The 2007 sailing season began with an excellent trip with the Devon and Cornwall Foyer Federation, a charity which supports homeless young people aged 16-25. Most unusually, the weather was right to go cross-Channel on the first trip of the season and, despite some seasickness, most of the crew enjoyed a breezy passage to Cherbourg. We spent a full day there, with some time ashore plus some good RYA training sessions, including the first rowing practice in our brand-new dinghy (thanks to the Lloyds TSB Foundation). This was followed by a calmer passage back across to Poole, and then the return to Southampton on the last full day. On this final passage, all the sea staff had a go at driving a man overboard practice drill, but the real drama of the day came in the form of a tiny wagtail which landed on deck in a state of panic, closely pursued by two hawks! The wagtail hid on the foredeck while the hawks circled the boat and occasionally landed in the rigging. They kept up the hunt for quite some time before flying off.
The voyage ended with RYA Start Yachting certificates all round, apart from those who had earned them on a previous voyage, and a few people making good progress towards Competent Crew. There were some great characters in this group, with real enthusiasm and some fantastic examples of individuals making significant progress. We would be delighted to see a lot of these young people again some time.
Sea staff on this voyage were Wolf, Laura (first proper trip as staff bosun!), Caz, Phil Runchman and Amanda Smith - many thanks to everyone involved. Amanda was one of the second mates who worked on the Gordonstoun school boat last season, with our old friend Special K as first mate - and Special K came to visit us that evening, having just completed her Ocean Yachtmaster course.
The next couple of days were spent on a mates' training weekend, with a keen group of current and prospective sea staff. Saturday morning was spent doing a detailed tour of the vessel’s equipment, reminding people of where everything is stowed and how it works, plus Wolf's "perfect sail hoist" training session, while Chris from Contact Marine did some essential work on our steering gear. Then we went across to Gosport in Force 7 winds, with lots of tacking practice and getting everyone used to using the primary winch and the backstays.
The plan was to fuel up and get going fairly quickly in the morning, but this was scuppered by a long delay on the fuel berth getting the pump switched on. However, we finally got underway and had a practice session with the trysail and storm jib so that everyone could see how they worked. But the wind died a little and we were soon back under normal sails to make our way into the north channel and back up Southampton Water. It was a good weekend with a combination of excellent sailing conditions and - we hope - informative training, which produced four new sea staff recommendations for people we hope to be able to run assessments for if we can fit them all in this year.
Thanks to sea staff for the weekend Wolf, Laura, Caz, John "Cuddles" Snowden and Chris.
This was followed by another voyage with a very mixed young crew, including some boys from second mate Rob Butler’s school plus a number of other individuals, including Kirsty who celebrated her 13th birthday on board. They went to Gosport on the first night and had planned to follow this with a passage round the south of the Isle of Wight, but forecast gales meant they chose to go through the Solent instead before making their way across to Poole and a night with the Sea Cadets' sail training vessel Royalist alongside. Yesterday they had a cracking sail back through the Solent, out past the forts and back again to Cowes, with lots of tacking; and finally they made their way back to Ocean Village this morning. Thanks to sea staff Steve Furniss, Laura, John Parkin, Rob Butler and Ben Martin.
Email responses etc.
For the last year or so, being self-employed, I have been able to spend a lot of time each week working for OYT South. However, from now until early May I am doing some intensive work for another organisation, so please bear with me if it takes longer than usual to deal with emails and queries - I'm dealing with a big backlog but I will reply as soon as I can! If you need quick answers, please contact the office.
Passwords to members-only website section
As some of you know, password access to the members-only section of this website was lost when we had server problems last month. This means that I need to re-enter every username and password separately, and, because of my work situation, it will take some time to complete the job. I'll let you know when it's done. I don't think anyone needs access really urgently, but let me know if you do. Otherwise, my plan is to start with the list of sea staff who are sailing this year. If you will not be on this list but would like a password, let me know.
Financial appeal and thanks
An excellent few days for fundraising lately - huge thanks to the Lister Charitable Trust for £12,500 (to be split between essential safety gear, a new mizzen, and bursary funding); to the EBM Charitable Trust for £10,000; and the Roger Brooke Charitable Trust for £500.
Current fundraising priorities are to start now on putting together a refit fund for next winter, so that we are better able to plan the jobs and don't face the usual cashflow problems at the last minute; and to build a bursary fund for this year, in order to open more of our voyages to disadvantaged and deserving young people. See here for how to make a donation.
We are keen to get more coverage in local papers for this sailing season, to encourage more crew bookings and donations, and I am looking for someone, or perhaps a team of people, to help with some basic media work.
The idea is that for each voyage, we identify the local paper for the crew's home area, for a group voyage, or pick one or two crew members if it was an individual voyage. I can provide an outline press release with spaces to fill in specific details each week. The volunteers' job will be to get permission from parents/group leaders as needed; fill in the gaps in the outline press release with details of the voyage and quotes from the participants; get a copy of a photo which should have been taken during the voyage; email the text and photo to the relevant newsdesk; and collect a copy of any resulting article for our records. Ideally any press release should go out within a few days of the end of the voyage.
A small team of volunteers would be ideal so that someone takes responsibility for each separate voyage. Good written English essential. Email me if you are interested.
21-25 May: Southampton to Torquay £250
27 May - 1 June: Torquay to Guernsey £350 (ASTO Small Ships race)
2-7 June: Guernsey to Poole £290
12-18 June: Southampton to Ipswich £350
21-29 June: Ipswich to Kiel (Germany) £480 (Baltic Challenge)
30 June - 7 July: Kiel to Arhus (Denmark) £420* (Baltic Challenge)
7-20 July: Arhus to Kotka (Finland) £845* (Tall Ships race)
20-29 July: Kotka to Stockholm (Sweden) £585* (Tall Ships cruise in company)
9-16 Aug: Szczecin (Poland) to Kiel £505 (Baltic Challenge)
10-14 Sept: Southampton £275
2-7 Oct: Southampton £325 (ASTO Small Ships race)
8-12 Oct: Southampton £240
15-19 Oct: Southampton £250
20-24 Oct: Southampton £250
See here for more information:
UK and south coast voyages.
Small Ships races (summer half term, or October)
Baltic challenge voyages (July/July, or August):
Tall Ships races (July / August)
Duke of Edinburgh Gold Residential projects
Please book now, or send the links to your friends!
For the full voyage programme, including latest figures on the number of berths available, see here.
We really need some help in filling the empty voyages - please use all your contacts and think whether you know anyone, groups or individuals, who might like to sail.If we get no bookings from young people (aged 12-25) for any particular voyage, we may offer it adult groups; but please note that our published voyage prices are subsidised for young people. Adult voyage prices can be negotiated with the office but are likely to be higher.
Anyone interested in any voyage, please contact the office.
Applications for bursary funding can be emailed to me and should include the following information:
In addition to general bursary funding, we have been offered a donation of £250 towards a voyage for someone from the Suffolk area who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford to sail. If this could be you, or someone you know, please email me as soon as possible.
If you need further help to raise your voyage fees, one option might be the Malcolm Chick Charity. You will see that anyone applying will need a supporting letter from OYT South - just email me a copy of the rest of your application, or send me a brief explanation of why you want to sail, why you are applying for a grant, and which voyage you hope to do, and I'll do the supporting letter if appropriate. Don't leave it to the last minute, in case I'm away sailing just when you need your letter!
Another option might be the Battisborough Charitable Trust. Applications can be made by individuals (not groups) from Devon and Cornwall only, to: Sonia Donovan, 57 Green Park Road, Plymstock, PL9 9HU. You will need to write a letter explaining a bit about yourself, why you want to sail and why you need help with funding. The Trust looks most favourably on people who have succeeded in raising some of the funds themselves, so you should write about what else you are doing towards paying the voyage fee - they will not normally cover 100% of your costs. And you should enclose a stamped, addressed envelope so they can reply to you.
Now available to download from the website and print out: two posters / flyers which you could hand out to people or put on a school, college or club notice board, to encourage young people to come sailing with us.
One is mainly pictures and is primarily designed to get people looking at our website; the other poster has a bit more text. Both can be printed on ordinary A4 paper so I hope you will find it easy to spread them around!
JL07-15, 18-20 May. First mate needed to sail with St Gabriel's School group.
JL07-16, 21-25 May. Second mate needed.
JL07-20, 8-11 June. Second or third mate needed to sail with Teenage Cancer Trust.
JL07-21, 12-18 June. Second mate needed for Southampton to Ipswich voyage.
JL07-23, 21-29 June. Third mate needed for Ipswich to Kiel voyage (depending on whether or not we can use this voyage for an assessment).
There are still some spaces later in the season, but I want to get these ones filled as soon as I can. Email me if you can help!
Please note that you should have paid your annual membership (£30) and annual sailing fee (£70) before you can book.
And those over 65 must also now have an ENG1 medical before you can sail - let me know if you need advice or information about arranging this. It does need to be an ENG1 and not any other kind of medical - please don't rush off and spend money on an ML5 or anything else. ENG1s need to be done by an MCA-approved doctor, not by your own GP.
Training voyages for sea staff and new prospective sea staff
There are one or two spaces on the adult training voyage 17-22 April (£275) - email me to book. This is the ideal trip for people new to OYT South who want to see how we run our voyages and get used to the boat before committing to training as a watch leader.
After that, there are two adult training voyages in September:
3-7 Sept (£275) - 12 places
7-9 Sept (£150) - 7 places
Prices INCLUDE your £30 annual membership and £70 mates sailing fee - which means that any other voyages you do in 2007 would be free! Email me to book.
Please note that as these voyages are for adults only, you cannot do your watch leader assessment on them - to be assessed, we have to see how you deal with leading and teaching young people. The adult training voyages are designed to give you a chance to get used to things before you take on the responsibility of trying to teach others.
New sea staff and those doing assessments this year MUST have completed an application form and a Criminal Records Bureau background check before you can sail with young people (adult voyages are fine) - details here. But please note that filling in your application form and getting your CRB check done just puts you on the list of people eligible for voyages - you MUST contact me about dates if you want to sail this year.
Ocean Theory course
Yvonne Taylor has space on an RYA Ocean Theory course from 23-.27 April at KTY Yachts. Cost £150. Call Yvonne if you are interested – 07785 335189. If you ever wanted to know how to find your position at sea from the sun or plan an ocean passage, this is a fascinating course which I can strongly recommend.
Small boat sailing
OYT South mate Dave Blogg has emailed to ask if anyone can help save a sailing trip in the Channel Islands which has been put in jeopardy by two people pulling out after a yacht had been booked, deposits paid and transport booked by the remaining crew members. Two berths available on a 44 ft yacht from Friday 29th June to Friday 6th July inclusive, joining the yacht in St Peter Port and cruising the Channel Islands before returning to St Peter Port. Cost £300 (excluding food, marina fees, diesel and travel to Guernsey). If you are interested please contact David Blogg before April 30th on 01453 544862 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. N. B. At least one person must have an RYA Coastal Skipper practical qualification. Small boat sailing experience is always important for OYT South sea staff who want to make progress and build qualifications so I hope someone will be able to help Dave!
Many congratulations to Trevor Hewson and Maggie who have just got married! Thanks also to Trevor for donating his van to the Trust to replace our old refit van. We wish Trevor and Maggie all the very best and hope they enjoy their cruise (not yachting in the Channel but a cruise ship in more exotic locations!)
Website - links needed
With so much work having been done on this website over recent months, it would be really great if we could increase the numbers of people visiting it. If you have any access to another website - anything from a marine site to a MySpace page - could you include a link to www.oytsouth.org? And let me know so that we can link back to you!
Oysterband Big Session Festival
Last year, an OYT South group had a great time at this music festival, and several people are planning to go again this year - it's held in Leicester on June 15-17. Details here.
Please keep sending photos from John Laing voyages or the refit, and I'll use the best on the website.
Survey - tell us what you think
Always looking for more responses to the web-based survey - please have a look!
Can you help track down this person?
Some time within the last year or two, second mate Trevor Hewson spoke to someone on board John Laing - possibly the father of another member of sea staff? - who worked for some time for an air products manufacturing company from Shipston on Stour, Warwickshire. Trevor is very keen to track this person down again - please email me if you know who he is! We’ve had one or two contacts from the area but haven’t yet found the right person.
New readers' section
If you are reading the OYT South newsletter for the first time, I hope you will find it useful and interesting, and filled with opportunities for things you will want to get involved in. 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 feel that you don't yet know much about OYT South, you will learn more by keeping a regular eye on these newsletters; but for a lot of background information, take a look around the rest of this website.
If you are aged 12-25 and hoping to sail as a crew member, take a look here.
Adults interested in joining our volunteer sea staff can check here.
To volunteer for OYT South ashore, please look here.
The winter refit 2006-7 is now over, but we need still need help at maintenance days spread throughout the year, and there will be another refit starting in November - see here.
And if you have any questions, please do email me - or contact the office.