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Newsletter

OYT South bulletin 8th September 2017

In this Bulletin
Sections which have changed since last time marked *


* 2017 voyage programme - LAST FEW berths available this year
Only one remaining voyage currently has spaces - but do also keep looking out for any short-notice cancellations!

16-20 Oct - Southampton - 4 nights - 7 berths available - age 12-25 - £285pp. This voyage has had an unavoidable cancellation by a group which had already paid a non-refundable 25% deposit, so the price has now been reduced from £375 per person.

Other than that, anyone who wants to sail should let us know, especially if you might be available at short notice - then if we get any cancellations on any voyages this autumn, we will let you know straight away. Please email webmaster1@oytsouth.org.

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* Voyage news
The final voyage falling within this year’s summer holiday for most schools began last Thursday - a mixed group of individual bookings including some who were new to us and others who had sailed before - and a few who are working towards joining our volunteer sea staff. They sailed to Cowes on the first evening, with drills and dinner as they went. At first this was a very quiet group of young people which definitely needed livening up! On Friday the forecast was for very light winds so they had an early start in order to make the most of a favourable tide and headed for Weymouth, with a mix of motoring and sailing whenever they could. In Weymouth they had time for a visit to the beach, with football and games, before heading back on board for dinner. Saturday saw another early start in order to have a bit more time ashore, and they left at 1045 for a really good sail in better winds, back through the Needles Channel into the Solent. By this time the crew had really gelled and they were not so quiet any more! They anchored outside Yarmouth for dinner and then planned a night navigation exercise which took them to Gosport with a late arrival. Next morning they went up to the top end of Portsmouth harbour to hoist the sails, and also to take a look at the Royal Navy’s enormous new aircraft carrier - a spectacular sight! Then they sailed back to Southampton where the voyage ended at 5pm with six young people earning RYA Start Yachting certificates - the others already had this qualification from previous voyages. Big thanks to sea staff Andy V, Peta, Brigid, Andy M, Will, John and Ollie.

This week’s crew has been quite a highly-skilled group - several of our under-25 sea staff plus others who have been recommended for volunteer training or were hoping to earn their recommendations, and a few with less sailing experience but with an interest in taking part in a slightly more advanced week of training. They joined on Monday and headed for Cowes on the first night with loads of tacks in the Solent as they made their way round the Bramble Bank while avoiding a number of container ships. The team got really into the tacking exercise and it was a good training session! On Tuesday they had a chart chat and then spent the day doing lots of exercises including man overboard recovery drills and reefing drills. Back in Cowes they did some RYA training - working towards Competent Crew certificates for some and sections of the RYA Watchleader qualification for others. Wednesday involved lots of pilotage exercises as they went in and out of Lymington. They also went down into the western Solent for a rendezvous with the coastguard helicopter, though unfortunately they didn’t get to do a hi-line transfer exercise. This was followed by man overboard recovery exercises under sail and more sail hoists and drops, before returning to Cowes once more. On Thursday they decided it was time for a longer sail and they went out via Portsmouth, all the way round the south of the Isle of Wight, and back into the Solent via the Needles. This was a cracking sail with the boat really powered up. They anchored off Yarmouth for dinner and then had the traditional night navigation exercise back up to Ocean Village. The voyage ended today with five people earning RYA Competent Crew certificates and all the rest completing sections of their Watchleader qualification. Special congratulations to Niamh Lamin who completed her Bosun assessment - a huge achievement since she has a significant visual impairment. Of the other young people in the crew, one was already a qualified volunteer and is working toward his next step up; and six more either earned new volunteer recommendations or reinforced a recommendation earned on a previous voyage – we look forward to seeing them all on board again to complete their assessments! Big thanks to sea staff Andy V, Peta, Brigid, Steve, Andy M, Allen, Shernice and Lauren.

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* Volunteer sea staff needed

The following dates have not yet been confirmed as bookings for anyone so please let us know if you can help to fill any of the gaps. Although we are running with extra sea staff this year, we definitely want to fill any spaces - please don't think we might not really need you if we already have a good team on board, because we definitely do need you!

Dates marked tbc have been offered to someone but not confirmed (e.g. they may not have got permission from employers to take leave for the voyage) so please bid for them if you wish and we will let you know as soon as possible if there is space for you or not.

24-29 Sept - possible vacancy for 2M or additional 3M
13-15 Oct (weekend voyage) - possible vacancy tbc for another watchleader
31 Oct or 1 Nov tbc - experienced watchleaders for day sail

NB dates given are when young people are on board - we generally need sea staff the day before (except for weekend voyages). All voyages start and finish in Southampton unless otherwise stated.

Bear in mind that we are carrying extra sea staff in Prolific's first season so if we appear to be advertising for someone in your role on dates you have already accepted, don't worry - it's unlikely we have forgotten you; but there is space for someone else as well.

If you can help with any of these, please email webmaster1@oytsouth.org.

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Winter refit core team needed
If you are planning a gap year, or you are between jobs or for any other reason potentially available for several weeks or months this winter, might you be interest in joining our full-time refit team? More details here, including an initial expression of interest form. Plenty of our previous refit volunteers have gone on to great jobs in the marine industry - it really helps to have maintenance experience as well as good sailing skills when applying for sailing jobs! And any refit volunteers who want to sail in Prolific can be offered berths as watchleaders, bosuns, or relief engineers. So it’s a great way of developing useful experience, contributing to a good cause, securing free food and accommodation for a few months, and having a positive experience with a fun group of people!

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Andy’s leaving present - please give generously!
You probably all know by now that our lovely Staff Skipper Andy Viney is leaving us at the end of this season after five great years, which involved our final seasons with John Laing, plus a major refit and the first season with Prolific. We really want to send him off with a nice leaving present, so please give generously ! There is a webpage here with a paypal link and details of other ways of contributing.

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DRAFT 2018 sailing programme
We have published a draft 2018 programme based on spending the summer in the west country (specific ports yet to be decided). We are taking bookings for next year, which sometimes involves shuffling things around to get dates and voyage durations to suit as many people as possible. This means that parts of the programme are not yet set in stone; but some periods of the 2018 season are already filling up very fast, so if you are interested in a group or individual voyage next year, do please email webmaster1@oytsouth.org and let us know what you want, so that we can see what might be fitted around clients who have already put in their voyage requests.

Please note that we are NOT looking for volunteer sea staff bids yet!

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Prolific
maintenance days 2017 - help needed
Just one planned maintenance day left this seaosn - please put the date in your diary and come and help if you possibly can:

Sunday 24th September - Southampton

Email refit@oytsouth.org or phone the boat on 07990 518915 to let us know you are coming so we can plan jobs and make sure there is food on board for all helpers!

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From youth crew to volunteer
Have you just done a voyage as a young crew member, enjoyed it, and been told by the skipper or any of the other sea staff to think about coming back as a volunteer on board? This is how many of our watchleaders and bosuns started, and it’s a great opportunity for getting years of very cheap sailing, plus something impressive to add to your CV, college or job applications. If you start volunteering with us and do well, you could gain invaluable experience in leading and motivating teams, looking after safety issues, taking responsibility and more - especially if you end up volunteering on some of our voyages with highly disadvantaged and vulnerable young people.

If you’ve had a recommendation from the skipper, it’s still really up to you to decide whether you are keen and ready to take this step - moving from being a young crew member who can be looked after and supported by the sea staff, into a position of responsibility where you will be looking after other people and responsible for helping to deliver a successful voyage to others, and accepting that this can involve hard work - though we hope our volunteers also have plenty of fun! Junior volunteers will still get support and advice from more experienced sea staff, but you really have to be ready to get stuck in when there are things to do and your effort can help make the difference to keeping the boat working smoothly and ensuring that another group of young people has the best possible experience!

But the next stage is really up to you. There are plenty of young people who impress us on voyages each year, but the ones who get to come back for more voyages, training and qualifications are the ones who show a real interest and make the effort to keep in touch - we simply don’t have the time to chase all of you individually if we don’t hear from you. Reading this weekly newsletter is vital - you will see when we are advertising for trainee mates or bosuns, or offering courses, or asking for help with maintenance or other events. You may also sometimes see that we have a short-notice vacancy for a crew berth - if we can’t fill the place with a paying customer, offering it as a cut-price or even free place to a new potential volunteer whom we know will be an asset to the team is much better than sailing with an empty berth. So if you are keen, PLEASE read the bulletin and don’t be afraid to reply and ask questions - if you’re not sure whether an opportunity is suitable for you or not, or if there might be age restrictions, just ask. We really do want to hear from you!

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Southampton Boat Show 2017 - special offer
The Southampton Boat Show will run from 15th to 24th September 2017. John Goode has again kindly arranged for discounted Boat Show tickets for OYT South members, families and friends. If you receive the email version of this newsletter, you can see the discount details, which we can't put on a public website.

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OYT South AGM 4th November– save the date!
OYT South’s AGM will be held on 4th November at the Royal Southampton Yacht Club, 1730 onwards. We will aim to follow it with the usual curry night. All welcome - more details to come in due course but for now, please put the date in your diaries!

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Financial appeal

We need a regular flow of funds to cover at least three major areas: bursaries for young people who could not otherwise afford to sail; vessel maintenance and equipment; and staff salaries - please help, or pass on our details to anyone you come across who might make a grant, large or small.

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.

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Chris Ellis Award - win £££s off sailing
If you enjoy a voyage with OYT South and want to come again next year (and are aged 12-25), please think about entering for this award. You can win up to £200 off the price of another voyage, by sending in an account of a voyage you have already done with us. It can be a logbook, diary, story, pictures, video - anything which gives the judges an idea of why you had a good time and would like to come again. The prize is judged at the end of each season and the award can be spent on a voyage the following year. Entries should be emailed to webmaster1@oytsouth.org or posted to the office to arrive by Christmas. See here for more details of this award, which was set up in memory of the charity's founder.

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Small boat training opportunities for sea staff
A while ago we consulted sea staff about the need for a small boat so that people can practise skills which aren’t easily learned in Prolific. While we have concluded, that - for the time being - the cost and workload of having a training boat of our own didn’t make that a good option, there was nevertheless a clear demand for access to a small boat. We have therefore made an arrangement with our good friends at the Discovery Sailing Project for the occasional use of their 34-foot Alexander Fairey. The yacht is currently having work done and will be lifted at the end of January and back in service around mid February. She can be chartered by OYT South sea staff on the following conditions:

The person in charge must have a full Day Skipper qualification and a recommendation from Mark Todd or Andy Viney confirming that you are an active member of OYT South sea staff with an appropriate level of competence; and there must be a second person on board with Day Skipper or suitable experience in case the skipper is incapacitated. Additionally someone must have RYA First Aid (or equivalent) and hold a valid VHF Radio Licence. At the moment the price is £250 for a weekend (Friday evening to Sunday afternoon) and £100 per day mid-week. This cost is ‘bare boat’. Cost for gas is included and diesel is charged at an hourly rate, deducted from a £20 cash deposit paid before takeover. The balance will be fully refunded if the vessel is left clean - if not, a deduction will be made for cleaning. Cleaning materials are provided.

Alexander Fairey sleeps a maximum of 8 people so might be suitable for a group of OYT South sea staff to get together and develop boat handling skills and command experience. Anyone interested should contact Clive Fisher at dsp_office@btconnect.com with preferred dates - obviously the boat is used for their own sea staff so the issue will always be about making sure they can fit everyone in.

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Youth Trustee - speaking up for young people

OYT South has a rule that at least one member of the Board of Trustees - which runs the charity - should be in the same age range as the young people who sail with us. The current Youth Trustee is 19-year old student Jack Dignan, who did his first voyage with us a couple of years ago. Jack is in a position to speak up for young crew members, suggest changes in the way the charity operates or to do anything else which will improve the experience of the young people who sail with us. If you are a young person and you have ideas or suggestions for how we can do better, and you want to talk to someone close to your own age, you can contact Jack. If you’re not happy with something and want to know what to do about it, you might want to start by talking to Jack. If you want to get more involved - whether by just doing another voyage, or by training as a volunteer - Jack can point you in the right direction. You can email him at jackdignan@oytsouth.org.

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Raise And Sail - website for anyone looking to raise money to come sailing
Raise And Sail is a section of this website full of ideas, information and support for young people who would like to raise money in order to come sailing with us. Huge thanks to Fiona Keen and Emma Burrows for putting Raise And Sail together. We hope you will find it useful - let us know how you get on as we can add success stories and new ideas to the site in due course.

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Online navigation training for volunteers and young people
OYT South has been offering basic navigation training through the RYA's Essential Navigation & Seamanship course - do have a look and sign up if you want the qualification.

For those of you who want something a little more advanced, one of our relief skippers, Simon Jinks, is offering online distance learning systems for the theory courses for Day Skipper, Coastal/Yachtmaster and Yachtmaster Ocean. Simon is a great sailor and a top instructor so this is very highly recommended. Details here. He is also offering a one-day Weather for Sailors course. Please note that Simon's website also includes Essential Navigation and the PPI course, both of which OYT South can offer in-house.

With our own courses and Simon's we now have navigation courses to suit everyone from total beginners right up to the most advanced level - please give it a go and do ask for advice if you are not sure which course is right for you.

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Keep in touch with other OYT South people
We are on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/oytsouth - please do give us a Like! if you were friends with John Laing on our old page (https://www.facebook.com/johnlaingsailing please do move to the new page now.

We are also on Twitter @oytsouth so please follow us!

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.

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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!

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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 - sometimes 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. And there is a video here, made by a crew from the Prince's Trust, to give you an idea of what a voyage might be like!

We have a professional staff skipper and engineer, 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, 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.

If you have any questions, please do email - or contact the office.

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“To be honest I never wanted to come, but I'm glad I did because I have learnt and seen so much!" Charlotte

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