These days will come again ...


OYT South bulletin 3rd April 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. , but this week Mark adds:

“First and foremost, I hope you and your loved ones are well. I thought it would be useful to give you an update as to what is going on at OYT South. Obviously, in the light of government guidance we are still sadly unable to start the sailing season but we are of course keeping this under continual review. In the meantime, the office team are now working from home – not a major change for some of us as Caz and I have been doing this for years. Thankfully, due to the support of Andy and his company Millennium, everyone who needs it has been able to move seamlessly into remote working. Prolific is currently on her home berth at Ocean Village (a big thanks to MDL for looking after us) and Josh is on board keeping her in top condition for when we start sailing. He’s by himself so please drop him an encouraging line (or just some idea for jobs he can do - he’d like that) on social media etc.

As with many charities and businesses we have had to look at ways of minimising our costs so we have had to furlough (or furl as Peta calls it) some of our staff team. So Georgia and Peta from the boat team and Sally and Annette from the office team are now at home staying rested and poised to come back bursting with energy when we start sailing again. That leaves Josh from the boat team and Jo from the office team looking after everything, alongside myself and Caz. Team morale is high. As everyone knows the OYT South team is more than just work but more like friends and family so we are staying in touch with each other and with all our volunteers and supporters. Please keep sending us pictures and stories of sailing with us or the Ocean Youth Club so we can share them.

A big thanks to everyone who has been supporting us recently and big one from me to Caz. We all know Caz does all the work and she has been truly fantastic the past few weeks liaising with customers, donors and staff.  I certainly couldn’t get everything done without her, especially as I now have a major project on, constructing a cardboard box boat with my two-year-old twins. Not for them, you understand, I just need to keep my sea time up.

I’m sure we are all looking forward to getting out on the water as soon as possible. Especially as the weather is due to improve next week or so (that’s probably ensured rain and gales – sorry).

Look after yourselves and your loved ones. When the season starts again, our work will be needed more than ever as social isolation will have impacted many people’s mental health  - and sail training with its undoubted ability to improve wellbeing, develop teamwork, confidence and many other skills and indeed a love for just being outside will have a massive role to play on getting the country and everyone back on course.”

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

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* Financial appeal

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

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

Huge thanks to everyone who has already responded with such kindness and generosity to this appeal.

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* Prolific news
Massive thanks to Josh who is looking after Prolific at the moment! This week he has been working on the capping rail, he’s done a deck wash and also washed the topsides; he’s run up the engine and generator, exercised the seacocks and more.

Before the refit ended, Jake had sanded and beautifully varnished the table supports as this picture shows, and Josh is now in the process of prepping the brackets to match (you can also see some of the sails, neatly folded and stored inside to protect them until we can sail again):

table supports

He also has some electrical work to do though he doesn’t look that excited about it:


Meanwhile isolation on board may be taking its toll: for those of you who have seen the film Cast Away, he says: “She is not quite Wilson, but my cable tie giraffe koala Ru is quite the talker….”


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* 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.

At the start of April in 2004, the first voyage if the season was spent largely in Ocean Village with winds of force 8, 9 and 10 – and a sea state report from Lee on Solent of “Very Rough” – which means wave heights of 4-6 metres! Voyage 2 was better and the bulletin reported that Steve Lacey had passed his second mate assessment - a step on the ladder which led to him now being a first mate, Trustee and our Safeguarding Officer!

2005: our crew managed to make their way safely into Poole in thick fog and anchored off Stone Island, where the teams of young people on anchor watch took turns to add to a story overnight so the whole thing could be read at breakfast. The result featured our boat John Laing with Japanese pirates, princesses and dragons and the whole enterprise was even more impressive because the young people were all students at Stanbridge Earls school which catered for individuals with profound dyslexia.

In this week in 2007, we were crossing the Channel with a crew of homeless young people from the Foyer Federation; but the real drama of the week came on the last day in the form of a tiny wagtail which landed on deck in a state of panic, closely pursued by two hawks! The wagtail hid on the foredeck while the hawks circled the boat and occasionally landed in the rigging. They kept up the hunt for quite some time before flying off. But even beyond that drama it was a great crew who had a lot of fun and achieved a huge amount:


In 2010 we were sailing with a crew from Hampshire’s Children In Care team – still one of our regular clients though now known as the Virtual School. It was a strange week because every time Jon Seddon’s watch came on deck, we had good sailing in a decent 20 knots of wind; but whenever they were replaced by Nick Higson’s watch, within a few minutes it increased to 30 knots and quite an uncomfortable time – until it’s was time for Jon’s team and things magically calmed down again. We ended the week with the two halves of the crew having experienced entirely different voyages – one group thinking sailing is fantastic and the other half staggering home exhausted with all their belongings wet! Nick doesn’t look too distressed here, though (and at the helm you can see Ben “Sparky” Whinnett, still a first mate and valued refit helper):


Our voyage in this week in 2014 featured a school group from Sherborne who had booked two voyages for the year. The spring voyage featured Ellesha who was the Chris Ellis award winner from the previous year – you can see her winning entry here but you may also notice that the runner-up was Liam Portrey whose sister Chloe has since become one of our regular volunteers! Sherborne’s second voyage later in the year was particularly notable for featuring a young Georgia Watson, years before the post of Staff Cadet was thought of … But in the meantime the spring voyage had some beautiful days on the water:

At sea

Regular readers will know that the weather is always worse when Mark Todd is skipper so no-one will be surprised to hear that he was in command in this week in 2015 when John Laing was stuck in harbour while Dockhead was reporting 57 knots (“Violent Storm”) …

In 2016 were running the annual MDL Award Winners’ voyage with very deserving young people selected by our major sponsor – again, it was windy but the voyage involved short sails plus lots of other activities – a trip to the cinema for Kung Fu Panda 3, an Easter egg hunt, fish and chips, and a visit from one of our vice-Patrons, Jamie Sheldon who very kindly gave each crew member a £10 voucher to spend in his shop!

At sea


Some of you know that when OYT South’s Business Manager Caz isn’t at work, she is often found working at music festivals or touring with bands. In this week in 2017, therefore, Prolific had a visit from three members of the award-winner folk rock band Oysterband as they passed through Southampton on tour:



And in 2019 a group of children in care from Southampton were on board taking part in Danny’s Grand Games Night which involved all sorts of challenges: for example, can you invent a device (a parachute? a cradle?) that allows you to drop an egg down the hatch without breaking it? Also they built towers out of spaghetti joined together with marshmallows:


Which brings us almost up to the present day - so do please send in your contributions for future issues.

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* 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:

The RNLI has launched “Water Safety Wednesdays” on Facebook, so young people can continue to learn essential and lifesaving water safety for when the time comes when people can safely visit beaches again. Water Safety Wednesdays are aimed at parents, guardians, grandparents or teachers, providing a selection of fun, free and engaging activities to help children learn at home or in the classroom how to stay safe in, on and around the water. Water Safety Wednesday includes a live chat (this week’s was at 1015am but we don’t know if it will be exactly the same every week). The RNLI also provides quizzes, colouring packs and more on their page of educational resources for young people, and there are videos and more, with categories for different age ranges: everything from lower primary (age 3-7) to upper secondary (14-18) and all groups in between. And for adults as well as young people, there is even a video described as “60 minutes of Ambient Relaxing RNLI Lifeboat Footage & Music for Winding Down, Meditation, Study.” (Big thanks to OYT South volunteer Willoughby Matthews for this).

A fantastic set of resources from the 1851 Trust, the official charity of the British America's Cup campaign, on STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) for 11-16 year olds.

Trinity House, which looks after the safety of shipping and the well-being of seafarers: "Buoys, beacons and bananas" education resources to help pupils learn about shipping, seafaring and safety.

And Childline's webpage with information for children and young people about coronavirus. The page includes information about: what coronavirus is; where children and young people can find help if they are worried; coping if they are staying at home; and what to do if they are feeling unwell - all written to be accessible for children.

If you spot any other useful links which we might include in future editions, do please send them in.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Places currently available:

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

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

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

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

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

See here for the full 2020 programme.

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

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

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

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

Email to reserve a place.

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

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

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

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Online fundraising - are you helping us raise funds?

OYT South is registered with Amazon Smile which makes donations to us when people shop - Amazon will donate 0.5% of the net purchase price on eligible purchases. If you ever shop with Amazon, do have a look - once you pick Ocean Youth Trust South as your chosen charity and start using, you don't need to do anything further, and all your other Amazon account settings remain unchanged.

We've also been mentioning Easyfundraising in this newsletter for a while but we know a lot of our supporters haven't tried it, so we just wanted to highlight how easy it is! All it takes is to go to Easyfundraising and sign up (which is extremely quick and simple). If you want (it's entirely up to you) then you can even install a donation reminder on your web browser so that whenever you do a search for online shopping, you'll see whether each seller offers donations and how much (it's still up to you whether to make a donation for any particular transaction) - and it won't cost you a penny. If, instead of doing a search, you go direct to a seller's website, you may get a popup showing that donations are available.

There are really significant donations available for some larger purchases, and it still doesn't cost you anything. Some charities are making substantial amounts of money through easyfundraising, so please try it if you can.

There's no cost to you, and all it does is remind you of donations available so you can't forget it when you shop online - you can still opt out any time you like.

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Branded clothing
OYT South branded clothing available - please see here. You can buy hoodies (in a wide range of colours), fleeces, short- and long-sleeved t-shirts, baseball caps, beanie hats, polo shirts and more, all with OYT South's logo!

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Raise And Sail - website for anyone looking to raise money to come sailing
Raise And Sail is a section of this website full of ideas, information and support for young people who would like to raise money in order to come sailing with us. Huge thanks to Fiona Keen and Emma Burrows for putting Raise And Sail together. We hope you will find it useful - let us know how you get on as we can add success stories and new ideas to the site in due course.

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

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

And Instagram @oyt_south

And LinkedIn Ocean Youth Trust South

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

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New readers' welcome and introduction
If you have recently registered your interest in OYT South, welcome to our newsletter, which is sent out almost every week, normally on a Friday, and is also copied onto the website.

If you have just started receiving this newsletter by email, it is because we believe you have signed up and consented to receive it - perhaps by emailing us to ask for it, completing a form on our website, or adding your email address to the book on board where people can sign up to receive news, as well as leaving comments. If this was a mistake or you simply decide you want to stop receiving the newsletter, just press “reply” to the email and write UNSUBSCRIBE at the top, or email webmaster1@oytsouth asking to unsubscribe.

Each week the newsletter includes a wide range of news from the boat and from the charity, including details of voyages available for young people; adult voyages; opportunities for adult volunteers both ashore and afloat, and much more. We find that while some people read the bulletin almost every week, many others dip in and out, and read it when it's convenient - which is why some items are repeated. New items are marked with an asterisk * so that if you did read it last week, you can see which sections you can safely skip.

Please feel free to join in any OYT South activities - nothing here is restricted to long-standing members or people who already know one another. New people are always very welcome!

If you need an introduction to the work of OYT South, you should find a lot of useful information on our website. But essentially, we are a registered charity (no. 1079959) which exists to offer adventure under sail as a personal development opportunity for young people aged 12-25, from the widest possible range of backgrounds. A high proportion of our young crew members are disadvantaged or deserving in some way: many of these sail in groups organised by other charities, youth clubs, special schools and so on, and will fill the bulk of our term-time voyages. But those from more fortunate backgrounds are also welcome to sail, either in groups or by coming as individuals on a mixed voyage. Every year we run a variety of shorter local voyages plus longer adventure trips - sometimes including Tall Ships races during the summer holidays. If you are aged 12-25 and hoping to sail as a crew member, take a look here - and this section is also useful for adults who are thinking of organising a voyage for a young person. Adults planning to organise a full group voyage should also see here. Adults who want to sail themselves should see here.

We have a professional staff skipper and engineer, but our watch leaders are normally all volunteers, who combine sailing skills with an interest in working with young people. You can find more information here - how the system works, how to join, and profiles of existing staff and volunteers.  

To volunteer for OYT South ashore, please see here. To help with the vessel's annual refit, see here.

It is a very expensive business maintaining a boat, running an office and employing staff. If you want to help us, please become a member of OYT South. Or see here for information on making a donation.

If you have any questions, please do email - or contact the office.

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