Southampton Water


OYT South bulletin 27th March 2020

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

* COVID-19 (coronavirus) update
A statement from Mark Todd, Chief Executive of Ocean Youth Trust South on COVID-19 is on our website.

In the light of government guidance on travel and social contact, our 2020 sailing season has not started this week as planned. Clearly we have no wish to put young people, staff and volunteers at risk.

We are in discussions with clients and volunteers on a voyage-by-voyage basis as voyages cannot take place but we hope to be back up and running as soon as it is safe to do so.

There are difficult times ahead and we will be immensely grateful to those who are able to offer support to see us through.

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

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 everyone who has already responded with such kindness and generosity to this appeal in last week's newsletter.

Back to index

* Prolific news
Big thanks this week to Josh, Georgia and Danny who have been busy getting Prolific secure for the period while we cannot run voyages and making sure the kit won't be left to deteriorate. This includes getting the sails off and safely into storage:

Removing sails

Removing sails

We've now added up all the hours worked on board Prolific over the winter refit and we had the amazing total of 318.5 days worked by volunteers, to add to 234 days from the paid staff, Peta, Josh and Georgia. Huge thanks to all involved - from the core volunteer team of Jake, Oran and Ian through to the people who found time in busy lives to come and help out when they could. If we had had to pay people for those 318.5 volunteer days then even at minimum wage rates, it would have cost the charity around £21,000 - but in practice many volunteers were doing skilled work and were worth far more. This is a huge contribution to the work of the charity and even though we are not sailing now, volunteers should be really proud of what you achieved: we have a boat in fabulous condition which simply requires us to keep up with basic maintenance now in order to be ready to offer voyages to young people again as soon as it is safe to do so.

Back to index

* Why we care about sail training - contributions needed!
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.

Longstanding volunteer watchleader Mark Boggis writes: "COVID-19 forced me to make a long drive, pre-lockdown, to support a vulnerable person. This meant spending the night in a very quiet Travelodge. At least it was quiet until someone above me decided that 4 am was a good time to watch TV. This woke me up.

It reminded me of being asleep in harbour one night on an OYC Shipwright ketch. Now to understand this story you need to imagine or rewind to the days before mobile phones, the internet, DVD's, and even video recorders. Watching live TV for an hour or more in the evening, often as a family group, was a regular activity. People kept appointments with their favourite shows.

The crew were discussing their voyage with the Skipper after the evening meal. They talked about things they were missing on board compared with home life. In particular they noted there was no TV on the boat and they were not impressed. The skipper was not sympathetic to this point of view and told them that most TV was rubbish and a waste of time. They would benefit from a break from it. The crew were then given shore leave before bed. 

Around 1 am I was woken from my well-deserved slumber. At first I couldn't make out what it was that had disturbed me. Gradually I worked out that I was hearing a film soundtrack. But where on earth was it coming from? I prised myself out of my sleeping bag and started to creep around the boat. The noise was coming from the aft saloon - the skipper’s cabin. I crept slowly aft and realised that the skipper was fast asleep, while the portable TV that he had installed near his bunk, continued operation. I turned it off and returned to my pit. The irony of the situation - the anti-TV skipper falling asleep in front of his specially-installed TV - caused it to stick in my mind. I don't think I ever told him what had happened!"

Meanwhile, looking back through previous issues of this newsletter for the last week in March:

In 2006 the season got off to a very alarming start as the first mate (Martin Skipper) went on the foredeck and GOT WET - twice!

2008 saw us doing a pre-season shakedown sail in the snow followed by a voyage where first mate Kerry "Special K" McMillan said she’d experienced her coldest day at sea EVER – and that was in spite of having worked for a whole season on a boat in Scotland… We had a crew of Girl Guides on board and allegedly the chef Gordon Ramsay walked past in Ocean Village and actually looked at John Laing, to the great excitement of the crew (squeal factor high). 


There was also an exercise at sea which is noted in the logbook as “reefing and drenching drills”: when the bundles of sailcloth on the boom catch vast quantities of rainwater, as crew member Rachael found out when standing under the boom at the wrong moment without her hood up! Also this bulletin announced that Fred Cole and Fiona Pankhurst were standing for election as new Trustees - both still great friends and supporters of the charity twelve years later, with Fiona only having left the Board last year and Fred still very actively involved and playing a major part in the recent refit.

This week in 2010 was another pre-season shakedown again and in Cowes, Andy Viney earned a certificate from the café for actually finishing their super-bonus-all-you-can-eat-and-then-some breakfast fry-up, a rare feat. This was followed by the first proper voyage of the year with a crew from Plumpton College who had a spectacular sail from Weymouth to the Solent - thunder and lightning all the way to Yarmouth, surfing past the Needles at 12 knots with lightning all around and John Laing doing her typical thing of speeding up more and more as the crew reduced sail. Luckily they got all the sails down in time not to surf past Yarmouth, so they all went ashore for ice-creams.

2011 saw another Plumpton College crew, this time with some fabulous weather and great sailing including a fast crossing to Cherbourg, and a lovely sail back across, with bosun Kirsten doing traditional navigation all the way – no electronics, but EPs and Walker log readings. This is skipper James Boyce on that voyage - he is now doing fantastic work as a paramedic:


In 2012 it was Patrick Kelly earning the breakfast-conquering certificate on a shakedown which was followed by a voyage with a mixed crew - schools from Gosport and Applemore, and some young carers from Southampton. Quite a few were funded either by a grant from Comic Relief or by the Peter Dixon Mohawk Voyage Programme. After a great downwind sail to Weymouth, they met a local fisherman who said to the crew: “No school this week, eh?” Quick as a flash from Paige, aged 13: “School?! We’re sailors!”

"We're sailors!"

This week in 2014 involved a sail to Lymington where the crew got a tour of Young Larry, a beautiful boat owned by Andrew Wilkes who was then a volunteer watchleader but is now one of our regular first mates. (Andrew is currently in Lanzarote with another boat – his version of panic buying seemed mainly to involve extra varnish…) Here's the crew from that 2014, posing proudly with their certificates:


Finally by this week in 2018 we were just finishing a refit ready to start Prolific's second sailing season with the charity! Which brings us almost up to the present day - so do please send in your contributions for future issues.

Back to index

* Useful links for young people, parents and others 
With young people now trying to continue their education at home, here are some links which may be of interest:

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 now?
If you can't get involved in your normal activities over the coming weeks, maybe it's a good time to think about some qualifications and training? 

Our friends at SeaRegs Training are doing a fantastic series of online face to face video conferencing sessions (pdf), on subjects including collision regulations at sea, safety management systems, record keeping and chart corrections, radar, a navigation refresher, and what to do in the event of a disaster at sea as well as online distance learning systems for the theory courses for Day Skipper, Coastal/Yachtmaster and Yachtmaster Ocean. . And OYT South second mate Dom Coleman also runs an excellent sea school offering RYA online courses fully supported by phone, email or video.

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

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

We also offer a range of courses outside sailing and navigation, for our volunteers. Three of these courses are essential: Child Protection in Sport and Active Leisure, Food Hygiene and Safety, and Safeguarding Adults. But if you've already done those, there's a list of other courses at the bottom of the page, including  Mental Wellbeing in Sport and Physical Activity, Preventing Bullying, Online Safety, Concussion Awareness and all sorts of other things - do have a look. Just one £10 payment (special price available only to our volunteers and prospective volunteers) gives you access to ALL these courses.

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

Back to index

2020 sailing programme - voyages for young people AVAILABLE NOW
It is not yet clear when we will be able to start running voyages again, but we would like to encourage bookings as much as possible so that as soon as it is safe to sail again, we can get as many young people as possible on board. We realise that the current uncertainty makes it difficult for people to plan, so we can announce that from 20th March, any NEW deposits received for voyages will be held and if your chosen voyage is unable to go ahead, you will be able to transfer that deposit to any suitable later voyage, even if that happens to be in 2021, and if this proves completely impossible, your deposit will be refunded in full. This means that you can book voyages now with complete security.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Places currently available:

1-5 June 2020, Southampton, 4 nights, age range 11-17, £405 per person. Possibly three places available to join a group of young people from Gosport.
29 June - 3 July, Southampton, 4 nights, age range 12-25, £405 per person, 15 places available. The first few bookings here will influence the shape of the voyage - once we have some crew members signed up and know the age range etc., we will advertise for others who will fit with them.
Mon 6 July – Sun 12 July
, Poole to Brixham, 6 nights, £595. Passports required. Up to 8 places left. This voyage was previously listed as Poole to Brixham but is now scheduled for Southampton to Brixham instead.

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

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

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

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

See here for the full 2020 programme.

Back to index

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

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

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

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

Email to reserve a place.

Back to index

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

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

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

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

Keep in touch with other OYT South people
We are on Facebook at - please do give us a Like! If you were friends with John Laing on our old page ( please do move to the new page now.

We are also on Twitter @oytsouth so please follow us!

And Instagram @oyt_south

And LinkedIn Ocean Youth Trust South

Please note that OYT South has a policy that our adult staff and volunteers should not make or accept individual online friend requests with crew members aged under 18, or vulnerable adults. Crew members can use the sites to stay in touch with the boat and with each other, but not with individual staff and volunteers.

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