Prolific sea trials


OYT South bulletin 20th January 2017

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

* Prolific news
Big thanks this week to Andy, Josh, Peta, Matt W, Chris, Tom, Mark, Caz, Lee, Andrew, Trevor, Rooby, Matt L and Ru who have been working hard on board. The standing rigging is now finished, including some last-minute unexpected tweaks - big thanks to Advanced Rigging and Hydraulics and to Petersen Stainless. The heating is now pretty much finished, as are the navigation electronics. The new sails are not with us yet but some of the old ones have been put back on board for the time being. This week has been spent on all sorts of jobs from sorting out sails and running rigging through to working on training manuals and videos. Finally on Wednesday we started sea trials under power, motoring to Cowes that night, and on Thursday several members of the team had a chance at some parking practice before we moved into the first phase of sea trials under sail, including sail hoists and tacks. Today there is some welding and woodwork under way … and lots more jobs still to do.Andy the skipper would like to extend huge personal thanks to Josh, Peta and the full-time refit team of Tom, Sophie and Matt who have been working exceptionally hard to get to the position where sea trials could begin.

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! We may well need a team of people for a couple of days around Mon 30 January to Weds 1 February - let us know if you might be available.

Back to index

* Prolific
training documents and videos - NOW starting to be published
We have started putting some documents, manuals and videos in the password-access Members Only section of the website for current active sea staff. If you are going to be taking part in Prolific training in the next couple of months and / or sailing as a member of staff or adult volunteer on voyages this season, please keep an eye on this page. Already posted: information on the fire safety systems, heads and bilge pumps. Coming very shortly: the fire pump and anchor windlass. And then we will move on to other things including sail hoists. If you 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 things. 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

Back to index

* Prolific
sea trials and volunteer training - joining instructions - and new availability
If you are booked to help with Prolific preparation and sea trials in January, you should already have had joining instructions (basically 9am Tuesday to 5pm Thursday, in Ocean Village, with the option on joining on the Monday night).

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. Prolific will then need a team to help move her back to Ocean Village on Monday 27th February - we've had some offers of help but not many from people who know the boat, so if you will have spent some time on Prolific before that date and could help with the move, please let us know!

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. This training slot is not completely full - any active sea staff who would like to be added to this session for extra training, please email

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 NOW 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!

Back to index

* Update on volunteer sea staff bookings
Just to reassure people who have been asking, we ARE working hard on volunteer bookings for the season and we have got all your bids if you sent them in - it just takes time (see here for an explanation of the process). We have started emailing people with voyage confirmations but it does involve more than 80 individually-tailored emails and in some cases waiting for replies before we can confirm others on the same voyage (e.g. where we have to be certain we have a female staff member before booking everyone else – so if you have had an email offering you certain voyages, PLEASE reply ASAP in case you are holding up decisions for others!). If you are still waiting to be offered voyage dates, please bear with us - we will have it all sorted by the end of February and in many cases a lot sooner than that; but with all the work on board Prolific, office work is being crammed into a couple of days a week and often at weekends. We will just get it done as fast as we can and there is no need to email and ask if we have allocated your voyages - we will let you know as soon as we have done it! We're also not looking for any new voyage bids at the moment - the priority is to allocate voyages to the people who bid for the season. If there are any spaces at the end of the process they will be advertised in due course.

Back to index

2017 February shorebased training weekend - please confirm and pay now - NB all joining instructions and details are here!
If you haven't yet paid for any courses you have booked at the shorebased training weekend 25-26 February, please do so NOW.Full details of all the courses and training on offer are on the website here, along with information about timings, location and more, and a booking form for meals, accommodation and parking. Even if you are doing a free course (e.g. Prolific training or anyone who has been offered another free course for a specific reason) we still need a booking form so we have a complete list of requirements for meals and accommodation - and it's the simplest way of confirming that you are coming when we expect you!

Please do complete the form now - with sea trials and work on Prolific, we just don't have as much time as usual to be contacting people individually, so it will really help if everyone can get on and do their form!

if you haven't yet expressed an interest in doing any courses, it may well not be too late - we still have spaces on some courses and can start reserve lists for others. There is still scope for more people to do GMDSS assessments and radar training, and lots more scope to add extra people to the Prolific training sessions over the weekend. If we get enough interest we can add an extra first aid course on the Sunday and take up to 12 more people; and we could also add a second diesel course on the Saturday if there is enough interest, and that will give us 6 more places. So if you do want to do one of the courses that may be full, PLEASE email - you might be the one last person we need to make the extra course possible! If you haven't yet had an email confirming that there is a place for you on a course (or if you are not sure), email first before completing the booking form - we don't want people paying for courses only to discover there is actually no space for you.

If you want to do RYA Sea Survival, this is not being run as part of the training weekend but KTY Yachts will include OYT South volunteers on one of their courses at the discounted price of £80 - contact them direct to arrange a course.

Back to index

* 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:

8-13 April: Southampton - 5 nights - at least 1 berth available - age 12-25 - £465pp.
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 2017 - 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.
28 May - 1 June: Gosport to 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 early 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.
1-4 June (half term): Southampton - 3 nights - age 12-25 - £285pp. Berths possibly available tbc. The client which has provisionally reserved this voyage should have a decision on whether they can confirm their booking or not by the end of January. If they can't confirm then places will be open for other bookings. We can take names now for a reserve list if people would like.
23 June - 1 July: London to Cuxhaven - 8 nights - 2 or 3 berths available - age 18+ (adult voyage, also suitable for training new potential volunteers) - £645pp. North Sea crossing with possible cruising options in Holland and the Frisian islands.
2-8 July: Cuxhaven (Germany) to Copenhagen (Denmark) - 6 nights - age 12-25 - £525pp. Up to 5 places available. This voyage has been part-booked by an international school for young people aged around 12 - there are some spaces available, suitable EITHER for other younger crew members, or for older ones who are prepared to support and help the younger ones. Ideal for DofE Gold Residential?
7-14 Aug: Szczecin (Poland) to Cuxhaven (Germany) - 7 nights - 9 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 7 berths available - age 18+ (adult voyage, also suitable for training new potential volunteers) - £200pp.
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.

Back to index

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 - 2 or 3 berths available - age 18+ (adult voyage, also suitable for training new potential volunteers) - £645pp. North Sea crossing with cruising options in Holland and the Frisian islands.
8-10 Sept 2017- Southampton to Southampton - 2 nights (weekend voyage, 8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday) - at least 7 berths available - age 18+ (adult voyage, also suitable for training new potential volunteers) - £200pp.

Please email to book.

Back to index

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.

Back to index


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!

Back to index

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.

Back to index

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.

Back to index

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.

Back to index

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

Back to index

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.

Back to index

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.

Back to index

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!

Back to index

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!

Back to index

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.

Back to index


“To be honest I never wanted to come, but I'm glad I did because I have learnt and seen so much!" Charlotte