Klaipeda crew parade


OYT South bulletin 4th August 2017

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

* Skipper news

In last week’s newsletter we announced that, after five years in the job, Andy will be leaving us as Staff Skipper at the end of the season. We now have a detailed job description and person specification available here, and we are inviting applications with a closing date of 31st August.

We will be looking for the following as a minimum:

RYA Cruising Instructor with commercial endorsement and ENG1 medical
Experience in sail training with young people
Experience in vessels over 20 metres
Experience in vessel maintenance

If you meet these minimum requirements, you have a commitment to excellence and to delivering high-quality, safe sail training voyages for OYT South, and you are excited by the idea of becoming Prolific's next staff skipper, please do look at the job description / person specification in detail, and we would love to hear from you. If you have any questions, please contact caroline.white@oytsouth.org.

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* Voyage news
Last week’s bulletin saw Prolific in Latvia relaxing after the race from Finland. They left Latvia on Saturday and sailed back down to Klaipeda in Lithuania, where they were given a pilot on board for their arrival, and reversed all the way down a tight channel to their berth. That day they had shore leave and dinner before a big day of activities at the Tall Ships festival on Sunday.

They entered the crew sports and managed to come first in the long jump and third in the shot put!

Next came the crew parade where they went as characters from the film Moana:

Crew member Rex won the prize for best-dressed male! (It may not be completely obvious from the pictures but he is in fact dressed as a crab, with shell and claws).

This crew left us on Monday with seven people earning RYA Start Yachting certificates, but only because all the others already held this qualification or a higher one. By all accounts this was an excellent crew and we hope to see many of them on board again in future. We don’t often include quotes from the on-board comments book in this bulletin but it might be worth putting a few abbreviated extracts here:

“This voyage has honestly been the best experience ever! I have never sailed until this trip and am now considering taking up sailing. I have learnt so much, made so many friends and feel so independent. I am definitely doing another voyage with OYT.“

“This voyage was by far the most amazing. We went to Finland, Sweden, Latvia and Lithuania. The boat got pushed to its limits, serious teamwork was needed to operate all its sails, the watch leaders really were the glue between us and were really kind and enthusiastic with everyone.”

“An absolutely fantastic voyage, my favourite of the three I have done with OYT. The race itself was brilliant fun and hard work, and I particularly enjoyed my watch ... The other young people were amazing and I have made firm friends in only 10 days. The staff as well were incredible, they could not have done a better job and their volunteering is massively appreciated. I will remember this voyage forever.”

“Incredible voyage with a group of amazing people. This was my first time sailing with OYT and my first yacht race. I feel I’ve made real connections with all of the crew members and to experience the tall ships races in such a friendly and fun environment has been really great to be part of. I’m really excited for possible future voyages.”

Huge thanks to all the sea staff: Andy, Peta, Lee, Adam, Louise, Jack, Nic and special congratulations to Rosalie Sanders who completed her third mate’s assessment!

This crew was replaced by a school group from Stamford for the next race, who joined on Monday after a very long journey that seemed to involve most of them being up since 2am, so they had a relatively quiet evening with the essential briefings.

On Monday they slipped at 11am and skipper Mark was particularly grateful for the previous team having parked backwards so that he could make his way out of a tight space forwards! They did the parade of sail up and down the river but the weather was bad and they all got very wet. Out to sea and they headed for the race start line where ace tactician Rooby took control and achieved one of the best starts Mark has seen, with Prolific perfectly on the start line as the gun sounded!

The first stage of the race was straightforward but it wasn’t long before the fleet spread out across a huge distance: they ran into headwinds and vessels - including Prolific - which can go well to windward were forging ahead while at the back of the fleet, other boats - especially the traditional rigs - made very little progress. The weather was also unpredictable: on at least two occasions there were threats of squalls with thunder and lightning. On one occasion Prolific reduced sail in anticipation of squalls which didn’t come to much, but at the end of the race they heard a radio report of a vessel north of them enduring huge winds in a squall, and although it was only around 30 knots when it hit Prolific, they were very glad they had reduced sail in time!

With the fleet so spread, it became clear by yesterday that vessels at the back would not have time to finish the full race and still get to the Szczecin festival in time, so the decision was taken to finish the race early and allow people to motor to Szczecin if needed. This involves noting each vessel’s position at a specific time and then doing a calculation using their handicaps to establish a race order. It will therefore be some time before race results are published.

Prolific managed to get a berth in Swinoujscie, just north of Szczecin, last night, and they are making their way in to the festival today, looking forward to all the activities there.

Big thanks to sea staff Mark, Peta, Rooby, Jack, Will and Josh,, and to teacher Andrew who organised the group.

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Vessel tracking in the Baltic

Prolific will be in some interesting cruising grounds over the next few weeks. 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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* 2017 voyage programme - LAST FEW berths available
this year
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:

15-22 Aug: Cuxhaven (Germany) to Ipswich - 7 nights - age 12-25 - £470pp - 1 berth available.
16-20 Oct - Southampton - 4 nights - 12 berths available tbc (full-boat booking) - age 12-25 - £285pp. This voyage has had an unavoidable cancellation by a group which had already paid a non-refundable 25% deposit, so the price has now been reduced from £375 per person. We have had one possible enquiry from a new group booking but there is no guarantee this will be confirmed so we would be pleased to hear from anyone else who might be interested.

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.

Fourteen out of 16 remaining voyages are already fully-booked or at least reserved 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).

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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.

24-29 Sept - 3M or trainee mate
30 Sept - 3 Oct - additional 3M - preferably someone with experience in Prolific
4-8 Oct - 3M or additional 2M - this voyage includes the ASTO Small Ships Race so we want a strong team!
9-13 Oct - bosun, mate or trainee mate tbc
16-20 Oct - 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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Day sails 16th and 17th September - would anyone like to sail?
We will be running a couple of day sails in Prolific on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th September.0930-1700 from Ocean Village. These day sails are primarily for adults though we can potentially include a few young people aged 11+ if they are coming with an accompanying adult. But primarily these days are for supporters, donors, current and potential clients, teachers, youth workers, perhaps former crew members, staff and volunteers who haven’t yet had a chance to sail in Prolific, families of young people who have sailed with us … basically any adults who wouldn’t normally have a chance of doing a full voyage but who would like to come and see the boat and perhaps find out more about what the charity can offer. The dates are filling fast and we are still waiting to hear back from several people who have been invited, so we can't guarantee that there are spaces, but to apply for a place, or to suggest anyone else we ought to invite, please contact caroline.white@oytsouth.org.

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Winter refit core team needed
We haven’t yet finalised plans for Prolific’s winter refit 2017-18, but 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 interest 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! If you fill in the online form we can keep in touch with you as plans for the winter become clearer.

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maintenance days 2017 - help needed
The remaining list of 2017 maintenance days is as follows - please put these dates in your diary and come and help on any of them if you possibly can:

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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* 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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DRAFT 2018 sailing programme
We have published a draft 2018 programme based on spending the summer in the west country (specific ports yet to be decided). We are taking bookings for next year, which sometimes involves shuffling things around to get dates and voyage durations to suit as many people as possible. This means that parts of the programme are not yet set in stone; 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 webmaster1@oytsouth.org 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!

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Extreme washing up
If any readers have ever encountered reluctance on the part of teenagers to get involved with domestic chores such as washing up, Ocean Youth Trust South would like to recommend the following video. This was shot at anchor in Kramppi, in the Finnish islands, and as well as providing a useful How To… guide, anyone with experience of sail training will recognise the two contrasting aspects of our voyages: plenty of fun combined with a chance to experience some of the glories of the world around us!


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Southampton Boat Show 2017 - special offer
The Southampton Boat Show will run from 15th to 24th September 2017. John Goode has again kindly arranged for discounted Boat Show tickets for OYT South members, families and friends. If you receive the email version of this newsletter, you can see the discount details, which we can't put on a public website.

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OYT South AGM 4th November– save the date!
OYT South’s AGM will be held on 4th November at the Royal Southampton Yacht Club, 1730 onwards. We will aim to follow it with the usual curry night. All welcome - more details to come in due course but for now, please put the date in your diaries!

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Annual Report
OYT South’s Annual Report for the last financial year has now been published - do have a look. It includes much more than just the financial statements and official accounts - there are plenty of tales from last season and enough quotes from clients and young people to warm the hearts of anyone who has supported us in the last year. We have also included tributes to John Laing at the end of her time with OYT South. The printed edition is available from the office shortly - do contact office@oytsouth.org if you would like copies to give to anyone, especially new potential clients and donors. And certainly feel free to email the link to anyone you think might be interested. OYT South and our staff, volunteers, members and supporters have achieved some fantastic successes in the last year and we rely on everyone who reads this to help us spread the word!

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VHF channel changes
Sea staff please note these changes to the VHF channels used by HM Coastguard to broadcast Maritime Safety Information (MSI) and conduct radio medical advice: .

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* Financial appeal

Big thanks this week to Libby Purves for a very kind bursary 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 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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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