These days will come again ...


OYT South bulletin 12th June 2020

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

COVID-19 (coronavirus) update
There are three statements about COVID-19 on our website from Ocean Youth Trust South’s Chief Executive, Mark Todd: an initial statement from 18th March; an update issued on 15th April; and a response on 11th May to a Parliamentary committee report on the crisis which quoted OYT South

The April statement outlined the issues facing charities like OYT South and our concerns that the measures currently announced by the government either do not go far enough, or simply overlook those charities like us who have had to cease operations on a temporary basis. It also explains the role we believe we can play in the longer term, helping young people recover from the social and psychological impact of COVID-19.

We asked members and supporters to help us by writing to your local MP and we had a fantastic response – thank you so much to everyone who got involved. Some MPs sent brief replies or standard form letters, but a significant number were genuinely interested and engaged, and took up our cause; and several asked to meet us in due course in order to find out more.

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Financial appeal

As with all businesses and charities, OYT South is under tremendous financial pressure due to COVID-19, with a very significant loss of voyage income for an extended period. We realise that many of our friends and supporters will be facing financial difficulties of your own, but if anyone is in a position to make a donation to help with our core costs over this period, we would be more grateful than we can say.

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.

Huge thanks to all our supporters and friends who have already responded with such kindness and generosity to this appeal. We are not thanking everyone individually in the bulletin only because quite a few people have asked to remain anonymous; but we are truly grateful to all of you.

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* Prolific news
Big thanks to Holly who is looking after Prolific on a voluntary basis while Josh has a break on furlough having been working on board on his own for so many weeks.



She’s also been investigating some sights which she normally only gets to view from the sea – this is looking back towards Bournemouth from Hengistbury Head:


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* Why we care about sail training - send in your stories!
With no voyage reports for a while, it will be good to keep reminding ourselves about the value of our charitable work, the life-changing experiences and fantastic fun and friendship on our voyages. If you have a treasured memory of sailing with us, or a tale of a voyage you will never forget, or a funny story, please send it to and we'll publish the best in future editions of this newsletter.

In this week in 2004 we were doing a long trip (321 miles in a week) with a crew from the Isle of Wight. Not a day passed without someone being on deck and awake for sunrise (Skipper Wolf said: “Well, they did ask to do some night hours….”) as they sailed from Cowes to St Helier, Jersey, and on to Lezardrieux. The crew made friends with several locals and returned to the boat determined to plot rebellion in all future school French lessons on the grounds that there was no point because everyone they met in France spoke excellent English!

Di Roberts, our surveyor, was on this voyage as “new prospective sea staff”...

Back in the UK with the crew having left the boat in Cowes, the plan for a quick delivery back to Southampton was scuppered when the bosun discovered that the inspection plate for the engine raw water filter, obviously designed to be see-through, became invisible when put in a bucket of water while cleaning, and could then be accidentally tipped over the side with the dirty water and bits of seaweed. In subsequent seasons, John Laing carried a spare inspection plate….

In this week in 2005 we were doing our very first voyage with Park House School from Newbury: an introduction via Fraser Old, this school is a still a regular client 15 years later! Their 2005 trip began in Poole on Sunday, and the plan was just to go a short distance to an anchorage in Studland on the first night. However, with perfect wind and weather, it seemed a waste to stop so soon …  the surprised crew were asked how they felt about an overnight crossing of the Channel straight away – and were very keen, at least until some were afflicted by seasickness. Guernsey, Alderney, a BBQ on deck, back to the Solent, and Annant Shah’s third mate’s assessment!


In 2006 we sailed to Weymouth with a crew from TS Swiftsure Nautical Training Corps, in time for the town festival and trawler race, which involves an immense water fight in the middle of the harbour, with the trawlers decorated with balloons and flags and their crews all dressed up. Sadly John Laing’s water pistols didn’t quite match up to the powerful hoses of the trawlers.

Weymouth festival

David was a crew member on this voyage who sailed many times over the years and was most recently seen on board as an adult leader with a new Swiftsure crew … who may like to see what he looked like aged 12:


Next we were joined by a crew of siblings from CHASE Children’s Hospice who sailed to Torquay and managed to meet up with Lyn Gough from MDL, who was in those days responsible for picking the annual MDL Award Winners who sailed with us. It was a lovely week though it all had to be planned around not much wind:


The next voyage was another hospice siblings group, this time predominantly from Naomi House, with a couple from Keetch Cottage. They enjoyed an equally sunny week and sailed to Guernsey. Dawn Marshall passed her third mate’s assessment on this voyage and everyone had a great time:


June 2008 saw the return of a hugely popular client, Alfreton Park Community Special School, which caters for students with profound and multiple learning difficulties. Every year they bring six young people alongside six adult carers and combine a Solent-based voyage with lots of activities ashore. As John Laing was launched in 1990, it was the boat’s 18th birthday this year, and the Alfreton Park crew seemed like the ideal group for a proper birthday celebration - especially as the naming ceremony and first voyage were around this time of year, 18 years earlier! So there was cake (coloured icing, paper sails and jelly baby crew on board), candles, home-made paper hats, balloons (some real and some drawings of balloons because one boy was allergic to balloons), party rings, fairy cakes, jelly and choruses of “happy birthday to you”, both sung and in sign language.



Crew party

This week in 2009 was a Southampton to Ipswich voyage (getting in position to head east for another Baltic expedition): Eastbourne, Ramsgate, Walton Backwaters, Woolverstone.

Alfreton Park Special School were back in 2011 and as ever, they were a lovely group who achieved far more than people might have expected from young people with complex special needs:

Alfreton crew

Alfreton crew

In 2012 a group of young carers from sailed with us for the Cowes Diamond Jubilee Regatta race round the Isle of Wight. Then TS Swiftsure was back again for a voyage to Dover, Ramsgate and Chatham, where they got stuck for a day of dreadful weather. Luckily Chatham Marina is owned by our sponsors MDL and they made us very welcome. The crew had a morning of training on board and in the afternoon went to the local museum, returning full of enthusiasm to show us lengths of rope they had made themselves in the museum’s ropewalk. Next day the crew were divided into teams and took charge of navigating different stretches into London - a challenging task with all the navigation and radio call-in points, but they took it seriously and did really well. Passing through the Thames Barrier was a real highlight:

Thames Barrier

We locked into West India Dock in the evening and found ourselves with a large fleet of sail training vessels in the heart of the city, surrounded by office blocks.

Next day we had a whole series of visitors, including HRH Prince Michael of Kent, patron of the James Myatt Trust which had very generously sponsored three of our crew members.

Royal visit

We were also delighted to welcome a team from the Quilter Charitable Foundation which had recently begun supporting OYT South- with a big presentation cheque for us!


Then Lucinda Neall brought a London crew to take part in the ASTO Small Ships Race to Portland. They had a 5am start on Monday morning for a 6am lock-out and a parade of sail to Greenwich which must have impressed some commuters! Sadly after that the weather was appalling and we retired from the race quite early on, with quite a bit of wear and tear to both boat and crew (that week’s bulletin asked "does anyone want to buy us a new mizzen or a no.3 headsail?”). Things eased off, people recovered and they made it to Portland in the end.

Typically, the following week’s crew had sunshine and light winds:


We had another trip round to London in 2013, via Boulogne, with a crew of newly-recruited merchant navy cadets who did a great job on the navigation and pilotage:

Thames Barrier

Tower Bridge

In 2014 we were doing three days sails. The first was for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation, Surrey Community Foundation and some of their donors, and then we welcomed a wide range of other supporters including our Patron, Lord Iliffe, and Kit Power who has been an active supporter of the charity since around 1963.

In 2015 we had an adult training voyage for new volunteers followed by the first of what has become a regular annual day sail for the Graham High Charity which sponsors many things including our oilskins and lifejackets, crew handbooks and vessel tracking system.

Graham High Charity day sail

Then we took part in the Gosport Marine Festival - a great event which enabled large numbers of local people to look at various boats and to get out on the water in everything from kayaks all the way up to John Laing! We did two half-day sails in blustery conditions and took 23 people out to see what we can offer. That evening there was a fantastic BBQ for people who had volunteered at the event.

Then it was time for our annual voyage with Alfreton Park Special School again:

Alfreton Park crew

Alfreton Park crew

In 2017 it was our first season with Prolific and a crew from Oversands School enjoyed one of the very first on-board movie nights - lots of people wrapped in duvets in the saloon and plenty of hot chocolate!  

Then it was time to prepare for two months abroad once again, before a crew from London charity called Ambition, Aspire, Achieve set sail towards London.

AAA crew

Which brings us almost up to the present day. Please send in your contributions for future issues.

We hope these forays into the past are entertaining you while we cannot sail at the moment – and reminding everyone of the value of what we do!

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Fantastic new social media / marketing job advertised with the Association of Sail Training Organisations
ASTO is advertising a new paid role for someone to promote sail training. If you’re passionate about sail training and you have great social media and marketing skills and you’re looking for work, do have a look! Closing date 28th June.


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OYT South social media – please get involved
One of the simplest ways you can help us while we can’t sail is to keep looking at our social media pages and share, retweet or like as many posts as possible. This all helps to make sure other people hear about us too – and the more we can keep alive the interest in our charitable work, the more people might help us now or start to think about sailing with us in future. Maybe you’ve got a community group, a local page, even a street WhatsApp where members might like to know that you are involved with a charity that could be of interest to them?

Lots of people are working hard to keep up a flow of interesting posts but we need more of you to engage with them! We’re currently running quizzes, a poetry section and regular takeovers where different people take charge of adding things to our Facebook page for a couple of days. Fundraising runner Nathan Kelsall has done a takeover, as has Charles Kingston who played the piano for us, and the Brown and Parker families; and there are some great new things in the pipeline – big thanks to our Youth Trustee Lauren Mackenzie who is organising it. PLEASE do have a look!

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, or vulnerable adults. Crew members can use the sites to stay in touch with the boat and with each other, but not with individual staff and volunteers.

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Useful links for young people, parents and others 
We've been posting a series of education resources and activities for parents, grandparents and other carers who are currently educating and entertaining young people at home.

Thanks to Jon Seddon for this British Antarctic Survey link with resources for primary and secondary pupils – or anyone who likes penguins …

From the Royal Southampton Yacht Club, Captain James Maltby’s colouring books for younger children. (Caz likes the Walrus in Book 5 …)

Some great RYA resources here for all types of sailors including junior / young people section.

The Met Office site for discovering maths and science through weather and climate, with resources for 7-11 year olds and 11-14 year olds.

And a site about climate change.

There are also educational and environmental activities for young sailors here from The Green Blue, the joint environmental awareness programme created by the Royal Yachting Association and British Marine.

The RNLI provides quizzes, colouring packs and more on their page of educational resources for young people, and there are videos and more, with categories for different age ranges: everything from lower primary (age 3-7) to upper secondary (14-18) and all groups in between.

A fantastic set of resources from the 1851 Trust, the official charity of the British America's Cup campaign, on STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) for 11-16 year olds.

Trinity House, which looks after the safety of shipping and the well-being of seafarers: "Buoys, beacons and bananas" education resources to help pupils learn about shipping, seafaring and safety.

And Childline's webpage with information for children and young people about coronavirus. The page includes information about: what coronavirus is; where children and young people can find help if they are worried; coping if they are staying at home; and what to do if they are feeling unwell - all written to be accessible for children.

If you spot any other useful links which we might include in future editions, do please send them in.

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Online training coursesfor volunteers - why not get qualified and improve your skills now?
If you can't get involved in your normal activities over the coming weeks, maybe it's a good time to think about some qualifications and training? 

Check out the RYA’s #SailFromHome which has everything from fun activities to expert advice and coaching sessions.

There is also a play list from the RYA with videos on all sorts of topics.

Our friends at SeaRegs Training have online distance learning systems for the theory courses for Day Skipper, Coastal/Yachtmaster and Yachtmaster Ocean. And OYT South second mate Dom Coleman also runs an excellent sea school offering RYA online courses fully supported by phone, email or video.

OYT South offers basic navigation training in-house through the RYA's Essential Navigation & Seamanship course - and we can also arrange the PPR course (RYA Professional Practices and Responsibilities) for sea staff. 

Please do ask for advice if you are not sure which courses are right for you.

We also offer a range of courses outside sailing and navigation, for our volunteers - including vital courses on Safeguarding and Food Hygiene, as well as things like Mental Wellbeing in Sport and Physical Activity, Preventing Bullying, Online Safety, Concussion Awareness and all sorts of other things - do have a look. Just one £10 payment (special price available only to our volunteers and prospective volunteers) gives you access to ALL these courses.

It would be great if we could get back up and running with lots of our volunteers having additional skills and knowledge!

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2020 sailing programme
It is not yet clear when we will be able to start running voyages again, either for young people or adults – as soon as we have any information it will be announced in this newsletter (and everywhere else – website, social media etc.)

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2021 draft sailing programme

We now have a draft 2021 sailing programme.. It’s not too late to make changes to dates, ports and durations if required – please email and we’ll see if it is possible to include a voyage on the programme to suit you. We can take provisional bookings for next year – if we get more than one enquiry in this early period for the same voyage dates, priority will be given to clients who were booked on a 2020 voyage which was unable to sail.

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Online fundraising - are you helping us raise funds?

OYT South is 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've also been mentioning Easyfundraising in this newsletter for a while but we know a lot of our supporters haven't tried it, so we just wanted to highlight how easy it is! All it takes is to go to Easyfundraising and sign up (which is extremely quick and simple). If you want (it's entirely up to you) then you can even install a donation reminder on your web browser so that whenever you do a search for online shopping, you'll see whether each seller offers donations and how much (it's still up to you whether to make a donation for any particular transaction) - and it won't cost you a penny. If, instead of doing a search, you go direct to a seller's website, you may get a popup showing that donations are available.

There are really significant donations available for some larger purchases, and it still doesn't cost you anything. Some charities are making substantial amounts of money through easyfundraising, so please try it if you can.

There's no cost to you, and all it does is remind you of donations available so you can't forget it when you shop online - you can still opt out any time you like.

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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, polo shirts and more, all with OYT South's logo!

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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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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