These days will come again ...


OYT South bulletin 18th September 2020

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

* COVID-19 (coronavirus) – can you write to your MP for us?
Back in March and April, many OYT South members helped us enormously by writing to their local MP to ask for support for sail training. This was effective in raising awareness – and we also became part of a much wider call across many other sectors for changes to make government support more practical and effective. For example, we asked for more flexibility in the furlough scheme to allow for part-time working. This was introduced in July and has enabled us to arrange part-time working for Mark, Peta, Josh and Jo – rather than the previous choice of no work at all versus having to pay full salaries even if they weren’t needed full-time.

You may well be aware that the furlough scheme ends in October and the Chancellor has said that while he is not inclined to extend it in its present form, he is looking for new and creative ways to support businesses and employment over the coming months. The government is under pressure from sectors with much louder voices than ours to target ongoing support on the areas which need it most. Imagine how disappointing it would be if new support was announced covering – for example – theatres, restaurants and live music venues, but not including sail training! It’s therefore very important to make our case NOW that whatever the chancellor might be considering, it should cover businesses and charities like OYT South. We are suggesting a draft letter which you can find here though obviously you are free to adapt it. We will be so grateful to everyone who helps us with this.

The background to the letter is that current government guidance states:

“For the time being, holiday providers should not be offering overnight or residential provision for children. The Government will keep this position under review and continue to be guided by the best scientific and medical advice to ensure that the right decisions are taken at the right time."

As long as this is in place, we cannot operate and we face the loss of all our voyage income. We also – in common with every other seasonal business – face the problem that even in a normal year, we do not earn money in winter. The end of current government support in October comes at just the wrong time for us.

There are three earlier 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

One key message, particularly as evidence grows of the lasting effect that the pandemic is set to have on young people, is about the role we believe we can play in the longer term, using our voyages to help young people recover from the social and psychological impact of COVID-19. We are determined to do all we can to get through this period, when we are enduring the complete loss of all our trading income, in the best possible state so that we can start offering voyages again and helping young people as soon as it is safe to do so.

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* OYT South
AGM – who is coming and who is comfortable with Zoom?
OYT South’s AGM will take place on Saturday 7th November, but this year it will be via video conference.

It would be helpful if you could email to say whether you are hoping to come and whether you are familiar with using Zoom, including the chat function (which allows people to type short responses and saves the problem of 30 people trying to speak at once). If you have never used Zoom before, you can sign up for free here but you might want to try it out before using it to join the AGM, and if we know in advance who wants to come but isn’t used to the technology, we can give you a bit more support and advice!

There will be the formal AGM followed by the Chief Executive’s speech as usual; but in normal years this would be followed by a social event and curry evening, so we’d also like to know who might stay on the Zoom call for a social event – which could include a quiz, and people ordering or making their own curry and using the evening as a chance to catch up with OYT South friends you haven’t seen all year.

So: three questions:

  • Who is coming?
  • Are you comfortable with Zoom?
  • Would you stay online for a social event after the meeting?

We will send full details nearer the time; and of course we will ensure that anyone who really can’t manage a video call will have a chance to submit questions in advance, and members can vote by proxy.

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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.

This week in 2005 started with a couple of day sails – one for the charity Rethink, which works with people severely affected by mental illness; and the other for Chris Lane and one of our sponsors, TMI. Then we were joined by a group of new prospective adult volunteer who motored to Cherbourg in no wind but with sails going up and down all the way as everyone learned to lead a hoist. We did lots of training in France and had a good sail back in a decent breeze.  The newsletter reported: “The crossing was not without incident. Many of you will know about the “urgent navigation” which so often seizes skipper Wolf’s attention when it is wet on deck, with the result that he seldom gets damp and his oilskins look new and unused. On this passage, he was dozing on his sofa when a wave came into the cockpit and flooded through the little window above his desk, soaking him. So Wolf has actually managed to get the wettest he has been for ages – while lying in bed!

In 2007 it was another training weekend for new potential mates, including several who went on to become regular volunteers. We had lots of practice with sails hoists, drops and reefs, ending with an inter-watch mainsail reefing competition, with points for getting it all right and doing it safely and well; however, the teams swiftly worked out that Wolf, the judge, was easily bribed, and that extra points would be awarded for bringing him cups of tea mid-reef. We had booked a berth in Swanage for the night and were looking forward to this as there was a folk festival taking place. Sadly, however, when we arrived it turned out the berthing master didn't have a spare key to the gate at the landward end of the pier, which meant we couldn't go ashore for the evening as there would be no way of getting back!

2008’s newsletter for this week started with an adventurous voyage for Sarah “Tee Hee” Tredinnick’s school group from Doncaster, starting in Lowestoft, crossing the Thames Estuary overnight and on across the Channel, in light winds with lots of motoring. They explored Boulogne, Dieppe and Fecamp before a fast and windy sail back across the Channel, with some especially big gusts south of the Isle of Wight.


Tee Hee was sailing as second mate and reported later that the voyage had sent her cool quotient through the roof and, at least for a while, she was the most popular teacher in school!

Tee Hee

Then International Paint came to make a video of our bottom (that’s how Wolf phrased it) and pronounced themselves very pleased with it! International Paint staff then joined us for a weekend sail in terrible weather which they enjoyed because it combined some very fast sailing with a legitimate excuse for spending time in the pub …

The winds continued strong for the next voyage with a home education group (nine knots under just a no. 3 headsail) who allegedly brought with them more cake than has ever been seen on board John Laing before! The week’s newsletter ended with the boat at sea with a Dorset group organised by Steve Lacey.


In 2009 we did a voyage with a mixed crew – some from Dorset, organised by Steve Lacey, and some from Hampshire, organised by the Wheatsheaf Trust. There was time for a trainee bosun to try the man overboard recovery technique - there have been some changes and improvements since those days!

MOB recovery drill

2010’s newsletter for this week opened with a mates’ training weekend and a lot of new people earning sea staff recommendations2010

Then it was Steve Lacey’s Dorset group again, joining some individual bookings including a couple who came to us via the Scoliosis Association.  It was wet and windy - Wolf was hit by a wave while standing in the companionway and had to be persuaded that this wasn’t grounds for taking a sick day! One day was too windy to sail at all and watchleaders Steve and Rooby took the crew on a walk which took about an hour and a half and was apparently the longest walk many of them had done in their lives. Andy Royse was starting his first mate training on this voyage and spent a lot of it chasing under sail and later under power, or assuming command of the vessel just at the moment every big ship in the Solent decided to converge on our patch of water, or making a night entrance into the Hamble during which Wolf called a fire drill! Meanwhile Rooby Woods passed her second mate assessment on this voyage.

At sea

2011 saw another mates’ training weekend followed by the arrival of the annual siblings’ crew from CHASE Children’s Hospice. They had challenging weather for a couple of days but by midweek they were sailing out of Poole in hot sunshine with no wind at all and having a great time:


In 2013 the pattern was the same: a mates’ training weekend followed by the CHASE hospice siblings group. They did a great job of taking charge of the vessel and navigating us home at the end of their voyage:



In 2014 we were not sailing: John Laing had completed the Tall Ships race from Falmouth to Greenwich and we were taking advantage of the time in London to invite lots of visitors on board. We had some clients and potential clients; a group organised by the National Maritime Museum; and plenty of visits from sponsors and donors. We took part in the parade of sail as most of the Tall Ships fleet left London, but towards the end of the parade we turned back to a berth alongside HMS President, right next to Tower Bridge, where we were hosting a reception for our sponsors Quilter Cheviot Limited. The newsletter ended as we set off on an adult voyage for new potential volunteers, aiming for Boulogne.

In 2015 Val Hague brough her Scout group for a weekend voyage and had a cracking beam reach to Poole, a chance to watch the Torquay-Gosport powerboat race roaring past, and a return to Southampton on a hot and sunny day with the Solent like glass!  They had a few hours when some of the girls decided that appropriate dress for the day would be bikini + lifejacket, though evidently people were back in oilskins by evening:


Our lovely sponsors from the Graham High Group came for a day sail that week and then we started a voyage for a group of young adults aged 16-25 - some from local charities, some already involved in our volunteer training and others potentially interested in volunteering over the winter. They sailed to Hurst Point to cheer on the swimmers for Swim2Bestival who were all very kindly raising money for us. It was a choppy and windy day for swimming all the way across the Solent so the time of 38 minutes for the fastest swimmer, Tom Becker, was very impressive. But we are grateful to the whole team from the fastest to the last to finish - a superb effort which really helped our charitable work, and it was great that John Laing’s crew were there to cheer for them!

We sailed to Poole and back the following day, did lots of training, learned a lot of skills, took on new responsibilities and finished with a sail past the Southampton boat show, waving to the huge crowds cheering on the pontoon.

At sea


We moved on to a day sail for sponsors and donors and then it was the return of the CHASE children’s hospice siblings group:


In 2016 we were once again doing day sails for sponsors, donors, new clients etc., but the weekend provided a real contrast: on Saturday we had the most horrendous driving rain and it is a real tribute to everyone on board that they all helped out on deck and managed to fill the day with lots of laughter and enthusiasm. On Sunday we had bright sunshine and gentle winds for a guest list including the High Sheriff of Hampshire!

Then it was the annual CHASE hospice voyage once more:

At sea

By 2017 we had made the switch from John Laing to Prolific. We had a great mates' training voyage in this mid-September week  – nine people earned new sea staff recommendations and Charles Kingston finished off his third mate’s assessment over the weekend!

Mates' training

Then it was CHASE hospice again (they tend to book the same week every year and are one of our longest-running clients). They had a blustery week with some gusty sailing and lots of games in harbour:


Two years ago, in 2018, we again enjoyed a great mates’ training weekend:

Mates' training

We were very pleased to have on board for the weekend Tom Mansell who was an Ocean Youth Club skipper more than twenty-five years ago and now works as RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager. Tom very kindly offered to come and run a session on the latest RNLI thinking on recovering a casualty from the water and especially on search patterns should we ever lose sight of someone in the water or be called on to help with a search for a casualty from another vessel.


Sunday started with a really useful explanation of the theory of how best to maximise the chances of finding someone in the water. Tom did a great job of pitching this so that it was fascinating and engaging not just for our professional staff and some of our most experienced volunteers but also for 17-year olds who are brand-new to volunteering with us. We then went out into the Solent to try it out, following a search pattern which involved steering a certain course for a set time before turning onto a precise new course. The team were kept busy calculating the courses, noting the times, recording each leg and of course steering and looking out. We are delighted to report that we successfully found our bucket and helmet in the water and we all learned a great deal in the process - huge thanks to Tom.

MOB recovery exercise

We then moved onto a longer adult voyage where the group was particularly pleased to be able to try out some different sails:


This time last year we had a short weekend voyage for Poseidon Explorer Scouts from Swindon - a sail in the eastern Solent, a night in Cowes and then a short sail back again. Thirty three nautical miles and a great crew - we would love to see them back for a longer voyage in future!

At sea


That was followed by a group from the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust - young people who have undergone treatment for cancer alongside some EMCT staff. The weather on Monday was horrible so they didn't go out but did all the drills and briefings before a great dinner. Tuesday was a lovely day and they sailed all the way from Southampton to Poole, where they had a relaxed evening and the next day had a BBQ at lunchtime. Possibly not the warmest BBQ ever:


They also had some great sailing:



At sea

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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* Prolific
Big thanks to Josh who was on board Prolific yesterday doing some work. He ran up the engine, generator and fire pump; did a deck wash; exercised the seacocks and winches and generally ensured that everything is in good order.

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* A happy story about a donor, a deserving fundraiser, and some sailing gear!
We were recently contacted by David Gullick who, having given up sailing himself, wanted to pass on his personal sailing gear - oilskins and so on - to someone deserving who would make good use of it. Huge thanks to David for considering Ocean Youth Trust South - and the next challenge was to find the right recipient, bearing in mind that they needed to be roughly the same size as David!

Many of our regular readers will remember that back in May we were reporting on the amazing efforts of 16-year old trainee bosun Nathan Kelsall who ran 2.6 miles every day for 26 days to raise money for us (a total of 67.6 miles). When we posted on Facebook to ask who might want David's sailing gear, Nathan got in touch to say that the sizes looked as though they might be right.

Look what got dropped off to the boat for Nathan this week!



We're so pleased that it is going to someone who has put in so much effort to support our charitable work and who will hopefully use it for years of volunteering with us.

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* Financial appeal

Huge thanks this week to Lindy Chamberlain for offering a very generous donation towards bursaries in memory of Tony Chamberlain who sadly died at the end of June. Tony and Lindy had a huge involvement with the Ocean Youth Club from the 1970s and a lot of friends in the charity and this donation in Tony’s memory will ensure that many more disadvantaged and vulnerable young people get as much out of sailing in future as crew members did when Tony was a skipper!

Thanks also to all our other supporters and friends who have already responded with such kindness and generosity to our appeal this year. 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. Everyone who has contributed and is still contributing is playing a huge part in getting us through this long period with no voyage income, and ensuring that the charity will be strong enough to do important work with young people who will need us more than ever, as soon as we can safely sail again.

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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2021 draft sailing programme

We are just in the process of making some revisions to our draft 2021 sailing programme, partly because we now have dates for some races and events which will require changes to the original draft, but also because we want to make sure there is extra time for thorough cleaning of the boat between voyages, which has ruled out those occasions when two voyages were scheduled in quick succession without much of a gap between them. Once that is finalised, we’ll send it to everyone who lost a voyage this year so that clients who want to can pick replacement dates.

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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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Online training courses for 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? 

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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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