These days will come again


OYT South bulletin 15th January 2021

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

* 2021 volunteer training - shorebased -
including an additional course – book now
Time to let us know if you can attend any of the online sessions we are planning for our training weekend on February 20th and 21st.

More details below but it would be helpful to have an idea of numbers if you can 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 NEW Sunday afternoon – Thinking about Yachtmaster Coastal / Offshore?

  • Youthwork (Saturday morning): 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) which we will ask you to do at home before the training weekend, looking at the impact of adverse childhood experiences and how young people can be protected and supported to build resilience. 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): 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 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 – 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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* In this week in previous years
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.

The first memory from this time in years gone by actually goes back before the weekly newsletter began, with a memory from Chris Lane of the time when Rosie Lovett was Staff Bosun in 2003. Chris – who was Chair of the Board of Trustees – arrived to help at refit and promptly found himself faced with very strict instructions from Rosie, who was just turning 19 at the time, to crawl inside one of the water tanks with a can of sticky black substance with which to coat the interior of the tank … plus his own clothes, hair, face and glasses. Chris says: “Rosie’s accomplished management skills were in clear evidence at that tender age” and they have certainly been put to good use in managing a successful career, twins, and our Chief Executive. Happy birthday Rosie!

In 2004 the core refit team returned to work and were comparing Christmas presents. Dinghy Boy got pair of binoculars incorporating a digital camera … anyone sailing with him that season was advised that there was now a 100-metre exclusion zone for bad behaviour around him if you didn’t want to risk a permanent record of all misdemeanours. Meanwhile Phoebe (now Jenny Crawford) was delighted to have been given new thermals even though they seemed to turn her skin blue, but after months at refit was a bit bemused by some of her other presents and was wondering what a skirt and make-up would actually be for? She brought a friend along who might have reminded her that a civilised (non-refit) world still existed but Karen was swiftly covered in as much refit dust and dirt as anyone else:


In 2005, Gizmo (whose refit recollections were published last week) was let loose with paint in assorted lockers and other confined spaces, and had to have a haircut as a consequence since the paint couldn’t be removed any other way.

The bulletin in this week in 2006 showed us flying through huge amounts of refit work fuelled almost entirely by flapjacks. And in 2007 our own core team and volunteers had some fantastic help from the Wheatsheaf Trust, a great local charity in Southampton which among other things supports young people not in education, employment or training. A team of six of their people really made a difference to our refit and hopefully gave them useful experience. Meanwhile one of our volunteers, Becca Causer, an artist, offered to transform the plain white inner sides of our toilet doors. Here’s Staff Bosun Laura trying to fit her head on to the body of Becca’s fantastical mermaid:


Becca’s doors were to remain a feature on board John Laing for the next decade.

The January 2008 refit team were also deep into painting but seemed rather better at avoiding the need for a haircut after painting:


This picture is of Emma who has now moved on from being covered with paint ...

In this week in 2010 we sadly said goodbye to Staff Bosun Liz Key, and said hello to Kirsten Mackay although the welcome was not as warm as we would have hoped owing to the fact that the heater was refusing to play and had to be sent off for repairs. One of our volunteers, Brendan, who had been working on fishing boats in the North Sea, wrote on Facebook that only a wuss would want a heater anyway, and he’d be happy to work out of doors in a t-shirt in this weather. We invited him to come and show us how it should be done but somehow this photo appears to show a bit more than a t-shirt:

Ben and Brendan

We were also immensely grateful to Marina Developments Ltd (MDL) who kindly gave us storage space in Ocean Village so that we were able to move our kit out of a leaking old storage container!

In this week in 2011 we were holding a Be Nice To Fiona day as one of the core team was celebrating her birthday, and we also had a great session with a team from International Paint who came by to give advice on different products and things they might like to test on us.

In 2012 this week, the refit team was having a day out at the London Boat Show, which Staff Bosun Dave spent dressing up:


In this week in 2013 we had a new radiator in the oilskin locker!


Tigger and Clive were installing new woodwork in the heads:


And a young apprentice engineer was busy replacing all the plastic piping on the heating system with copper:


In 2014 we were about to have two teams of volunteers from law firm HFW to help us paint the deck so we were under pressure to have everything sanded, cleaned and taped off ready for them:

Deck sanding

Deck cleaning - Marcus

Deck taping

It was deck sanding time again in this week in 2015 and volunteers Joe and Dom were getting used to living in a permanent sandstorm:

Joe and Dom


The great excitement in this week in 2017 was the installation of Prolific’s new saloon table, with fantastic funding support from the DCR Allen Trust. When we bought Prolific, she didn’t have the option of a big central table seating everyone (a much-loved feature on board John Laing) but these new folding tables have proved to be exactly what we needed and this week’s newsletter introduced everyone to how it was all going to work:




The core team celebrating by going trampolining!


In 2018, Holly got the heating fixed (a recurring theme in the newsletters!) and Georgia finished the mammoth task of connecting all the fresh water foot pumps to replace the old salt water system. The team also had an outing to the Boat Show and Peta and Caz were delighted to be guests at a Women in Marine event.

It is strange to look back at the newsletter this time last year when we were still looking forward to a normal sailing season with no idea what lay ahead. The refit was going well enough that some of the core team were able to take time out in a small boat for staff development and brushing up their skills. As you can see it all went well:

Peta and Ollie

Georgia, Mark, Ollie

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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* Baby news – Emma Burrows
Huge congratulations to longstanding watchleader Emma Burrows and Matthew Gunby on the birth in December of Finley:


Emma has been a second mate for many years but we have known her since she was a teenager – though we haven’t been able to find a photo from that far back. But here she is sailing on a Tall Ships cruise in the Baltic in 2009 (on the far left):


Emma and Matt very kindly raised funds for OYT South at their wedding and of course Finley is now booked for a voyage in 2033.

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* Prolific news

We may have postponed bringing the refit team back together but there are still a few things happening!

Big thanks to Quantum who will be looking after our sails this winter and came today to fetch them:


We’ve also had some new fire extinguishers delivered:

Fire extinguishers

And we have installed new hand sanitiser dispensers:

Hand sanitiser

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* First aid certificates
If your three-year RYA first aid certificate 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. If you do one of these courses, please let us know how it goes so we know what to recommend to others!

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* Home education resources - National Marine Aquarium

If you are trying to home-educate children at the moment, you may be interested in these sessions on ocean conservation. They have some great themes for 7-11-year olds plus Marina the resident mermaid reading stories for younger children.

If you come across other relevant maritime resources, do let us know so we can include them in future editions of this newsletter.

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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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Financial appeal

Big thanks 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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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