At sea!


OYT South bulletin 20th October 2017

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

* Voyage news
Last weekend was the annual voyage with the Vyne School, Basingstoke, always a favourite as the school is so good at selecting people for worthwhile reasons and then doing really meaningful follow-up work after the voyage. As usual, every student came with clear goals for the voyage - some needed to develop confidence, others would benefit from understanding that effort would be rewarded, or appreciating that rules and regulations are there to keep them safe and do not mean the world is against them! This year their voyage was very generously sponsored by the Royal Cruising Club - huge thanks to Andrew Wilkes for arranging it. When they were told that the RCC would pay for their trip, the young people had been overwhelmed that "strangers" would care about them. They settled on board on Friday and then spent Saturday doing lots of tacking practice and other exercises in the western Solent, which helped everyone to get familiar with the boat and how to sail her as a team, and went into Cowes in the evening. There they played games which were VERY competitive and VERY loud (in a good way), and ended the evening with bedtime stories. On Sunday they had a great beam reach down the eastern Solent, gybed to come back up the north channel, and finished in Southampton in time for debriefs. The sea staff all agreed they had been a lovely group and it would be great to see them back again. Group leader Mary Pavey said: "Again, we cannot thank the sponsors enough.  If it wasn't for them these children would never have had such an experience. I was so proud of our students this weekend." We are now looking for a sponsor for next year’s Vyne weekend - email if you would like to help! Big thanks to sea staff Dougie, Andrew, Cami, Charles, Peta and Dave.

This week’s voyage has involved quite a mixed group - some of our younger or trainee sea staff and others who had sailed with us before, and some doing their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Gold residential - all aged 17+; but also a group of 12 and 13-year olds from a local school. However, the crew bonded well and it was certainly an opportunity for the older ones to take responsibility and set an example.

The first night of the voyage, on Monday, was windy and horrible so they didn’t go out. On Tuesday there was very little wind but they managed some tacking practice and MOB drills before going into Cowes for the night. Wednesday dawned grey and foggy and miserable so they did training towards their RYA certificates in Cowes in the morning and later did a radar pilotage exercise down to Yarmouth – the harbour was very welcoming and it was nice to see Marion Heming from our Isle of Wight Support Group who came to wave the boat off on Thursday. Finally it was a day of good sailing weather and they had a lovely sail with everyone taking a turn on the helm and practising manoeuvres before a pilotage exercise which took them back to Ocean Village last night. Ten crew members earned their RYA Competent Crew certificates; Toby, Angus and Will all completed their DofE residentials; and Georgia, James and George did a great job with bosunning. Big thanks to them and all the other sea staff: Dougie, Peta, Josh, Adam, Trish, Cami and special congratulations to Steve Lacey who completed his first mate’s assessment. This is a significant achievement as the first mate must be competent to take over the vessel if the skipper is ill or injured, so we are delighted that Steve has joined the 1M ranks!

Back to index

* OYT South AGM 4th November - formal mailing has gone out, please book by NEXT WEDNESDAY for curry

The formal notice of OYT South’s AGM has now been sent out to members, with the agenda, minutes of last meeting, accounts and details of candidates standing for election. If you think you are a member of OYT South and have not received this mailing, please contact

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

The AGM itself is at the Royal Southampton Yacht Club, 1 Channel Way, Ocean Village, Southampton, SO14 3QF - drinks at the bar from 1730, with the meeting itself at 1800. There will then be a review of the year before a curry night. As in previous years, we'll be going to Kuti's, Oxford Street (a short walk from the Royal Southampton Yacht Club) for their excellent all-you-can-eat hot buffet. As we need to give numbers to the restaurant in advance, the curry night is ONLY available to those who book and pay in advance: £16.95 per head. Payment link here.. Please note this advance payment is just for food - you will need to pay for any drinks or a tip on the night. Please book by WEDNESDAY 25th OCTOBER. Any bookings after that date will only be accepted if the restaurant can fit you in!

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

Now that Prolific will be in Ocean Village after all, on the weekend of the AGM, it is possible that we can offer accommodation on board to people who are staying for the curry. Places are limited but please email if you will be looking for somewhere to stay and we will see how many people we can fit in.

Back to index

Staff and volunteer training in November
- NEW details
We're not going to go straight into refit right at the start of November this year, but instead we are going to use some of the time while Andy is still with us for further training using Prolific.

We have now finalised the details for this period. This involves a few changes from the outline plans suggested earlier, so here are the details:

First, some of you will have heard that Ocean Village is being completely rebuilt over the winter and Prolific has to move out - which means that for a while we haven’t been sure where we would be using as a base for November sailing. The good news is that the marina has now confirmed that our pontoon will be one of the last to be taken out, so Prolific can stay in Ocean Village long enough for this training period. It looks as though we’ll probably be moving to the Hamble by the end of November but that won’t affect the sailing – we will be fully in refit by then.

We also won’t need the full period that we initially considered for November training. So here’s the November schedule as now planned, including voyages A and B which still have spaces for sea staff wanting to get involved with the training:

Weds 1st Nov: sponsors’ day sail. Staff and volunteer berths fully-booked.
Thurs 2nd/Fri 3rd Nov: staff team catching up with work on board. No volunteers needed except core refit team.
Sat 4th Nov: AGM and curry night - no volunteers needed on board but of course you are all welcome to book yourself in for the curry.
Sun 5th Nov:  no additional volunteers needed on board.
Mon 6th - Tues 7th Nov:  training voyage A - volunteers needed.
Wed 8th -Fri 10th Nov:  training voyage B - volunteers needed.
Sat 11th-Sun 12th Nov:  free weekend
Mon 13th Nov:  refit starts. Volunteers needed on weekdays from now until early April (apart from a Christmas and New Year break 23 Dec - 1 Jan).
Sat 25th -Sun 26th Nov: refit weekend - volunteers needed. See below for details of other refit volunteer weekends through the winter.

Please email if you are interested in joining training voyage A or B or both.

Ideally for training voyages A and B we’d prefer to have people who can do the whole of one or both blocks, which would give us the option of going somewhere if the weather is right. However, if you are keen to come along but can’t do a complete voyage, do let us know when you would need to arrive or leave and we’ll have to think about whether that will be possible. Of course if the weather is bad we may end up day sailing in the Solent but at this stage we don’t want to close down the options for something more ambitious which could make mid-voyage crew changes awkward.

In both cases we are thinking of starting at 0900 on the first day and ending at 1700 on the last day. People can join the night before - just let us know.

Back to index

* Refit plans - NEW details and a change to December weekend dates

The refit will now start on Monday 13th November, NOT on Monday 20th November as previously announced.

We had expected to have to move out of Ocean Village at the start of November as the marina is being rebuilt, but it has now been agreed that we can stay until the end of the month. We don't have an exact date for the move, which is likely to be to the Hamble, but there is clearly a chance that the first refit volunteers' weekend (25-26 November) can take place in Ocean Village. We'll let you have more details about exactly when the move will take place and where we'll be going, as soon as we know!

If you haven’t previously helped with a vessel refit, there is some general information here.

We will mainly be looking for volunteer help on weekdays from 13th November to early April (apart from a Christmas and New Year break: the last working day will be 22 December and the first day back is 2nd January), but for those of you who can't easily get away from work Mon-Fri, we will have occasional volunteer weekends when we want all the help we can get. Dates are expected to be 25-26 November, 9-10 December (a change from the previous suggested date of 16-17 December which will now NOT be a refit weekend), 13-14 January and 17-18 March. There may not be a February refit weekend as we will have our usual shorebased training weekend instead, with RYA courses etc. on offer - more information below.

The December 9-10 weekend could have a particular focus on junior sea staff and young people who have earned sea staff recommendations recently. We would hope to have a minimum age of 16 for a junior sea staff refit weekend, but we will also need adults (with DBS clearance) to train and supervise junior volunteers at a refit weekend.

Please email if you are interested in coming along for any of the refit weekends. Food and accommodation available on board for refit helpers.

Back to index

Winter refit core team needed
Peta, Josh and Holly are going to need lots of help at refit this winter! As well as casual volunteers who help for the odd weekend or for days here and there whenever they can manage, we also need a full-time core team as we have had in recent years. Any members of this core team who are recruited in time can obviously take part in the sailing at the start of November, and we expect there will also be a sailing period for training at the end of refit, before the season begins in April, so full-time core team volunteers should get a good mix of sailing and refit work between November and March.

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

Back to index

* 2018 shorebased training weekend
OYT South’s usual February shorebased training weekend will take place in Gosport on Sat 17th and Sun 18th February.

We can’t formally confirm bookings for any instructors until we know we have enough people to make each course cost-effective, but at the moment we have instructors potentially available for RYA First Aid, RYA diesel, a radar course (NOT the RYA certificated course but a repeat of the excellent course we had last year) and GMDSS assessments. We are also considering other options such as youthwork, chart corrections or bridge management training.

Please email if you would be interested in any of these courses - it would be great to get some quick answers so we know which instructor bookings we can confirm. If you can only manage one of the days that weekend, let us know which; and if you want to do two courses let us know - then we’ll aim to allocate each course to a day so that the maximum number of people can do their chosen courses without a clash. Prices to be confirmed but the GMDSS assessment (to get your radio licence) is generally the most expensive at £100 or a little more – it involves an online course which you have to do in advance, and fixed exam fee payable to the RYA. Other RYA-certificated courses such as First Aid and Diesel tend to come in at around £75, and other things will generally be cheaper.

We can offer very basic accommodation (mattresses on the floor of the Sea Cadet unit) and affordable meals over the weekend.

In case you’re not sure which courses are right for you:

RYA First aid is recommended for ALL sea staff, and compulsory for second mates and above, with updates required every three years.
RYA Marine Radio Short Range Certificate GMDSS assessment - recommended for third mates, required for second mates and above. You must be aged 16+ to do the assessment.
RYA Diesel engines - recommended for bosuns plus second mates and above.
Radar is recommended for any watchleaders or trainee watchleaders but may not be suitable for people with no experience of navigation or collision avoidance.
Youthwork would be open to anyone, if we can run it, and we’ll advise on suitability for any other courses once we have more details.

Email and let us know what you would like to do.

Back to index

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

Back to index

2017 and 2018 voyage programmes - availability for young people

The remainder of the 2017 programme of voyages for young people is fully-booked at the moment but we do get occasional late cancellations - if you might be available for short-notice sailing, please email ask to be put on the reserve list.

Otherwise, please see here for a 2018 sailing programme. We are busy confirming group bookings but there will also be places for individuals - that means voyages where the young people generally don't know each other but want to come sailing and hopefully make new friends. We can accept bookings from people on their own or from two or three friends who know each other; but individual voyages are obviously not open to a school group booking, for example. So far we have confirmed dates for two individual voyages for 2018 but there will be others in due course! The voyages which have currently been confirmed as open for individual bookings are:

4-9 April 2018, 5 nights, starting and finishing in Southampton, age range 12-25, price £480 per person, 5 berths available.
21-27 August 2018, 6 nights, starting and finishing in ports in the west country (to be confirmed), age range 12-25, price £550 per person, 10 berths available.

Contact the office to book, or to enquire about other availablity for individual or group bookings. At this stage it is still potentially possible to amend parts of the 2018 programme to provide voyage dates and durations to suit your group, so please ask! But some periods of the 2018 season are already filling up very fast, so if you are interested in a group or individual voyage next year, do please email and let us know what you want, so that we can see what might be fitted around clients who have already put in their voyage requests.

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

Back to index

* Volunteer training and selection voyages in 2018
We have two adult (18+) training weekends scheduled for 2018:

20-22 April 2018 (8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday) - Southampton - 2 nights - age 18+. £200pp.
7-9 Sept 2018 (8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday) - Southampton - 2 nights - age 18+. £200pp.

There will also be a longer adult voyage at some stage but the date will be decided when we see which voyage is not required for a youth group.

Any of these voyages would be ideal for current volunteers who want more experience in Prolific without having to teach and supervise young people at the same time; and they are also designed for other adults who may be new to the charity and would like to get to know us, our boat and the way we work before considering joining our volunteer team. Anyone wanting to sail as a volunteer on our youth voyages must be recommended as suitable by our skipper, and while under-25s can earn their recommendation on a standard youth voyage, these training voyages are the opportunity for adult potential volunteers to decide whether you like what we do and hopefully earn your recommendation! Voyage prices include a year's annual membership so there is no further cost for anyone returning as a volunteer in the subsequent 12 months, See here for more details on joining the team.

Back to index

Colin Baxter prints and postcard of Prolific for sale
We have a limited number of A4 prints and postcards of Prolific by the renowned marine artist Colin Baxter for sale - postcards cost £1 each and prints £6 each, including postage and packaging. Email to order.

Back to index

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

Back to index

* Financial appeal

Thanks this week to James Jackson for a kind donation.

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

Easyfundraising - raise money for OYT South when you shop online
OYT South is now registered with Easyfundraising - you can raise money for the charity when you shop online. Easyfundraising says: “It doesn't cost you a penny extra. When you shop the easyfundraising way with one of our 3,241 shops and sites they give us a commission for your purchase. We turn that into a donation and give it to your good cause. Easy!”

If you ever shop online, do have a look!

Back to index

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.

Back to index

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

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

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

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
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.

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