John Laing in refit

Refit team

Help us over the winter - and learn new skills!

This page describes what happens with OYT South's winter vessel refit in a normal year, without COVID-19. Things will be rather different in 2020-21 owing to social distancing requirements; and we are not expecting to be able to take on a core team of volunteers in the normal way. By all means read on if you want to see how things usually work; but for the time being we are advising that anyone interested in volunteering with us should send an email to asking to be added to the mailing list for our volunteers' newsletter - which will keep you informed about any new developments.

As well as our regular volunteers who come to help with our winter vessel refit for a weekend or a few days at a time, we usually need at least a couple of long-term volunteers to join the core refit team: perhaps to do a full refit from November to March - or at least to do a period of a few weeks or months rather than the odd day here and there that most volunteers can manage.

A place on the core team is worth considering if you are between jobs or on a gap year or a career break. It could be ideal for someone considering a career in the marine industry (especially because some employers like to see evidence that candidates can offer more than just sailing skills, and the ability to keep a boat maintained and even to fix things at sea might just be enough to make the difference between you and another candidate with similar sailing experience). Quite a few past core team volunteers have moved on to paid work in the sailing industry at first mate or skipper level, where an understanding of maintenance issues is vital.

But the roles are also suitable for anyone who likes the idea of contributing a few weeks' work to a good charitable cause.

Volunteers receive food, and accommodation if we have space, as well as experience in boat repairs and maintenance.

Volunteers on the core team must be aged 18+ .

Practical skills in any aspect of boat maintenance will be an advantage but not essential. What is vital is that core team volunteers should be hard-working, responsible and enthusiastic. It is vital that volunteers are also prepared to take responsibility for a share of cooking and cleaning.

Long-term core-team volunteers are a vital part of the refit effort as they provide continuity against the background of short-term volunteers coming and going. They have time to become familiar with a variety of refit tasks, becoming capable and competent enough to work with minimal supervision, allowing the professional staff to get on with other work.

Core refit volunteers often go on to become bosuns, watch leaders or relief engineers with Ocean Youth Trust South during the sailing season - anyone who works hard for us over the winter has every chance of a place on some exciting voyages the following year if you want!

For winter 2019-20, the boat will be based in Southampton and we will arrange accommodation for our paid staff team and refit volunteers nearby. However, space is limited and volunteers who have their own accommodation in the area are always much appreciated. We will not necessarily be able to offer accommodation during all weekends and holidays, so we are not able to consider overseas applicants who do not have anywhere else to stay in the UK.

About our winter refit

Please email giving your age; some information about any sailing or maintenance experience; a phone number as well as an email address, and tell us whether you have somewhere to live during the refit or would need to live in our accommodation. Please also confirm that you have somewhere to stay in the UK for any weekends and holidays when the refit is closed.







“Great insight into the practical side of sailing - thanks.” Sam, 20