These days will come again


OYT South bulletin 12th February 2021

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

* Prolific’s Big Virtual Voyage – please get involved and start fundraising!

Usually at the end of March we’d be wrapping up the winter refit and welcoming young people on board Prolific for our first sail training voyage of the season. This year our trips are likely to be delayed further by the pandemic, but we’re still as keen as ever to get back to working as a team.

Given that we’re not able to get out on the water just yet, we want to set you (our volunteers, supporters and young crew) a challenge: to get Prolific ‘sailing’ again.

Over the course of a week (Monday 22nd March to Sunday 28th March) we’re going to virtually recreate a typical trip, and we want you to help us go the distance by travelling as many miles as you can, by any method you’d like. Of course we’d all ordinarily choose to sail, but for now we want you to cycle, run, walk, swim, cartwheel, skateboard… and with each mile travelled, we’ll get Prolific closer to the next port. Day by day we’ll add up everyone’s combined mileage and see how far we’ve got – maybe 10 miles towards Cowes, a further 40 miles towards Weymouth, or how about 60 miles from there towards Cherbourg?! Plus we’ll need to make it back through the Needles to Southampton again, so as the week progresses we might need even more help to cover the distance back towards home. Each day we’ll post an image of the chart with a position marked showing where Prolific has got to based on the miles which everyone contributes to the total.

In the run up to this week, we’d like you to choose your activity, pledge a mileage that you’ll aim for (whether that be in one big go on the Saturday, or a bit every day of the week), and then as you’re training to achieve your goal, get sponsored! We’d love to raise some money for the charity so spread the word of our upcoming feat and we’ll see what we can achieve together. We have set up a Justgiving page to make it easy to collect donations but of course you can set up your own page if that works better for you.

Go for something that is going to stretch you out of your comfort zone, a distance that will push you to achieve big in the ways that a voyage on Prolific might otherwise have done. Local restrictions permitting, make it something that will impress your sponsors! For some, this may be walking 2 miles every day for 7 days. For others, this might be running their first marathon! You could even see how far you can cycle from your indoor static bike whilst catching up on Netflix after school/work. It’s entirely up to you what you choose to aim for – every mile will help propel Prolific towards the next beautiful anchorage!

If this sounds like your kind of challenge and you're keen to get involved, email with your pledge. And if you can’t join in yourself, please sponsor someone else and encourage your friends, family and colleagues to do the same!

Virtual Voyage

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* Petition to #saveoutdoored – including sail training

Please can we ask our friends and supporters to sign this petition asking for financial support for outdoor education centres - which will include sail training operators - during this period while none of us is able to open. Many of our friends and colleagues in the industry are having an even harder time than we are, and an estimated 6,000 jobs in outdoor education have already been lost, with another 10,000 at risk. Young people need activities to build confidence, teamwork, resilience and communication; and they will need them more than ever to support recovery from the effects of the pandemic and lockdown. This is the moment for everyone involved in outdoor education to support one another. Please share on socail media using the hashtags #saveoutdoored and #sailtrainingchangeslives.

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* 2021 volunteer training – shorebased –
NEXT WEEK book now – volunteer sea staff and trainee sea staff ALL welcome
Let us know NOW if you can attend any of the online sessions we are planning for our training weekend on February 20th and 21st. We’ll shortly be contacting everyone who has booked, with the links you will need to access your sessions.

Please note that these sessions will all be friendly and welcoming - and free! If you only want to drop in for a few minutes to say hello during the Saturday social, that's fine. Young trainee mates and bosuns who might be doing online lessons for school or college all week and perhaps can't cope with too much Zoom at the weekend, maybe just come for a bit. And if you have other responsibilities, like childcare or anything else, and you need to switch your camera off and deal with something during a session, that's all fine. Basically the message is that if you think any of this sounds interesting but you are feeling a bit intimidated ... don't be!

More details below but let us know which of these sessions you hope to attend:

Saturday morning – youthwork
EITHER Saturday early afternoon – weather forecasting
OR Saturday early afternoon – navigation refresher
Saturday late afternoon – high latitude sailing
Saturday evening - social
Sunday morning – mental health
EITHER Sunday afternoon – VHF refresher
OR Sunday afternoon – Thinking about Yachtmaster Coastal / Offshore?

The sessions have been timed to allow significant gaps between each one, so that you won’t be stuck in front of a screen all day with no chance to take a break or even get outside for a walk. The morning sessions will finish so that you have plenty of time before the afternoon sessions begin at 2pm; and on Saturday one of the afternoon sessions should end around 3pm and the alternative option at 4pm so either way you get an hour or two before the high-latitude session starts at 5pm.

  • Youthwork (Saturday morning - starting 0930): how has COVID and lockdown affected young people and how can we support them on board? This will involve a short online course (max 50 minutes). Please do this at home before the training weekend. It looks at the impact of adverse childhood experiences and how young people can be protected and supported to build resilience. There are a couple of videos which don’t seem to play but don’t worry – there’s plenty of interest and value in the course without them. The course was written pre-COVID, but as you go through it, just think about COVID as another type of ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience). Then on the day of the training weekend we will have a session with Nyssa Hutchings, a teacher who has brought many school groups on voyages (and is herself a volunteer watchleader), talking about what her school has experienced in terms of young people affected by COVID and lockdown; followed by a session with Lucinda Neall looking at what we can do on board to support these young people.
  • Looking after your mental health (Sunday morning - starting 0930): with Sue Cheshire who ran a great session for us last year. This year’s session will include the implications of COVID, and is suitable for anyone whether or not you came last year.
  • Weather forecasting (Saturday afternoon 2pm): 1-hour session with Simon Rowell (author of Weather At Sea) on getting, understanding and using a forecast – where forecasts come from and how to decide whether to trust them. An ideal course for anyone who doesn’t want to find themselves in Alderney and needing to get to Poole but with an unexpected northerly Force 8 in the forecast! Invaluable for anyone involved in voyage planning. Recommended for skippers, first mates, second mates and anyone else interested in the weather. This session will run at the same time as the navigation refresher so you need to pick one or the other.
  • Navigation refresher with Dom Coleman (Saturday afternoon 2pm):  an interactive 2-hour chart chat aimed at third mates, less experienced second mates, and bosuns – basically anyone who doesn’t have huge amounts of chartwork experience and needs a relaxed and friendly refresher. This session will run at the same time as Weather forecasting so you need to pick one or the other.
  • VHF refresher with Dom Coleman (Sunday afternoon 2pm):an interactive 2-hour session aimed at people with limited radio experience. Maybe you have done the GMDSS course but you would like a reminder after not having made a radio call for a year; or maybe you’re thinking about getting the qualification next time you have the chance but for now you’re at a level where the skipper might ask you, under supervision, to make a radio call ahead to a marina, and you’d like to know more about it. This session will run at the same time as Thinking about Yachtmaster Coastal / Offshore? so you need to pick one or the other
  • Thinking about Yachtmaster Coastal / Offshore? with Andy Brown and Holly Vint (Sunday afternoon 2pm): Are you thinking about tackling a Yachtmaster Coastal or Yachtmaster Offshore qualification in the next year or two? Or have you considered it and then thought it might be too daunting or you might not be ready? What does it involve, how does it work, what skills and experience do you need before attempting either qualification, and how can you use voyages in Prolific - or any other sailing you might be doing - to build yourself up to a level where you can tackle it? Suitable for second and third mates, or anyone else who is thinking ahead about these qualifications. This session will run at the same time as the VHF refresher so you need to pick one or the other
  • High latitude sailing with OYT South first mate Andrew Wilkes. (Saturday afternoon 5pm after the weather / navigation sessions): Some of you will have seen this talk online already as the Ocean Cruising Club winter lecture, but for those of you who haven’t seen it (or would like to see it again!), Andrew is the Editor of the excellent Arctic and Northern Waters Cruising Guide published by the Royal Cruising Club Pilotage Foundation. He has sailed the North West Passage as well as remote coasts throughout the Arctic. This is an overview of Arctic sailing including the North West Passage and Scoresby Sund. Roughly 1 hour.

On Saturday evening we’ll aim to have an online social event starting at 6.30pm - including a few words from our CEO, and a quiz – provide your own drinks!

The idea is that people can dip in and out – you might attend just one session in the whole weekend, or you might sign up to a full programme across both days – it’s up to you.

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* The welcome journey for new OYT South volunteers – help needed

One thing that this pandemic has given us is the time to consider how to best welcome, set up and support new volunteers to the charity.

It’s fair to say that whilst we’re a friendly, willing and helpful bunch of people – eager to get volunteers settled in, we do know our volunteer welcome process could be better and there’s an awful lot of paperwork, form-filling and general admin.

So, we’re investing some time and resource to improve the overall process for volunteers joining the team.

What we think we should focus on:

  • The volunteer welcome needs to feel like more of a joined up “journey” with a clear view of what’s ahead and when, rather than a series of (seemingly) disconnected admin / form filling tasks.
  • There are legal / mandatory steps and formal training elements for all volunteers which cannot be avoided and/or may be “fixed” in their format or timings.
  • We can make better use of technology to speed up / smooth out some processes.
  • There are many routes to joining OYT South, and volunteers will have a variety of roles (onboard or shore-based), so our approach must have broad appeal.
  • The Sea Staff Handbook can probably be simplified and refreshed (e.g. putting more content on-line) – it hasn’t been reviewed since 2018.

It’s important to emphasise that some of what we do already, works well – we should identify, then keep that.

Other aspects need challenging to see if there’s a better approach which both benefits the individual volunteer and is manageable for the charity.

Here’s the plan…

We’d like a small working party to contribute ideas to this project. This will mean doing some stuff, but we’re not looking to turn this into a huge, unmanageable project. First Mate Adam Lane will be coordinating our approach and efforts, but we’ll take a piece at a time, work on it, test it and then build from there.

So, whilst your ideas are definitely needed, you may be asked to work on a small element too please.

A number of you have already come forward – thank you.

Next steps: email to let Adam know you’d like to be involved. He will then arrange a Zoom call for the group to set the scene and kick off the project.

It would be great to have contributions from a wide range of people - those who are just starting out as volunteers as well as others who know the charity really well; those who joined us as experienced adult sailors or with a background in youthwork or in other voluntary work as well as those who earned their sea staff recommendation while sailing as a young person and had probably come on the voyage as an adventure without the slightest thought that it might lead to volunteering ... and so on!

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* In this week in previous years - it's all about International Paint!
While the charity is unable to operate, it is good to keep reminding ourselves about the value of our charitable work, the life-changing experiences and fantastic fun and friendship on our voyages and at our vessel refits and other activities. If you have a treasured memory of sailing, working or volunteering 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 2004 we had just completed the second coat of discounted orange anti-fouling and discovered that it clashed with the red hull just as badly as we had feared. Luckily International Paint has kindly ensured that we never endured such eye-watering indignity again!

You may not be aware that International Paint was part of Courtaulds business in the 1960s, and that was the family of OYC founder Chris Courtauld, so the connection goes right back to the charity's earliest years. It's appropriate to think about paint now because going back through old newsletters, it's always around this time of year that we stop grinding, sanding, filling, sanding again, and cleaning - and start painting! As you'll see from what follows in this week's newsletter, it is all about the paint. But with International Paint, the relationship has always been about more than their very generous donations: it has involved years of specialist technical advice, patient problem-solving and the development of innovative ideas.

In terms of problem-solving, many people will remember the issues we had with John Laing's deck and the years of hacking away at deck filler and finding more rust underneath. International Paint put in huge efforts to help us tackle this, especially with Intershield 300 epoxy anticorrosive which was new at the time. When it comes to innovation, the industry has been working for years to develop antifouling products which are better for the environment, and over a period of at least five years, John Laing was a test boat for Intersleek, a non-biocidal antifouling which was then in the very early stages of being used on yachts. And Prolific's stunning Mauritius Blue Toplac topsides were not merely a colour change recommended by International Paint (she was black when we bought her) but also a brand-new formulation. So this has been an outstanding partnership down the years.

However, back in 2004, with the antifouling complete, skipper Wolf was giving very strict instructions to various people including Craig the bosun and Andy Royse: DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING ELSE APART. The very next day Craig dismantled the fridge freezer systems and put a lot of bits in the bin. Wolf was also very stern about not digging out any more bits of the deck – but then went ahead and attacked it himself and was then seen researching supplies of large amounts of filler. And the cockpit locker team was thinking of moving their sleeping bags in as the job was taking so long. Everyone else thought they just liked it in there.

In this week in 2007, the refit team was joined by Jan Stiff, a staff member from Naomi House Children’s Hospice, who had been on several voyages with their siblings programme. The current and former Staff Bosuns, Laura and Craig, were arguing about whether the newsletter should thank Jan for bringing “more sweets than we could eat in a week" or "more sweets than we should eat in a week but we're really trying".

In 2008 we had a visit from Fred Cole from International Paint who came along to see how we were using the company’s very generous donation of large amounts of paint, and gained a clear understanding of why we get through quite so much when he saw the amount of paint in volunteer Max's hair ... He said he was impressed by the standard of the work on the boat, and also by the dedication and enthusiasm of the team who were there on the day. Maybe he wasn’t just being polite as he was elected to our Board of Trustees later that year and is still very much involved!

This week in 2011 we were reporting on our annual volunteers’ training weekend. We had two youthwork courses kindly laid on by Fairbridge: Working with Difficult Individuals” and “Facilitation, Participation & Group Dynamics” as well as the RYA First Aid, Radar and two Diesel courses. Altogether 65 places we taken up on the courses.

Meanwhile all the photos of refit 2011 this week appear to be blurred and we can only presume that the painters were moving too fast to be captured on film:




In 2012 the refit team were reporting that it was “very, very cold” – much like this week – but Patrick and James and the rest of the team were still working hard:



In 2013, International Paint had given us a new product for the topsides and even with just one coat it turned out to be “awesomely shiny”:

International Paint

International Paint

There was also a lot of working happening on deck:


And Staff Bosun Dave was only occasionally released from his position upside-down in either the engine room or the fridge:


In 2014 John Laing was being refitted in the water and skipper Andy was muttering about “55-knot winds” and “phenomenal waves”, but Amy seemed to have found herself a sheltered spot:


And we were getting through plenty of paint:


We were also excited to take delivery of some new winches, thanks to The Grocers’ Company and the Lloyds Community Fund.

In 2015 this week’s newsletter announced that we had six weeks until the start of the season and only a month till we were due back in the water. To be honest we didn’t look quite ready:


Core team volunteer Joe had taken up residence in the scuppers:


Dom and Aga who had been in the core team since the start of refit had now moved on and we were delighted to welcome Ivor Jamieson and Tom Lowe to replace them.

The newsletter this week in 2016 began with a difficult announcement. The team had been working miracles to get Prolific ready for the season, but we had just received expert advice saying that we needed to replace her mizzen mast, and the timescale for designing and building a bespoke mast meant that Prolific could not be ready until well into the season. Swapping boats mid-season wasn’t an option – we didn’t have enough staff and volunteers to run sea trials and staff training in Prolific at the same time as running youth voyages in John Laing. The only option therefore was to run the whole 2016 season in John Laing and delay the introduction of Prolific until 2017.

Fortunately our clients, donors, staff and volunteers all proved very understanding and with hindsight this was 100% the correct decision as John Laing had a fantastic final season and we had plenty of time for all the training and preparation needed to ensure that Prolific was run effectively and safely from the outset.

However, none of that halted the team’s efforts to get Prolific looking as beautiful as possible:


International Paint

International Paint

International Paint

This was also the week in 2016 of the 500th edition of this newsletter, having started in 2003. (This week in 2021 is the 706th edition, if anyone’s interested).

By this week in 2018, Prolific was well-established as OYT South’s vessel and the refit essentials were under control to the point where there was time to sort out the lighting in the veg locker:


But there were plenty of more serious jobs still underway:




We had just counted the refit figures for January and found that people had given an amazing 117 days’ work on board Prolific during that month - a fantastic effort!

In 2019 we had just held a Big Antifouling Weekend - we had twenty people involved over the two days:




This time last year we were saying happy birthday to refit team member Jake! The team celebrated his 25th by an evening of climbing, and then dinner in the pub.  We’ve recently heard from Jake who is with the Cirdan Sailing Trust and doing well; but this time last year he was an indispensable part of the Prolific team. Happy 26th, Jake!


We were also saying huge thanks as ever to International Paint:

International Paint

International Paint


International Paint

That 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 how much effort so many people have put in over the years to ensure that we can keep helping young people develop the skills to succeed in life!

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Sixteen years of feedback

Normally at this time of year we would have a compilation of comments from young people and group leaders who sailed with us last year. Because we have no new comments from 2020, we’ve been looking through comments going back to 2004 when we started keeping a record, and we’ve put together a “greatest hits” page – do have a look!

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* Prolific news

Big thanks to Holly who is looking after Prolific at the moment in very cold conditions. After a lot of sanding and cleaning, today she has started the varnishing:


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* Privacy and data protection
We have recently reviewed all our data protection and privacy policies and you can read them on the website here. These policies look at information we might hold about you – from contact details for those who subscribe to this newsletter by email, through to details including medical information for people who sail with us – and lay out how we use your data and how we keep it safe.

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First aid training – including some great interactive films
A number of OYT South people have been doing the online extension courses for first aid qualifications which were about to expire, and one of the instructors reminded us of a great series of interactive films where you as a first aider have to decide what to do, and act quickly to save a life. The films take you through the complete process, giving you options at each stage - can you make the right decisions in time? It’s really worth doing – each exercise doesn’t take long but it’s completely absorbing and easy to get drawn in and feel some of the pressure of a real situation. It’s a good tool for ensuring that the key steps are so embedded in your mind that you automatically know what to do next with no hesitation.

Meanwhile, for anyone who hasn’t tackled this yet: if your three-year RYA first aid qualification is expiring while a full face-to-face course is impossible due to COVID, the RYA is currently allowing a one-year extension (not a full three-year renewal) via video conference. This is a much shorter course (around 2 hours) and you can see further details and a list of centres offering the course here. Quite a few OYT South people have tried this course with different centres and all felt it was useful and worthwhile.

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Useful training videos on basic boating skills
One of our volunteers, Dom Coleman, who runs Dorset Marine Training, has been making some videos on basic boating tips – do have a look. There are some really simple videos on things like setting up lines and fenders:


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* Financial appeal

Huge thanks this week to the Peter Dixon Trust for another very generous donation, and also to the Sail Training International Youth Development Fund who will be supporting our next voyage with the MACS crew of visually-impaired young people. This is particularly significant because it was the result of a joint fundraising application prepared by OYT South and MACS – two charities which have had a tough year working to support one another. Big thanks also to all our supporters and friends who have responded with such kindness and generosity to our appeal over the last year. We are not thanking everyone individually in the bulletin only because quite a few people have asked to remain anonymous; but we are truly grateful to all of you. Everyone who has contributed and is still contributing is playing a huge part in getting us through this long period with no voyage income, and ensuring that the charity will be strong enough to do important work with young people who will need us more than ever, as soon as we can safely sail again.

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

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Passports – be prepared

Since 1st January 2021, British passport holders travelling to the EU will need to ensure that on the day you travel, your passport has at least 6 months left, and it must also be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left). If you’re planning to sail with us once we get up and running again, do make sure your passport is in order in case your voyage might be able to sail to France. You might find it convenient to get it renewed while travel isn’t possible so that you don’t have to send it off for renewal later on!

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Refit plans this winter - postponed

We had hoped to be running Prolific’s winter refit at the moment but no-one will be surprised to hear that we have postponed bringing the team back together on board. Obviously we don’t want to put our staff at risk and it’s important to help protect the NHS.

This year’s refit will be as small as possible and won’t need to take very long, and we won’t be calling for the usual army of volunteer help. Once we can start the refit work, if anything comes up where we do need help and can manage it safely, we will let you know; but in the meantime we want to thank everyone who has worked so hard on Prolific in recent years and ensured that the boat is in such a good condition that we only need to tackle the bare essentials this year.

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2021 sailing plans

We are determined to do everything possible to sail this year and not spend another full season with Prolific in harbour. There are still a lot of unknowns about what might be possible with voyages in 2021 and there will need to be some changes to the draft programme: but we DO hope and expect to be needing volunteer sea staff in 2021!

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2021 volunteer bookings
- send in your bids now
We don’t yet have anything like enough sea staff bids to be able to start allocating voyages but despite all the uncertainties, we DO want to hear from you!

Because we hope to be sailing in 2021 and we know that volunteer sea staff need to have dates in your diaries so you can also make other plans, we want to take sea staff bookings as normal. We obviously have to accept that not all voyages will necessarily go ahead exactly as planned, but it is much better to have a team of volunteers provisionally booked and available for each voyage period rather than struggling to put teams together at the last minute.

Therefore, if you want to sail as a volunteer in 2021, PLEASE in details of when you are available and how much time you can spare, just as you did last year - but please read the rest of this section before doing so!

If you have had a skipper's recommendation (which means that EITHER you have sailed on a youth voyage and been told at the end that you have been recommended to come back for bosun or watchleader training, or you have done an adult voyage and been given a recommendation at the end) but are not yet an assessed and qualified member of sea staff, your next step is to sail on a youth voyage of four nights or more, for further training and assessment. Not all voyages are suitable for this but please send in details of your availability and we'll aim to match you with an appropriate voyage.

Qualified sea staff (anyone who sailed with us as a watchleader, bosun or engineer in 2019 or previously) - ideally please give us voyage numbers of anything you would like to do (see here for voyage numbers); or give us names of any regular clients you'd particularly like to sail with. But if you have really flexible availability, the easiest thing is to tell us the maximum number of days you can offer in 2021.

Please note that we DO need you to send in details of when you can sail (whether specific voyage numbers, or an idea of the times of year you can or can’t do - e.g. if you can only sail in school/college/uni holidays - in which case do give us exact dates) and/or how much time you can offer - please DON'T email to ask what voyage dates are available. The reasons for this are complicated but it’s basically all about the need to put together teams of sea staff with the right blend of experience, qualifications and skills, rather than booking people one-by-one.

We really need to get bids in from as many people as possible before we can start the allocation process. If you really need an answer quickly then please tell us your deadline and we will do our best for you!

Once the main round of allocations is completed we will advertise any remaining gaps, but you may find there's not a lot of choice at that stage. Please send bids or questions to

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2021 volunteer training – on board

Because none of our volunteers have sailed Prolific for a year, we will aim to run some refresher trips at the start of the season.

Obviously plans can change and things may need to be postponed but we’re currently looking at the possibility of sailing with volunteers on the following dates (with youth voyages starting after that):

A) Friday 2nd April 8pm – Sunday 4th April 5pm
B) Tuesday 6th April 8pm - Thurs 8th April 5pm
C) Friday 9th April 8pm to Sunday 11th April 5pm
D) Tuesday 13th April 8pm to Thurs 15th April 5pm
E) Friday 16th April 8pm to Sunday 18th April 5pm

We may not be able to sail with a full boat so places are likely to be limited. First priority will go to relief skippers, first mates and second mates. If there are spare places we will then look at those third mates and bosuns who are applying to do quite a few voyages; and only if there are spare places after that will we allocate them to occasional 3Ms, bosuns and trainee mates. This is simply because if we get the more senior team and the regulars happy and comfortable on board again, they will be in a good position to supervise and support others as needed on youth voyages. Skippers, 1Ms and 2Ms need to be ready to take on their usual responsibilities as soon as we start sailing with young people - others can more easily get extra help if you are a bit rusty!

However, none of this should stop people at any level from applying for these voyages – we might as well know who would be available and keen if there are spaces. We just want to be clear that we may not be able to fit everyone in and we don’t want you to be disappointed if you apply for something and don’t get it.

So please email now to say which of the training voyages A to E you could do, if they go ahead on those dates. If possible please give us some flexibility so we can fit others around anyone who has limited availability. And if you can sail on weekdays then please do offer, in order to free up weekends for those who have limited annual leave and would like to take it later in the year to sail on youth voyages.

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Raise funds for OYT South if you're shopping online!

"What a fool I was!" says Mark Todd.

"For ages I've seen in the bulletin that Easyfundraising is a good way to raise money for charity, but I never got round to doing anything about it, and when Caz told me how easy it was, I didn't listen.

I thought it might be a hassle, or that I'd have to remember to do something when I bought stuff online, or that it probably wasn't really worthwhile.

This week I finally got round to it and it turns out it's a REALLY EASY way to raise money for the charity I care about ... and I definitely should have done it sooner.

It takes a minute or two to sign up; you can do it on a desktop, tablet and/or phone, and you can install a widget that flags up when a donation is available. Once that's done, imagine you're looking to buy - say - a rainbow unicorn: just put "rainbow unicorn" in your usual search box, and the list of results shows you which sites come with donations, and how much. It's up to you what to pick and whether to accept the donation from the site, but a huge choice of sites will offer a donation - and it doesn't cost you a penny.

I don't know why I didn't do it sooner ... but if there's anyone else who has been like me and just not got round to it, PLEASE click the link now and sign up!"


OYT South is also 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.

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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?

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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Online training courses for volunteers - why not get qualified and improve your skills now?
If you can't get involved in your normal activities at the moment, maybe it's a good time to think about some qualifications and training? 

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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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