Sections which have changed since last time marked *
* Last-minute sailing opportunity - URGENT!
Next week John Laing is fully-booked but we have once again borrowed Thermopylae Clipper for a few days, and initially had a full group booked to sail; but we have had a few people drop out. If anyone would like to try sailing a different boat with a full complement of OYT South sea staff (including James and Liz), please contact our office NOW on 0845 365 6781. The voyage runs from 2pm on Monday 19th October to 12 noon on Friday 23rd October, starting and finishing at Universal Marina on the Hamble river. The full price is £300 each but at this short notice we would negotiate for any sensible offer. Normal 12-25 age range; the rest of the crew will be a group from Hampshire.
* Voyage news
Last week’s bulletin left John Laing and the Chichester High School for Girls crew in Cherbourg: they had a good sail back, and left the boat in high spirits on Sunday morning with all of them having earned RYA Start Yachting certificates.
The next crew joined on Monday: the annual voyage for brothers and sisters of families using Naomi House Children’s Hospice. They went to East Cowes on Monday night and woke to find a very beautiful morning with incredibly still low-lying banks of fog – very atmospheric but fortunately with enough clear air for the boat to see where they were going! Sadly no wind but they motored to Swanage, where trainee first mate John did some radar pilotage to take them to an anchorage. The whole crew did some RYA training while at the anchorage and then they went on into Poole. There they had fish and chips for dinner and enjoyed lots of visitors – Brian, Tigger, Chris our engineer plus a friend, and another friend of MCA Chief Executive Peter Cardy, who is sailing with us this week. This friend was in the Royal Marines and we were pleased to discover that the silly games we play on board are the same as those used by the Royal Marines! On this particular occasion, the crew played the cardboard box game on the Town Quay.
On Wednesday morning they spent an hour searching for a lost mobile phone, only to discover that the crew member concerned had dropped it into the fridge!
After leaving Poole they headed for the Needles and tacked up the channel in a good force 3, before practising man overboard recovery under sail and doing a points of sail drill. They arrived in Gosport last night, and this morning are heading back to Cowes under motor – no wind again!
Many thanks to sea staff Wolf, Graeme, John, Andy, Liz and Peter.
* OYT South Open Day, Lunch and AGM report
Many thanks to all those who joined us at the Royal Southern Yacht Club in Hamble on Sunday and made the event such a great success. We had over 70 people for lunch, plus a number of others who joined us for the presentations. The Club laid on an excellent meal and John Laing was open to the public and her condition much admired by some who hadn’t seen her for years. Chris Lane did a great job of MCing the event. Mark “Wolf” Todd presented a review of the 2009 sailing season, ably assisted by Sasha Walters, a young crew member who has sailed with us a couple of times this year and gave us a wonderful description of how much the boat has meant to her. Mark also talked in detail about plans for a new boat which should eventually take over from John Laing, and he explained some of the changes which are taking place within OYT South (see below). Brian Eyres orchestrated a farewell and presentation for David Salmon, who is retiring at the end of this month after ten years as our General Manager.
Lunch and presentations were followed by a short formal AGM chaired by Fred Cole, in which we covered all the necessary official business and brought our constitution into line with recent changes in the law. We also formally elected as Trustees Ben Martin and Richard Griffiths, who had been co-opted to the Board since the last AGM. Ben is well-known to many of you who sail on the boat, since he is a regular first mate. He also continues our practice of having at least one trustee aged under 25, in the same age range as our crew members. Ben represents OYT South at the ASTO Sail Training Youth Committee, which he currently chairs, as well as being the UK representative on the STI International Youth Forum. Richard is a barrister who is doing a great job of making sure that everything we do conforms to the latest charity and company law. In addition, we elected one new Trustee: Mike Bowles. Mike spent 34 years in the British Army, retiring with the rank of Colonel, and has a keen interest in sail training, having both volunteered and worked for Sail Training International, helping organise Tall Ships Races: he is currently a part-time Race Director. He is a Trustee of two other charities: the South Atlantic Medal Association and Falklands Conservation. We would like to welcome Mike to the Board, where he has already got involved with supporting our fundraising efforts.
Altogether it was a great event and it was lovely to see so many old and new friends there. Many thanks to everyone involved in planning and organising the day.
In the evening a few of us went out to celebrate Liz the staff bosun’s birthday – many happy returns!
Mark “Wolf” Todd, who has been our staff skipper for nine seasons, is going to move into a largely shore-based role, where he will take on some aspects of the General Manager’s job, as well as adding a real focus and impetus to the New Boat Project. He tried for but failed to get a new job title of General Operations Director, because he liked the initials; but has settled for Operations Manager. He is not abandoning the boat altogether, though, as he plans to sail when the staff skipper is on relief.
Sally Croly, who joined us some years ago to do a small part-time job, has worked her way up to full-time Office Manager, and is very ably taking on those areas of the General Manager’s job not covered by Mark.
James Boyce, who has had a great first season as staff skipper with us, will become John Laing’s main skipper, working with the staff bosun – see next section!
Job advertisement - Staff Bosun - deadline next Wednesday!
OYT South is seeking applications for the role of Staff Bosun. Full details on our website here. This is a paid role starting in December this year. Closing date for applications Wednesday 21st October 2009.
* 2010 voyages for young people
We have already had bookings or provisional reservations for almost 350 berths next season, and we still have some funded places to allocate too. Large parts of the season are already fully-booked. If you want to sail next year, do look at the programme as soon as possible, and hurry up and reserve your berth.
If you have made a provisional reservation for next year but have not yet paid a deposit or discussed it with the office, do please contact the office now - we can’t keep holding provisional reservations if it means turning other clients away, unless there is a good reason for delay and we know what to expect from you.
Lots of volunteers needed! We will probably only have a couple of people in the full-time core team (see below), and we hope that all sea staff who plan to sail next season will come and help for at least a few days or a weekend. The refit starts on Wednesday 4th November and we will have a busy few days getting lots of kit off the boat In Southampton. James is in charge, and can start taking bookings for volunteers now, including for the first weekend 7-8 November (when he plans something sociable for Saturday night...) - contact him on the boat phone 07990 518915. See here for more detailed refit plans and estimated costs.
James will be working out how many casual volunteers he needs - partly depending on when get gets a refit house and knows how many people he can fit it in. He’ll also be working out a schedule of working weekends when volunteers will be welcome.
Refit core team
As in previous years, we are looking to recruit a small number of full-time volunteers to work on our winter refit between November and March. We hope all sea staff will turn up for a weekend or a few days, as normal; but it really helps our professional staff to have a small number of long-term helpers who are there for periods ranging from a month to four months, developing real experience and skills (which can often lead to careers in the marine industry, for those who want). See here for more information. Volunteers receive food and accommodation as well as valuable experience. Our professional staff will hope to meet prospective volunteers over the next few weeks, and will explain more about what is involved before offering places to suitable candidates. If you would be interested, please email me.
Training weekend 6th-7th February 2010
We shall be running our usual OYT South sea staff training weekend in Gosport on the weekend of February 6th and 7th. Depending on demand, we might offer RYA First Aid, GMDSS (the VHF radio qualification), Radar and Diesel Engines, as well as the Food Hygiene certificate, plus the short lifejacket packing course, which is becoming essential for all sea staff and only takes a couple of hours, and maybe a youth work workshop.
This year we are working on an option for very cheap local accommodation to enable people to stay overnight.
Do let me know a.s.a.p. which courses might interest you and we will see how many we can fit in.
Don’t forget that first aid certificates are only valid for three years - do make sure yours isn’t going to run out next season.
Email me to let me know which courses you would like.
Sea survival courses
We aren’t running the RYA or ISAF Sea Survival courses on the same training weekend as the rest of our courses. If you want to do Sea Survival, there are courses running on March 6/7 or April 17/18. This course is very highly recommended, covering such things as use of distress flares and a session in a swimming pool with a liferaft. Email to book on either of the available dates.
* Financial appeal
Thanks this week to the Whirlwind Charitable Trust for a very generous donation towards replacing John Laing’s rigging screws this winter. Thanks also to Hans White for the cheque from the Werringon Charity Concert, as reported in last week’s newsletter; and to the Worshipful Company of Carmen Benevolent Trust for a donation arising from a contact provided by our new Trustee, Mike Bowles!
The major appeal at the moment is for the 2009-10 winter refit - please donate something if you possibly can.
We also need bursary funds for next season.If you would like to help some specific young people to pay for their voyages - perhaps children with physical and learning difficulties, or homeless teenagers, or young people growing up amidst poverty and even violence, or brothers and sisters of children being cared for by a children's hospice, please email me to discuss it.
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 we can claim back tax on your donation.
OYT South is now on the JustGiving website - ideal for any of you who might want to raise money for a sponsored activity or an event as you can put details of your event on the site and the money you raise comes direct to us. You can also make regular donations, or set up a page in memory of someone and invite donations to the charity.
* Oysterband gig, Southampton, 6th December
Those of you who have sailed in John Laing over recent years will know that the Oysterband’s music often features on the ship’s stereo system. We are planning a team outing when the Oysterband play in the Brook, Southampton, on Sunday 6th December. You can get a ticket on the Brook’s website or by phone on 02380 555366 (£15). Don’t leave it too long – their gigs normally sell out. But do let me know if you book so I have an idea of who is coming. Last time they played at the Brook (about four years ago) we were a group of 24 OYT South people + friends and it was a great night…Bring all your friends and let’s try to get another big group together.
For those needing accommodation, I guess priority in the refit house will go to those who come for a day or two to do some work!
OYC / OYT 50th anniversary
I have started to collect photographs and tales of the Ocean Youth Club and Ocean Youth Trust since we were founded in 1960, and in due course I will make a special section of the website where we can post all the historical material. Do please email anything to me if you think others might be interested.
Please put 16-17 October 2010 in your diary NOW for OYT South's 50th anniversary celebration weekend - more details to follow in due course.
Chris Ellis award - win ££s towards sailing next year!
If you have enjoyed a voyage this year, are aged under 25 and would like to sail again in 2010, don't forget the Chris Ellis award. Chris was one of the founders of the OYC in 1960 and he left a fund to be used to encourage crew members to produce a piece of work based on any OYT voyage. This can be a logbook, a diary, a picture, a story, computer art or whatever. OYT South can award up to £200 a year (to one entrant, or split between two or three individuals) in the form of a discount for a future voyage. Entries need to be in by the end of November - either emailed to me, or by post to the office, marked "Chris Ellis award entry".
Last year's winners, Cami and Seonaid, both had excellent voyages using their winnings - it could be you in 2010!
Mates' training and new volunteer mates
Existing mates and new potential volunteers who would like to come and see what we are all about might like to start thinking about next year's adult training voyages:
26-28 March, £160
21-26 April, £360
10-12 Sept, £160.
All three start and finish in Southampton. If you are new to John Laing and unless you have other experience of sail training or of vessels this size, it is definitely a good idea to book on the longer April voyage if you possibly can. On the weekend voyages, there isn't really time for everyone on board to practise all the things you have to be familiar with to sail as a watch leader. But if you can't manage the April dates, we'll give you as much training as possible on one of the weekends. Email me to book.
Keep in touch with other John Laing people
We use a number of social networking websites to allow crew members to keep in touch with the boat and with each other. People can swap stories, post photos and more. For some overseas voyages, we will even set up online groups well in advance, restricted only to people who will actually be sailing on that particular voyage, so that people can compare travel plans and arrange to travel together. See here for how to join.
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. Young crew members can use the sites to stay in touch with the boat and with each other, but not with individual adults.
Survey - tell us what you think
If you have recently completed a voyage, please help us by filling in our web-based survey. It really helps - we use the data to keep improving our voyages, and to help us raise funds!
New readers' welcome and introduction
If you have recently registered your interest in OYT South, welcome to our e-newsletter, which is sent out almost every week, normally on a Friday. It 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. The 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 – 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 bosun, 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, or with maintenance days spread throughout the year, 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.