Park House school


OYT South bulletin 1st June 2018

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

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* Voyage news

Three voyages to report on this time!

Last week we crewed up on Monday with students aged 12 and 13 from Park House School - this is around their ninth year of sailing with us! The voyage started with a dilemma: France or Weymouth? The team sailed to Yarmouth on the first night and picked up Johnny Caulcutt’s buoy (thank you!) so they could discuss options. In the end there was a clear but not unanimous vote for Weymouth which the losers accepted graciously. They did some drills on the way and had a cracking sail with good speeds, arriving in Weymouth in time for ice cream on the beach in glorious sunshine and then dinner and games on board. Next day they had a lunchtime stop in Lulworth – and more ice cream!

That afternoon they headed for Poole but the wind died and they had to motor. After hearing a Pan-Pan message (indicating a need for help but without the same level of immediate distress as a Mayday call), they ended up giving a tow to a small boat with engine failure, taking them right into Poole while the young people did the navigation and pilotage. The inshore lifeboat eventually came and took over the tow, leaving Prolific to berth on Town Quay in time for dinner and games. Next day there was time for showers before leaving so it was particularly unfortunate that as they got the sails up, the rain started and continued all day until everyone was wetter than the fish in the ocean. However, they sailed in through the Needles and short-tacked in winds of Force 4 gusting 5, all the way to Cowes - a fantastic effort by a young crew. In Cowes, they had an early dinner and the young people planned a night passage which got them back to Southampton later on - a brilliant job. All 14 young people earned their RYA Start Yachting certificates. Big thanks to sea staff Andy Viney, Andy Royse, Josh, Susanna Paynter, Charles Kingston, Rosalie Sanders, Nyssa Hutchings and congratulations to Martin Lambert who successfully completed a third mate’s assessment!

On Friday evening the next crew joined: Hillingdon’s Virtual School for Children in Care, returning after a first voyage with us last year. This group generally includes a number of young people who are in care having arrived in the UK as refugees – one of this year’s group had walked for three months on a journey from Syria to the UK at the age of 13. The crew joined on Friday evening and stayed alongside in Southampton that night. Next day they headed down Southampton Water and out through the Needles and had a good sail all the way to Dartmouth. They saw the first lightning of the voyage and were secure in harbour around midnight. One of the crew commented that Dartmouth “looked like Brazil”! Next morning they had some time ashore and then set off for Weymouth in glorious sunshine interspersed with dramatic fog banks. There were dolphins, a fabulous sunset and then forked lightning. That evening, Prolific was spotted by a fantastic photographer, Gregg Cashmore Photography, who took these lovely images - huge thanks to Gregg for sending them in and giving us permission to use them!

On Monday morning they had showers, a trip to the beach (it was a bank holiday and skipper Nic said he had never seen it so busy) and ice cream, in more glorious sunshine. After lunch on board they set off again and there was some singing and dancing on deck but not much wind. The crew instead took the opportunity to think about navigation and in three watches they took charge of piloting the vessel in stages all the way from the Needles to Southampton. There the voyage ended on Tuesday after completing 218 nautical miles - with a special song composed by two of the young people and everyone saying they were sad to leave! A lovely group and a really enjoyable trip. For the second year in a row, with this group, there were several mentions in the comments about how the experience of living and working on board felt “like a family” - particularly significant given what we know about the backgrounds of these young people. Big thanks to sea staff Nic Crawford, Andy Royse, Josh, Mark Boggis, Cathy Ayres, Willoughby Matthews, Susanna Paynter and Nyssa Hutchings.

This week saw a very welcome return. From 2006-13 we had regular voyages - often a couple of times a year - with the Nautical Training Corps cadets of TS Swiftsure. Often the same people came year after year and we watched a number of them go from age 12 to adulthood (and in one case, from extra-small oilskins to extra-large!). But for various reasons they had been unable to sail with us for the last four years so it is fantastic to see them back again - with some adult leaders whom we can remember as 12-year olds! They left Ocean Village with plans for a night sail but the visibility dropped and ideas about sailing down the busy eastern Solent were quickly altered and they went west where there was less traffic. Thanks once again to Johnny Caulcutt for the use of his buoy outside Yarmouth for the night! Next day they set off for the Needles at first light in a forecast which said that any early fog would lift, so they headed across the Channel, sailing as much as possible but with some motoring when the wind dropped. The idea that the fog patches would clear sadly proved untrue but thanks to some good radar navigation they arrived safely in Cherbourg last night, and this morning they were ashore and exploring the town. Big thanks to sea staff Nic Crawford, Brigid Stoney, Josh, Dave Blogg, Hannah Brown, Glyn Collins, Susanna Paynter and Roy Hughes.

Prolific in Cherbourg

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* Volunteer bookings for 2018 voyages - vacancies
Many thanks to everyone who has now confirmed bookings as a volunteer on this season's voyages. We have filled the majority of sea staff berths now but we still have some vacancies. Sea staff berths not currently filled are as follows - please note that dates are when young people are on board, and volunteers will generally be expected to join the day before! Some of these places could ideally use another qualified watchleader or bosun; others may be suitable for trainee sea staff - please ask.

Please email if you are available.

14 June - Southampton - adult day sail. Preference given to someone who can also do the maintenance day on June 15th.
16 Sept - Southampton - sea staff possibly needed for new adult day sail
17-21 Sept (including maintenance day) - Southampton - pupil referral unit which always brings outstanding staff to support young people who may have some complex issues.
8-12 Oct - Southampton - pupil referral unit - needs a couple more sea staff including one qualified watchleader who knows the boat and is comfortable working with more challenging young people.
12-14 Oct - Southampton - school group
15-19 Oct - Southampton - client tbc but may be a mainstream school group
19-23 Oct - Southampton - Hackney children in care - usually a lovely group.
24-28 Oct - Southampton - East London charity

Sea staff under 25 please note that you can ALSO apply for any empty berths on individual voyages - if we can't fill all berths with paying customers or disadvantaged young people with bursary funding, then it's often much better to include you than to have an empty, wasted berth - and you can still be treated as an extra volunteer and continue with your training.

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* 2018 voyage programme - availability for young people

Please see here for a 2018 sailing programme. At the moment there is a maximum of 20 berths possibly still available for young people this year (including some where we are have provisional bookings and we are waiting to see if they will be confirmed), out of more than 400 on the full programme, with most voyages already fully-booked! But please keep watching this space as we can get cancellations, or groups which don't quite fill all their spaces and are happy to open their voyage up to others.

Voyages which are currently open for individual bookings (which means people on their own or small groups of friends, but not a single client booking the whole boat for an organised group) and have spaces are as follows.

24-30 July - 6 nights, starting and finishing in Brixham, age range 12-25, price £550 per person. 1 place possibly available tbc.'

9-15 August' - 6 nights - starting and finishing in Brixham, age range 12-25, price £550 per person. Up to 5 berths available.
21-27 August,' 6 nights, starting and finishing Brixham, age range 12-25, price £550 per person, 2 berths available.

These three voyages are ideal for crew members who have a passport as it may well be possible to sail cross-Channel, to France or the Channel Islands. Alternatively the Scillies may be possible, or a Devon and Cornwall cruise - it all depends on wind and weather and on what everyone wants to do!

The following voyage is possibly still open for group bookings (up to 12 places):

15-19 Oct - 4 nights - Southampton - £385 per person

Contact the office to book, or to enquire about other availability for individual or group bookings.

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* 2019 voyage programme - any requirements?
With so few berths left to sell in 2018 (and clients completing this year’s voyages wanting to book straight away for next year), we are currently working hard on developing a 2019 sailing programme. A number of clients have already been in touch to discuss dates and ideas for voyages they might like in 2019 - if anyone else has any particular requirements, please email and we will see if it’s possible to offer the voyage you would really like - bearing in mind that each voyage needs to slot together without wasting any days, so dates, start and finish ports and durations have to work for the clients on either side.

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Adult day sails
It looks as though we MAY have a place or two available on one of two adult day sails in June - would anyone be interested?:

Saturday 16th June
Sunday 24th June

We also have a NEW adult day sail on Sunday 16th September. We will be offering it initially to sponsors, donors, clients etc., but if you have been supporting OYT South in any way and haven’t yet had a chance to sail in Prolific then this could be ideal for you. It's a great way of enjoying a day in a fabulous boat - while finding out more about the charity. Please tell your friends and spread the word around anyone who might be interested in working with us - teachers, youthworkers etc who might like to arrange a voyage for young people; possible future donors and sponsors; or anyone who might be useful contact. These days are a great opportunity for us to impress people and make new friends.

Day sails run 0930 to 1700 from Ocean Village, Southampton, and include lunch on board.

Email if you want to be added to the list in case we have spaces.

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In-season maintenance days - change of date in September
Prolific has in-season maintenance days scheduled as follows - please note a change of day in September (moved from the Sunday):

Friday 15th June - Southampton
Wednesday 8th August - Brixham
Monday 17th September - Southampton

Help always welcome - skilled or unskilled! Food provided on board; and we can sometimes offer accommodation for the night before or after a maintenance day. Email or phone 07990 518915 if you can help with any of these dates.

Maintenance helpers should normally be aged 18+ though it may sometimes be possible to include 16 and 17 year olds - especially those who are training as bosuns - with the skipper's permission. Please ask!

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Adult voyages and volunteer training and selection voyages in 2018

We have one more adult (18+) training weekend and one longer adult voyage scheduled for 2018:

7-9 Sept 2018 (8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday) - Southampton - 2 nights - age 18+. £200pp - up to 10 places available.
10-15 Sept 2018 (2pm Monday to 12 noon Saturday) - Southampton - 5 nights - age 18+. £480pp - up to 6 places available.

These voyages would be ideal either for current volunteers who want more experience in Prolific, or for other adults who may be new to the charity and would like to get to know us, our boat and the way we work before considering joining our volunteer team. Anyone wanting to sail as a volunteer on our youth voyages must be recommended as suitable by our skipper, and while under-25s can earn their recommendation on a standard youth voyage, these training voyages are the opportunity for adult potential volunteers to decide whether you like what we do and hopefully earn your recommendation! Voyage prices include a year's annual membership so there is no further cost for anyone returning as a volunteer in the subsequent 12 months. See here for more details on joining the team.

If the only thing putting you off doing an adult training voyage is the cost, please do email as we may be able to arrange bursary funding - especially for people who can sail regularly and might have the potential to reach second mate standard or above reasonably quickly.

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Vessel tracking
Don’t forget you can always have a look and see where Prolific is sailing.

If you discover she is in a harbour somewhere near you, please go and say hello. If we’re not too busy with activities with young people, then visitors are generally welcome. You can always call the boat beforehand (07990 518915) to see if there is time for a visit - and sometimes you may be just what we need if you have local information or a bit of time to spare to help with something, or a car for running a quick errand!

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Sea staff training material - NEW and updated!
There is a lot of revised and updated content in the Sea Staff section of the website (email if you don’t have a password). This includes an updated version of the Voyage Handbook (sometimes known as the baboon file) which covers a huge range of the activities on board, from sail hoists through to muster stations in emergencies. There’s still more to do on this document but there is plenty of new stuff based on our experience of sailing Prolific last season, so do have a look. The text is colour-coded so you can see exactly what is new.

Also on the same webpage are new revised videos on the fire system; the fire pump; the bilge pump and the anchor windlass; as well as revised versions of sea staff assessment forms and more.

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Chris Ellis Award - win up to £500
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 £500 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. You can also see some previous winning entries.

The 2018 Chris Ellis Award is now open for entries.

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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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RYA courses with SeaRegs

Occasional OYT South relief skipper Simon Jinks's company SeaRegs is now offering RYA practical coursers on a regular basis. This year they have a monthly programme of both Sail and Power Yachtmaster weeks and Day Skipper weeks, as well as both classroom based and online theory courses. A 10% discount is available for booking both a theory course and a practical course.

Contact Vicky Jinks if you are interested - please DON'T reply to the OYT South staff via the bulletin for this one!

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2018 AGM - a date for your diary
A long way off but you might like to make a note that our 2018 AGM will be on Saturday 3rd November - it will probably involve the usual curry night and we may well also be encouraging people to come that weekend to unload masses of kit from Prolific.

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

If you ever shop online, do have a look!

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Branded clothing
OYT South branded clothing available - please see here. You can buy hoodies (in a wide range of colours), fleeces, short- and long-sleeved t-shirts, baseball caps, beanie hats, drill shirts, polo shirts and more, all with OYT South's logo!

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From youth crew to volunteer
Have you recently 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!

If you read this newsletter regularly, you will see that the key period for sending in bids for volunteer berths tends to be November to early January. Every year we get a few people who haven't read the newsletter and don't start thinking about summer sailing until the new year is well underway - only to find that volunteer berths in school and college holidays are already booked up.

And one more thing ... if you are mature enough to be thinking about making the step up into volunteering, then you should really be contacting us yourself. It doesn't quite create the same impression if you get your mum to do it ...!

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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 21-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 newsletter, which is sent out almost every week, normally on a Friday, and is also copied onto the website.

If you have just started receiving this newsletter by email, it is because we believe you have signed up and consented to receive it - perhaps by emailing us to ask for it, completing a form on our website, or adding your email address to the book on board where people can sign up to receive news, as well as leaving comments. If this was a mistake or you simply decide you want to stop receiving the newsletter, just press “reply” to the email and write UNSUBSCRIBE at the top, or email webmaster1@oytsouth asking to unsubscribe.

Each week the newsletter 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. 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.

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