These days will come again ...


OYT South bulletin 24th July 2020

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

COVID-19 (coronavirus) update
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.

Guidance also includes the following (affecting adults as well as children):

“You should not:

  • gather indoors in groups of more than two households (your support bubble counts as one household) - this includes when dining out or going to the pub
  • gather outdoors in a group of more than six people from different households; gatherings larger than 6 should only take place if everyone is from just two households
  • interact socially with anyone outside the group you are attending a place with, even if you see other people you know, for example, in a restaurant, community centre or place of worship
  • stay overnight away from your home with members of more than one other household (your support bubble counts as one household)”

Clearly there are other rules applying in specific settings, such as in a school, but at the moment we are not aware of any other guidelines that would apply to sail training and allow us to have members of more than two households below deck, or sleeping on board, or more than six people interacting on deck. We will keep the situation under continual review; and of course no-one can predict when and how the guidelines might change again in ways that could affect our ability to sail.

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.

Back to index

* A Prolific anniversary
Five years ago today, on 24th July 2015, this newsletter made one of OYT South’s most exciting announcements in a generation:

“OYT South is absolutely delighted to announce that our New Boat Appeal, designed to secure a long-term replacement for John Laing, has been successful and, following a survey completed yesterday, we have agreed the purchase of Prolific - a stunning vessel with real beauty and genuine character!”

Much of the newsletter was taken up with thanking supporters and donors, launching an appeal for refit and modifications, and describing the boat – which after so many years with John Laing seemed like quite a radical change. This is how Prolific looked when we bought her:


We were still a long way off bringing Prolific into service as we first had to sail her from Norway to the UK and then there was more than a year of refit and modifications, but this week in 2015 marked her first introduction to our members. It seems like a good time to reflect on what a magnificent sail training vessel she has proved to be - a superb boat for working with young people, and a beautiful vessel which attracts attention wherever we go, and which our staff and volunteers can be genuinely proud to sail. Huge thanks to everyone who has been involved in the Prolific project, from the generous donors who made the whole thing possible in the first place, and those who have helped to get her into good condition and keep her looking great and running efficiently, to those who helped develop the systems and procedures to get her working effectively with young people, and all those who do such a great job of sailing in her or working behind the scenes to support her voyages!


photo: Gregg Cashmore

Back to index

* OYT South AGM – a virtual date for your diary

OYT South’s AGM will take place on Saturday 7th November, but this year it will be via video conference. We will send full details nearer the time, including instructions for anyone who isn’t used to video conferences; 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. We’re hoping that the event will include Mark’s usual update on the state of the charity and plans for next year, and if we can manage it, we’ll end with something fun and social which people can join in. For now, please just put the date in your diary!

Back to index

* Prolific news
Big thanks to the team who are looking after Prolific at the moment! There has been more work on the capping rail:

capping rail

The seacocks have been cycled and the engine checks have been done and the engine run up:

engine checks

And both Prolific and Ocean Village marina are looking beautiful at the moment:


ocean Village panorama

Back to index

* 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’s bulletin in 2004, we reported on a voyage to the Brest festival, which started with 300 miles - the equivalent of five Channel crossings – sailing hard to windward. Those of you who remember the 18th berth in the skipper’s cabin on board John Laing will know that it could slide out to become a double bed – but that when sailing at a steep enough angle it could on occasion slide away altogether, taking the leecloth with it and leaving the luckless occupant the choice either to drop like a stone across the whole width of the cabin, now downhill; or to cling on to the uphill side of the boat with their fingernails whilst yelling for help! On this particular occasion, the initial reply of “Not now, I’m busy” was more than a bit discouraging …

However, we made it to the Rade de Brest in one piece, and spent the night in a quiet anchorage before throwing ourselves into the festival melee. Brest was a huge festival of traditional boats of all types and sizes with, apparently, not much room for us, even though we were booked to take part. The first berth we were offered was some distance from everyone else and a long dinghy ride from the shore, tied to a decommissioned French naval hulk covered in notices explaining that it was absolutely forbidden to climb onto any of the places where we might have attached our mooring lines. It was obviously not safe, and a few frantic phone calls later we were given permission to go up the river and find a berth. A small yacht obligingly moved aside for us, and we were finally secured next to a beautiful ex-tuna fishing boat with a very friendly and musical crew, with an enormous and very glamorous Italian naval yacht on the inside of the raft.

An old friend of OYT South’s, Keith Martin, was in Brest organising events for the local Chamber of Commerce and got an invitation for our skipper and first mate to a cocktail party on board HMS Norfolk. They were not equipped to dress for anything like this but no-one seemed to mind and the naval officers, given a choice between talking to the John Laing team or to French-speaking Chamber of Commerce representatives, evidently concluded that we were the more relaxing option. We may have been the last to leave….

Meanwhile the rest of our crew were enjoying fantastic fireworks and a great atmosphere with all the other crews. The atmosphere was a little like Tall Ships but with more of a family flavour because of the greater diversity of ages among the other crews. There was so much to see and do that there was no pressure for any more sailing for our crew, and we spent two more days in Brest, memorable chiefly for the vast amounts of seafood we consumed.

A new crew joined and we sailed to Camaret, where we went for a walk ashore and ate a lot of ice-cream, while Craig the bosun successfully identified the volume of strong coffee required to keep him bouncing off the ceiling all night. The next stop was Douarnenez, which was interesting in many ways, and sells extremely good smoked fish. Skipper Wolf learned that if you buy smoked fish to take back to the boat, and keep the parcel in your pocket all afternoon, your shorts smell very bad for the whole of the rest of the voyage.

Sunday evening saw us heading for Morgat with Christina Aguilera on the deck speakers. A small French yacht was rather startled to pass close by and find fifteen English people all singing “We are beautiful, no matter what they say” at the tops of their voices.

Next stop was Ushant and a mooring buoy in the Baie du Stiff, which raised innuendo possibilities which could not lightly be ignored. Most of the team took the opportunity to walk or cycle round the island which is a UNESCO–designated “biosphere reserve” with a huge variety of plant and bird life, plus some extraordinary rock formations in the spectacular cliffs. Some of the walkers managed to exploit the full range of possibilities for getting totally lost on an island which is less than 5 miles long and 2 miles across … The short cut across the bog was a particularly bad idea!

Next we hoped to sail to l’Aberwrach but ended up going straight through to St Peter Port where we welcomed lots of visitors to the boat while a team did some work on our engine which was being temperamental. That was successful and we had a good passage back to the Solent where the voyage finished, in time for a maintenance day which was largely notable for the amount of white paint that somehow got spilled in the dinghy … the painting team were virtually swimming in paint and the instruction “take a small pot, NOT the whole tin” was never again ignored quite so lightly!

That was followed by a new crew from Gloucestershire Youth Services sailing to Cherbourg and back while baking spectacular amounts of cake!

In 2005 John Laing was just leaving Cherbourg for the Tall Ships cruise in company and an amazing send-off as thousands of people came down to the harbour to say good-bye to the fleet. John Laing, Ocean Spirit and Jolie Brise put on a fine water-fight display for them!

John Laing’s plan was to spend the cruise with a friendly gang of other boats, so they all started by motoring to Ramsgate and then had a fantastic sail to Lowestoft: seventy miles on a beam reach with the speed never falling below ten knots all the way. They nearly had five OYT vessels together there but Lord Rank and Greater Manchester Challenge missed each other by an hour. The dream after that would have been Whitby but the passage up the coast proved to be horrendous – really big seas, lots of people seasick, gas fields and sandbanks for the navigators to worry about, and everything in the boat (including most of the contents of the workshop) being thrown about. Entering Whitby in these conditions was out of the question, so they had no choice but to carry on to Hartlepool. The voyage finished with a Tall Ships festival in Newcastle before a new crew began the 450 mile race to Fredrikstad in Norway.



In 2006, John Laing had just completed a cruise from Lisbon to Cadiz with the Tall Ships fleet. The first port of call was Cascais, an attractive town with a marina, just down the coast from Lisbon. John Laing zoomed southwards at 10 knots, under brilliant blue skies, basking in sunshine. They anchored in Lagos Bay at 0700 for some rest and sleep before heading into Cadiz, a pretty old town, where the welcome and facilities were rated as among the best of Tall Ships ports. Our crew got involved in lots of activities and sporting competitions – and won an enormous silver cup for coming third in the Tug of War competition.


In this week in 2007 John Laing sailed from Kotka across the Gulf of Finland to Sweden. They began with an overnight sail to Ekenas, further west on the Finnish south coast. This was a beautiful river estuary where the local Mayor personally met the boat and was very helpful. Ekenas is a centre for the scissor industry so there were free scissors – and a sauna!

The scenery in the Finnish archipelago is fantastic - thousands of wooded islands and narrow channels in between so that it can feel like sailing through the middle of a forest. After hours of close quarters navigation, down narrow rocky channels, the boat arrived in Nagu which became a favourite OYT South destination in Finland – we’ve been back twice since.


Next came Kokar, an isolated island roughly in the middle of the Gulf of Finland - and a very neat parking manoeuvre involving great teamwork from everyone in the crew to get John Laing moored stern-to in a very narrow space.


After the remote wildness of Kokar we moved on to the much busier Mariehamn, one of the Aland Islands. This was the home of Gustaf Erikson, one of the last operators of fast, cargo-carrying sailing vessels, and our crew were able to visit the museum ship Pommern.


From there it was the Stockholm archipelago and the passage up to the heart of the Swedish capital.

In 2011 we were reporting on the start of Tall Ships race from Lerwick, Shetland, being postponed due to strong winds. The town did very well in keeping the activities and entertainments going for an extra day. This included a puffin sightseeing trip; and games including a tug-of-war, where our all-girl crew were delighted to beat the boys from Gordonstoun’s boat!


The race eventually got under way in excellent wind conditions for John Laing, which always raced better with a good breeze; but sadly it all died off  as they approached Norway and the lightweight vessels overtook us again. But with time to spare before the festival, John Laing went cruising, starting with a night sail to Mosterøy. Next day, they went on a winding exploration of Lysefjorden with the two OYT Scotland boats and Jolie Brise, describing the area as “incredibly, breathtakingly pretty." We tried to have a water fight with OYT Scotland but discovered that while our crew had prepared, Scotland’s crew had super-prepared, and had five buckets of water bombs to our one!



That night everyone rafted up under the shadow of a mountain, next to a waterfall, and had a BBQ; and in the morning made their way into Stavanger for the start of the festival – thousands of people, loads going on, a big stage, big screen, drummers, shanties and more, including lots of activities. Our crew went canoeing and came back very wet!


We were in the UK in 2012 and announcing that one of the previous winter’s refit volunteers, Patrick Kelly, had just passed his third mate’s assessment.

We then had a voyage with a new client, Queen Elizabeth’s School from Devon. They sailed from Plymouth to Dartmouth and then Brixham – where they caught a lot of crabs - and then on to Salcombe and the Yealm before finishing back in Plymouth again.


At sea

Next we were joined by a mixed crew including that year’s three MDL Award Winners. They anchored in Cawsand on the first night and had the pleasure of seeing someone run along the deck of a frigate to dip an ensign to them. Then to Fowey, which was lovely, and Falmouth before an attempt to get to the Scillies which was thwarted when fog descended – it’s not a good sailing area in poor visibility so they headed for Mousehole and then Newlyn instead before sailing to Dartmouth where they planned to watch the Olympic opening ceremony in the Yacht Club. Mike Bunton completed his third mate’s assessment on this trip.



In 2013 we had been cruising from Helsinki to Riga, starting with 120 miles in lumpy seas which some crew members found quite testing. They took it very well when the first stop, in the Estonian port of Kuivastu, turned out to have no suitable berth for us and we had to set off again after only a brief pause for lunch! The second passage was another 90 miles but everyone enjoyed it much more, with some good fast sailing and a night-time arrival into the Estonian resort town of Parnu. We enjoyed time ashore, first in the town on a drizzly afternoon but next day on a vast and glorious beach in bright sunshine. We celebrated watchleader Emily Parker’s birthday with a dazzling array of quality gifts and some very special cakes.

At sea

On leaving Parnu, we had a long downwind sail under cruising chute and poled-out headsail, all the way to Riga in enough wind to make decent progress. Other boats not far ahead of us had to motor all the way!

At sea

We got into Riga very early in the morning and had a bit of downtime before getting into festival mode, with parties, crew sports, visits to other boats and much more. Emily ended her birthday week by successfully completing her second mate’s assessment!

The next voyage was a race to Szczecin in Poland with a crew from Stamford School, who wrote their own journal: “We started the week of the last leg of the Tall Ships Race 2013 with high expectations but low winds. Being on a boat this size would be a new experience for most of us, and we weren’t sure if we could cope with each other for 5 days without resorting to killing one or more of our company … The weather forecast for the week was interesting to say the least, ranging from Force 7/8 to perfectly still air. Leaving Riga on the Sunday we decided to treat the President of Latvia, while sailing past him, to a break from the norm and put on our best dancing moves to Casper’s Cha Cha Slide, we don’t know if it was well received, but the amount of camera phones pointed in our direction was a good indication. The start of the race was calm and controlled, but soon the wind picked up and very quickly our food didn’t want to stay where it was. When we did decide that eating was a vaguely good idea, the chefs in the galley were treated to the experience of cooking at extreme angles as the boat rocked to and fro. Overall the night watch shift was well received and nearly all our company were awake and alert for anything that might happen around us. ... We had the opportunity of entering a competition where we had to film a cover of the song “Sailing” by Rod Stewart to send into Radio Szczecin for them to play at the festival there, we took to this like ducks to water and very soon we were holding all manner of sailing paraphernalia to try and win the only competition we had a chance at winning. The week turned out to be a great success for both the crew and John Laing despite adverse sailing conditions.”

At sea

In 2014 we had a voyage with a Dorset youth club, organised by Nigel Christopher, sailing from Plymouth to Mylor where we had a very tight park: John Laing surrounded by a lot of 20-foot boats! Next came Fowey and then Dartmouth: arriving at dusk, it all looked very pretty. Finally a sail round to Brixham where the voyage ended and Juan Silveira completed his third mate’s assessment - our first watchleader from Uruguay!



John Laing

In 2015, the previous week’s newsletter had ended with the crew in St Malo. From there they had an eventful passage back to Jersey - at one stage they had the mizzen staysail and cruising chute up and were doing 12 knots; at another stage they had rain, thunder and lightning!

After that, Nigel Christopher’s Dorset youth group were back again, joined by a couple of young Jersey locals and Will Parker, now a second mate but then a young crew member who stayed on for an extra week when there was an unexpected space. They left St Helier and went to Guernsey in challenging conditions, and then had to spend a whole day in port for bad weather. Next day conditions had improved a bit and they went to Sark and then on to St-Quay-Portrieux - a cracking sail averaging 8.5 knots. The voyage finished back in St Helier with a lot of sails to tidy as the voyage had used every headsail we owned!  Josh, now our Staff Engineer, was just starting his third mate’s assessment on this voyage!

At sea

Galley work!

At sea

At sea

In this week in 2016 we were just finishing a voyage from Mevagissey to Fowey and on to Plymouth where we met Andy and Sally Brown – sometimes seen sailing as skipper and watchleader with us, this time they were sailing their own boat Foxclouds and came alongside to hand over some fresh mackerel.

The crew went home next day and Andy and Sally kindly invited the sea staff to a BBQ. A new crew of individual bookings joined next day and headed overnight to Roscoff and then on to Morlaix next day - quite a challenge as this is some way up a river which in places is too narrow for John Laing to turn round, and at low tide looks more like a stream than a river. However, by leaving Roscoff at 6am they had enough water to get in, and as Morlaix turned out to be the home of stunning patisserie, they set out in search of the perfect cake:



In 2017 we were in the Baltic again, with a young crew from New Beacon School who started with a passage from Copenhagen to Tuborg, which has highly distinctive harbour entrance markers!


Next stop was Simrishamn in southern Sweden, where they arrived very early in the morning and then had time ashore and ice cream. This was followed by the long passage up the Swedish coast and into the archipelago where they spent a couple of days exploring before finishing in Stockholm, where Prolific had been given a great berth in Nybrokajen in the centre of the city.


After the school group left, the sea staff and friends had a party on board where we were very lucky to have live music from Ray Cooper, an old friend of the charity from the days when he was a member of Oysterband. He now lives in Sweden with his family and he played a great show in two halves - the first half on deck with the sun setting over Stockholm, and a second set in the saloon.

Ray Cooper

You can hear some of Ray’s music here.

Then we were glad to see a crew from Ardingly College, all but two of whom had sailed with us in John Laing the previous year. We set off that afternoon and made our way through the beautiful Swedish archipelago. This was to be very much a navigators’ voyage with full-time concentration required to help us weave a safe path through thousands of islands. We spent the first night not far from Sandhamn where we anchored with a stern line ashore to stop us swinging in a tight space, and had a fun time scrambling around an uninhabited island in the dark tying a rope to a tree.

Monday was set to be the best sailing day of the trip with a good stretch of clear water between the Stockholm archipelago and the Aland Islands and we made the most of it despite variable and light winds. There were spectacular skies:

At sea


After a late anchorage in Rodhamn, in the south of the Aland Islands, we woke next morning to the bluest of seas and skies. That day saw more intricate navigation - the images show how complex the local charts look:



Teams of crew members successfully guided us all the way to Nagu, an island we had visited twice before in John Laing. Prolific didn’t fit in the marina but the tone of hospitality was set when the harbourmaster’s boat came out to welcome us to the anchorage and then stopped to take photos of Prolific with Nagu in the background. This was the first opportunity for shore leave in the voyage and we made the most of it, spending an evening and most of the next day ashore where there were saunas, showers, shops, beaches, volleyball and more. The school group also very kindly took the sea staff for lunch in a waterside restaurant. We were asked to decorate a board for display on the island alongside those of other notable visiting vessels: crew member Henry (holding the board) did the artwork:


We set off again that night for a short passage to another beautiful anchorage in Kramppi. This video shows the peace of the Kramppi anchorage in contrast to life down below in Prolific!

That just left a short passage to the Tall Ships festival in Turku, and an entertaining morning with plenty to see as the approaches were filled with endless sail training vessels of all shapes and sizes.

Once securely alongside at the festival, there was a huge amount to do, and we spent the next few days engaged in crew sports, parties, time ashore, catching up with old friends and making new ones. There is a video here on Facebook showing their preparation for crew sports.

While in Turku, we had a very special and most unexpected visit to Prolific. A local resident, Hans Andersson, was passing and noticed the name on the boat. At home he had a painting which had been passed down through his family of a boat named Prolific, and there was a family story that his grandfather had skippered her across the Atlantic, but Hans knew nothing more about the story than that. With our own knowledge of the history of the original Prolific, of which our boat is a modified replica, we were able to fill in the gaps in Hans’s family story and establish that his grandfather had in fact skippered the epic Atlantic crossing described here. Hans brought his grandfather’s painting to show us, and we were able to show him our book on Prolific’s history - the first time Hans had ever seen a picture of his grandfather. Thanks to Saara Malila, Director of Communications and Marketing for the City of Turku, whom we had met at dinner a couple of days earlier, this all became a significant news story and both Hans and ourselves were interviewed for an article that appeared in the press next day.

Hans Andersson

With a new crew, we left Turku in a grand parade of sail on Sunday, with crowds lining the river banks, and went out to spend the night at Noto at the edge of the Finnish archipelago. The Tall Ships race started next day and was mainly downwind in Force 4-6 with the young people working exceptionally hard, trimming the sails in 15-minute cycles. They crossed the finish line off the Lithuanian coast around breakfast time on Wednesday, having made excellent time on the water.

At sea

At sea

They could have gone straight into Klaipeda but the main festival hadn’t yet begun so the team decided there was time for another adventure first, and headed north for the port of Liepaja in Latvia, which made us tremendously welcome. The harbourmaster said “I’ve worked here for 10 years and never failed to find space for a boat that wants to come in” - and there was no charge! The harbour has no showers of their own but instead has an arrangement that crews can use a local hotel … which has a swimming pool, Jacuzzi and sauna as well as the showers! The bulletin ended with the team planning a movie night on board before heading down to Klaipeda festival next day.

This time last year the newsletter reported on a passage back from Roscoff and a fantastic Challenge Day - when the sea staff stand down and the young people get to manage the boat with as little help / interference as possible – from Dartmouth to Anstey’s Cove. Skipper Peta said that the young people really stepped up and genuinely did everything for themselves - pilotage out of Dartmouth, plenty of manoeuvres and gybing, all the way to the anchorage where they had a BBQ including plenty of barbecued bananas.

The voyage ended in Brixham and the crew were replaced by a team of Skelton Explorer Scouts who sailed to Dartmouth, Fowey and then on to the Helford River and then Coverack beach for a BBQ.


Saturday was Challenge Day, all the way back to Brixham - an amazing day with the mizzen staysail up, a white-beaked dolphin alongside, and later some fantastic stars. The voyage ended back in Brixham and you can see a great video made by Skelton Explorers here:


The next crew joined to find it very windy indeed - they didn't leave the bay on Tuesday but instead did lots of tacking drills, man overboard recovery exercises etc. before ending up in Anstey's Cove. Wednesday was a whole day of tacking in strong westerly winds as they headed for Cawsand Bay - it was hard work but the crew was really up for it and everyone did incredibly well, and next day on to Fowey in virtually no wind at all!


Meanwhile Josh our engineer was on relief this time last year and spent part of the week with Dom Coleman and Dorset Marine Training doing an excellent Powerboat Level 2 course - the qualification needed by volunteers who want to drive Prolific’s dinghy so definitely recommended for all our volunteers – a useful course but also a lot of fun:

Josh and Dom

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!

Back to index

Financial appeal

Huge thanks to all our 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.

Back to index

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.

Back to index

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.

Back to index

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!

Back to index

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.)

Back to index

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.

Back to index

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.

Back to index

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!

Back to index

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.

Back to index

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.

Back to index

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

Back to index

“To be honest I never wanted to come, but I'm glad I did because I have learnt and seen so much!" Charlotte