Finally, the news you have all been waiting for: we have a refit house with lots of room for all of you to stay when you come to help! The address is 24 River Green, Hamble le Rice, Southampton SO31 4JA (just ten minutes’ walk from our lovely warm indoor refit). Don’t forget to call skipper Wolf or bosun Craig on 07771 771864 to tell them when you are coming – then we can make sure there is a) someone to let you in b) enough food and c) space for you to sleep.
Over the next few months you will undoubtedly receive lots of messages begging and pleading for you to come and help (apologies to those who are too young to come…), talking about all the vital jobs which still need doing. But it’s worth pausing for a moment at this stage to point out that REFITS CAN BE FUN! (I can see Wolf and Craig looking sceptical at this, but then they have to do it full-time, and they carry all the responsibility for getting it finished on time and to budget).
But for volunteers, it is a great way of getting to know the boat and each other. If you are one of those people who occasionally finds OYT South a bit daunting, or you worry that everyone seems to know each other already, then come to the refit. In no time at all you will get to know all the regulars and understand all the gossip. And don’t forget that keen refit helpers take priority when it comes to booking the most popular berths next year. It can also make a real difference to those who are looking to progress as sea staff, because refit helpers learn all sorts of useful things, like where all the seacocks are (just look at the successes of star relief bosuns like Ollie Watts, since he learned from first-hand experience how deep the mid-bilge is, or Katy Tarrant and third mate Julia Davies since they invented a technique for painting the crew quarters which somehow involved footprints on the walls….)
The first name on this year’s Refit Warriors Roll of Honour is Kathryn Francis, who has just left college and has volunteered to help out at the refit for a while. There are some other helpers due down this weekend but I shall resist naming names until next week in case there are any amusing anecdotes. Sadly the position of “Maker of the First Numpty Error of the Refit 2004-5” has already gone. He knows who he is and I am waiting to see how much he will bribe me not to tell.
Anyway, we are hoping to get John Laing moved round to Hamble Point next Monday (22nd November) and will spend the week decommissioning the boat and removing everything that has to come off. The masts come out on November 29th and she’ll be lifted out of the water on November 30th.
Three things we need URGENTLY (please think about any suggestions for cheap or free supplies): we need scaffolding, and we need to construct some tenting, which will require a lot of timber and polythene sheeting. PLEASE HELP! (Call 07771 771864 with any offers).
Meanwhile, last weekend saw the annual meeting of OYT UK, the body which brings together all the different OYT regions. We met in Newcastle and spent some time discussing a set of minimum standards which should ensure that safety procedures and staff assessments in all OYT areas must reach a certain level. It will be open to individual regions to set even higher standards of their own, but they will not have the option to go lower. A document should be presented to the Board of OYT UK early in 2005 for their approval. This should be a very good policy to have; because although all OYT regions are formally independent, we could of course be affected if there were ever news reports of an accident or injury in another OYT region; and agreed minimum standards will help us all to share best practice.
Another group at the OYT UK meeting discussed youth work; OYT South was represented there by Steve Lacey and I’ll be asking him shortly whether anything came up which should be circulated to you all in a future bulletin.
Next, a notice to all those of you within reach of Southampton: OYT South’s Southampton Support Group AGM will be on Wednesday 1 December at Hythe Sailing Club starting at 8pm. Chairman Peter Hughes would like to encourage all supporters in the area to go along. He says: “A bar and food will be available. The existing Officers are all prepared to stand for re-election but challenges from others will be welcomed. All that is required is to be proposed and seconded by OYT South members. Please come along with your ideas for the future. It is not essential, but we would like to have some idea of how many people plan to attend. Please let me know if you are intending to do so. If you have difficulty in travelling to Hythe please let me know and we will see what can be arranged regarding transport.” If you have any queries please contact Peter either by email (email@example.com) or phone 023 8084 2165 or 077 5247 6589.
And finally, the usual reminders:
CREW BOOKINGS for 2005: see the 2005 sailing programme with dates and prices at www.oytsouth.org. Crew members, group leaders and anyone with a suggestion for new groups to approach should contact the office on 0870 241 2252, firstname.lastname@example.org for bookings.
SEA STAFF (and prospective sea staff) BOOKINGS for 2005: email me with your booking preferences (including second choices where possible), both for regular trips and assessment or familiarisation voyages. If you need to discuss anything, call 07986 354697.
REFIT APPEAL: Many thanks to all those who have donated already – there have been some strikingly generous contributions. However, we are still some way short of our target, so please help if you can. Remember, £10 each from 100 people is a lot easier than hoping for one person to step forward with £1,000. Cheques payable to OYT South to Spur House, 1 The Spur, Alverstoke, Gosport, Hants PO12 2NA – but taxpayers please contact the office on 0870 241 2252 to ask about GIFT AID first – your donation will be worth so much more.
AND AN IDEA FOR CHRISTMAS!: Avoid all those unwanted socks, strange jumpers, aftershave / perfume that smells like Toilet Duck (yummy), CDs by unknown Europop has-beens and novelty chocolates in the shape of body parts – in fact all those gifts that might as well be labelled “Sorry, I couldn’t think what to give you” – and try asking your friends and family for one of these instead: http://www.allaboutgiving.org/vouchers/voucher_info.cfm.