

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* Voyage news

Last week’s crew came from Cornfield School, West Sussex, which caters for students who have social, emotional and/or behavioural difficulties. This was a new client for OYT South but we were very keen to work with them because one of their staff members had previously taught at another special school which sails with OYT South every year, and we knew that she was an outstanding group leader with a fantastic ability to use a voyage to do really effective work with some very disadvantaged young people, and to build the voyage experience into long-term work with each student. When she contacted us after moving to a different school to say that she had persuaded her new Head to look into organising a voyage, we were very keen to make it work.

The group joined on Monday and went first to Stokes Bay where they anchored for dinner, and then sailed across to Sark, arriving in time for an afternoon on the beach on Tuesday. Next day they had an early start and a brilliant sail back across the Channel to Poole where they had showers and shore leave; and on Thursday they motor-sailed back to the Solent where the voyage ended. It was a challenging group with a lot of complex behaviour and colourful language, but all the young people had moments where they showed great interaction and participation – even if sustaining this for extended periods was too much for them. Huge thanks to sea staff Andy V, Peta, Andy R, Matt and Holly, and to the school staff Emma and Sam who worked really hard and were a great support both to the students and to the OYT South team - Andy says “their insight and advice made a real difference to managing some very complex young people.”

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were spent on the various events already described earlier in this newsletter, and on Monday we were joined by another crew - a very welcome return visit for St Matthew Academy from Blackheath, very generously funded by London’s Royal Naval Reserve Unit, HMS President. Two of the students had sailed with us before and the other ten were new to us. They motor-sailed to Studland Bay in light winds on Monday evening and anchored for the night. Next day they had a good forecast and hoped to sail to Brixham, but in the event the wind was lighter than forecast and dropped earlier than forecast, and rather than motoring such a long way, the team all agreed to go to Weymouth last night instead. Unfortunately today is miserably wet and the crew has been doing some navigation training in harbour but are planning to brave the weather for a sail in Weymouth Bay later on! Big thanks to sea staff Andy, Graeme, Peta, Josh, Steve, Chris and Will.

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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.

22-26 May - Poole to Gosport - 2M possibly needed.
5-11 June - bosun or additional mate tbc. Preference given to volunteers who enjoy working with complex young people. Preference given to anyone who can stay for maintenance and Tall Ships prep 12 and / or 13 June.
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; and 1M tbc
4-8 Oct - 3M or additional 2M
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 webmaster1@oytsouth.org.

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* 2017 voyage programme - last few berths available!

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 webmaster1@oytsouth.org.

Twenty-two out of 27 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). 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.
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.
25-29 Oct (half term): Southampton to Southampton - 4 nights - 1 berth available - age 12-25 - £380pp.

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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 webmaster1@oytsouth.org to book.

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* Financial appeal

Big thanks this week to everyone who made very generous donations to OYT South at last weekend ’s events!

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 video page on website
We’ve added a new video page to our website and we hope to keep adding videos as the season goes on - do have a look!

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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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Vessel tracking
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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maintenance days 2017 - help needed!
Please put these dates in your diary and come and help on any of them if you possibly can:

Monday 12th June - Southampton (preparation for Baltic voyages)
Tuesday 13th June - Southampton  (preparation for Baltic voyages)
Wednesday 23rd August - Ipswich
Sunday 24th September - Southampton

Email refit@oytsouth.org 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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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 webmaster1@oytsouth.org 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 webmaster1@oytsouth.org 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 webmaster1@oytsouth.org).

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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 webmaster1@oytsouth.org 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: 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.

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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 dsp_office@btconnect.com 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 jackdignan@oytsouth.org.

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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 https://www.facebook.com/oytsouth - please do give us a Like! if you were friends with John Laing on our old page (https://www.facebook.com/johnlaingsailing 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