Mizzen staysail ... and a lovely berth in Rødvig


OYT South bulletin 7th July 2017

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

* Voyage news

Last week’s adult voyage ended in Cuxhaven on Saturday – it sounds as though a good time was had by a  lovely group of people! Big thanks to sea staff Mark, Peta, Vince, Patrick, Emma, Dom and Annant.

On Sunday we were joined by a mixed group - half of them from a school in Germany where second mate Amanda teaches, plus a number of individual bookings. This group had quite a wide age range but this has worked well, giving the older ones a chance to take on a bit more responsibility. They had briefings and introductions on the first day and then set off next morning and went right through the Kiel Canal in a day before spending the night in Tiessenkai.

They had shore leave before sailing off the berth next morning and then set off with a flexible plan to see how far they might get, ending up in Heilingenhafen (Holy Harbour) in Schleswig-Holstein opposite the island of Fehmarn. This has a huge marina but Prolific ended up on a really nice berth on the fish quay. Next day they sailed to an anchorage off the island of Møn - a nice sheltered location where they dropped anchor at around 2am on Wednesday. After some sleep, they sailed on to Rødvig and managed to fly the new mizzen staysail! Last night they had a BBQ in Rødvig on a gorgeous evening and they toasted marshmallows. Today they are heading for Copenhagen, and aiming to complete RYA qualifications with the crew. Big thanks to sea staff Andy, Emma, Josh, Dom, Amanda, Halima, Martin and Stuart.

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* Vessel tracking in the Baltic

Prolific will be in some interesting cruising grounds over the next couple of months. 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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* ONE LAST chance to join Prolific at a Tall Ships festival this year - funding help available!
There is just ONE place left on a voyage from 7 to 14 August this summer from Szczecin in Poland to Cuxhaven in Germany, starting with a day at the fabulous Szczecin Tall Ships festival. Age range 12-25. The full price is £625pp and the place would be open to anyone who can afford this BUT we have some bursary funding available which could allow us to offer a very substantial discount to anyone who is disadvantaged and genuinely unable to afford the full price. If you are interested, or you know anyone who might be eligible, please email caroline.white@oytsouth.org. Please note that bursary funding can only be used towards voyage fees – crew members will still need to arrange their own travel to and from the boat. If you are applying for funding, please tell us how much you can afford towards the voyage after paying for travel, and give us some information on why you think you might be eligible for financial help.

* 2017 voyage programme - berths available

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:

7-14 Aug: Szczecin (Poland) to Cuxhaven (Germany) - 7 nights - 1 berth available - age 12-25 - £625pp - starts with a day at a Tall Ships festival (see above).
15-22 Aug: Cuxhaven (Germany) to Ipswich - 7 nights - age 12-25 - £470pp - up to 3 berths possibly available tbc - we have some people looking at how to travel to Cuxhaven before deciding whether to make a booking or not.
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.

Seventeen out of 20 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 - 2M
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; and trainee mate
25-29 Oct - additional 3M
30 Oct - experienced watchleaders for day sail

NB dates given are when young people are on board - we generally need sea staff the day before (except for weekend voyages). All voyages start and finish in Southampton unless otherwise stated.

Bear in mind that we are carrying extra sea staff in Prolific's first season so if we appear to be advertising for someone in your role on dates you have already accepted, don't worry - it's unlikely we have forgotten you; but there is space for someone else as well.

If you can help with any of these, please email webmaster1@oytsouth.org.

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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. 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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* DRAFT 2018 sailing programme
As you may have read in previous issues of this newsletter, we had drafted a 2018 sailing programme and spent a month consulting all our regular clients plus a number of new groups which had expressed an interest in sailing in 2018, as well as several people who contacted us as a result of reading about this in the bulletin. The upshot of all this is we have ended up with an overwhelming majority of clients asking us NOT to do the Tall Ships race series in summer 2018, but to offer more affordable UK-based voyages instead. Some groups would have been excluded by Tall Ships age restrictions affecting all the dates when they could have sailed; some simply can’t afford longer voyages and flights to overseas ports; and some would like to do Tall Ships perhaps every other year but with simpler voyages in the years in between. We have therefore re-drafted a 2018 programme based on spending the summer in the west country (specific ports yet to be decided). We are just finalising things with a large number of clients who have already asked to book a voyage (several are changing their plans based on the new draft, and sometimes we have two clients asking for the same dates so we are in the process of shuffling things around to see if we can accommodate everyone who has asked). This means that dates, ports and durations are not yet set in stone and we are not quite ready to take many confirmed bookings; but if you are interested in a group or individual voyage in 2018, 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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* 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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Annual Report
OYT South’s Annual Report for the last financial year is just being 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 will be 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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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.

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Chris Ellis Award - win £££s off sailing
If you enjoy a voyage with OYT South and want to come again next year (and are aged 12-25), please think about entering for this award. You can win up to £200 off the price of another voyage, by sending in an account of a voyage you have already done with us. It can be a logbook, diary, story, pictures, video - anything which gives the judges an idea of why you had a good time and would like to come again. The prize is judged at the end of each season and the award can be spent on a voyage the following year. Entries should be emailed to webmaster1@oytsouth.org or posted to the office to arrive by Christmas. See here for more details of this award, which was set up in memory of the charity's founder.

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OYT South branded clothing - temporary website problem

T-shirts, hoodies and more are normally available here: http://www.spyprints.com/shop/oyt-south.html - but the company involved (which is not part of OYT South) has encountered a major problem with their web hosting and it may take a few weeks to fix it. Do try the link but if it’s not working, you can call Spyprints on 01983 299314 and they can still take an order over the phone.

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

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

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

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Youth Trustee - speaking up for young people

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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