These days will come again ...


OYT South bulletin 26th June 2020

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

* COVID-19 (coronavirus) update
We have carefully studied this week’s new government announcements on changes to COVID-19 guidance, which now includes the following:

“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 these new guidelines apply from 4th July and no-one can predict when and how they might change again, possibly affecting voyages in August and beyond.

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

Financial appeal

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

See here for how to make a donation - you can contribute by cheque, phone or PayPal, but please do something if you possibly can. Don't forget that if you complete and return a Gift Aid form (pdf) we can claim back tax on your donation.

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

Back to index

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

It’s been a slightly strange week since the River Itchen, including Ocean Village marina, has been affected by algal blooms (not pollution) which have turned the water red:


It looked a little as though Prolific was floating in chocolate milk:

Ocean Village

That all meant that quite a bit of cleaning was required:

Clean dinghy

Holly has also been keeping the deck regularly watered, which is important for the teak – she says it’s her equivalent of watering the garden:

Deck wash

She has also swapped all the mooring lines end-for-end again so that the wear isn’t always in the same places; learned how to fold the deck tent sections very small indeed; and tackled another set of chart corrections:


But it hasn’t all been hard work: Holly, Josh, Georgia & Ben, and Ian Sillett managed a socially-distanced gathering in the park:


Finally Holly wants to say special thanks to Mark Boggis who sent a very welcome present to reward the work of looking after Prolific – very much appreciated!


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 in 2004, we had a great voyage with a group from the West Sussex Youth Service, who had all recently finishes their GCSEs. They had spent the week before the voyage together, learning skills like first aid and sports leadership, so they arrived on board already working as a team. This was evidently a crew which didn’t need to be broken in gently, so on the very first morning they got up at 5 am and left Poole, heading for Cherbourg. This was one of John Laing’s more robust Channel crossings: strong stomachs required but not always in evidence. Watchleader Phoebe was rather proud that one of the crew later announced that his best moment of the trip was being looked after by her while he was being sick. Her own best moment came in being signed off as a second mate – a mere three weeks after completing her third mate’s assessment!

Meanwhile Skipper Brian struck up a relationship with a racing pigeon which hitched a lift for the second half of the passage to France. Apparently he took it down to the navigation area and was seen showing it the chart and earnestly explaining possible routes for it to fly, and encouraging it to look at the latest weather forecast. There was some discussion about whether the pigeon had done enough to earn an RYA Competent Crew certificate, but it failed on the rowing section of the syllabus.

Following all that, John Laing was lifted out of the water in Hamble for some repairs to the rudder; and the team was slightly disconcerted to find that the antifouling had turned bright pink, making a lovely eye-watering contrast with the dark red topsides.

In 2005 we were sailing with Devonport Grammar School for Boys, who started with a passage from Southampton to Weymouth, arriving at what second mate Andy Royse described as “silly o’clock in the morning.” After a few hours in Weymouth, they went out and did some sail training in the bay, and then took off for Cherbourg, again arriving at silly o’clock. Their return to the Solent was a spectacular experience and an absolutely breathtaking sight with thousands of vessels ready for the Fleet Review  for the 200th anniversary of the battle of Trafalgar, and all the ships lit up.

This week in 2006 was a mixed crew with half coming from the Teenage Cancer Trust in Manchester and half from the Wheatsheaf Trust in Southampton. They went to Cherbourg, Guernsey and Alderney; and in mid-Channel on the way back they stopped to stand by a vessel with engine problems until the lifeboat arrived and towed them away.

In 2007 John Laing was sailing from Ipswich to Kiel as we headed to the Baltic Tall Ships races. This crew went to Ijmuiden in Holland, and then on through to Amsterdam where they spent a day and did various tours of the city. Next came a passage through the Ijsselmeer and out to the Frisian Islands, ending up in Texel, in a place called Oudeschilde. Here the fishing fleet doesn't believe in fishing on a Sunday; instead they all leave harbour between 10 and 11 pm on Sunday in order to be in position to cast their nets in the first moments of Monday. So John Laing was able to get into the harbour late on Saturday after the fleet had left, and had a hilarious party with some of the locals in the only bar still open.

Then it was Cuxhaven and into the Kiel Canal:

Kiel Canal

They spent a night in Rendsburg before finishing the voyage on a berth outside the Kiel Yacht Club hotel, with an end-voyage celebration in a Kiel microbrewery!

At sea

Ben Martin


In 2010 we were also setting out for the start of Tall Ships, beginning with a voyage from Southampton to Ipswich with a mixed crew including several from a homelessness project in Devon and Cornwall. They had a week of amazing weather - hot sun, flat seas, downwind sailing, light winds but enough to get the boat going. They set off for Dieppe, with an amazing sail - cruising chute up for 24 hours, the mizzen staysail all through the daylight, and speeds of 7 knots or so despite the light winds. They explored Dieppe and Boulogne – all quite an experience as several of the crew had never been abroad before. Then it was Ramsgate, and Walton Backwaters for a BBQ:




In 2011 we were in Falmouth with a school group organised by teacher and second mate Sarah “Tee Hee” Tredinnick. They left Falmouth in poor visibility and headed straight across to Ireland, beating into winds that rose up to Force 6. They had some time at anchor on reaching Ireland and then went on up to Waterford and the first Tall Ships festival of the summer. That night they got VIP front-row tickets for a concert with Brian Ferry of Roxy Music. None of the young crew had actually heard of him but they really enjoyed the show!


Tall Ships crew parade in Waterford

Abbey Heffer qualified as a third mate on this voyage. With David “Tigger” Heffer, this made a rare example of a father and daughter on our active list. We should congratulate Abbey on the birth earlier this year of a member of the next generation - clearly destined for future watchleading!

In 2012 we were still in the Solent enjoying the annual voyage with the students of Alfreton Park Special School – a lovely crew enjoying some glorious weather:

Alfreton Park

At sea

In this week in 2013, John Laing was in the Baltic. They made very good time to get through the Kiel Canal without a stop and reach the British Army Yacht Club in Kiel, where they were made very welcome on a stern-to berth between piles with barely a few inches of space. Next morning, with an enthusiastic and competent crew, they had no sooner cleared the piles than four sails were hoisted, adding the mizzen staysail while still in sight of the yacht club – very impressive! Next stop was Sonderberg - interesting navigation as they short-tacked up the bay. Then on to Middlefart...where they sat next to a boat registered in Badfart ... enough said. Next came Knebel Vig, just north of Arhus – a small lagoon with a very narrow entrance, where they anchored for the night, and finally the Tall Ships festival in Arhus. They joined in the crew sports one day and then the next day went off to  learn to dance the tango! They had two fabulous local liaison officers who were really helpful, though translation was still sometimes an issue .. .they went to find someone to repair a tear in the No.1 headsail, brought him back, showed him the sail and what they wanted done, and his response was “Very nice...but I’m a welder!”

At sea

In 2014 we had a great week with a London school group, sailing to Cherbourg and Guernsey. Skipper Dougie said that one definition of a good week is when he can wear shorts the whole time, even on night watches!

At sea

At sea

The same school was back in 2015 and managed a rare John Laing visit to Honfleur, a truly lovely little port. Then on to St Vaast before returning via Lymington and Poole. At one point in Studland Bay they saw a Hercules fly past and dip its wings to them (it is possible this wasn’t just for John Laing...). Jack Dignan was officially sailing as bosun but also managed to get half his third mate assessment signed off.


At sea

We managed an adventurous voyage in 2016 with a strong crew including several medical students arranged by sea staff Patrick and Emma. They had great weather at the start of the week, visiting Alderney and Guernsey before a cracking sail in the sun to Cherbourg with the cruising chute. The weather changed after that and the crossing back to Weymouth was more challenging.



In 2017, a group of young Londoners from the charity Ambition, Aspire, Achieve brought Prolific round from Southampton and took her up the Thames, past all the sights, right into the heart of their home city. Thanks to the generous support of HMS President Royal Naval Reserve Unit, we had possibly the best berth in the whole of London, right next to Tower Bridge with spectacular views.




From that point, Prolific’s team of staff and volunteers had a busy programme of maintenance combined with visits to the boat, mainly in intense heat. HMS President’s hospitality was second to none - not just the use of their showers, but also their ice machine!

There was a tremendous amount of Royal Naval gold braid on board Prolific at various points, but perhaps not as much as there might have been since one of our volunteer mates had announced quite casually a few weeks earlier: “By the way, my sister’s married to the First Sea Lord.” Sadly his Lordship wasn’t available to visit us on this occasion!

While we were in London we also hosted a summer party for our very generous sponsors the Graham High Group, as well as a lunch for the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, and a party for a number of other donors and supporters as well as  friends and family members.

Then we were joined by an adult crew who left almost straight away in order to have a favourable tide down the Thames in the afternoon. They made the passage across the North Sea and visited Den Helder and then the island of Texel … While their sea navigation is impeccable, some of the team do struggle when let loose on shore and there was a complex saga of missed ferries and confusing bus rides which nearly left some of the team stranded on Texel! However, they eventually made it back to Prolific in time to set off for Cuxhaven.

At sea

In 2018 we had a birthday celebration for watchleader Will Parker who was saying goodbye to his teenage years and spending his 20th birthday on board. Will is now famous as one half of the WOM stories – happy birthday for this week!

Then we were joined by a new client, Latymer Upper School who enjoyed an absolutely brilliant sail all the way to Cherbourg where they reached 11 knots under sail:

At sea

On the way back they got more sails up and eventually touched 14 knots!

This time last year we reported on the other half of WOM stories, Tom Knight, passing his second mate's assessment, before we were joined by Dame Allan's School, all the way from Newcastle. They had a good passage to Cherbourg:

At sea

At sea

After exploring the town next morning and buying French cheese and bread for lunch, they set off again and took the scenic route between Guernsey and Sark before altering course for St Helier in Jersey, where they were made very welcome. They had time to explore and go to the beach before a night passage in a brisk north easterly with a couple of reefs, pointing at Cornwall. They had a fabulous sunset and sunrise, and in between there were stars with the Milky Way clearly visible; shooting stars, dolphins, calm seas, favourable winds and the boat mainly doing 9-10 knots - who could ask for more?

At sea

They arrived in Lantic Bay outside Fowey in the morning and anchored in the sunshine with time for a trip ashore to the beach in the afternoon. That evening there wasn't much wind so they motored to Polhawn Cove, just to the west of Rame Head outside Plymouth, and spent a night at anchor. Next day they had to do some sailing exercises as the wind directions had been so perfect that they had come all that way without mastering the art of tacking or gybing, and they needed to know what they were doing before the young people took command of the vessel for the final passage to Brixham!

At sea

At sea

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!

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