At sea!


OYT South bulletin 7th September 2018

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

* ONE LAST SPACE on adult (18+) voyage next week!

We have ONE LAST SPACE still available on next week's voyage:

10-15 Sept 2018 (2pm Monday to 12 noon Saturday) - Southampton - 5 nights - age 18+. £480pp.

Current bookings include some 18-25 year olds but this is also a rare chance for people aged over 25 to come and enjoy sailing our fantastic boat Prolific - an opportunity normally only available to people aged  under 25 plus adult volunteers.

If you would really like to join this voyage but simply can't afford £480, please email and we look at whether we can allocate some bursary funding rather than sail with an empty berth.

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* Voyage news

Four voyages to report on this time as there hasn't been a newsletter in the last couple of weeks!

On 16th August we started a voyage with a very special client, the Harrow Club W10 which is based near Grenfell Tower and has been doing some fantastic work with young people affected by the fire. They joined the boat in Brixham and on the first evening they went out just for a short sail under mizzen and staysail before anchoring in Elberry Cove for dinner. On day two Prolific sailed off her anchor, a manoeuvre requiring considerable teamwork, and in light winds continued all the way to Cawsands, near Plymouth, with a combination of sailing and motoring. Here they went ashore for ice-cream and milk shakes. Next day they sailed off the anchor again and went to Dartmouth where the crew enjoyed a meal ashore. Sunday was a windier day and they had quite a challenging downwind sail with lots of gybing before anchoring off Broadsands for lunch. On the last afternoon they returned to Brixham. Huge thanks to the sea staff, Peta, Josh, Lee Mosscrop, Harri Smith, Rosalie Sanders, Cathy Ayres, Hannah Brown and Hugo Karas who really went above and beyond to support the young people through the voyage. Special congratulations to Hannah who was signed off as a second mate and Hugo as a bosun!

The next voyage involved a mixed crew of individuals rather than an organised group. Some were new to Prolific, while others had sailed with us before but only on voyages where not everyone had a passport, so they had only experienced coastal sailing. There was therefore considerable excitement when it became clear that everyone on this voyage had a passport and it would be possible to plan something ambitious! On the first evening (Tuesday) they left Brixham and did some sailing drills and a man overboard recovery drill before heading across the Channel to Roscoff. They were able to sail some of the way, but the wind died so they motored through the night and arrived in Roscoff in time for lunch on Wednesday. Everyone enjoyed some shore leave in sunny Roscoff, including some football and some relaxing in a French café.

The next morning, the decision was made to sail somewhere new, where Prolific had never been before: L’Aber Wrac’h in North West Brittany. The wind was very light so they ended up motoring the last bit but the pilotage into L’Aber Wrac’h was a great challenge around some interesting rocks.

The crew and sea staff discussed the plan for the next few days and as the weather forecast wasn’t looking great, decided to sail back across the Channel on Friday in a robust force 5 – 6 with fairly lumpy seas. Luckily by now, everyone had their sea legs. Prolific arrived in Cawsands Bay at dawn on Saturday and everyone caught up on some sleep before some shore leave to explore Cawsands. Later that day they sailed off the anchor and had a lovely sail round to Dartmouth where they picked up a midstream mooring, ready to hide from the bad weather. On Sunday the crew enjoyed some more time ashore in Dartmouth, then did some training towards their RYA Competent Crew qualifications.

Once the worst of the weather had gone through, Prolific sailed to Elberry Cove to anchor for the crew to prepare a night pilotage back into Brixham after 323 nautical miles. On arrival, a couple of crew members treated everyone to an impromptu rap about Prolific and everyone on board which was thoroughly enjoyed by all. On the last morning everyone did a super quick clean up and finished off the last bits of training for Competent Crew. All those who didn’t already have the qualification gained it on this voyage, and several of the young people earned recommendations to train as future volunteers. Big thanks to sea staff Nic Crawford, Lee Mosscrop, Josh Caudery, Jake Clark, Nick Steel, Paige Goulder and James Leetch.

The next voyage was another mixed crew of individuals. This was the last voyage of the summer to start in Brixham's MDL marina where we have enjoyed such superb hospitality and support over the last couple of months. To cap a wonderful summer, marina staff even presented us with a fabulous cake:

We look forward to being back in Brixham next summer (and not just because of the cake)!

After initial safety briefings it was a short hop to an anchorage in the bay round the corner for dinner (and to eat the cake). Everyone got a little sleep but they were up and off at 2am on Wednesday in order to get across the Channel and use the favourable tide to get into Guernsey. The forecast was for a whole week of very light winds and the crossing was accomplished with a mix of sailing and motoring. They had shore leave in Guernsey and also enjoyed rowing the dinghy.

Next day they set off for Cherbourg and unexpectedly the wind filled in and they had a good sail most of the way, arriving at 3pm in time for everyone to explore ashore. On Friday they motored back across the Channel in almost no wind but filled the time with all sorts of activities – timed exercises to see which watch could reef the sails fastest, for example. Competitive spirit kicked in and the teams not involved in each reef decided to “help” their opponents with water pistols… They also had training sessions on points of sail and rules of the road, before ending the day on a buoy outside Yarmouth.

Saturday again produced some unexpected wind - a good force 3 - and there was plenty of enthusiasm to learn as much as they could about sailing, following triangular courses with lots of tacking and gybing and sail trim. This led them to Cowes for a late lunch, and at dusk they set off again with the young people running a night pilotage exercise back to Southampton – Prolific home in Ocean Village after 57 days away! All fifteen young people on board earned RYA Competent Crew certificates - a great achievement. Big thanks to sea staff Andy, Holly, Josh, Miranda Camping, Martin Lampard, Susanna Paynter and Willoughby Matthews.

Finally, this week's voyage involved a great new client, the Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust. All the young people on board had undergone treatment for cancer though they were at very different stages at the moment. They had generally sailed before through the Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust but that had largely involved short trips within the Solent. For this voyage, they joined on Monday and set off for Yarmouth, with winch drills on the way, and had dinner on a buoy in preparation for an early start and a chance to get outside the Solent. The team were up at 0600 and sea staff were very impressed to see everyone on deck and ready to join in with hoisting the mainsail. They could then enjoy the sunrise as they passed the Needles and had a great sail to Weymouth with the favourable tide. On the way they came across the Jubilee Sailing Trust vessel Tenacious but sadly were unsuccessful with a plan to get them to transfer tartare sauce for our lunchtime fishfinger sandwiches!

The passage was completed so fast that they arrived outside Weymouth before our berth was available so spent some time doing man overboard recovery drills - the first time with all the crew involved and then a chance for sea staff Josh, Lou and Lauren to drive the boat through the exercise while other people got on with flaking headsails.

In Weymouth there was plenty of icecream, games, showers, dinner and bed. Next day, Martin - on of the young crew members - drove Prolific off her berth and did a great job. They sailed to Poole where another of our volunteers, Dom Coleman, came out to visit us. Once alongside there were lots more games, and a sunset which made it look as though Prolific had been covered in gold leaf - huge thanks to Iain McAllister for taking this photo and giving us permission to use it:

Credit: Iain McAllister

After a gentle start to the day yesterday they left Poole, eating more icecream as they motored out of the harbour. There was very little wind but they motored to a buoy outside Cowes for a movie and dinner before doing some night navigation on the way back to Ocean Village. It was a fantastic week with a great group of young people plus EMCT staff. Many of the crew did get tired quite easily but a striking feature of the week was how often people found that if they were given the opportunity, they were able to achieve much more than they might have expected. One of the group even earned a recommendation to come back and train as a volunteer. Big thanks to this week's sea staff, Andy, Brigid, Josh, Lauren, Lou, James and a special mention for Holly who had a great week as acting Skipper.

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2019 sailing programme
A draft of our 2019 sailing programme is available here. It 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 by any means 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.

We are now looking at doing a second summer largely based in Brixham - thanks to MDL marinas and Brixham marina in particular. We have been having such a good time in the area this summer that we are delighted to be going back next year. It's a fantastic area for sailing and, depending on the weather, voyages around Devon and Cornwall or to France, the Channel Islands and the Scillies are all possible.

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 bookings for 2018 voyages

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.

29 Sept - 2 Oct - Southampton - space for one more watchleader, trainee watchleader or bosun
8-12 Oct - Southampton - pupil referral unit - possibly space for a trainee watchleader or bosun
15-19 Oct - Southampton - mainstream school group - one more watchleader needed tbc
24-28 Oct - Southampton - East London charity - possibly space for one or two trainee watchleaders or bosuns.

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* Fire systems - very useful video

Prolific has a hi-fog fire system - big thanks to Mike Bunton for drawing our attention to a very useful video comparing engine room fires in two cruise ships, the first without hi-fog and the second using the system. We strongly recommend that all sea staff and volunteers should watch this as it offers a very clear and easy to understand explanation of how our system works and why it is so good. Crew members, parents, group leaders and donors might also like to see what an enormous contribution having this system makes to keeping everyone safe on board and looking after the vessel herself if we ever should have a fire.

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* Day sail on Saturday 22nd September - places possibly available

We may have some places available on a day sail on Saturday 22nd September, 0930-1700,  starting and finishing in Southampton. These days are ideal for current or potential sponsors, donors and clients, but they are also open to others - e.g. family members of volunteers and crew members, or anyone else interested in learning more about the charity and seeing Prolific under sail. Day sails are primarily designed for adults (18+) but we can consider including 11-17 year olds if accompanied by a parent or guardian. Please email if you are interested.     

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Mollie Crawford leaving present
As already announced, our fantastic Operations Assistant Mollie Crawford has decided to move on at the end of the 2018 sailing season after four years in the office, providing invaluable support to Sally as well as to our clients and volunteers, while helping to keep Caz and Mark sane. Everyone who has been involved with the charity will know how reliable, efficient and effective Mollie is, and how utterly committed she has been to the charity.

Mollie's grandfather and uncle have both skippered OYC / OYT South vessels, and Mollie sailed as a young crew member before becoming a volunteer watchleader. She did a work placement with OYT South as part of her degree and later returned full-time after graduating in business management in France.

She will be hugely missed, and we really want to send her off with a nice leaving present, so please give generously! Details of how to contribute to Mollie's leaving present can be found here.

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maintenance days - help needed
Prolific has in-season maintenance days scheduled as follows - please come along if you can.

Monday 17th September - Southampton
Sunday 23rd 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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Winter refit core team needed

We haven’t yet finalised plans for Prolific’s winter refit 2018-19, but if you are planning a gap year, or you are between jobs or for any other reason potentially available for several weeks or months this winter, might you be interested in joining our full-time refit team? We may well need a couple of full-time volunteers between November and March. More details here. Plenty of our previous refit volunteers have gone on to great jobs in the marine industry - it really helps to have maintenance experience as well as good sailing skills when applying for sailing jobs! And any refit volunteers who want to sail in Prolific can be offered berths as watchleaders, bosuns, or relief engineers. So it’s a great way of developing useful experience, contributing to a good cause, securing free food and accommodation for a few months, and having a positive experience with a fun group of people! So if you’re interested, please read the web page and email us with the details requested at the bottom of the page.

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Winter refit accommodation needed in the Southampton area
Prolific will be based in Southampton this winter and one of the major jobs this year is the complete replacement of the electrical system. This will be a long job and as it won’t be possible for our staff and volunteers to live on board while the boat has no power, we are looking for a house to rent or other ideas for nearby accommodation. Ideally we’d like to have at least three bedrooms and room for at least four people between November and March. It can be very difficult to find anything suitable through local letting agents, so if anyone has ideas or can help us through a private arrangement, please email

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Southampton Boat Show tickets - special offer
The Southampton Boat Show will run from 14th to 23rd September 2018. John Goode has again kindly arranged for discounted Boat Show tickets for OYT South members, families and friends. If you receive the email version of this newsletter, you can see the discount details, which we can't put on a public website.

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Leaflets about OYT South
We have done some updates to some of our publicity material and 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 - Amazon Smile, and one volunteer’s story about Easyfundraising - 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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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
Big thinks this week to Peter Binning and Penny Sykes for very generous donations.

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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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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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!

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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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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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