These days will come again ...


OYT South bulletin 17th April 2020

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

COVID-19 (coronavirus) update
Ocean Youth Trust South’s Chief Executive, Mark Todd, issued an initial statement about COVID-19 on 18th March. This is still available on our website alongside a new statement issued on 15th April.

The new statement says:

“Our friends, supporters, volunteers, clients and other stakeholders might find it useful to have an update on where Ocean Youth Trust South stands at the moment – with particular reference to the support being made available for charities and specifically the government support announced last week, as we have been contacted by people hoping that this might have made a real difference to us.

COVID-19 is a threat to the existence of many charities and to all the good work they do. This is true across a vast range of charities, including the sail training community.

Supporting our beneficiaries
It is important to remind ourselves what charities like Ocean Youth Trust South have to offer, and specifically the role we can play in helping our beneficiaries affected by COVID-19. Clearly a project which depends on bringing people together for residential sailing voyages cannot operate just now, but we believe we will still have a significant part to play in the recovery from the crisis.

Even before coronavirus, we were acutely conscious of the challenges faced by young people – including high levels of anxiety and mental health issues. Articles like this only confirm our view that things will be worse as a result of the current crisis. Young people who might use our services will have been cooped up for weeks, separated from friends, worried about school and exams, and will be heading for the start of adult life amidst extraordinary economic uncertainty and insecurity.

We have a record of success in promoting confidence, teamwork, resilience and more. We can play a real part in helping young people recover from the social and psychological effects of COVID-19.

Income loss
However, in order to do our valuable work, we need to be in a position to offer voyages again as soon as it is safe to do so. This means that we have to navigate our way through a period during which we have no trading income whatsoever.

We cannot just shut up shop and do nothing until we can start sailing again: we need to keep our boat Prolific maintained, as well as continuing to liaise with clients, donors and more, raising money and filling future voyages. That means we have to keep on some of our staff and keep paying our bills, despite the catastrophic loss of income.

Government support

Employee Retention Scheme
The one government scheme that is clearly a big help to a charity in our position is the Employee Retention Scheme which has allowed us to furlough half our staff, paying their salaries even though they are not working.

However, the scheme only allows two options: a staff member is either furloughed and not working at all (in which case there is support for their salary), or they are still at work (in which case there is no salary help from the government).

What would make a huge difference to a small charity like OYT South would be a more flexible scheme. We have staff who MUST keep up with a small amount of work if the charity is to survive but who need not be working full-time. If we could furlough someone for three days a week while working for two days, or some equivalent flexible scheme, it would make a huge difference. (We can’t just share out the essential work across the minimum number of full-time employees – our Staff Engineer cannot spend part of his working week paying the bills and our finance team cannot look after Prolific’s engine).

As attention turns to the next phase – easing the lockdown and returning to work – there has been more talk of managing this in stages, with different sectors starting a return at different times. We hope that the government will look at how the Employee Retention Scheme might continue to apply to businesses which still cannot operate even after other sectors have returned to normal. If sail training might not be among the earlier industries to resume operations, having to pay full salaries again before our trading income returns could have a devastating impact.

Charity support
On 8th April the Chancellor announced £750 million in support for charities affected by COVID-19. Many of our friends and supporters hoped this would be great news for us. But it is clear from the small print that this money is explicitly aimed at ensuring that charities “can continue their vital work during the coronavirus crisis”. We absolutely support the need to help charities doing fantastic and essential work at the moment. But this fund is not aimed at charities which have had to cease operations on a temporary basis: although we can make a strong case that Ocean Youth Trust South has a vital role to play once the immediate crisis is over, we are concerned that charities unable to operate at the moment may be overlooked for support.

Several other schemes which have received wide publicity appear to be set up on a similar basis.

The future
Ocean Youth Trust South is very fortunate that through hard work, good governance and the generosity of donors now and in the past, we have sufficient reserves to ensure we make it through to next year. But without a lot of help, we will be using money that had been set aside for long-term needs, and this will severely affect our future plans, and our ability to maintain our vessel, and will compromise our ability to function in the future.

How you can help
We need to get our case across! Can you write to your MP or lobby anyone else in authority?

Can we persuade anyone to consider:

  • A more flexible furlough scheme for small charities?
  • Ensuring that the Employee Retention Scheme is there as long as we need it – even if other sectors have returned to work
  • Financial support for charities currently unable to operate, if their services will be needed in future
  • Official public support for the value of outdoor education in helping people recover from the effects of the crisis
  • More long term funding for youth services and outdoor education generally.

We also need donations and support.

Meanwhile, all at OYT South send very best wishes to everyone connected with the charity, and to all your families and friends.”

If anyone is in a position to lobby on our behalf, write to an MP or otherwise make our voice heard, please contact and we can send you some information you might wish to include.

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Latest OYT South contact details
With Peta, Georgia, Sally and Annette furloughed, if you need to contact the boat team for work reasons you can get a message to Josh at Office enquiries should still go to where Jo will pick them up.

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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 everyone who has 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
Massive thanks to Josh who is looking after Prolific at the moment! This week he has continued sanding the capping rail:

capping rail

Josh after sanding the capping rail

He’s also done lots of odd jobs plus a big clean of topsides and deck and some work on the systems manual (with help from Roy Hughes – thank you very much) – he’s started a big job: tackling the chart corrections:


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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.

Going back to 2008, we have an account of the voyage which took place in the third week of April here, written by a 13-year old Victoria Botting. Little did she guess at the time that she would end up joining the Board as our Youth Trustee for three years from age 18-21! Her account does miss out the fact that Mark (bringing his usual skipper’s weather) was at one point standing in the companionway spitting out water so that he could talk! And Rosie “Habit” Allen, still an active volunteer, passed her second mate assessment on that voyage.

On the same voyage was 12-year old Seonaid Strachan who later became joint winner of that year’s Chris Ellis award (in memory of one of our founders) for this account (pdf) of how a voyage made her more confident about having to wear a back brace.

By coincidence Chris Ellis’s grand-daughter was actually in the crew for the following voyage, and her grandmother came on board to see how the charity continued to thrive and prosper. Later in that voyage, as John Laing was tacking up and down Southampton Water, “It’s drizzling, which is a real improvement,” said first mate Special K cheerfully.

2008 crew

In 2009 we had a light wind voyage with a lot of familiar faces among the sea staff:

2009 crew

In this week in 2012 we had an adult voyage featuring a 22-year old apprentice engineer, Josh Caudery … Also making an early appearance in the crew was Roy Hughes, later to reappear as a watchleader and refit stalwart:

2012 crew

In 2014 we were completing a voyage with Southampton Young Carers:

2014 crew

And that was followed by our annual MDL Award Winners’ voyage:

2014 crew

It was MDL award winners again in this week in 2015, plus students from one of our regular clients, Applemore College near Southampton. Two new sea staff in this picture, both still very much involved: Dom Coleman and Jake Clark. (It turns out that when doing bosun training for man overboard recovery, it DOES matter whether or not the last inch of the zip on the drysuit is done up …)

2015 crew

There was also some cracking sailing for the following voyage with more students from Applemore plus Forest Education Centre and the Vyne School, here with watchleader Matt Lovett:

2015 crew

In 2016 we managed an adventurous cross-Channel voyage with a crew from Ardingly College, visiting Cherbourg and Guernsey and clearly having a great time:

2016 crew

By 2017 we were getting used to the first few voyages in our new boat Prolific, and a crew of novice sailors managed a very impressive manoeuvre under sail in front of Weymouth’s bank holiday crowds:

The following week was a new client, West Berkshire Virtual School for Children in Care, who very kindly tested the new Crew Logbooks (pdf) which we introduced that season for the first time.

This time last year we were at sea with a mixed group involving a number of young carers, Chris Ellis award winners (young people who had sailed last year and won a competition to come again), young people from several local schools, and a couple of apprentices from Aston Martin, part of a new project where we were working with the company to support their apprentices completing the Duke of Edinburgh's Gold Award. This is 12-year old Tommy taking charge of driving the boat out of Poole despite barely being tall enough to see where he was going, even standing on a box, with engineer Josh guiding him.

2019 crew

It was an extremely cold voyage and navigation exercises proved popular for a chance to warm up inside:

2019 crew

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

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

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 has launched “Water Safety Wednesdays” on Facebook, so young people can continue to learn essential and lifesaving water safety for when the time comes when people can safely visit beaches again. Water Safety Wednesdays are aimed at parents, guardians, grandparents or teachers, providing a selection of fun, free and engaging activities to help children learn at home or in the classroom how to stay safe in, on and around the water. Water Safety Wednesday includes a live chat at 1015am. The RNLI also 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. And for adults as well as young people, there is even a video described as “60 minutes of Ambient Relaxing RNLI Lifeboat Footage & Music for Winding Down, Meditation, Study.” (Big thanks to OYT South volunteer Willoughby Matthews for this).

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 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? 

Our friends at SeaRegs Training are doing a fantastic series of online face to face video conferencing sessions (pdf), on subjects including collision regulations at sea, safety management systems, record keeping and chart corrections, radar, a navigation refresher, and what to do in the event of a disaster at sea as well as 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. Three of these courses are essential: Child Protection in Sport and Active Leisure, Food Hygiene and Safety, and Safeguarding Adults. But if you've already done those, there's a list of other courses at the bottom of the page, including  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 - voyages for young people AVAILABLE NOW
It is not yet clear when we will be able to start running voyages again, but we would like to encourage bookings as much as possible so that as soon as it is safe to sail again, we can get as many young people as possible on board. We realise that the current uncertainty makes it difficult for people to plan, so we can announce that from 20th March, any NEW deposits received for voyages will be held and if your chosen voyage is unable to go ahead, you will be able to transfer that deposit to any suitable later voyage, even if that happens to be in 2021, and if this proves completely impossible, your deposit will be refunded in full. This means that you can book voyages now with complete security.

The situation is more complex with bookings agreed before COVID-19 and we are in discussions with clients on a voyage-by-voyage basis as it becomes clear which voyages will not run.

We are also looking to bring forward the publication of a 2021 voyage programme so that people unable to sail this year will be able to make advance bookings for next year.

For those wishing to make a booking this year, places available on 2020 voyages have been divided into four types:

Voyages in blue: ideal for 11-17 year olds and potentially suitable for those needing a gentler introduction to sailing. Open to older and more confident crew members as long as they understand the nature of the group and are happy to join in - and maybe support others.

Voyages in green: ideal for age 15 - 25 unless otherwise specified, DofE gold residentials and others looking for an exciting, adventurous voyage. Younger crew members can be included if they would fit with this sort of group.

Voyages in red: currently open for group bookings (max 15 places) rather than individuals. These voyages may be released for individual bookings later on if they are not booked by a school, youth group, charity etc.

Voyages in purple: specific age ranges or other details given on a voyage-by-voyage basis

Places currently available:

29 June - 3 July, Southampton, 4 nights, age range 12-25, £405 per person, 15 places available. The first few bookings here will influence the shape of the voyage - once we have some crew members signed up and know the age range etc., we will advertise for others who will fit with them.
Mon 6 July – Sun 12 July
, Poole to Brixham, 6 nights, £595. Passports required. Up to 8 places left. This voyage was previously listed as Poole to Brixham but is now scheduled for Southampton to Brixham instead.

Tues 14 July – Mon 20 July, Brixham, 6 nights, £595. The first few bookings here will influence the shape of the voyage - once we have some crew members signed up and know the age range etc., we will advertise for others who will fit with them.
Tues 21 July – Sat 25 July, Brixham, 4 nights, £405. The first few bookings here will influence the shape of the voyage - once we have some crew members signed up and know the age range etc., we will advertise for others who will fit with them.
Sun 26 July – Fri 31 July, Brixham, 5 nights, £505 - tbc
Sat 1 Aug – Fri 7 Aug, Brixham, 6 nights, £595. Passports required. 6 places left.
Sat 8 Aug – Fri 14 Aug, Brixham to Southampton, 6 nights, £595. Passports required. 5 places left.

Sat 22 Aug – Thurs 27 Aug, Dartmouth to Poole, 5 nights, £505. Passports required. Up to 6 places left.
Fri 28 Aug – Weds 2 Sept, Poole to Southampton, 5 nights, £505. Passports required. Up to 7 places left.

Mon 12 Oct – Sat 17 Oct, Southampton, 5 nights, £505
Mon 19 Oct – Fri 23 Oct, Southampton, 4 nights, £405
Fri 23 Oct – Tues 27 Oct, Southampton, 4 nights, £390 (Friday evening start to allow for people who are at school during the day). 1 or 2 places left.

To make a booking for any of these voyages now, please email

See here for the full 2020 programme.

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2020 adult voyages - including training for current and potential volunteers
As with youth voyages above, from 20th March, any NEW deposits received for adult voyages will be held and if your chosen voyage is unable to go ahead, you will be able to transfer that deposit to any suitable later voyage, even if that happens to be in 2021, and if this proves completely impossible, your deposit will be refunded in full. This means that you can book voyages now with complete security.

There are currently two adult voyages on the list for 2020:

7-12 June 2020, Southampton to Poole, 5 nights, age 18+, £505 per person
9-11 October 2020, Southampton, 2 nights (8pm Friday to 5pm Sunday), age 18+, £205 per person.

Both voyages are open to anyone aged 18+ but particularly suited to volunteers who want a chance to practise your skills without having to supervise young people at the same time, or to anyone who might be interested in joining our volunteers and wants to find out more, or any other adults who just want good sailing in good company.

Email to reserve a place.

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* 2021 draft sailing programme

We have started work on a draft 2021 sailing programme, initially to enable us to offer new voyages to clients who have already lost voyages this year. If anyone else has particular requests for 2021 voyages, in terms of dates, ports and durations, please email and we’ll see if it is possible to include a voyage on the programme to suit you.

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Events needing volunteers - dates for your diary!
The Poole Harbour Boat Show 2020 has been cancelled but Prolific will aim to be there in 2021. 

The South Coast Boat Show in Ocean Village which was due to take place in May has been provisionally rescheduled for 3-5 July and if it can go ahead safely, Prolific will be there. We would be open to the public and needing volunteers to show visitors around. Ideally this will include volunteers of all ages and with different levels of experience but we will certainly want to make sure we have some young people on board.

For now, please just put the date in your diary; but a bit nearer the time we will let you know if we have more information.

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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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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, 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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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