These days will come again ...


OYT South bulletin 5th June 2020

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

COVID-19 (coronavirus) update
There are three 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

The April statement outlined the issues facing charities like OYT South and our concerns that the measures currently announced by the government either do not go far enough, or simply overlook those charities like us who have had to cease operations on a temporary basis. It also explains the role we believe we can play in the longer term, helping young people recover from the social and psychological impact of COVID-19.

We asked members and supporters to help us by writing to your local MP and we had a fantastic response – thank you so much to everyone who got involved. Some MPs sent brief replies or standard form letters, but a significant number were genuinely interested and engaged, and took up our cause; and several asked to meet us in due course in order to find out more.

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* Movement for Good Awards – we won £1,000 - huge thanks to everyone who voted

Ocean Youth Trust South has won £1,000 in the Movement For Good awards!

Huge thanks to Ecclesiastical and to everyone who nominated us!

Movement For Good

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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 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.

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* 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 many weeks.

This week Holly has been tackling some chart corrections, evidently as part of her relaxing Prolific spa day:



She has also run up the engine, done a deck wash and worked on more contributions to Prolific’s recipe book which Georgia started.

Last Saturday sail training vessels were asked to hoist a sail to show international solidarity for traditional and sail training vessels. Sadly our sails are all stowed away below decks but Holly hoisted Prolific’s battle flag:


She’s also been appreciating the surroundings of Ocean Village – huge thanks as always to MDL for giving Prolific such a fantastic home!

Ocean Village

Ocean Village

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* Why we care about sail training - send in your stories!
With no voyage reports for a while, it will be good to keep reminding ourselves about the value of our charitable work, the life-changing experiences and fantastic fun and friendship on our voyages. If you have a treasured memory of sailing with us, or a tale of a voyage you will never forget, or a funny story, please send it to and we'll publish the best in future editions of this newsletter.

In this week in 2004, John Laing was in Alderney and had an expedition ashore in which Wolf, the skipper, kidnapped Princess Craig, the bosun, and left a long trail of clues for the crew to follow. They also went to see the Second World War exhibition at the museum. At the start of the war, the local population of Alderney was told that if the church bells rang, it meant the Germans were coming and they must evacuate the island at once. Barely 24 hours later, they heard the signal. They succeeded in reaching England, and it was more than five years before they were able to return. This meant that they avoided living under German occupation, as the people of Jersey and Guernsey had to do. But part of Alderney became a concentration camp, where many slave workers from eastern Europe died from malnutrition or exhaustion while building the island’s fortifications.

The bulletin also reported that “Wolf and Craig saw some sharks; and the crew made friends with a local girl called Olive, who apparently showed them up by being miles better than them at absolutely everything.”

After a foggy passage to Cherbourg, the crew went ashore for a game of football where skipper Wolf, in goal, had so many scored against him by the sea staff that he tried asserting his skipper’s authority by ordering them not to score any more. First mate Graeme Cole turned out to be so skilful that for some time afterwards he was known as “Becks”. On this voyage, Julian “Dinghy Boy” Watkins passed his second mate’s assessment and Jen “Phoebe” Swatton passed her third mate’s.

In 2005 we were sailing with a mixed crew, including a group from Stanbridge Earls school; two from a youth organisation in Guernsey; and a couple of individuals, who went to Dartmouth for the first time that season, before coming back to Weymouth. The Poole to Brixham leg saw the cruising chute hoisted in glorious sunshine, but sadly this was not enough to keep seasickness at bay, as the vomit production factory went into overdrive.

In 2007 we had a fabulous voyage for eight young people and four hospital staff organised through the Teenage Cancer Trust. They sailed to Poole in an odd mix of sunshine, thick fog and enough wind to get the boat going really well. Next day crew member Laura was put in charge of getting us safely out of Poole, and managed the job superbly. Shortly after passing the chain ferry, with the whole Poole approach channel still to go, she was briefly holding her written pilotage plan in her teeth to leave her hands free - and then opened her mouth to answer a question...No problem, though, as she had memorised the rest of the plan perfectly and also organised the mizzen hoist as we went along!


In 2008 we were able to report that Dave “Tigger” Heffer had completed his second mate’s assessment, before putting to sea with a group from Toynbee Hall, East London - the second of their four voyages this year, sailing to Dartmouth.

Toynbee Hall

Toynbee Hall

It was a Toynbee Hall group again in 2009, enjoying an exercise with an RNLI inshore lifeboat which asked to practise coming alongside and transferring a crewman on board.

Toynbee Hall

Our work with Toynbee Hall was always rewarding as the young people were selected because they weren’t thriving in formal education yet always managed to learn lots of practical skills on board and earn their RYA certificates. Paul Sillett passed his third mate’s assessment on this voyage, eleven years before his son Ian became a watchleader and a stalwart member of the refit team. Ian is an excellent cook but in 2008 the bulletin noted that “Paul’s cooking skills are perhaps not of the same standard as his seamanship and youthwork! James the skipper had met Paul on a medical course back in January and, having practised stitching wounds in chicken breasts and performing injections on oranges, confirmed that Paul may be more comfortable using food in this way than he is with actually cooking it…”


In 2010 we were sailing with young carers from Hertfordshire, plus four individual bookings. They sailed to Cowes on the first night, but during the passage they found themselves close to a yacht which had lost steering in the busy shipping channel and issued a mayday, so John Laing stood by, relaying information and assisting the yacht until the Hamble lifeboat could get there – for which our team got some nice thanks from Solent Coastguard.

At sea

This was followed by the return of TS Swiftsure, one of our most regular clients – some of the 16- and 17-year olds were on their ninth voyage in John Laing; but as usual the group also included some new 12-year olds. We’ve previously mentioned the Swiftsure tradition of hoping and failing to get to France – the problem this time was fog in the Channel. It also took us two attempts to get away from Ocean Village as the first time we set off we had to rescue a jet ski towing an inflatable sofa! They had got a rope round their propeller and we found them drifting.

With so many returning crew, it was easy to put them in charge of getting us back to Ocean Village at the end of the voyage. Foxy (who went on to do well as Senior Third Officer with Fred Olsen Cruise Lines) became skipper, David first mate, Zoe and Sam watch leaders, Morgan bosun and Jacob and Andy the navigators, and between them they ran the whole thing - getting off the berth, hoisting sails, organising the entire passage. In the middle of all this we had a fire drill, with group leader Adele playing the part of an unconscious casualty – putting the second mate under some pressure as he had to “resuscitate” her under the watchful eye of the other group leader, Sam, a professional paramedic! The two 14-year old navigators had a very challenging task as the Solent was as busy as we have ever seen it.

TS Swiftsure

In 2013 we did an adult day sail in glorious sunshine with a number of staff from schools and education centres who had been sending young people to us during the year, to give them an insight into what their students do on board, as well as a number of current and potential supporters and sponsors - and Sue Cheshire’s chocolate brownies!

Day sail

Then we had a lovely evening sail round to Gosport, during which we had the idea that each person in turn should be able to choose a song to play through the deck speakers. It’s not clear that Jonathan Cheshire’s choice of 18-minute Grateful Dead tracks was quite in the spirit of fairness…

On Sunday we took part in Gosport Youth Afloat - a taster day to get people on the water in all sorts of ways, from kayaks upwards. John Laing did two half-day sails with different groups and also ran a stand ashore. The next two days were spent on maintenance and shopping as John Laing prepared to spend two months away in the Baltic. Leg 1 was the voyage round to London, with a crew including number of young people who had been accepted to join the merchant navy in September. They had strong winds but from the right direction so sailed across the Channel to Boulogne: 150 miles in 18 hours!

English Channel

In 2016 we were sailing with three groups of four young people, organised by Applemore College, Portsmouth Academy for Girls, and Hampshire’s children in care team. Skipper Dougie said it was a really lovely group - everyone worked well together and bonded into a fun and sociable group. On the last day they had a south westerly Force 4 and sunshine as they headed into the Solent. By this stage the crew were working really well - lots of good helming and Dougie said the day was “sail training at its best”.

Next came a day sail for one of our major sponsors, the Graham High Group. It was a fabulous day which started with excellent bacon sandwiches and only got better from then on. It was particularly nice to be able to thank Graham for all his support at this time, because the following week he was setting off to cycle from Land's End to John O'Groats to raise money for us!


By 2017 we were sailing in Prolific  - a group of 12-14 year olds, the great majority of whom were young carers or similarly in need of a break, keen and enthusiastic and a pleasure to have on board:

At sea

They were followed by a special school for young people with behavioural issues, autism etc. Some of them had previously sailed with another sail training organisation and they were all very favourably impressed with Prolific in contrast to their previous experience - the size of the boat and the feeling of security on board is certainly appreciated.

At sea

The Nautical Training Corps cadets of TS Swiftsure had finally made it across the Channel in 2018 after more than a decade of being thwarted by everything from weather to port blockades to someone not having a passport. Some of the adult leaders had been 12-year-olds when they started trying! But here they are in Cherbourg:


They also made it to Alderney:


They were followed by our first-ever voyage with the Amber Foundation, a charity working with homeless and unemployed young people, providing a temporary, safe place to live with a lot of structured support, including new experiences and training that builds their motivation, confidence, self-discipline and skills. An OYT South voyage therefore seemed like an ideal partnership, and it was great to see the young people, many of whom had had a lot of problems, arriving so motivated and determined to make the most of the opportunity. It was really important to them to earn RYA certificates and proof that they could learn new skills, work in a team, follow safety instructions and more – all the sorts of things they can add to a CV as they get ready to move on in life. They all worked really hard to achieve their goals.


Hampshire’s Virtual School for Children in Care, one of our longstanding clients, was back the following week.  Craig Burton, Training Resource Manager from the Royal Yachting Association, very kindly came on board for the voyage to cast an eye over some aspects of OYT South’s standards and procedures, and went away happy - many thanks to Craig for his support and encouragement.

At sea

In 2019 we were doing an adult voyage involving quite a number of people interested in training as volunteers with us, plus other over-18s doing their Duke of Edinburgh's Gold Award residential, including the latest group of apprentices from Aston Martin which was building a great partnership with us last year, and some other friends of the charity (including Georgia’s grandad). Juan Silveira took some great photos during the week:

At sea

At sea

At sea

That was followed by a voyage organised by refit volunteer and watchleader Danny, with the charity Outdoor Lads, which aims to support gay, bisexual and trans men to get involved in outdoor activities.

Outdoor Lads

We had a guest among the sea staff this week: Yasmin, who was one of OYT Scotland's cadets, came to us for a couple of weeks – earlier in the year Georgia had been up to sail in Scotland.

Which brings us almost up to the present day. Please send in your contributions for future issues.

We hope these forays into the past are entertaining you while we cannot sail at the moment – and reminding everyone of the value of what we do!

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* Fantastic new social media / marketing job advertised with the Association of Sail Training Organisations
ASTO is advertising a new paid role for someone to promote sail training. If you’re passionate about sail training and you have great social media and marketing skills and you’re looking for work, do have a look!


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OYT South social media – please get involved
One of the simplest ways you can help us while we can’t sail is to keep looking at our social media pages and share, retweet or like as many posts as possible. This all helps to make sure other people hear about us too – and the more we can keep alive the interest in our charitable work, the more people might help us now or start to think about sailing with us in future. Maybe you’ve got a community group, a local page, even a street WhatsApp where members might like to know that you are involved with a charity that could be of interest to them?

Lots of people are working hard to keep up a flow of interesting posts but we need more of you to engage with them! We’re currently running quizzes, a poetry section and regular takeovers where different people take charge of adding things to our Facebook page for a couple of days. Fundraising runner Nathan Kelsall has done a takeover, as has Charles Kingston who played the piano for us, and the Brown and Parker families; and there are some great new things in the pipeline – big thanks to our Youth Trustee Lauren Mackenzie who is organising it. PLEASE do have a look!

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

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

And Instagram @oyt_south

And LinkedIn Ocean Youth Trust South

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

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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.

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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!

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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.)

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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.

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Online fundraising - are you helping us raise funds?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Receiving this newsletter by email
Many thanks to all those who have given consent to receiving this newsletter by email. If you are not currently getting it by email and would like to, please just click here Newsletter Subscribe and press "send", or email

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