Painting team!


OYT South bulletin 19th January 2018

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

* Chris Ellis Award 2017 - the results!

Many thanks to those who entered for the 2017 Chris Ellis award - there were some excellent entries and people had clearly put in a lot of hard work. This is an award given each year for the best piece of work based on a voyage with OYT South, with the prize being a discount towards the cost of sailing with us again.

Huge congratulations to the 2017 Chris Ellis Award winner: Pearl Harris, who was aged 19 when she sailed on a voyage organised by MACS, the charity for children born without eyes or with underdeveloped eyes. Pearl's account of her voyage can be seen here:

2017 runner up: Jess Collingwood (16) for this voyage account. (pdf).

The Chris Ellis Award will open again for entries once the 2018 sailing season starts. Anyone aged 12-25 who enjoys a voyage with OYT South this year and want to come again in future, 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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* Refit news
Huge thanks to everyone involved in a mammoth effort last weekend and continuing through this week: Peta, Holly, Josh, George, Susanna, Emma, Georgia, Sookie, Jack, Sandy Garrity, Rooby, Tom Hudson, Adam Lane, Brigid Stoney, Muneerah Patel, Madisonn Roberts, Mark, Andy, Caz, Ollie, Jake Clark, Charles Smith, James Leetch, Lauren Mackenzie, James Belassie, Marcus and Jay Hardiman, Mark Boggis, John Parkin and Fred Cole. The major task has been loads and loads of painting, after all the preparation in the previous week – we really have made tremendous progress. Special thanks to International Paint who made the whole thing possible! And the team has also started some work on the engine.

We are looking for volunteer help on weekdays from now until early April, and there will be another volunteer weekend 17-18 March. There may not be a February refit weekend as we will have our usual shorebased training weekend instead, with RYA courses etc. on offer - more information below.

Please email if you are interested in coming along for a refit weekend or to help on weekdays. Food and accommodation available on board for refit helpers.If you haven’t previously helped with a vessel refit, there is some general information here.

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* 2018 shorebased training weekend - please pay NOW - spaces still available on the youthwork course and potentially other courses too!

OYT South's usual February shorebased training weekend will take place in Gosport on Sat 17th and Sun 18th February.

Thanks to all who have confirmed interest in various courses - if you have reserved a place, please pay NOW and book your meals and accommodation. We are committed to paying instructor and venue costs so if you have been offered a place on the course(s) you asked for and haven’t responded to any of the reminders by emailing to cancel your place, then we do definitely need you to pay now.

There are still spaces on the youthwork course (which has no upper limit on numbers) but if you haven’t yet booked and would like to do any of the other courses, please let us know as you may still get a place if someone else fails to pay!

The latest news on each course is as follows:

RYA First Aid: courses running on both Saturday and Sunday. Recommended for ALL sea staff, and compulsory for second mates and above, with updates required every three years.

Youthwork: course taking place on Sunday. Still space for additional bookings as there is no firm limit to the number who can take part. The morning session is with Robin Douglas from West Berkshire Children in Care; the afternoon session is still on Games With Aims but is now going to be run by Ollie Bowden rather than Robbie Crow. Recommended for everyone who sails with us!

RYA Diesel engines: course running on Saturday. Recommended for bosuns plus second mates and above.

RYA Marine Radio Short Range Certificate GMDSS assessment: this consists of an online course which MUST be done in advance, plus a practical session and exam on the Saturday of the training weekend (because the instructor is doing another course himself on the Sunday). We can fit in extra people for GMDSS assessments on the Saturday. Even if you are doing another course on the Saturday, it MAY be possible to complete your GMDSS assessment in the lunch break - it depends on numbers (we already have a couple of people doing that) but please ask. Recommended for third mates, required for second mates and above. You must be aged 16+ to do the assessment.

Chart corrections workshop: running on Saturday. Recommended for people who already have some familiarity with navigation and particularly for those who sail regularly and come to maintenance days where we often need people to do this job. Remember that correcting charts happens in the warm and dry while other people may be working outside in the cold and rain, so it can be a useful skill to have!

Bridge management
(invitation only): Sunday course is fully-booked.

Course details and prices are here. If you have already asked for a place on one these courses and had an email confirming there is space for you, please use the booking form on the website to confirm and pay NOW.

For any new bookings, please email to check if there is space for you before booking.

We can offer very basic accommodation (mattresses on the floor of the Sea Cadet unit) and affordable meals over the weekend.

Email and let us know what you would like to do.

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* Volunteer sea staff bookings for 2018 - places being allocated now!
Many thanks to all those who have sent in your bids for sailing dates this year - we are now getting on with allocating places on voyages. First mates and second mates should now either have had their places confirmed or else we are in discussions - any other qualified first and second mates who haven’t yet bid for dates, please do get in touch and we can tell you where the spaces are.

We are now working on third mate, bosun, engineer and trainee mate and bosun places. Please don’t send any new bids now for any of these roles - we need to allocate places to the people who have responded since we opened for bookings two months ago. Any remaining spaces will be advertised in this bulletin once the main round of allocations is done.

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* Volunteer training and selection voyages in 2018 - do you know Prolific as well as you would like?
It has become clear, based on volunteer bids for voyages this year, that we have a lot of keen people at third mate and trainee mate level (with many voyages over-subscribed) but we could really do with a few more people at second mate level. One of the key differences between a second mate and a third mate is familiarity with Prolific and all her routines - for example, would you be quite comfortable running a mainsail hoist or putting in a reef, with a watch of young people, without needing help or advice? A lot of third mates who could do this in John Laing but haven’t sailed so often in Prolific could probably do with a bit more practice. If you’re in this position, PLEASE think about coming on one of these volunteer training voyages for adults, where you can concentrate on your own learning without having to manage a watch of young people at the same time.

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 sail regularly and might have the potential to reach second mate standard reasonably quickly.

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

20-22 April 2018 (8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday) - Southampton - 2 nights - age 18+. £200pp.
7-9 Sept 2018 (8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday) - Southampton - 2 nights - age 18+. £200pp.
10-15 Sept 2018 (2pm Monday to 12 noon Saturday) - Southampton - 5 nights age 18+. £480pp.

Any of 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.

Adults who are not interested in training as volunteers are also welcome on these voyages if there is space - especially if you are willing to play the part of a novice crew member while our volunteers practice their skills in leading and teaching a team!

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* 2018 voyage programme - availability for young people

Please see here for a 2018 sailing programme. We are busy confirming group bookings but there will also be places for individuals - that means voyages where the young people generally don't know each other but want to come sailing and hopefully make new friends. We can accept bookings from people on their own or from two or three friends who know each other; but individual voyages are obviously not open to a school group booking, for example. So far we have confirmed dates for five individual voyages for 2018 (one, from 4-9 April, is fully-booked already) but there will be plenty of others in due course! The voyages which are currently open for individual bookings and have spaces are:

10-15 April, 5 nights, starting and finishing in Southampton, age range 12-25, price £480 per person.
24-30 July , 6 nights, starting and finishing in Brixham, age range 12-25, price £550 per person. 9 berths available. 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!
21-27 August, 6 nights, starting and finishing Brixham, age range 12-25, price £550 per person, 10 berths available. 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!
28 Aug to 2 Sept, 5 nights, Brixham to Southampton, age range 12-25, £480 per person. 9 berths available. Ideal for crew members who have a passport as it may well be possible to sail cross-Channel.

The following voyages are currently open for group bookings (up to 12 places). (Some of them may be opened to individual bookings at a later date if they are not booked by groups, but at this stage we don’t want to have too many voyages with just two or three bookings per voyage - not enough to sail! – so we are trying to focus individual bookings onto a smaller range of voyages so we can get a viable crew for each - which means that at the moment, preference will be given to group bookings for the following voyages).

16-20 April - 4 nights - Southampton - £385 per person
4-8 June - 4 nights - Southampton - £385 per person
9-15 August - 6 nights - Brixham - £550 per person
16-20 August - 4 nights - Brixham - £385 per person
17-21 Sept - 4 nights - Southampton - £385 per person
12-14 Oct - 2 nights - Southampton - £200 per person - weekend voyage, 8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday
15-19 Oct - 4 nights - Southampton - £385 per person

Contact the office to book, or to enquire about other availablity for individual or group bookings. At this stage it is still potentially possible to amend parts of the 2018 programme to provide voyage dates and durations to suit your group, so please ask! But some periods of the season are already filling up very fast, so if you are interested in a group or individual voyage in 2018, do please email and let us know what you want, so that we can see what might be fitted around clients who have already put in their voyage requests.

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Prolific in the West Country, summer 2018
For a number of reasons, Prolific tends not to stay in her home port of Southampton in high summer - there aren’t many berths available for a large vessel; the Solent tends to be very crowded which is not ideal when our whole mission is about giving young people and novice sailors the chance to take the helm or get involved in navigation; and of course we like to explore interesting and different sailing areas! Sometimes this means we go abroad to take part in Tall Ships races, but those voyages have a minimum age of 15 which obviously excludes younger crew members, as well as those who can’t afford longer overseas voyages. So sometimes we will spend a summer based in the UK (though this doesn’t exclude sailing to France and back), and this year our generous supporters at Marina Developments Limited have kindly found a berth for us in Brixham for some voyages in July and August. We can use this as a base for exploring Devon and Cornwall, France, the Channel Islands or the Scillies - all depending on the weather and on what young crew members want to do.

Having Prolific in the West Country for an extended period is obviously a chance for us to meet people and make new friends in the area. Do you know any young people who might want to sail with us? Do you know any teachers, youth workers, youth charities, parents, grandparents or anyone else who could spread the word about us? Please help us not only to fill all our summertime voyages but also to ensure that we develop as many new contacts as possible. Voyage details are here - please spread the word yourself, or email if you would like us to contact people in the area. We also have a West Country Support Group - let us know if you would like to get involved with them!

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Andy Viney's leaving party and leaving present fund
Don’t forget that if you want to celebrate Andy’s five years as staff skipper, he’ll be at the February training weekend which will double as a leaving party for Andy with our volunteers. If you haven't yet booked a course at the training weekend, please do so NOW as this will be your chance to have a party with Andy. If you really don't need any of the courses on offer at the training weekend, you will still be welcome at the Saturday night supper anyway.

Andy's leaving present fund is still open - there is a webpage here with a paypal link and details of other ways of contributing. Please give generously!

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Music section - Police Dog Hogan gig featuring OYT South Trustee on Wednesday 31st January at The Brook, Southampton
Some of you will know that our newest Trustee, Eddie Bishop, as well as being a lawyer, also plays fiddle in the band Police Dog Hogan. They have a gig at the Brook in Southampton on Wednesday 31st January and it would be great to get as many OYT South supporters along as we can. Police Dog Hogan are fantastic musicians and their shows are a lot of fun so get your tickets now! It looks as though around 15 OYT South supporters have tickets already so please come and join us (though there is an age restriction at the venue: it’s 18+ only).

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* Financial appeal

Big thanks this week to David Woodley for a very kind donation following a visit to the boat and a chat with the refit team!

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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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!

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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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, Andy Viney or Peta Koczy 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. 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