Last voyage of 2018!


OYT South bulletin 2nd November 2018

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

* Farewell Mollie!

Today is Mollie Crawford's last day in the office after four years as our Operations Assistant. She really has been the most tremendous asset to the team and will be very much missed. We wish her all the very best for the future, and although we are losing her as a colleague, she will still be very much around as a friend.

Huge thanks to everyone who has contributed to her leaving present so far - the fund is still open for a few more days so if you would like to make a contribution, please do so NOW. Details of how to contribute to Mollie's leaving present can be found here.

Jo Clark will be joining us on Monday as our new Operations Assistant and we are sure everyone will want to make her very welcome.

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* Voyage news
The last voyage of 2018 is now over! Last week's newsletter left us in Poole with a crew from Ambition, Aspire, Achieve, a charity which provides activities and experiences for young people in the Newham and East London area that build confidence and expand minds. By last Friday the weather had turned and it was much colder, so they settled for a rota of short periods on deck for each team – during which time they got all the sails up – interspersed with periods below deck in the warm to work on skills such as knots.



It was cold again on Saturday but they had a good session learning about boat manoeuvres and tacking, and then anchored for lunch and spent some time planning their navigation for the final passage back to Southampton. While the young people were keeping warm doing this, the staff managed their own useful training session on deck, practising how they might recover anyone who fell off the bowsprit netting – they would still be clipped on by their safety harness, but dangling at the front of the boat, so the team need to have a good routine in place for getting them safely back on board. By the time this was done, the navigation plans were ready and the young people took charge of the vessel, doing an excellent job as they made their way back to Ocean Village.


Eight of the group earned Royal Yachting Association Start Yachting certificates, and two, who had sailed with us before and remembered the core skills, earned the more advanced RYA Competent Crew certificate.

Big thanks to sea staff Andy Bristow, Andrew Wilkes, Josh, Lucinda, Glyn and David, and big congratulations to Ben Mousseaux who was signed off as a third mate and Danny Ballantyne who was signed off as a bosun!

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* Refit news - and help needed!

Prolific's winter refit 2018-19 has begun! This week has consisted of sorting out the refit house, a short sail on Tuesday with Tom the sailmaker to work on a better sheeting angle for the staysail, and the start of the process of clearing the boat ready for refit. The team has tidied the store ready to move loads of gear; they have sorted the oilskins, they have taken a lot of the contents of the chart room to the office, and they are working on cleaning and destowing. Big thanks to Marcus Hardiman for the loan of his trailer!

Once again we have a fantastic core team who will be working full-time over the winter. Obviously we have Peta the skipper and Josh the engineer, and Holly the Sailing Support Officer until she leaves shortly before Christmas. We also have our new Staff Cadet, Georgia Watson, who joined the team today. And then we have two great full-time volunteers. Danny Ballantyne first sailed with us on a voyage this summer and has stayed in touch with great enthusiasm, done a couple more voyages, and has just been signed off as a bosun. And Ben Mousseaux has spent the season sailing as a mate with Gordonstoun on their ex-OYC boat, Ocean Spirit of Moray, and has joined us for the winter to keep himself busy, learn some new skills and meet some new people.

Refit team

This looks like being a great refit team but they can't do all the work on their own! We need as much volunteer help as possible on weekdays, but for those of you only available at weekends, we are also looking for volunteers on the following dates:

3-4 November - a chance to get masses of kit moved off the boat (though please note that the deadline for booking for the AGM and curry night on Saturday has now passed).
8-9 December
19-20 January
9-10 March

Please email to book yourself in for weekdays or any of these weekends. There won't be a refit weekend in February as we will have the usual weekend of shorebased training courses on 16-17 February - see below!

Refit volunteers should normally be aged 18+ but it is sometimes possible to include 16 and 17 year olds who have had volunteer recommendations and hope to be sailing as trainee bosuns next year. It depends on what jobs are available and whether we have people to supervise under-18s.

We won't be able to have people sleeping on board Prolific for most of this refit because there will be no power while we replace the electrical system. We have a refit house for the staff and the full-time volunteer team but accommodation for others will depend on space available. If anyone living in the Southampton area is able to offer a bed or two, or even a sofa or floor space for camping mattresses during any of the refit weekends, please email

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Furniture needed for refit house - can anyone help?
Huge thanks to Jo Clark for donating some essential items for the rented refit house but we could still do with some more furniture. We've got quite a lot of the major items now but if you have any furniture you don't need, or anything to make the house more homely, please email

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* OYT South's AGM and curry night THIS SATURDAY 3rd November!
OYT South's AGM will take place on Saturday 3rd November - a short meeting combined with a lively social evening.

The AGM itself will take place on board Prolific in Ocean Village, Southampton - arrivals from 1730, with the meeting itself at 1800. There will then be a review of the year before a curry night.

All the details about the AGM, including where to find the boat, are available here.

Space on board for the AGM is starting to get a bit limited so if anyone wants to come who hasn't already booked, we may end up giving priority to paid-up members. The deadline for booking for the curry has now passed.

Please note that Peta needs a big team of helpers over the weekend of the AGM to help move kit off the boat in preparation for the refit. Please email if you can help!

The formal notice of OYT South’s AGM has now been sent out by email to members, with the agenda, minutes of last meeting, accounts etc. If you think you are a member of OYT South and have not received this mailing, please email Please also note that only paid-up members can vote at the AGM (you can join now here).

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Holly Vint leaving present

Our Sailing Support Officer, Holly Vint, was appointed on a one-year contract from December 2017 and so will be leaving us at the end of this year.

The post of Sailing Support Officer was created when we first brought Prolific into service, to help us through the first couple of seasons of getting the boat running smoothly and supporting our volunteers in learning to manage a larger and more complex vessel.

Holly has played a tremendous part in the success of the 2018 season and the charity is in a much stronger position now because of all that she has done for us. She is a great sailor with a fantastic talent for working with young people, and she has contributed so much to OYT South in so many other ways this year. And skipper Peta says "She's my rock - I wouldn't have got through the season without her."

This certainly won't be the end of her time in Prolific - she is much in demand with other sailing organisations but we are certainly going to ensure that her busy schedule continues to include voyages with Ocean Youth Trust South.

However, she will be hugely missed as a full-time member of the team, and we really want to send her off with a nice leaving present, so please give generously! Details here for how to contribute.

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February 2019 shorebased training weekend

OYT South’s usual February shorebased training weekend will take place in Gosport on Sat 16th and Sun 17th February 2019.

We can’t formally confirm bookings for any instructors until we know we have enough people to make each course cost-effective, but we are looking at options including the RYA First Aid course, RYA diesel engines, GMDSS assessments (for your radio licence), youthwork, chart corrections and lifejacket packing. Please email if you would be interested in any of these courses - it would be great to get some quick answers so we know which instructor bookings we can confirm. If you can only manage one of the days that weekend, let us know which; and if you want to do two courses let us know - then we’ll aim to allocate each course to a day so that the maximum number of people can do their chosen courses without a clash.

Prices to be confirmed but the GMDSS assessment (to get your radio licence) is generally the most expensive at £100 or a little more – it involves an online course which you have to do in advance, and fixed exam fee payable to the RYA. Other RYA-certificated courses such as First Aid and Diesel tend to come in at around £75-£80, and other things will generally be cheaper. We can offer very basic accommodation (mattresses on the floor of the Sea Cadet unit) and affordable meals over the weekend.

In case you’re not sure which courses are right for you:

RYA First Aid is recommended for ALL sea staff, and compulsory for second mates and above, with updates required every three years.

RYA Marine Radio Short Range Certificate GMDSS assessment - recommended for third mates, required for second mates and above. You must be aged 16+ to do the assessment.

RYA Diesel engines - recommended for bosuns plus second mates and above.

Chart corrections - recommended for second mates and above, plus anyone else with a real interest in navigation, especially people who tend to be around on Prolific's maintenance days.

Lifejackets and youthwork are both recommended for everyone who sails with us.

If you have ideas for other shorebased courses which might be useful to our volunteers and which can be run in a day or half a day, please email

If you want to do the RYA Sea Survival course including use of flares and a session with a liferaft in a  swimming pool), we recommend booking with

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NEW Musto jackets

Some of you may have seen our staff recently in smart new Musto sailing jackets. These are now available with OYT South logo for £130.



We are going to order another batch late in November so if you would like one, please call the office on 02392 602278, pay with a credit card and choose your size, by Friday 23rd November.

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2019 sailing programme
Our 2019 sailing programme is available here - and voyages are selling very fast!|

The programme shows where clients have already been in touch to request specific dates, and voyages that have been reserved for them, but otherwise the rest of the programme is still available - but not set in stone: we are still happy to discuss changes of dates, ports and durations to suit clients, if we can do so without causing major problems for anyone else or leaving too many unused, wasted days between voyages, which would cost us money.

If you would like to make a booking or discuss programme alterations at any point in the 2019 season, please email

Please note that we are NOT looking for volunteer sea staff bids yet!

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* Volunteer sea staff bookings for 2019 voyages

If you want to sail as a volunteer in 2019, you can now start sending in details of when you are available and how much time you can spare - but please read the rest of this section before doing so!

If you have NOT yet had a recommendation from our skipper to join our sea staff, then you need to do a training/selection voyage first, and the next step depends on your age. If you are aged 16 or 17 then you need to book on any standard youth voyage and aim to get your recommendation there. If you are aged over 25 you will need to get your recommendation on an adult training voyage - see below (open to people aged 18+). If you are aged 18-25 you have a choice and you can use either a youth or an adult voyage to try and earn your recommendation.

If you have had a skipper's recommendation (which means that EITHER you have sailed on a youth voyage and been told at the end that you have been recommended to come back for bosun or watchleader training, or you have done an adult voyage and been given a recommendation at the end) but are not yet an assessed and qualified member of sea staff, your next step is to sail on a youth voyage of four nights or more, for further training and assessment. Not all voyages are suitable for this but please send in details of your availability and we'll aim to match you with an appropriate voyage.

Qualified sea staff (anyone who sailed with us as a watchleader, bosun or engineer this year) - ideally please give us voyage numbers of anything you would like to do (see here for voyage numbers); or give me names of any regular clients you'd particularly like to sail with. But if you have really flexible availability, the easiest thing is to tell us the maximum number of days you can offer in 2019.

Please note that we need you to send in details of when you can sail (whether specific voyage numbers, or an idea of the times of year you can or can’t do - e.g. if you can only sail in school/college/uni holidays - in which case do give us exact dates) and/or how much time you can offer - please don’t email to ask what voyage dates are available. The reasons for this are complicated but I will try to explain the process just to help people understand how complex it is for us to get the volunteer bookings organised!

Essentially, it's not simply a question of finding dates that work for individuals and then just booking you. What we have to do is put together a TEAM of staff and volunteers for each voyage, with a skipper, 1M, 2M, 3M, bosun and/or engineer and often but not always a trainee mate or bosun and a sailing support officer, and we can't book anyone until we have at least some idea of who else is going to make up each team. For example, at least one adult on each voyage must be a woman, if there are girls in the crew; and then we have to think about special skills if the group includes people with disabilities or challenging behaviour. We also don't want to end up with a voyage where too many of the volunteers are all newly-qualified at their particular level - each trip should include some people who are comfortable and familiar in their roles and therefore hopefully able to support those who are new to it. Then sometimes the client will be a school or charity where a staff member has qualified or wants to qualify as a volunteer, so needs a staff berth. Meanwhile, some client groups are just not suitable for brand-new trainee mates. Plus we have to think about some priority bookings (e.g. people who have been identified as potential first mates or skippers, if we can give them enough time on the boat). And we do promise that people who help the most with other things like refit or raising money or introducing us to new clients will be higher up the list to get their choice of voyages.

On top of all that we want to try to be fair to all our volunteers and make sure everyone gets at least a voyage or two! No point confirming voyages for someone who is really flexible only to find that they have taken the only dates that would have worked for someone else who has limited availability.

I hope that explains things for you - we really need to get bids in from as many people as possible before we can start the allocation process and it can take until January before we can start confirming bookings for every voyage. If you really need an answer more quickly than that then please tell us your deadline and we will do our best for you!

Once the main round of allocations is completed we will advertise any remaining gaps, but you may find there's not a lot of choice at that stage. Please send bids or questions to

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* Adult training voyages 2019
We have two weekends in 2019 earmarked for volunteer training for adults (18+). These are designed for current volunteers who want to improve their own skills in sailing Prolific, on a voyage where they don't have to be supervising young people at the same time! These weekends are a lot of fun, and are also open to new potential volunteers who want to come along and find out what it's all about and how we work.

Dates for adult weekends are:

29-31 March, Southampton (8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday)

11-13 October, Southampton (8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday)

There is a cost of £200 per person for volunteer training weekends BUT this is designed as a contribution to charitable funds from those who can afford it, and it includes a year's annual membership. If you can't afford it then please apply to for bursary funding - no-one who is already a valuable volunteer interested in improving their skills should be excluded from these weekends by the cost; and new potential volunteers who seem to have a  lot to offer the charity are also welcome to apply.

There will be a longer adult voyage at some point in 2019 but we need to see which dates are not required for youth voyages - additional adult voyage dates will be announced in this newsletter in due course.

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Leaflets about OYT South
There are leaflets here which you can print - please do use them to spread the word among anyone who might be tempted to sail with us, volunteer for us or support us in any way.

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Online fundraising - raise money with minimal effort! 

OYT South is now registered with Amazon Smile which makes donations to us when people shop - Amazon will donate 0.5% of the net purchase price on eligible purchases. If you ever shop with Amazon, do have a look - once you pick Ocean Youth Trust South as your chosen charity and start using, you don’t need to do anything further, and all your other Amazon account settings remain unchanged.

We also receive donations through Easyfundraising - this one works for all sorts of online shopping, not just a single site like Amazon. One of our volunteers says “I booked a Citybreak weekend away on Expedia and car parking on Holiday Extras through Easyfundraising and that produced £18.28 for OYT South at zero cost to me.” 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 all our supporters got into the habit of raising money for us when shopping online, it would soon mount up. If you can persuade your friends and family to do it, even better. And if you work for a business which spends significant sums online, who knows how much you could raise?

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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 - closing date 31st December.

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* Financial appeal
Huge thanks this week to the Joan Braithwaite Sailing Trust for another extremely generous contribution; to a donor who prefers to remain anonymous, for a very kind donation towards the cost of a new RIB and outboard for Prolific; and also to Andrew Wilkes for a very generous contribution.

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 (pdf) 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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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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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!

This is separate from the Musto sailing jackets above.

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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 in 2014. 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!

And Instagram @oyt_south

And LinkedIn Ocean Youth Trust South

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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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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Receiving this newsletter by email
Many thanks to all those who have given consent to receiving this newsletter by email. If you are not currently getting it by email and would like to, please just click here Newsletter Subscribe and press "send", or email

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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