OYT South bulletin 12th August 2005

OYT South’s weekly newsletter, including details of what has happened on the boat in the last week, plus short notice sailing vacancies for crew and sea staff and other ways you can get involved, and all the charity’s news.

OYT South bulletin 12th August 2005

by | Aug 12, 2005

Southampton Boat Show
The show is barely a month away now and we really do need more people to help out on our stand. Crew, sea staff and shore supporters all welcome – all you need to do is give out leaflets and chat to members of the public about what OYT South does and encourage them to come sailing or get involved in other ways. It doesn’t matter if you don’t feel able to answer detailed questions about the charity – those can be passed on to other people. But if you’ve done a voyage, enjoyed it and can come along and be enthusiastic about what a great time you had, you’ll be really valued on the stand. Plus you get a chance to look round the rest of the Boat Show. We need people there on any day from 16-25 September. Call David Salmon on 0870 241 2252 or email office@oytsouth.org.

Annual dinner
This is a joint fundraising event for OYT South and two children’s hospices, to be held at the Royal Southern Yacht Club, Hamble, on Friday 16th Sept. Tickets £65 each. Guest speaker Sally Taylor from BBC South Today. We’ve sold 108 tickets but the target is 140. If you’re interested, contact Chris Lane at chrisl.shse@virgin.net.

Credit cards
Great news – any day now we shall finally be able to accept bookings, mates fees, donations etc. by credit card, which should make things much quicker and more convenient!

Adult voyages
Still a few spaces on the following adult voyages:
12-16 September, Southampton, £200
16-18 September, Southampton, £100
Open to sea staff, prospective sea staff, crew members aged 16+ who want to sail more, future group leaders and any other adult who wants to have a go! We’ve taken several bookings lately from the parents of keen crew members who are jealous that their offspring seem to be having all the fun. So please help us fill the last few gaps! Email me or call 07986 354697 to find out more.

Day sail Sunday 11th September
Places still available on the day sail on Sunday 11th September. Open to prospective clients and donors, but also to those of our shore supporters who never normally get a chance to go out in the boat – or for sea staff and crew who want bring along family members for a good day out and a little taste of life on board John Laing. Call 0870 241 2252 for more details.

Bookings needed urgently
There are relatively few crew berths not filled over the rest of this season; but we desperately need more bookings for three trips in particular to make sure we don’t have to cancel anything: 10-14 Oct (£210); 15-20 Oct (£225) and 1-5 Nov (£160) – please spread the word among anyone aged 12-25 (individuals or groups) who might like to sail then.

I need to produce some material on this summer’s voyages, including the Tall Ships races, cruise in company and the voyages either side. I’d really appreciate more photos – if anyone can email their pics to me, that would be great.

Voyage news

The voyage programme for the last week was quite clear: Fredrikstad (Norway) to Bremerhaven (Germany)….but sometimes life just isn’t that simple!

The voyage start in Fredrikstad went according to plan; though for many of the team the true voyage start occurred in Stansted airport the previous night, as a dozen of us slept on the floor in preparation for an 0430 check-in. Sleepover heroes included Bridget, who changed into pyjamas with penguins on while around her several hundred other passengers dozed fully-clothed; and Tom Hughes, who lay on the floor and announced: “This is really uncomfortable. I’ll never get to sleeZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ…..” and snored like a grampus for the next four hours.

Hours, planes, buses and trains later we finally found the boat in Fredrikstad under the command of a worried Wolf with a weather forecast. The route to Bremerhaven is down the west coast of Denmark, which was completely exposed to the expected strong winds from the north west. The whole route was set to take us down a dangerous lee shore in very rough seas, with the entrance to Bremerhaven itself “not advisable” in these conditions.

Luckily there are two big canals running east-west, one through Denmark (the Limfjord) and, further south, the Kiel Canal, so plan B was straightforward: head down the sheltered east coast, and cut through a canal as soon as the weather on the other side moderated. So early on Sunday morning we headed out of Fredrikstad through the islands and set off on the long trek south, studying the pilot book for the Limfjord. As the day went on we became convinced that this route could be very scenic and we began to be excited at the prospect…until the weather report came through: we’d still have major problems after leaving the canal on the far side. This was particularly galling since on the sheltered side where we were there was insufficient wind to sail, and we were motoring.

We still had to do a three-hour trip up the canal on Monday morning to stop in the nearest town, Aalborg, where we could buy charts for the next area south which we would now have to pass through. Aalborg proved very damp and drizzly, but the crew got a chance to spend a few hours in a Danish town while we tracked down a chandlery and bought all the charts we could get (sadly, not all the ones we needed were available).

We also celebrated Wolf’s birthday in Aalborg with a riot of balloons and party streamers over lunch on the boat, plus an assortment of Danish cakes and puddings in a café later on.

Setting off that afternoon, we began our second night at sea, a relatively short hop to Grenaa, where we hoped to pick up at least one more crucial chart. Grenaa was a difficult entrance on a pitch-dark night, with several unlit buoys and a complex inner harbour where it was hard to pick out a berth. Wolf finally made up his mind, chose a spot and drove alongside – where we found that with unerring instinct he had put us right alongside the chandlery where we hoped to get the next set of charts. However, as it was 2am, we were able to get some sleep before they opened!

At 9am we were on the doorstep as the shop was unlocked, where a nice Danish woman proudly got out their entire stock of charts: a choice of about five! After much scratching of heads and careful comparisons of chart boundaries we finally found to our delight that they did in fact cover the area we needed. We set off again at mid-morning with a plan for another scenic route through some islands and narrow channels, and began to look at some timings for each stage of the passage. And yes: with perfect precision, we were set to arrive at the most attractive area just as it got properly dark. However, we still felt the route was unmissable, if only for the opportunity to pass through a place called Middelfart.

This section of the trip kept us all engaged for several hours: a narrow, winding channel with a lot of shallow patches, and an intricate pattern of sectored lights to mark the safe areas. We went through with two or even three navigators at work using all available means to be certain of our position and ensure that each turn was made at just the right point. In the middle of all of this came two bridges with minimal room to spare above John Laing’s mast, and we had some tense moments while we made certain we would fit. Bridges never look quite high enough as you pass underneath them! Trainee first mate Dinghy Boy was very disappointed not to be allowed to go to the top of the mast with a fender.

Finally in the early hours of Wednesday morning we emerged into open water and the first decent wind since leaving Norway. By 6am we were doing 11 knots on a beam reach under mizzen, main, staysail and No. 3 jib (one of our smallest headsails); but the wind was rising. Julia’s watch were sent to a soaking foredeck where they took the staysail down. And we were still doing 10 knots. So they painstakingly put a reef in the main: still 10 knots. So they took the main down: nine knots under mizzen and headsail. Finally we got to the point where we had only the No. 3: eight knots. Some kind of record?

In Holtenau, just outside the Kiel Canal entrance locks, we paused to fill up with diesel. This is normally a dull event but in this case it was enlivened by second mate Alice and I having to go to a local bank for cash, setting off still in oilskins, thermals and lifejackets, discovering it was much further than we’d expected, and much warmer, resulting in Alice peeling off several layers of clothing in the middle of the bank, a performance which will doubtless result in request for repeat bookings from the banking community of Holtenau, for whom it was evidently the highlight of their week.

Inside the lock was a shop where we had been told we could buy the last few charts we needed, for the canal itself. So once secure in the lock, I set off to buy them – only to be called back as the lock gate was already opening to let us out at the far end. For a few anxious moments it seemed we had missed our chance to buy the charts, but a quick phone call to the shop for advice seemed to indicate that this was a regular occurrence: “Oh yes, no problem, go along the canal for five minutes, there is a mooring place, we will send Collette in a van with your charts.” We tied up and waited for this rescuing angel. The only disappointment was that “Collette” turned out to be well over six foot tall and sporting a fine moustache….

The canal itself proved to be gently scenic, but greatly enlivened by a number of very large vessels passing through, including an immense cruise liner. By evening, we had covered 25 miles of canal and were able to stop in Rendsburg. This was the point in the voyage when we had hoped to be in Bremerhaven for a crew- and sea-staff change; but most of the incoming group had tracked us down and were waiting to take our lines.

About half the team went out for dinner in a restaurant in Rendsburg, where we found some excellent food but were a little taken aback, having ordered starters and main courses, to find that the whole lot was delivered to the table simultaneously. But it was a good evening out – and the first night since Saturday when we hadn’t been under way for at least part of the time.

On Thursday morning we all did jobs on board, but at lunchtime the outgoing group stepped ashore and John Laing sailed away without us. Next stop for them was Brunsbuttel, at the western end of the canal, where second mate Matt Bland and crew member George Robinson-Slater were able to join the boat after an epic journey of their own by ferry and rail. And this morning the boat made it to Cuxhaven, where they should be able to pick up relief skipper Dave Carnson, and skipper Wolf will at last get some well-deserved time off.

This was a tiring and testing trip for the crew, several of whom had never set foot in a sailing boat before. But they pulled together into a great team and there was a really good atmosphere on board. Ten of them are staying on for the leg back to Ipswich and the two new arrivals are both experienced John Laing crew, so they should do well over the next few days.

Sea staff on this trip were Wolf, Caz, Dinghy Boy, Alice Poyner, Julia Davies and Tom Hughes, plus Mark Huckerby successfully completing his third mate’s assessment – very well done to him. Dings has now done time as a trainee first mate with both us and Lord Rank, which is great to see (especially for those of us who remember his on his first trip as a crew member four years ago, when he still fitted into the boat’s Extra Small set of oilskins).

Sea staff vacancies

First mates still needed for: 19-23 Sept; 24-30 Sept; 15-20 Oct; 1-5 Nov.

Second mates needed for: 12-16 Sept (adult fam voyage) and 16-18 Sept (mates training) – though I have possible offers for both of these and am waiting for people to confirm; but I definitely still need second mates for 26-31 Oct and 1-5 Nov.

Third mate berths currently all full, but if any 3Ms are desperate to sail I can make up a reserve list in case anyone else drops out.

Email me or call 07986 354697 if you can help!

Crew bookings

Current vacancies as follows:

JL05-40: 4 nights, 12-16 Sept, Southampton, £200 – a few spaces (adults 16+ only)
JL05-41: 2 nights, 16-18 Sept, Southampton, £100 – a few spaces (adults 16+ only)
JL05-42: 4 nights, 19-23 Sep, Southampton, £220 – 4 berths left
JL05-47: 4 nights, 10-14 Oct, Southampton, £210 (whole boat group booking available)
JL05-48: 5 nights, 15-20 Oct, Southampton, £225 – 10 berths left
JL05-49: 4 nights, 21-25 Oct, Southampton, £200 – 6 berths left
JL05-51: 4 nights, 1-5 Nov, Southampton, £160 -11 berths left

For information on latest vacancies, please contact the office on 0870 241 2252, or email office@oytsouth.org.

We are now taking bookings on the 2006 programme, also available from the office, or on the website at www.oytsouth.org. Don’t forget the 2006 Tall Ships races to Spain and Portugal!

Dates for your diaries

Friday 16th Sept: OYT South annual dinner, Royal Southern YC, Hamble, held jointly with two local children’s hospices. Tickets £65 each.

16th – 25th September: Southampton Boat Show: volunteers needed for the OYT South stand.

Saturday 1st October: John Laing maintenance day, Southampton (call Wolf 07771 771864).

Saturday 5th November: End of season party and possible other weekend activities tbc. Individuals welcome aged 18+; crew members under 18 who have sailed this year and would like to keep in touch are welcome to come to the weekend with a parent or group leader.

For more information on any of this, email me or contact the office on 0870 241 2252, office@oytsouth.org.

People News

Third mate Jamie Seymour’s Fastnet Race appears to have gone well – according to the website they finished 15th in class, out of 61 (including 46 finishers).

Don’t forget the OYT South link to Amazon!
At the bottom of the OYT South home page (https://www.oytsouth.org/) is a link to Amazon. Use this link whenever you order anything from Amazon and they will give a percentage of the price to OYT South funds.