Graham High day sail


OYT South bulletin 28th September 2017

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

* Voyage news
Last Saturday we had a day sail with our sponsors from the Graham High Charitable Trust, who very generously help us with all sorts of things from oilskins and lifejackets to vessel tracking and crew handbooks, as well as bursary funding for some disadvantaged young people. We had a glorious day on the water with sunshine and good winds, and it was great to be able to thank Graham and his friends and colleagues for their support, as well as giving them a further insight into what we are able to achieve with young people. Big thanks also to sea staff Mark, Brigid, Peta, Josh, Jake, Rosalie, Nick and Caz.

Sunday was the final in-season maintenance day of 2017 and we are very grateful for lots of help from Andy V, Peta, Josh, Mark Todd, Mark Boggis, Mark Baker, Rosie. Caz, Andy G, Phil, Cathy, Rosalie, Brigid and Tom. They sanded the capping rail, did lots of work on the engine, ran inflation tests on all the lifejackets and then re-packed them, and got through a whole list of small outstanding jobs.

This week’s voyage has been with a new client, New Forest Academy. They joined on Monday and sailed to Yarmouth (thanks once again to Johnny Caulcutt for the use of his buoy) that evening in order to be poised for an early tide out through the Needles on Tuesday morning. At that point they faced a choice: Cherbourg or the west country? Initially there was a lot of enthusiasm for France, and Tuesday’s passage was going to involve motor-sailing in light winds whichever way they went. But looking further ahead in the forecast, there was the potential for a really good sail back from the west country on Wednesday, while the wind was much less favourable for a return from France. So they took the decision to head for Dartmouth, and were richly rewarded by the company of dolphins. They managed to get an alongside berth in Dartmouth where there was time for some brief shore leave. Next day saw another early start, sails up, and heading back across Lyme Bay: one reef in the main, one reef in the mizzen, plus staysail and jib - and they managed 13 knots of boat speed in force 4 winds! The whole passage achieved an average speed of ten knots, and they were alongside in Poole by 7pm with time for showers. The plan for today was shore leave before heading back to the Solent. Big thanks to sea staff Andy V, Andy R, Andy G, Josh, Mark, Cathy. Marcus and Susannna.

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* Volunteer sea staff needed - NEW availability, including an October weekend!

The full list of volunteer vacancies this season is as follows:

9-13 Oct - one more watchleader, trainee watchleader or bosun
13-15 Oct - watchleader, bosun or engineer needed for weekend voyage
1 Nov - experienced sea staff for a 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.

If you can help with any of these, please email

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* 2017 and 2018 voyage programmes - availability for young people
- ONE BERTH left this year!
Owing to a cancellation, we have ONE BERTH still available this year:

16-20 October 2017, 4 nights, Southampton, age range 12-25, one berth available, price £285.

The rest 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 draft 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 is:

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.

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Staff and volunteer training in November
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'll therefore be taking Prolific out in the first couple of weeks of November to work on command skills, technical stuff, boat handling, man overboard recovery etc. Details are yet to be finalised but we will definitely want volunteers on board during this period and it should offer really interesting training and experience for all involved. Some of it is likely to be day sails but we might also try some longer passages. So if you are a member of sea staff or a volunteer with experience on board Prolific and you would be available for one day or longer between Thursday 2nd November and Thursday 16th November, please email now and tell us which days you would be available and how many days in total you can do. We won't be sailing every day in that period but we can try and plan which are day sails, which are days off and which might be longer passages, to fit around where we can bring together the most useful teams of people - so a quick reply will really help our planning! This period obviously includes the weekend of the AGM on 4th November but at the moment we are thinking of sailing until lunchtime on that day so people can get to the AGM and curry later, and then we probably won’t sail on the Sunday.

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* Refit plans
Prolific’s winter refit is due to start on Monday 20th November - more details to follow once the location has been finalised. We won’t be in Ocean Village this winter because the marina is being rebuilt, but we hope to be based somewhere on the Hamble. 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, 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 haven't quite been finalised but we are thinking of 25-26 November, 16-17 December, 13-14 January and 17-18 March. There may not be a February refit weekend as we hope to have our usual shorebased training weekend instead, with RYA courses such as first aid, GMDSS, diesel, radar etc. Dates and details to follow in due course..

The December weekend could have a particular focus on junior sea staff and young people who have earned sea staff recommendations recently - it might suit people who are at the end of the school or college term, or just home from uni. 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.

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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!

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OYT South AGM 4th November - curry night bookings now OPEN
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 will take place 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 now!

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.

If anyone might be interested in standing for election to the Board of Trustees, please email and we can arrange for an informal chat about what might be required.

The AGM and curry might be a chance for some people to say goodbye to Andy before he leaves, so do come along!

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NEW Trustee standing for election at the AGM
We will certainly have one new Trustee standing for election at the AGM in November. Edward Bishop QC was co-opted by the Board back in July but now needs to stand for formal election by the membership.

Ed says: “I am a barrister specialising in medical negligence, human rights, personal injury and police law. I have been practising for 30 years and became a QC in 2011. I also play the fiddle in the country folk band Police Dog Hogan. I don’t know which was more frightening: appearing in the Supreme Court or in front of a 10,000 festival crowd in Cornbury. But I know which I enjoyed more!”

The trained legal mind may be more relevant to OYT South’s Board of Trustees than the fiddle-playing, but Ed can be heard (and briefly seen) here:

Readers of the Saturday Guardian may recognise the band that Tim Dowling’s in …

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NEW Staff Skipper and Sailing Support Officer

For anyone who hasn’t seen the bulletin in the last couple of weeks, we are delighted to announce that Peta Koczy will be taking over as Prolific’s Staff Skipper when Andy leaves in November, and Holly Vint will be stepping into Peta’s previous role as Sailing Support Officer.

Both are already well-known among many of our volunteers, clients and crew members and we're sure everyone will want to give them both huge support and encouragement as they take on challenging new roles!

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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.

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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.

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Mainsail hoist video

See here for a step-by-step video showing how to hoist Prolific’s mainsail safely - a useful reminder for less experienced or trainee watchleaders!


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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.

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* Financial appeal

Big thanks this week to Iain Gibson for a generous 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.

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Chris Ellis Award - win £££s off sailing
If you enjoy a voyage with OYT South and want to come again next year (and are aged 12-25), please think about entering for this award. You can win up to £200 off the price of another voyage, by sending in an account of a voyage you have already done with us. It can be a logbook, diary, story, pictures, video - anything which gives the judges an idea of why you had a good time and would like to come again. The prize is judged at the end of each season and the award can be spent on a voyage the following year. Entries should be emailed to or posted to the office to arrive by Christmas. See here for more details of this award, which was set up in memory of the charity's founder.

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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!

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Small boat training opportunities for sea staff
A while ago we consulted sea staff about the need for a small boat so that people can practise skills which aren’t easily learned in Prolific. While we have concluded, that - for the time being - the cost and workload of having a training boat of our own didn’t make that a good option, there was nevertheless a clear demand for access to a small boat. We have therefore made an arrangement with our good friends at the Discovery Sailing Project for the occasional use of their 34-foot Alexander Fairey. The yacht is currently having work done and will be lifted at the end of January and back in service around mid February. She can be chartered by OYT South sea staff on the following conditions:

The person in charge must have a full Day Skipper qualification and a recommendation from Mark Todd or Andy Viney confirming that you are an active member of OYT South sea staff with an appropriate level of competence; and there must be a second person on board with Day Skipper or suitable experience in case the skipper is incapacitated. Additionally someone must have RYA First Aid (or equivalent) and hold a valid VHF Radio Licence. At the moment the price is £250 for a weekend (Friday evening to Sunday afternoon) and £100 per day mid-week. This cost is ‘bare boat’. Cost for gas is included and diesel is charged at an hourly rate, deducted from a £20 cash deposit paid before takeover. The balance will be fully refunded if the vessel is left clean - if not, a deduction will be made for cleaning. Cleaning materials are provided.

Alexander Fairey sleeps a maximum of 8 people so might be suitable for a group of OYT South sea staff to get together and develop boat handling skills and command experience. Anyone interested should contact Clive Fisher at with preferred dates - obviously the boat is used for their own sea staff so the issue will always be about making sure they can fit everyone in.

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Youth Trustee - speaking up for young people

OYT South has a rule that at least one member of the Board of Trustees - which runs the charity - should be in the same age range as the young people who sail with us. The current Youth Trustee is 19-year old student Jack Dignan, who did his first voyage with us a couple of years ago. Jack is in a position to speak up for young crew members, suggest changes in the way the charity operates or to do anything else which will improve the experience of the young people who sail with us. If you are a young person and you have ideas or suggestions for how we can do better, and you want to talk to someone close to your own age, you can contact Jack. If you’re not happy with something and want to know what to do about it, you might want to start by talking to Jack. If you want to get more involved - whether by just doing another voyage, or by training as a volunteer - Jack can point you in the right direction. You can email him at

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Raise And Sail - website for anyone looking to raise money to come sailing
Raise And Sail is a section of this website full of ideas, information and support for young people who would like to raise money in order to come sailing with us. Huge thanks to Fiona Keen and Emma Burrows for putting Raise And Sail together. We hope you will find it useful - let us know how you get on as we can add success stories and new ideas to the site in due course.

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Online navigation training for volunteers and young people
OYT South has been offering basic navigation training through the RYA's Essential Navigation & Seamanship course - do have a look and sign up if you want the qualification.

For those of you who want something a little more advanced, one of our relief skippers, Simon Jinks, is offering online distance learning systems for the theory courses for Day Skipper, Coastal/Yachtmaster and Yachtmaster Ocean. Simon is a great sailor and a top instructor so this is very highly recommended. Details here. He is also offering a one-day Weather for Sailors course. Please note that Simon's website also includes Essential Navigation and the PPI course, both of which OYT South can offer in-house.

With our own courses and Simon's we now have navigation courses to suit everyone from total beginners right up to the most advanced level - please give it a go and do ask for advice if you are not sure which course is right for you.

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Keep in touch with other OYT South people
We are on Facebook at - please do give us a Like! if you were friends with John Laing on our old page ( please do move to the new page now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is a very expensive business maintaining a boat, running an office and employing staff. If you want to help us, please become a member of OYT South. Or see here for information on making a donation.

If you have any questions, please do email - or contact the office.

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