About OYT South
Management and Trustees
Mark Todd is OYT South’s Chief Executive. Previously a solicitor, he has been working full-time in sail training since 1997, including nine years as Staff Skipper with OYT South. He moved into a shorebased role overseeing the development of the charity in November 2009, though he still skippers several voyages a year on board Prolific. In January 2011 he was announced as the inaugural winner of the MCA Award for Command Commitment to Sail Training. He is an RYA Yachtmaster Instructor, a Yachtmaster Examiner, and sits on the Yachtmaster Qualifications Panel. He is also an Associate Fellow of the Nautical Institute and Chair of the Association of Sail Training Organisations.
Caroline White is OYT South’s Chief Operating Officer. Caroline first sailed with OYC as a young crew member in 1983. A former journalist, she is also a qualified fundraiser and a member of the Institute of Fundraising. She previously sailed as a first mate, and was a Trustee of Ocean Youth Trust South for ten years before accepting a full-time staff role.
Lynne Robbins is OYT South’s Buisness Manager and joined us in April 2023. An experienced manager, previously she had been managing a team of 100 volunteers restoring historic vessels and has also been an HR and Special Projects Manager for a children’s outdoor activity charity. She is already using her skills and experience to make OYT South even better.
The current Board of Trustees of OYT South is:
Chair: Penny Scott-Bayfield is the Group Finance Director of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, the listed consumer, academic and nautical publisher. She previously held senior finance roles at Conde Nast, lastminute.com and Sky. She is a keen mentor and judge for the Women of the Future Awards. She was elected to the Board in November 2022 and became Chair in April 2023.
Vice Chair: Lesley Robinson OBE: became Chief Executive of British Marine in July 2018, having previously been Managing Director of MDL Marinas. “I have a commercial, international and business development background, in a variety of sectors including leisure, media, IT and FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods). I am passionate about the charities I actually support and am currently treasurer for a foundation for women enhancing women’s empowerment in the third world. I also run, enjoy my family life and do the odd bit of sailing when I can.”
Treasurer: Martyn Powe started sailing in 1996 when serving with the Royal Air Force. He sailed with Joint Services Adventurous Sail Training in most of their boats ranging from 34-foot Victorias to 67-foot Challenges. Two of his children sailed as crew on our previous vessel John Laing so, after retiring from the Royal Air Force in 2013 he started sailing as a volunteer with OYT South, qualifying as a First Mate in 2015. He now runs a small part time business as a book-keeper (not a bookie!) and was appointed as Treasurer for OYT South in 2020.
Safeguarding Officer: Steve Lacey: qualified as both a teacher and a youth worker specialising in outdoor education. He has extensive yacht racing experience, frequently as a race navigator. He retired as a Senior Youth Worker with Dorset County Council in June 2015. He became involved with OYT South by bringing a group of young people to sail in 2002, and now sails as a first mate.
Youth Trustee: Sara Abdur: OYT South has a rule that whenever possible, at least one Trustee must be aged 25 or under, the same age range as our service users. Sara joined the Board in November 2022 at the age of 20. She first sailed with us on a school voyage in 2019 and then volunteered for the charity regularly until in June 2022 she joined the team on board full-time for five months on a short contract as Staff Cadet, She is a qualified second mate and was elected to the Board shortly after her staff contract ended. Sara says: “My first voyage as a young person back in 2019 has completely changed the direction I have taken in life: what led me to come back initially was my love for sailing and the sense of community I found within the OYT South crew. Since then, I have both volunteered and worked on board for long periods of time which has helped me see just how important what we do is. Looking back I can see that not only have I nurtured my sailing skills but I have improved my confidence and self-worth as well. Every day I can see that each voyage means something special to these young people – just as special as it was to me a couple of years ago.”
Brian Eyres: a former Ocean Youth Club staff skipper, who first got involved with our previous vessel John Laing immediately after the vessel’s naming ceremony. He went on to sail as second mate and volunteer on most weekends through five winter refits. In 1993 he started working full time for the Ocean Youth Club, sailing through the season and refitting in winter. The highlight of this period was sailing as first mate / skipper in John Laing and James Cook, her sister ship, when the two boats sailed round the world between December 1995 and March 1997. As a qualified book-keeper, Brian spent many years doing a lot of work on OYT South’s administration and budgeting. In 2015, Brian was awarded a Lifetime Commitment Award from the Royal Yachting Association for his work with OYT South.
Ben Martin: Having done many years of sailing 30-footers around the south and east coast with family, Ben moved on to OYT South firstly as crew, qualifying as watchleader in 2006, stepping up to second mate in 2007 and first mate in 2009. He was nominated by OYT South in 2008 for an ASTO exchange award, which he won, to spend time on board a sail training vessel in Canada. He joined the Board of Trustees in October 2008 and was our Youth Trustee 2008-12. Ben now works in renewable fuels for Phillips66 and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers.
Richard Griffiths: a barrister who was appointed District Judge in 2017. He became a Trustee in 2009 to oversee the Trust’s legal and regulatory affairs. He was Chair of the Board of Trustees of OYT South from January 2013 to May 2017 and oversaw the project to buy and refit Prolific. Richard is a keen sailor, having started sailing in mirror dinghies as a child and progressing to offshore racing boats in later years.
Eamonn Feeney: a Chartered Accountant who retired in 2015 as Managing Director of the MDL marina chain. He joined the Trustees in January 2013 to provide additional help with finance and general management issues. He was Chair of the Board of Trustees from May 2017 to April 2023.
Edward Bishop KC: elected to the Board in 2017. He says: “I am a barrister specialising in medical negligence, human rights, personal injury and police law. I have been practising for 30 years and became a QC in 2011. I also play the fiddle in the country folk band Police Dog Hogan. I don’t know which was more frightening: appearing in the Supreme Court or in front of a 10,000 festival crowd in Cornbury. But I know which I enjoyed more!”
Lee Mosscrop has sailed as a volunteer for over 10 years and now sails as a relief skipper on board Prolific. He retired from the Police Service in 2010 where he ran an in-house RYA Training Centre and now works as a freelance instructor, predominantly directly for RYA Training, delivering instructor training at home and abroad. He also gets asked to appear as an expert witness and to compile post-accident reports in marine accidents involving fatalities or serious injury cases.
John Hicks has Board level expertise – from sitting on the Advisory Board for OCS, a UK facilities management company, and through his role on the Professional Business Services Council at the Department of Business Energy & Industrial Strategy where he is a member of the SteerCo accountable for delivering the Industrial Strategy, a key component of which centres around future UK talent. He also has senior level experience in construction engineering and professional business services. A lifelong recreational sailor, he has worked with young people through Sea Scouts – as well as mentoring undergraduates. He says: “I first met OYT South when John Laing was on Poole Quay and a visit on board, meeting the sea staff and crew proved to me that the work done to advance the education and training of young citizens through adventure under sail is more than worth supporting. I was inspired.” John was co-opted to the Board in January 2021
Roger Bolton worked on board ex- Americas Cup yachts in the Caribbean before graduating in Yacht Manufacturing & Surveying and then starting work for International Paint where he has held various roles and is now Professional Market Sales Executive, managing the large users such as Pendennis Shipyard, Sunseeker, Princess and Oyster Marine. The role encompasses many aspects from selling paint, fault investigation, paint inspection and paint application. He has been advising OYT South on paint for several years and was co-opted to the Board in January 2021
Nyssa Hutchings teaches at Park House School in Newbury, which has brought school groups to sail for many years, and is also a qualified watchleader. She joined the board in April 2022 to help us keep in touch with the education sector and ensure that our voyages continue to meet the needs of schools and students. She is keen to promote the value of Prolific as a place of community, family, safety and life experiences that may not be available to young people due to life circumstances and challenges. As someone who works with teenagers every day, she understands the impact of dramatic world events on young people and how OYT South staff can help them to overcome these challenges.
James Stevens is a professional yachtsman and former Training Manager and Chief Examiner of the RYA. He was the RYA’s safety spokesman and chaired the National Watersports Safety Committee. He was Chairman of the Association of Sail Training Organisations and is a trustee of several maritime charities. He is chairman of the Yachtmaster Qualification and Disciplinary Panel, a Younger Brother of Trinity House and Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation. He has written several books and is a regular contributor to the yachting press when not sailing his 34ft yacht out of Cowes. James was co-opted to the Board of OYT South in July 2023.