These days will come again


OYT South bulletin 19th February 2021

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

* 2021 volunteer training – online –
Those of you who have booked a place on any of the online sessions this weekend should already have received an email with the Zoom link and other details – if you haven’t had your emails(s) for all the correct sessions please let us know now.

It’s not too late to add a few last-minute bookings – you can see details of the sessions on offer here. Don’t forget the Saturday evening online social; and there will be people around online during breaks in the day if you just want to drop in and say hello – again, email us for the Zoom link.

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Prolific’s Big Virtual Voyage – the first pledges - please get involved and start fundraising!

We’ve had some huge pledges made towards Prolific’s Big Virtual Voyage next month, bringing our current total to 182 miles! Enough to take us all the way to Weymouth via Poole, then back around the east of the Isle of Wight - tacking upwind the whole way. A phenomenal start. ⠀

So just how far can we take Prolific?! Different members of the team are hoping for Spain or the Baltic – but for that, we need more pledges. Whether you can do 2, 20, or 200 miles: they’ll all count. Here’s how it works:

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

Well done to Charles, Halima and James who have already committed to taking part:

Charles James


And Andrew Millar, MDL’s Ocean Village marina manager, has pledged that he and his team will count their steps for the week and add them to the total – but we have no idea how much distance that might add!

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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
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, the refit team were all hooked on the TV series “24” and so when the appearance of this week’s newsletter happened to mark 24 days until John Laing had to go back in the water, it felt like a significant moment, with skipper Wolf playing Kiefer Sutherland in our very own OYT South version of what the BBC website was describing as “Television Without Pity”. Our refit had the same level of nail-biting tension, the same devastating pace, and the same uncertainty as to which of the leading characters would still be standing at the end. Not quite feeling the same level of urgency was the Trustee who had kindly taken the lightboxes away to sand and varnish. He emailed this week to say he would be bringing them back on March 20th. John Laing was due to set off on her first voyage on March 19th …

The most exciting development of the week appears to have been the purchase of a new chipping hammer – had we worn out the old one? Perhaps we were re-enacting the Shawshank Redemption and not 24 at all.

Skipper Wolf was still insisting on a daily basis, loudly and clearly and repeatedly, that no-one at all was to remove or dismantle anything else on the boat under any circumstances. He and bosun Craig then took off the main halyard and got the log impellor out, but the bulletin added firmly: “Note to Andy Royse: this still doesn’t mean you can take anything else to bits. Really not. We mean it.”

Wolf then went off with Trevor Hewson to the Caravan and Motor Home Exhibition: but apparently he was looking at ovens and not planning a career change.

In 2005 the newsletter carried an urgent appeal as it seemed we had bought every tin of P38 filler from every supplier in the vicinity of the refit and still needed more. People living elsewhere were being urged to hunt down supplies and bring them to the training weekend. Meanwhile refit volunteer Ceri had been renamed Bridget owing to an alleged resemblance to Renee Zellweger in Bridget Jones and was having to fend of enquiries about Big Pants.

The team had been antifouling and after the experience of the previous year when Wolf’s special deal cut-price antifouling turned out to be a sort of peach colour (an eye-watering contrast with the dark red topsides). He had been busily reassuring everyone that 2005’s antifouling would be “a sort of off-white.” It was definitely off white: it would have been hard to be any further off. It was off-white in the sense that the top one of a set of traffic lights is off-white. We were concerned that anyone who could see it as off-white would be a hazard on watch due to their tendency to mistake port-hand lights for stern lights …

Meanwhile we were preparing for the AGM, which used to happen in February in those days, and the bulletin noted that Mark Boggis was standing for election for the first time, alongside three people standing for re-election: Travis Musselwhite (one of OYT South’s founder Trustees), Andy Royse, and Caz - who in those days had another job and was not on the staff.

Meanwhile we had some emails with excuses for people not being at refit. Rob Harwood was in Mexico studying volcanos, and Katy Tarrant was in New Zealand amusing herself by jumping out of planes and other adventures, all apparently inspired by the experience of dangling off the side of John Laing in a climbing harness.

In this week in 2006 the newsletter reported that we had loads of help at refit – evidently including a very young Adam Lane – don’t forget he is looking for your help now:


2007’s refit this week appeared to be prioritising contortionists:



In 2009 we had just held our shorebased training weekend where despite snow causing some travel difficulties, 48 new qualifications were earned by OYT South volunteers, in Sea Survival, GMDSS radio, radar, first aid, diesel engines, and basic food hygiene – with the latter course taking the prize for the most laughter coming from behind their classroom door.

We were also announcing the winners of the Chris Ellis Award, in memory of one of our founders and judged by his family, for the best accounts of a voyage in the previous season, and this year it was shared between Seonaid Strachan, aged 13, who told us how the voyage helped her to feel more confident with new people, and Cami Rothe, aged 14, who wowed the judges from the Ellis family with her overwhelming enthusiasm. This was sustained as she went on to volunteer with us alongside a professional sailing career!

Meanwhile on board John Laing, the interior varnishing had been tackled on a grand scale for the first time since at least 2001, and combining that with new head lining in the crew quarters made for quite a transformation.

Meanwhile the nav station was going back in:


The wheel was being re-covered:


And we had started a patchwork of antifouling where we were testing various different products for International Paint.

The newsletter in 2010 announced the sad death of Penny Buckley, who was a trustee and volunteer watch leader in the early days of OYT South, and one of the small band of people who helped to keep the charity going after the reorganisation of the old Ocean Youth Club into separate regional charities. Penny was one of the few civilian volunteers who took part when the Army chartered John Laing for an Antarctic expedition in 2001-2, joining the leg from the Falklands to Rio. In later years she looked after the refit team, often supplying a freezer-full of food, or turning up with a large ginger cake.

Meanwhile on board we noted that the team had “taken out the companionway steps for varnishing so that it is now necessary to levitate in and out of the boat”. We were also working on the bottle-screws:


And we were tackling the woodwork on deck:


We also carried a report on the training weekend which had taken place a couple of weeks earlier with 53 qualifications gained in GMDSS radio, radar, first aid, food hygiene, diesel engines and lifejacket packing:





We were delighted to report that OYT South’s nominee, Brendan Stewart, had won one of the International Exchanges organised by the Association of Sail Training Organisations, and would be off to join a Canadian sail training vessel in the summer. Brendan first sailed with us as a crew member on Tall Ships in 2006, where he impressed with his immense cheerfulness in the face of some truly horrible weather. He was invited back to train as a relief bosun, and had been a regular bosun and refit volunteer ever since. He was OYT South’s second successful nomination for this award, as Ben Martin had won it two years earlier (you can read Ben’s story here.) Here are Ben and Brendan working together at refit:


In 2011 the team from International Paint (including Roger Bolton, who – ten years on – is now one of our Trustees!) came to inspect the work on board – and to get stuck in alongside us, to paint the topsides:

International Paint

In 2013 we were once again looking shiny:


In this week in 2015 were saying goodbye to the last of our core team volunteers as Joe Macgregor had been offered a job – we had a great team that winter but they were so good that other people had noticed and were luring them away, so we were more reliant than ever on our casual volunteers, who were, as ever, stepping up when needed!

In 2016 Prolific’s hull weas so shiny that Andy had taken to using it as a mirror:


Meanwhile we were busy servicing winches:


We were also congratulating the latest in a long line of OYT South volunteers to win the ASTO International Exchange to sail in Canada. This year it was Jack Dignan, who was our Youth Trustee at the time and a great ambassador for OYT South and for UK sail training in general.

In this week in 2017, Berthon - the company which had just helped us to sell John Laing - published on their website a very enthusiastic piece about the work of OYT South - well worth a read. Meanwhile we had had two blocks of sea trials and staff training on board Prolific, with 28 staff and volunteers involved. The first of the two teams had bad weather at the start but used the time for all sorts of jobs: tracing systems, sorting the medical kit, getting sails on board, working on the risk assessment and much more, including getting all the electronics signed off by Raymarine. They finally got to sea and hoisted four sails, including the brand-new mizzen, and had a good chance to practise sail handling and for several people to try driving back to an MOB. There was a good deal of work with the two headsails - jib and staysail - developing our techniques and looking at bowsprit working. Meanwhile relief skipper Vince’s catering was a highlight of the weekend.

The second team got the brand-new staysail on board and sailed to Gosport with lots of opportunities for practising drills and skills in very cold conditions. We also joined the parade of sail to welcome Alex Thomson home to Gosport - a great event which attracted a big crowd.

Parade of sail

Then we sailed to East Cowes where we practised various scenarios including the use of the anchor windlass and fire pump, and also spent some time getting teams to identify every seacock and through-hull fitting on the boat. On Sunday we sailed back to Ocean Village and had a look at the daily engine checks and the muster stations. It was beginning to seem realistic that we could start the season sailing with young people, with a team who would be able to deliver great voyages on board our new and very different boat!

sea trials

2018’s refit team were getting through loads of work but also enjoying Pancake Day:



And we were announcing the latest Chris Ellis Award winner, Pearl Harris, who was aged 19 when she sailed on a voyage organised by MACS, the charity for children born without eyes or with underdeveloped eyes. Pearl's account of her voyage as a tactile scrapbook can be seen here:


The runner-up was Jess Collingwood (16) for this voyage account.

In 2019, Prolific was out of the water for some work on the bowthruster - here's Josh admiring it:



Various areas of the boat which are normally hard to access had been cleaned out, and the anchor chain markings had been renewed.



This time last year were announcing another round of Chris Ellis Award winners. The top award went to 13-year old Keira Webster for this poem:

My sailing experience
I will never forget my sailing trip
All the laughs we shared
And how much people cared
At first, I was shy
I couldn’t even say Hi
But as the days went on
I actually felt like I belonged
I met amazing crew and friends
Who I will truly know till the end
No matter how tired I was
I still persevered
And I overcame some of the things I feared
I have made true memories I will never forget
For example, Andy’s amazing bet
On how we should add an extra sail
I laughed to myself when I think how that failed.
Or the time on the beach I fell down the sand hole
Or the one where I almost banged my head on the pole
I sailed into Southampton the wind was on my side
Never before had I felt so alive
Those were good times I keep them close to my heart
I’m counting the day’s till next summer starts
I dream of being on Prolific once more
As I cross the Ocean with the birds as they soar.
The ocean just teases me time from time
Reminding me of my trip of a lifetime
I can’t wait to go back on a boat and do it again
I never want my passion to end

Runner-up was Alyssia Denness aged 15, who sent in this picture:

 Chris Ellis Award

Alyssia’s entry also included this accompanying text.

Meanwhile the refit team had been installing the reconditioned fire pump, which had undergone an almost magical transformation thanks to a grant from the Whirlwind Charitable Trust - from this:


To this:


There was also some work on the hull:



As well as in the engine room:


And on deck:


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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* How sail training changed my life – coming back from seasickness – Kieran’s story

We heard this week from Kieran O’Malley who is keen to get involved with the charity again, forty years after his first voyage with the Ocean Youth Club. Kieran says:

“While at school I worked on a pick-your-own farm and saved up. This enabled three trips in Master Builder out of Brightlingsea, Essex starting 1980. Two of them were to Holland and the third a get-together weekend up the Norfolk coast.

It’s hard to believe I came back after the first trip as I was seasick for about sixteen hours!! Oh yeah, I remember that alright. I thought I was immune to it as I had many trips on the ferry to Ireland. But it doesn’t stack up to a yacht. Coming ashore in Vlissengen was manna from heaven although I experienced that sea motion on land for the first time. We then spent a few days travelling the canals and sailing the inland seas of Holland. The towns were beautiful and so were the Dutch - they let me, a sixteen-year-old, have beer!!

The first trip had a couple of apprentices sent by their firm and we also had a lad from a council home, but we all got on so well. The next trip had some girls from Henley-on-Thames and a boy from a private school. Again we all gelled, so much so we arranged another trip – the weekend up to Norfolk.

But going back to the first trip. Yes, I was seasick, I even asked God to take me now. But three days later with some pills I surprised myself how much I loved tacking into wind in a force 5 on our way to Zeebrugge, what a change!!

But the night passage back to Essex was the one that stays with me. I saw the night sky like I’ve never seen it before – I think God took pity on me after the trip over and decided to put on a show.

I’ve no recollection on how I found out about the Ocean Youth Club, but I’m glad I did.

I'm in the bobble hat:


And here I'm feeding the seagulls mustard sandwiches - I was 16 …”


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* Prolific news

Big thanks to Holly who is looking after Prolific at the moment. This week has been all about varnishing and sanding of floors, stairs and window surrounds. Prolific will be even more beautiful than usual by the time the rest of us get to see her again!


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* Financial appeal
– including Sail Training International Youth Development Fund winners
Big thanks this week to David Dent and Mrs J Wyman for very kind donations.

Last week we also mentioned that we are very excited to be have been awarded a grant from the Sail Training International Youth Development Fund towards a joint project with MACS, so that we can run a voyage for young people born without eyes or with under-developed eyes. Sail training is all about teamwork and in a year when so many charities have struggled, it was fantastic to work with MACS on a joint fundraising application. The full list of winners has now been announced and we are in some great company! We look forward to welcoming the MACS young people on board Prolific. Huge thanks to Sail Training International for their support.

MACS sailing

Huge 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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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 social media using the hashtags #saveoutdoored and #sailtrainingchangeslives.

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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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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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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