At sea


OYT South bulletin 1st October 2021

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

* First mates next season - and beyond
- job advertisement
One of the longer-term consequences of Covid for the charity has been an interruption in sea staff training and progression: this season we have had three first mates moving up to skipper and others wishing to take a break or retire; but at the same time our second mates lost a season and a half of sailing and most needed to consolidate their 2M skills this year – which means we haven’t had opportunities for new 1Ms to be trained and assessed.

OYT South is committed to using volunteer first mates in the long term. But for the moment we believe we do not have enough volunteer first mates to cover a full season, and we are therefore now advertising a job for a seasonal first mate for 2022.

We will still be using volunteer 1Ms on every voyage possible, in order to retain their involvement and keep up their skills and enthusiasm, and in the meantime we will be having a major push to get our most experienced 2Ms through training and qualifications, so that we can return to a full list of volunteer first mates. We’ll be looking for the seasonal first mate to support the training of other sea staff, and we are also putting together a group of our most experienced 2Ms for extra support, mentoring and training, plus practical help for those still needing to complete RYA qualifications.

So we are now recruiting for a seasonal first mate from January to November next year, and there is a job advertisement here. Please do spread the word to anyone who might be interested and suitable: we are looking for someone who is at least a commercially endorsed RYA Yachtmaster with experience on larger sailing vessels as well as the ability to work well with young people and volunteers, and the personality to be a great addition to the team.

We did something similar when Prolific was new to the charity, recruiting a Sailing Support Officer, and in successive seasons we brought in Peta and Holly, both of whom went on to skipper Prolific. We are now looking for someone who will be just as much of an asset to the team as a seasonal first mate as Peta and Holly were in the SSO role!

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* One place available on mates’ training weekend 15-17 October  - may be FREE for someone aged 18-25

Owing to a cancellation we now have ONE place available on this weekend.

The weekend runs from 8pm on Friday 15th October to 5pm on Sunday 17th October out of Southampton and costs £205 per person, but the person who had to cancel has kindly said that his voyage fee could be used to subsidise a young volunteer (18-25) who might not otherwise be able to come. However, if we don’t get suitable applicants in that age range then it would be available for someone aged over 25 at the standard price.

The weekend is for adults aged 18+ and the place is open to adults new to the charity who want to come and find out more and maybe earn a recommendation to come back as a volunteer; or to people who have already earned a sea staff recommendation or are current sea staff wanting to brush up their skills.

It would also be ideal for someone considering joining our core refit team for the winter, as a chance to come and find out more about what that would involve, or for someone thinking about applying for the seasonal first mate job.

Email to apply.

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* Voyage news
Last week’s newsletter was written just as the voyage with George Green’s School in Tower Hamlets ended. We’ve since had some great feedback from the students. One 16-year-old boy wanted to put into the words the difference between experiencing something for himself rather than through an image on a screen: “There's like a sort of weird thing that you can't - with experiences you can't really see it the same way as like a photo or a video and it's like being there has so much more meaning to it, and it's like you're actually experiencing it, there's a lot of things you don't have in a photo, like even smallest things like the sound of like, I don't know, waves splashing, going past the wind, the wind in my hands, and all that kind of thing, you just don't have that when you're not there.” A girl aged 16 said “My most memorable bit was the sunsets and sunrises, the moonrises, the skies … I enjoyed my voyage and found it wonderful. The crew were all thoughtful, genuine and resourceful people who gave me an experience that my mind couldn't even comprehend. I love Prolific.”

On Saturday we were joined by a crew from the Vyne School in Basingstoke, which has now sent 76 students to sail with us since 2012. They have a great track record of picking students who would never normally have a chance to do anything like this, using the voyage as an intervention for younger students who need a break, or some extra support, or who are at risk of not realising their full potential in their time at school. School staff then work with the students to build on the voyage experience so that it has a positive impact through to their GCSE year and beyond. Sometimes this involves using the voyage to achieve a practical outcome – for example, teaching a student to be less afraid of trying something new. Sometimes it is the fact of being chosen for the voyage which makes the difference: it sends a message to a young person that the school has noticed them, cares about them and believes they are capable of achieving. This can help a young person to develop a more trusting relationship with school staff, and that in itself can transform the rest of their time at school.

They had lunch and safety briefings in Southampton before setting off to Yarmouth, learning how to use the winches and practising clipping on with on their safety lines as they went. They anchored for dinner – and there was such an amazing pink sunset that everyone agreed to postpone the washing up so that the whole crew could go on deck and enjoy it. Then they played some games and went to bed – which took a while as lots of people were very excited.

On Sunday they had breakfast and then hoisted all the sails and had a great session learning how to manoeuvre a vessel under sail, with plenty of tacking and gybing, winching and handling lines. The skipper was impressed as this is quite demanding in a boat of Prolific’s size and this group of 12-year-olds managed everything that much older groups had done on previous voyages. We aim to put our vessel track on Facebook each day and the track for Sunday shows just how much they did.

They anchored in Osborne Bay for dinner and all the young people got involved in planning the navigation back up to Southampton in the dark – working out which buoys to look for and what the different flashing lights would show. This was a great exercise with everyone getting thoroughly involved before a late arrival back in Ocean Village after sailing a total of 44 nautical miles.

Sadly the weather was dreadful on Monday and it was too windy for safe sailing but the crew made great use of the day, working really hard on lots of things they needed to learn in order to earn their sailing qualifications – tying knots, learning nautical terminology, and rowing the dinghy. When they needed a break from this, staff took them ashore to the park and it was good to see them break out of their original friendship groups, socialising happily with people they wouldn’t normally spend much time with. Back on board, they had dinner, games and a film.

All nine young people earned their RYA Start Yachting qualifications and skipper Holly said “A short trip cut shorter by the weather, but a lot was gained by the crew – the achievement of getting a certificate made lots of them happy, as did the sailing. But they equally enjoyed the time in harbour learning new skills, broken up by the chance to play some games ashore and bond as a group.”

One crew member said: “I think I get along better with people and I'm ready for any new adventures”, while another added: “I really enjoyed it, it was so fun because we learnt lots of new things.”

Big thanks to sea staff Holly, Josh, Georgia, Graeme Cole, Miranda Camping, Will Parker and Martin Bayfield.

This week’s crew are also facing challenging weather! They are students from Cowes Enterprise College, so our staff moved Prolific from Southampton to Cowes on Wednesday so the crew could join that afternoon.

On Thursday they left Cowes and sailed to Yarmouth via Osborne Bay – you can see the vessel track here and all sailors will appreciate the effort that goes into all that tacking a big boat like Prolific in very wet and windy conditions.

Skipper James described the group as “proper tough” – he said it was a really hard day but they stuck at it and even when people were seasick they didn’t give up. James was really impressed with them. This photo from John Green Cowes gives a good idea of the conditions:

Everyone was pleased to be alongside in Yarmouth:


This morning everyone was working hard towards earning their sailing qualifications. Here’s Tom’s masterclass on points of sail:

Meanwhile outside the weather is a bit better!

Big thanks to sea staff James Boyce – a former Staff Skipper returning for a special guest appearance! – plus Josh, Georgia, Andy Royse, Will Parker, Tom Knight and Willoughby Matthews.

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OYT South’s safeguarding officer Steve Lacey is keen to share some information about #ParentsinSportWeek (4-10 October) which is being promoted by the RYA to help parents keep their child safe in sport. There’s a free e-learning course which takes just 10 minutes and covers: knowing when something is wrong; poor practice vs abuse in sport; recognising the signs; listening to children; speaking out in sport. The RYA also says: “If you’re not sure whether something you’ve seen in your child’s sport is ok or not, watch this animation to find out who you can turn to for help.”

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2022 voyage programme

This is later than usual – because of the shortened season this year, we haven’t yet been able to rearrange all of 2020’s cancelled voyages, and many of them are schools who have only been able to start thinking about possible dates now this term is underway. So we are still in discussions with a few people who are owed voyages (including people whose deposits we have been holding since 2019!) but we can now publish a draft 2022 programme. Email if you are interested in booking one or more places for young people aged under 25. If you are interested in adult voyages, there are two adult weekends shown on the programme and those dates should be fixed. There will also be a longer adult voyage but that needs to be fitted around demand from youth group clients. Again, email if you are interested in an adult berth. Please don’t contact us yet about sea staff bookings – we’ll deal with those over the winter.

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Distress flares – training films
Pains Wessex, who very kindly donate Prolific’s distress flares, suggested we share a link to their website where you can click on each product and then on “usage and training”, and that will take you to a short video showing exactly how to use it. Well worth a look now, rather than having to try to figure it out in an emergency!

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Vessel tracking

Don’t forget you can always have a look and see where Prolific is sailing.

Just for the moment we can’t welcome visitors on board due to Covid protocols but if you discover that Prolific is in a harbour somewhere near you, please go and say hello from a safe distance. And sometimes you may be just what we need if you have local information or a bit of time to spare to help with something, or a car for running a quick errand!

Big thanks to the Graham High Charity who sponsor our vessel tracking.

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Chris Ellis Award – win £££s off the price of your next voyage!

Now open for 2021 entries.

If you enjoy a voyage with OYT South and want to come again (and are aged 11-25), please think about entering for this award. You can win up to £500 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 or posted to the office. See here for more details of this award, which was set up in memory of the charity's founder. You can also see some previous winning entries.

There were no 2020 winners because we were unable to sail, so it would be great to see an excellent crop of entries for 2021!

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Core refit team needed
Obviously our winter plans are all dependent on what we can do in a Covid-safe manner, but all being well, we will be looking for a core team of volunteers to come and help us this winter from November to March. This is something we've been doing since at least 2002: a small full-time team offers continuity alongside all the other volunteers who come for odd days or weekends. We provide free food and accommodation for the core team as well as great experience in boat maintenance and a chance to make a real difference to a good cause while enjoying a sociable winter in the team. Many previous core team members are still great friends of the charity - some still sailing with us, others using the experience to help develop their careers. If you want to follow in the footsteps of Jake, Oran and Ian from the last full-time core team, and all the others who have gone before them, please see here for details and how to apply.

Core team

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* Financial appeal

Big thanks this week to The Seven Seas Baxter and Grimshaw Trust for a very generous donation to support voyage places for homeless young people via the Amber Foundation; to P66 for another very kind donation raised by their staff; and to the friends and family of John Pennefather who are continuing to make very kind donations in his memory.

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 (pdf) we can claim back tax on your donation.

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Painting of Prolific – prints available to buy!

Our friend, Gosport-based marine artist Colin Baxter, has prints taken from an original painting of Prolific available for you to buy.


The unframed prints will measure 370mm x 230mm plus border. They will be numbered and signed, and will cost £45 if you can pick yours up in Gosport, and £50 if you need it posted (they will probably come rolled in a cardboard tube). Order here:

Postage / collection options

Anyone outside the UK wanting to order a copy, please email us.

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Raise funds for OYT South if you're shopping online!

"What a fool I was!" says Mark Todd.

"For ages I've seen in the bulletin that Easyfundraising is a good way to raise money for charity, but I never got round to doing anything about it, and when Caz told me how easy it was, I didn't listen.

I thought it might be a hassle, or that I'd have to remember to do something when I bought stuff online, or that it probably wasn't really worthwhile.

This week I finally got round to it and it turns out it's a REALLY EASY way to raise money for the charity I care about ... and I definitely should have done it sooner.

It takes a minute or two to sign up; you can do it on a desktop, tablet and/or phone, and you can install a widget that flags up when a donation is available. Once that's done, imagine you're looking to buy - say - a rainbow unicorn: just put "rainbow unicorn" in your usual search box, and the list of results shows you which sites come with donations, and how much. It's up to you what to pick and whether to accept the donation from the site, but a huge choice of sites will offer a donation - and it doesn't cost you a penny.

I don't know why I didn't do it sooner ... but if there's anyone else who has been like me and just not got round to it, PLEASE click the link now and sign up!"


OYT South is also registered with Amazon Smile which makes donations to us when people shop - Amazon will donate 0.5% of the net purchase price on eligible purchases. If you ever shop with Amazon, do have a look - once you pick Ocean Youth Trust South as your chosen charity and start using, you don't need to do anything further, and all your other Amazon account settings remain unchanged.

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OYT South social media – please get involved
One of the simplest ways you can help us while we can’t sail is to keep looking at our social media pages and share, retweet or like as many posts as possible. This all helps to make sure other people hear about us too – and the more we can keep alive the interest in our charitable work, the more people might help us now or start to think about sailing with us in future. Maybe you’ve got a community group, a local page, even a street WhatsApp where members might like to know that you are involved with a charity that could be of interest to them?

We are on Facebook at - please do give us a Like! If you were friends with John Laing on our old page ( please do move to the new page now.

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

And Instagram @oyt_south

And LinkedIn Ocean Youth Trust South

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, or vulnerable adults. Crew members can use the sites to stay in touch with the boat and with each other, but not with individual staff and volunteers.

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Branded clothing
OYT South branded clothing available - please see here. You can buy hoodies (in a wide range of colours), fleeces, short- and long-sleeved t-shirts, baseball caps, beanie hats, polo shirts and more, all with OYT South's logo!

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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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New readers' welcome and introduction
If you have recently registered your interest in OYT South, welcome to our newsletter, which is sent out almost every week, normally on a Friday, and is also copied onto the website.

If you have just started receiving this newsletter by email, it is because we believe you have signed up and consented to receive it - perhaps by emailing us to ask for it, completing a form on our website, or adding your email address to the book on board where people can sign up to receive news, as well as leaving comments. If this was a mistake or you simply decide you want to stop receiving the newsletter, just press “reply” to the email and write UNSUBSCRIBE at the top, or email asking to unsubscribe.

Each week the newsletter 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. 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.

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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Receiving this newsletter by email
Many thanks to all those who have given consent to receiving this newsletter by email. If you are not currently getting it by email and would like to, please just click here Newsletter Subscribe and press "send", or email

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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