Training weekend - first aid and bridge team management


OYT South bulletin 23rd February 2018

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

* Happy birthday Josh!
Happy birthday today to Josh our Staff Engineer!

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* Congratulations Georgia!
Massive congratulations to Georgia Watson from the refit team who has been awarded an ASTO International Exchange and will be going sailing in Canada later this year! This is a fantastic achievement as the scheme is open to 18-25 year olds from all over the UK who have been involved in sail training and only a couple are selected to represent UK sail training in Canada, following an interview. A great reward for all her hard work at refit since November plus her contribution as a volunteer on board - she started sailing with us in 2014 as a young crew member before earning a recommendation to come back as a bosun.

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* Shorebased training weekend report
Huge thanks to all involved in a very successful shorebased training event last weekend. We filled 83 places on courses - first aid, diesel, GMDSS, Bridge team management, youthwork and charts - big thanks to GMDSS assessor Lee and instructors Tony, Jason, Simon, Martyn, Robin and Ollie for some very informative, instructive and entertaining sessions. Special thanks to TS Hornet, Tony, Nix and the team who produced 176 meals over the weekend (including more than 50 for dinner on Saturday night), as well as running the bar and generally creating a great atmosphere. We also enjoyed Saturday night’s speech from our Chief Executive, Mark Todd, who brought volunteers up to speed with the achievements of last season and developments within the charity. And we had a presentation and farewell party for Andy Viney after five years as Staff Skipper - though we don’t have to miss him too much as he will back for quite a bit of relief skippering this season. Huge thanks to everyone who contributed to Andy’s leaving present - he got a cheque as well as beautiful framed aerial photo of Prolific which was taken during one of last season’s voyages.


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* Volunteer bookings for 2018 voyages - possible 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. We want to leave some of these open for new people who may join us as the season goes on, or for people who for good reasons aren’t yet in a position to commit to anything. In some cases we may choose not to fill every single staff berth if that would make the boat feel top-heavy with adults; and towards the end of the season we might leave space in case we’re trying out potential refit volunteers. But if you didn’t bid for anything in the main round of allocations, or you have a voyage or two allocated but would be interested in doing more, please let me know which of these dates might suit you. We won’t automatically fill all these berths if people apply for them but it would be good to know who’s interested and available.

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.

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! Most of these vacancies could potentially be suitable for an additional qualified watchleader, trainee watchleader or bosun, unless otherwise stated.

4-9 April
- Southampton - mixed voyage
10-15 April
- Southampton - mixed voyage including several young carers
23-27 April
- Southampton - young people selected by Southampton City Council. Ideally we need another qualified watchleader who is familiar with Prolific.
28 April
- Southampton - adult day sail - ideally another qualified watchleader who is familiar with Prolific.
30 April - 4 May
(including maintenance day) - Southampton - pupil referral unit - ideally another qualified watchleader who is familiar with Prolific, or someone used to sailing with more challenging young people..
10-14 May
- Poole - girls sailing with adult female mentors. We could use one more qualified watchleader plus one other person - preference given to female sea staff though not essential.
15-20 May
- Poole to Southampton - girls sailing with adult female mentors. Preference given to female sea staff though not essential.
25-29 May
- Southampton - children in care from Hillingdon (last year this was a great group)
30 May - 3 June
- Southampton - Nautical Training Corps group.
4-8 June
- Southampton - client tbc
9-13 June
- Southampton - Hampshire children in care
14 June
- Southampton - adult day sail. Preference given to someone who can also do the maintenance day on June 15th.
18-23 June
- Southampton - special school with quite challenging young people
24 June
- Southampton - adult day sail
25-29 June
- Southampton - independent school
30 June - 4 July
- Southampton - special school for students with conditions ranging from dyslexia to autism; but all year 11 and most have done DofE awards so not generally a group with behaviour issues.
5-11 July
- Southampton to Poole - independent school
12-16 July
- Poole - London school group. We may have a reception on board on the evening of 16th July so may give priority to volunteers who can stay on and help.
31 July to 8 Aug (including maintenance day) - Brixham - MACS crew (visual impairments) - need another qualified watchleader and at least one other.
8-15 Aug
(including maintenance day) - Brixham - crew tbc
16-20 Aug
- Brixham - crew tbc
3-7 Sept
- Southampton - Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust
10-16 Sept
(including maintenance day) - Southampton - adult voyage
16-21 Sept
(including maintenance day) - Southampton - client tbc
24-28 Sept
- Southampton - Alfreton Park Special School (with carers) - lovely group needing lots of support. Ideally needs another qualified watchleader who knows the boat.
29 Sept to 2 Oct
- Southampton - Vyne school group - needs a couple more sea staff including one qualified watchleader who knows the boat.
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 - client tbc
15-19 Oct
- Southampton - client tbc
19-23 Oct
- Southampton - Hackney children in care - usually a lovely group
24-28 Oct
- Southampton - East London charity

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* Refit news

Huge thanks to everyone involved in the refit over the last week: Peta, Holly, Josh, George, Susanna, Georgia, Sookie, Roy Hughes, Sam Dyson, Chris Koczy and Julia Dransfield. The engine is now running, the tables are secured, they have started some re-rigging, and a new Raymarine plotter is being installed in the skipper’s cabin.
We are looking for volunteer help on weekdays from now until early April, and there will be a volunteer weekend 17-18 March.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 voyage programme - availability for young people

Please see here for a 2018 sailing programme. 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:

10-15 April, 5 nights, starting and finishing in Southampton, age range 12-25, price £480 per person. 1 berth possibly available tbc.
16-20 April, 4 nights, starting and finishing in Southampton, age range 12-25, price £385 per person. Up to 3 berths possibly available tbc.
24-30 July, 6 nights, starting and finishing in Brixham, age range 12-25, price £550 per person. Up to 7 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. 1 berth 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).

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
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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Volunteer training and selection voyages in 2018 - do you know Prolific as well as you would like?
If you will be sailing as a member of volunteer sea staff this season, at any level, how well do you know all Prolific's routines? If you've been with the charity for more than a year or two, do you already know Prolific as well as you knew John Laing? 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?

If you're not totally confident, PLEASE think about coming on one of the 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. In recent years, mates' training voyages have mainly attracted new volunteers hoping to get involved with the charity for the first time; but we really want to encourage existing volunteers to come along and improve your skills.

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 practise their skills in leading and teaching a team!

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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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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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Chris Ellis Award

This is an award given each year for the best entry based on a voyage with OYT South, with the prize being a discount towards the cost of sailing with us again.

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 money 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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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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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 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