John Laing at sea

Isle of Wight - Ocean Youth Trust South

Sailing opportunities for young people from the Island

Ocean Youth Trust South has a support group on the Isle of Wight which works hard to raise funds so that local young people can sail with us.

In 2019 and 2020, voyages places were allocated through a competition which asked local residents to nominate exceptionally deserving, disadvantaged or vulnerable young people who would not otherwise be able to afford to sail.

Thanks to Island Support Group fundraising and the help of many generous donors, six places were fully-funded in 2019 and ten in 2020. However, the nominations were so outstandingly strong that OYT South was able to persuade donors living in other areas to support the project as well, with eight additional young people from the Isle of Wight funded separately in 2019 and more to come in 2020.


If you would like to join the Island Support Group or make a donation, please email XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.

If you want to make a donation NOW via Paypal to the fund which will be allocated by the Island Support Group, please use this button:

The competition to nominate young people for funded places in 2020 is now closed but future opportunities to nominate someone will be announced here as well as via social media and local press where possible. If you want to be notified when any future competition opens, please send an email headed: "Subscribe to Isle of Wight mailing list" to XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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Two 14-year old participants in the 2019 Isle of Wight voyage, Hope and Harry. wrote the following account of their time on board:

"We have just had four nights on board OYT South's vessel Prolific. We were split into three watches, luckily we were both in the same watch. Five young people were in each watch and everyone had a job when we tacked.

We started in Southampton and after our first night in Ocean Village we went through the Needles Channel where at least half of the crew were seasick. We sailed to Swanage where we anchored.

The next day Harry had a go at fishing off the boat but sadly didn’t catch anything. Then we launched the dinghy off the back of the boat and went ashore to Swanage Beach where we spent an hour playing games and looking for interesting rocks and stones. Harry found some sparkly rocks which we are still waiting to get identified by Harry’s geologist cousin.

After Swanage Beach we returned to the boat for sausage casserole. We set a course for sailing into Poole Harbour and went into the marina where they had excellent showers! Our third night was alongside in the marina at Poole.

On Monday we had a wonderful sail around the Isle of Wight. It was calm with not much wind, but off St Catherine’s Point it was fun because it was quite bumpy. No-one was seasick that day and we could go on the bowsprit so long as we were doubly clipped on. Hope nearly lost her shoe!

Seeing the Isle of Wight from the water was fun, we could identify the towns quite well and we could see Bembridge lifeboat station and we sailed between the big forts. Harry did quite a lot of steering, he steered from St Catherine’s Point to Bembridge, it was on the wind so there were no tacks.  We anchored at Stokes Bay which is at the entrance to Southampton Water on the mainland shore, we had dinner and waited until it was dark so we could do some night sailing from Stokes Bay to Cowes.

Night sailing was cool, it was easy to trip and stumble in the dark but we were doubly clipped on all the time. We both got to steer, Hope didn’t like steering because it was with a huge heavy wheel and Prolific took ages to respond.  We motored from Stokes Bay to Cowes, we both loved the night sailing, it was amazing, probably the best bit. It was weird to see the cars on the road with their headlights.

So we came into Cowes and came alongside at Shepherd’s Wharf, we all had to help tie the boat on the pontoon. After our debrief, we all went to bed as it was quite late.

Our last morning, we did a big clean up and packed our kit. Lots of people came on board to welcome us back and we took lots of photos."

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Hope's dad added:

"The whole voyage was a huge success, the OYT South crew were absolutely brilliant and friendly, throughout - very welcoming and superbly organised. Hope was, immediately, made to feel at home. The on board food was excellent. There was alwaysplenty to do on board and to see from the decks. Hope thoroughly enjoyed the experience and a huge thanks of gratitude to everyone involved in giving this opportunity."

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Hope and Harry have been working hard to raise funds for themselves in order to sail with OYT South again, since there are enough outstanding applicants for Island Support Group funding to make it unlikely that anyone would win a place through that competition for two years in a row - there is always a preference for giving the opportunity to people who have never previously had the chance.



Lord Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight, Susie Sheldon,
and Jamie Sheldon, Commodore of the Royal Yacht Squadron,
on board Prolific with some of the 2019 winners.

Comments from previous isle of Wight crew members

"My best bit was probably coming onto the boat being really nervous and not knowing anything about boats and now, having some level of confidence with what I’m doing and like tacking and navigating round Poole and stuff. I genuinely have loved this week " - girl aged 14

"This was an incredible opportunity for me. I have had an incredible experience, but I would really have liked to stay a bit longer on board, In the future, I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to return" - boy aged 14

"Really enjoyed the voyage and made some good friends. I’m a bit more confident now and wouldn’t mind doing it again" - girl aged 15

"I think the best bit was when we were sailing through the Needles and it was really bumpy, until I was sick, that wasn’t so good!" - boy aged 13

"My best bit was when like I was just sitting on like the side and nothing that was massively going on and it was relaxing and you could just enjoy what was going on around you, like the view and the water and it was just nice" - girl aged 15

"Probably one of the best bits was probably helming round the Island, as we went down South round there. That was really fun. And the most lasting memory is all of the friends that I’ve made and how I’ve got to know everybody and all the fun times that we’ve had" - boy aged 14

"I think the best bit was probably some of the night sailing last night. I don’t think there even was a worst bit" - boy aged 16

“I have learnt and seen loads of new things and I will remember for the rest of my life! ” Jemima, aged 12