The staff seem to be enjoying Prolific!


OYT South bulletin 9th May 2017

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

* Poole Harbour Boat Show and Gosport Marine Festival - help needed!

Prolific will be taking part in the Poole Harbour Boat Show (afternoon Friday 19 May and all day Saturday and Sunday 20 and 21 May) and the Gosport Marine Festival (Saturday 27 May). Both events attract large numbers of visitors and Prolific will be moored alongside and open to the public. We need big teams of volunteers on board for both events and we could still do with a  few more people, especially for Poole - we have to ensure that visitors get safely on and off the boat, run tours above and below decks, and talk about how people can sail with us and support us. If you can help with any of the dates at either event, please email Both events are great opportunities to show off our lovely new boat and get people excited about getting involved with us!

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* Voyage news

Ten days ago the last newsletter was written as we were getting ready for a mates’ training weekend involving some current volunteers plus several new people who were interested in getting involved. This turned out to be a great weekend, with masses of talent and enthusiasm, and more people worth inviting back than we can easily fit on the boat this season! But we hope lots of people will stay involved - although 2017 is very full, there will be hundreds of spaces for volunteers next year, and we always need to add new people each season. This group joined on the Friday night and did lots of briefings and chats before setting off on the Saturday morning for a cracking sail down Southampton Water and drills in the western Solent. They finished the day at Shepards in Cowes. On Sunday they had an early start and picked up a buoy while they had breakfast before heading off for more drills in Force 7 winds - great training for everyone. They hoisted and dropped the new ORC sail (which goes in the space between staysail and mainmast) and they did plenty of tacking and gybing. The voyage ended on Sunday evening - big .thanks to sea staff Andy, Andrew, Ben, Peta, Josh, Dave, Holly and Adam as well as the volunteers and prospective volunteers sailing in crew berths.

On Monday we were joined by a crew of young people from Hampshire’s Virtual School for Children in Care, a regular client, and they started their voyage with a motor-sail to Cowes. On Tuesday they had a good sail in the afternoon before another night in Ocean Village, and then on Wednesday an early start took them out through the needles towards Poole. They did a man overboard recovery drill near the entrance and then went into Poole for some shore leave and showers. Thursday saw Prolific’s first visit to Lymington (yes, we do fit), and there the young people spent some time planning a navigation exercise which took them back to Southampton. Jack (15) said "This was a spectacular sailing trip and the things we did really took my breath away." Big thanks to sea staff Andy, Peta, Jon, Holly, Halima, Cathy and Di.

Later on Friday we had a great session with Guy Page from Crewsaver and Survitec who taught a group of staff and volunteers all about the care, maintenance and packing of our new lifejackets (which themselves were very generously sponsored by the Graham High Charity) - huge thanks to all involved!

Saturday was a day sail involving a number of adults who are supporting the charity or working with us or are interested in doing so. Some were people we know well; others had longstanding connections with the charity but had never previously been on board, and others still were completely new to us. It turned out to be a lovely group of people and we had some good weather and excellent sailing. Once they left us on Saturday evening we held an open boat session for our sponsors Marina Developments Limited who were having an event for their Ocean Village berth-holders - we showed lots of people round Prolific and had some good chats about what we do and how we work. Of course all Ocean Village berth-holders will have seen John Laing and Prolific but not all previously understood what we do or realised that Prolific was John Laing’s successor, so it was great to have the chance to spread the word. Big thanks to everyone who helped with the day sail and the evening event – Andy V, Andy R, Sparky, Brigid, Peta, Miranda, Adam, Matt, Jack, Ollie and Caz.

Sunday was a maintenance day - lots of important jobs completed so huge thanks to Andy V, Peta, Adam, Andy R, Lauren, Mark, Marcus, Matt, Phil, John, Brigid, Ollie and Holly,

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* Emails to

As we have mentioned over the last couple of weeks last week, the entire OYT South team has been moved to a new email system. Everything is supposed to be working fine now, but if you have had any messages suggesting that you are not allowed to email a particular address, you haven’t been banned, we promise - it just means that something may have been overlooked in the new set-up and we will fix it if you tell us about it - call the office on 02392 602278 if you can’t get through on a different email address. Likewise do let us know if you become concerned that you have not had a reply to something important.

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* Vessel deliveries between Southampton and Gosport, 11th and 12th May - help needed
On Thursday 11th May we have a voyage finishing at 5pm in Ocean Village and we need to move the boat round to Gosport that evening - do any adult volunteers want to come for an evening sail? We will need to spend some time on the way round getting the boat clean and tidy as on Friday 12th May we are involved in a major press event with some of the leading lights of the UK marine industry, organised by our friends at the Marine Advertising Agency, and we hope that some useful contacts and influential people will come and tour Prolific. The event continues until after lunch and then we need to sail back to Ocean Village - we should be all done by 8pm. If anyone can help with either or both deliveries, please email

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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.

15-19 May - Southampton to Poole - 3M. Preference given to someone who can stay until 21 May to help with Poole Boat Show - but if you can do the voyage and not the show, please tell us!
5-11 June - bosun or additional mate tbc. Preference given to volunteers who enjoy working with complex young people. Preference given to anyone who can stay for maintenance and Tall Ships prep 12 and / or 13 June.
NEW AVAILABILITY: 14-20 June - Southampton to London - additional watchleader or trainee watchleader. Preference given to anyone who can join for maintenance and Tall Ships prep 12 and / or 13 June, or open days in London 21/ 22 June.
7-14 Aug - Szczecin to Cuxhaven - 3M tbc
23-30 Aug - Ipswich to Southampton - engineer or experienced bosun tbc
11-15 Sept - another mate or trainee mate or bosun tbc
24-29 Sept - 2M
30 Sept - 3 Oct - additional 3M or trainee mate; and engineer tbc
4-8 Oct - 3M or additional 2M; and engineer tbc
9-13 Oct - bosun, mate or trainee mate
13-15 Oct - 3M or bosun tbc
16-20 Oct - 3M; and trainee mate tbc
20-24 Oct - 2M or additional 3M
25-29 Oct - 2M and additional 3M or trainee mate
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

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* 2017 voyage programme -berths available!
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

Twenty-two out of 29 remaining voyages are already fully-booked 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). The current vacancies list is as follows:

1-4 June (half term): Southampton - 3 nights - age 12-25 - £285pp - 1 or 2 berths possibly available - please ask.
23 June - 1 July 2017 - London to Cuxhaven - 8 nights - 1 berth available - age 18+ (adult voyage, also suitable for training new potential volunteers) - £645pp. North Sea crossing with cruising options in Holland and the Frisian islands. NEW availability following an unavoidable cancellation!
7-14 Aug: Szczecin (Poland) to Cuxhaven (Germany) - 7 nights - 2 berths available - age 12-25 - £625pp - starts with a day at a Tall Ships festival.
31 Aug- 3 Sept: Southampton - 3 nights - 3 berths available - age 12-25 - £285pp.
8-10 Sept: Southampton - 2 nights (weekend voyage, 8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday) - at least 4 berths available - age 18+ (adult voyage, also suitable for training new potential volunteers) - £200pp.
25-29 Sept: Southampton - 4 nights - age 12-25 - £375pp - 12 berths available. Ideally full-boat booking).
25-29 Oct (half term): Southampton to Southampton - 4 nights - 1 or 2 berths available - age 12-25 - £380pp.

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Adult voyages

These voyages would be ideal for people aged 18+ who might be interested in volunteering with us and want to come and see how it all works; or for current volunteers wanting more training (especially people who would like more Prolific training than they or we were able to manage over the winter); or for anyone who just wants to come for a good sail and to find out a bit about the charity.

23 June - 1 July 2017 - London to Cuxhaven - 8 nights - 1 berth available - age 18+ (adult voyage, also suitable for training new potential volunteers) - £645pp. North Sea crossing with cruising options in Holland and the Frisian islands. NEW availability following an unavoidable cancellation!
8-10 Sept 2017- Southampton to Southampton - 2 nights (weekend voyage, 8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday) - at least 4 berths available - age 18+ (adult voyage, also suitable for training new potential volunteers) - £200pp.

Please email to book.

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Prolific celebration in Ocean Village - no longer on 13th May
When we came up with the idea of a celebration event for Prolific in Ocean Village on 13th May, we thought it would be a great opportunity to introduce our members and supporters to our wonderful new boat. However, because we had such a fantastic response to the winter training programme for volunteers and so many other people turning up to help with the vessel refit or to visit the boat over the winter, it is now clear that almost all our members have already been introduced to Prolific and as a result, only a tiny number of people have expressed an interest in coming along on May 13th. This means we really have no choice but to cancel the event. Therefore we have decided it would be more fun to hold an end of season party to celebrate what we have achieved this year. We aim to do this on November 4th so put this date in your diaries! However, if you haven’t yet seen the boat and were looking forward to a tour on May 13th then do let us know as we can arrange a visit at some other time; and there will also be various events you can attend during the year. There are two other opportunities already planned for May: Prolific will be open to the public at the Poole Boat Show on 20th and 21st May, and the Gosport Marine Festival on 27th May, and you would be welcome to come and see us then.

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* Financial appeal

Big thanks this week for very kind donations from Penny Scott-Bayfield and Mr & Mrs J Hollond.

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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New video page on website
We’ve added a new video page to our website and we hope to keep adding videos as the season goes on - do have a look!

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New crew logbook

This season we are introducing a new crew logbook which will be available on board so that young people can record their experiences and what have they have learned each day, and take it away as a permanent record at the end to show other people what they have achieved. It may not be needed on all voyages but we hope it will be of real value with many groups of young people. You can have a look here (pdf).

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Vessel tracking
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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* Prolific
maintenance days 2017 - help needed!
Please put these dates in your diary and come and help on any of them if you possibly can:

Monday 12th June - Southampton (preparation for Baltic voyages)
Tuesday 13th June - Southampton  (preparation for Baltic voyages)
Wednesday 23rd August - Ipswich
Sunday 24th September - Southampton

Email 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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training documents and videos
There is now a good selection of documents and videos in the password-access Sea Staff Only section of the website for current active sea staff. Anyone taking part sailing as a member of staff or adult volunteer on voyages this season, please keep an eye on this page. Already posted:

- Fire safety systems and fire pump
- Heads
- Bilge pumps
- Anchor windlass
- Generator start / stop
- Rigging the gangway
- Pinrails
- Winches, jammers and constrictors
- Emergency steering
- Sea staff deck walk and interior refresher
- Muster stations
- and an updated draft for a Prolific Baboon File!

We have been working hard on a complete update of the Voyage Handbook / Baboon File (so called because an early edition some years ago had an ape on the cover). There's still a bit to do but we thought there was enough there now to make it worth letting people have a look. The text is colour-coded. Black text is for things that have changed little if at all compared with John Laing (but please email if you spot anything that you think should have been updated and hasn't been). Blue text is for things that have been substantially updated and should now be broadly correct for Prolific (though we may yet amend them further if we discover better ways of working). Red text is for things which haven't been updated or agreed yet, or for queries and things which need to be settled. There are also some sections yet to be written at all. We'll keep amending this document, removing the red bits and filling in the blanks, so do check back from time to time. And please let us know if you spot anything that isn't right or could be improved!

More to come including sail hoists - new cordage has only just been fitted  and we need a bit more time to get descriptions and photos with the right colour of rope for each sheet, halyard, topping lift, downhaul, outhaul, kicking strap, reefing line and cunningham!

Any active members of sea staff who don't have a login or have forgotten it, email but PLEASE check carefully first to make certain you haven't got the details somewhere already (they will have been emailed to you if you have ever asked for a login before) as we can't cope if 100 volunteers all suddenly email about their logins!

As the webpage says: do bear in mind that the levels of knowledge and skill required to sail in Prolific will vary with your role on board. This training material is available for everyone including skippers and experienced engineers. Especially if you are a newly-qualified third mate or a 17-year old bosun and there are things here that you don't understand, DON'T PANIC ! It may be something you don't need to know; but if it is important for you to understand it, you can be given more training on board. We will be sailing with additional sea staff in Prolific's first season precisely so that there should be someone available to explain, supervise and support you as needed.

Please note that everything here is a work in progress - some things are still being modified as we learn the best ways of working - or the best ways of explaining them. Please look at the videos and documents on the website, and check for new ones being added, but we suggest you don't print them out or save them, at least not at this stage, in case you end up working from an out-of-date document. As we get to the start of the season, systems and procedures will become more fixed, though we may still be making further improvements during the season. We welcome your feedback on any of this training material (email

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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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OYT South branded clothing - temporary website problem

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

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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