OYT South bulletin 23rd April 2022

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 23rd April 2022

by | Apr 23, 2022

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

* Voyage news
Plenty to cover as there was no newsletter last week!

We begin with a very special voyage: the annual week with some very special Award Winners chosen by our major sponsors at MDL Marinas. They always choose exceptionally deserving young people who have been through real adversity but are still making a positive contribution to families, schools and communities. This year we had seven new winners plus one initially chosen for the 2020 voyage which was cancelled by Covid and who had also been unable to sail last year. They were joined by three individual bookings who all came from similar backgrounds and proved to be an excellent fit with the MDL group.

They sailed from Ocean Village to Cowes on the first evening and then had a good long sail across Poole Bay and berthed in Poole for the night. They had a day there with bad weather and did lots of training towards their Royal Yachting Association qualifications as well as exploring ashore. Next day they hoisted the sails in the shelter of Poole Bay and then had a really big sail all round the south of the Isle of Wight, into the eastern Solent and ending in Cowes – only motoring the very last bit. Becoming Isle of Wight circumnavigators meant a lot to the young people – a big achievement of which they were all rightly very proud. They explored Cowes and had beach games, and left in the afternoon to do some exercises including a man overboard recovery drill. They anchored in Osborne Bay for dinner and then had a night sail back to Ocean Village with some people taking charge of navigation and others on the helm, while a few just relaxed and chatted with the new friends they had made.

During the week they had a very enthusiastic game of “boat murder” where people draw three slips: a person’s name, an object, and an area of the boat. If you can get that person to hold that thing while standing in that place, you have “killed” them and they are out of the game – and you inherit their slips and set off to catch the next person. It’s easy enough if the slips you draw mean that you have to get someone to hold a wooden spoon in the galley, but enormous ingenuity is required if you have to get someone to hold a toilet roll on the end of the bowsprit … it can be done!

The full voyage track can be seen here. They sailed 133 nautical miles. Nine people earned RYA Competent Crew certificates and two earned recommendations to come back and train as volunteer sea staff.

Skipper Holly said: “I’m quite proud of this voyage, in that I think it encapsulated why sail training exists: a group of very deserving young people from diverse backgrounds became a fun, supportive, and efficient team. We sailed decent distances, enjoyed downtime at anchor and whilst exploring new locations, and ultimately had fun with new friends. Everyone received a competent crew award, but the bigger achievement was ultimately the feeling we all got at the end of the trip: that of being a family. ‘You never would have known we were strangers at the start.’ It’s soppy but true! The sea staff created the most welcoming environment and tailored all activities to each individual’s needs, and because of this we saw the young people feel safe to talk to us and each other about their home lives, forging lovely friendships whilst doing so, whilst also pushing themselves in the challenge of sailing the boat. There was particular pride felt amongst the crew from having completed a circumnavigation of the Isle of Wight. My favourite part was the final night when motoring in the dark from Osborne Bay to OV – those who wanted to navigate did, those who wanted to helm did, those who wanted to make elaborate hot chocolates for others did – meanwhile small groups of the crew broke off to laugh and chat and share stories. It was pretty magic.”

An 18-year-old said: “My favourite bit is probably like making loads of new friends and like having so much fun with like every other person … my most memorable bit would probably be the night passage from Cowes to Southampton, it was really nice, it was really like lovely stars and views”. A 13-year-old said “My most memorable bit was being able to say that I’ve gone round the Isle of Wight”; an 11-year-old said: “I think the most memorable is probably everyone just getting along and just having fun because that’s really all that matters”; and a 17-year-old said: “Loved the trip. It was a great way to disconnect from the outside. Hope to
be back *soon*.”

Big thanks to sea staff Holly, Graeme, Patrick, Josh and special congratulations to Michelle van den Bergh who was signed off as a third mate, and 17-year-old Harry Lack who successfully completed his bosun assessment – something he has been on course to achieve ever since he first came on a school voyage at the age of 13!

That was followed by an Easter voyage for a group which included a lot of young people who had been awarded funding support for various reasons – there were lots of young carers needing a break from demanding home situations, and others with additional needs. As with the previous voyage, a diverse group with a wide spread of ages got on remarkably well. They set off from Ocean Village after initial familiarisation and safety briefings, and spent the night at anchor in Thorness Bay, west of Cowes. Next morning they sailed out through the Needles and went for a big sail with loads of tacking and a chance for everyone to become familiar with helming, sail handling, rope work and winches.

They anchored that night in Totland and stayed there for the following morning working on parts of the RYA Start Yachting syllabus. They had a really nice sail that afternoon, ending up in Cowes where they were thrilled to find showers after two nights at anchor with no access to shore facilities! Next morning they explored Cowes and enjoyed some beach games, and then had a fantastic sail where it was really obvious how much they had learned – lots of tacking and gybing with young people carrying out their roles very effectively, understanding what they were doing and demonstrating huge progress in just a few days. Two young people actually led the mizzen and main hoists respectively and were just as competent as some of our adult volunteers. They anchored for dinner and then had a night sail back to Ocean Village where the voyage ended after 80 nautical miles. You can see the full vessel track here. Ten people earned RYA Start Yachting certificates and there were more potential future volunteers among the crew.

A 15-year-old said her best bit was when she and one of the younger boys were “cranking the winch because I would see him struggling and then I’d get my hands on there and we’d be going so fast. And the kind of euphoric feeling of how quickly we were able to hoist and tighten any ropes. And I’d say my best bit in terms of the most kind of challenging thing where I really felt like I pushed myself was with the mainsail hoist. That was a very kind of out of my comfort zone experience. And that helped me learn a lot.” A 13-year-old said: “My most memorable part is going on the bowsprit for the first time, and like seeing how good I am at heights and stuff like that”; a 12-year-old said: “My most favourite part was most probably meeting everyone here because I want to remember you all because you are lovely people and I’m happy I’ve got to meet you all”; and a 13-year-old said he would remember: “Just yelling my lungs out to ‘Living on a Prayer’ whilst doing extreme washing up.”

Big thanks to sea staff Holly, Brigid, Miranda, Julian. Sandy, Nige and Steve.

Finally on Wednesday we were joined by a group of young people in care in Hampshire. They anchored in Stokes Bay overnight and then had a good long sail to Poole on Thursday before returning to the Solent yesterday and reaching Cowes after a series of broad zig zags. Today they were working towards their RYA qualifications and then planning to go ashore for ice-creams! Big thanks to sea staff Holly, Martyn, Tom, Barry, Gary and Iori.

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* 2022 volunteer sea staff bookings – PLEASE help!
Can anyone help to fill any of these spaces:

26 April – 1 May – Southampton – one more qualified or trainee member of sea staff (ideally also for maintenance day 25 April)
10-15 May – Southampton – one more qualified or trainee member of sea staff
27-31 May- Southampton – one more qualified or trainee member of sea staff
6-10 June- Southampton – one more qualified or trainee member of sea staff (ideally also for maintenance day 11 June)
PRIORITY: 12-17 June – Southampton – two qualified or trainee members of sea staff needed (ideally also for maintenance day 11 June)
2-8 July – Southampton to Poole – one more qualified or trainee member of sea staff
16-22 July – Brixham – one more qualified watchleader needed
PRIORITY: 24-29 Aug – Brixham to Poole – two qualified watchleaders needed (but at least one could be a new volunteer who could qualify on one of the earlier voyages).

Email webmaster1@oytsouth.org if you can help with any of these.

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* Island Support Group
For very many years, OYT South has had wonderful backing from our Support Group based on the Isle of Wight, particularly Marion Heming, Peter Kingston, Brian Mead and John Smith. Having run things for such a long time, they have decided the moment has come to hand over the admin and hard work to the OYT South core team, and we will now manage a special ring-fenced fund which they have raised for bursaries for young people from the Isle of Wight. We want to offer huge thanks for everything they have done for us down the years, and for the very generous sum of money which means that young people from the Isle of Wight will continue to have opportunities in the years to come.

We can also continue to rely on a warm welcome when visiting the island – here’s a picture from a few years ago (back in the John Laing days, before Prolific) when Marion (and official Isle of Wight Support Dog Polly) came to visit our crew from Alfreton Park Special School. The young people said one of the highlights of their voyages was taking Polly for a walk and running races in which Polly acted as a finishing post!

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* Millie’s fundraiser
One of our young volunteers, Millie Nation, has set up a Facebook fundraiser for us – please spread the word and help her smash her target! Millie says: “Hi guys, Ocean Youth Trust (OYT) are a charity that teach young people to sail from the ages of 12-25 from all backgrounds. They bursary fund some young people from tougher backgrounds to voyage with them. However, after I won the MDL marina awards I started sailing with them even after that. They have continued to bursary fund me (despite not having a tougher background than others, just because of the belief they have in me and wish to see me go further in the sailing community). This is amazing and something I am truly grateful for, this summer I’ll be taking 2 voyages with (both bursary funded). However, the bursary funding can only go so far, I’m raising money for the charity so they can spread the funding further! This year I’ll be helping out at the 2nd boat show from the 6-8th of May at Ocean Village Southampton and would be amazing if anyone could come down! I want to say a massive thank you to OYT for all the support they’ve given me all sea staff and volunteers are amazing and have helped me so much! This year I’m hoping to move on to the next stage in my qualifications to bosun and next season hopefully (fingers crossed) watch leader! Any donation no matter how small is a massive help, not just will you be helping an amazing charity, you’ll be supporting so many young, some disadvantaged, people to have an experience of a life time! Thankyou to everyone!”

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South Coast Boat Show 6-8 May – volunteers needed

As you can tell from the item above, Millie is going to be a hugely enthusiastic volunteer at this event, but she needs a bit more help!

The South Coast Boat Show will be taking place in Ocean Village over the weekend of 6-8 May. Prolific will once again be at the heart of the show, providing tea, coffee and bacon rolls to the public in exchange for donations to the charity. We also hope to have a reception for exhibitors on board on Saturday evening.

We will need a good team of volunteers on Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday, to get the boat ready with the deck awnings up plus flags and bunting, and then working in the galley to make drinks and bacon rolls, or showing people round the boat and talking to them about the work of the charity. We want to have some adults and sea staff on board but also some under-18s who have sailed with us and are happy to talk to people about what the experience was like.

Email webmaster1@oytsouth.org if you would like to be involved.

And if you can’t help as a volunteer but are thinking of visiting the show, do make sure you come and say hello!

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Vessel tracking – see where Prolific is sailing now!
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.

There are also apps like Marine Traffic that you can use to track Prolific on your phone.

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* 2022 voyage
availability – young people aged 11-25
We are taking bookings for young people on the following voyages:

2-8 July, Southampton to Poole, 6 nights, £625
9-15 July, Poole tbc to Brixham, 6 nights, £625 – may be full unless we can add extra places – please ask!
23-27 July, Brixham, 4 nights, £425 – just ONE place left!
10-16 Aug, Brixham, 6 nights, £625
17-23 Aug, Brixham, 6 nights, £625
24-29 Aug, Brixham to Poole, 5 nights, £525
30 Aug – 4 Sept, Poole to Southampton, 5 nights, £525 – just ONE place left!
21-25 Oct, Southampton, 4 nights, £410 (voyage starts later on Friday so people can join after schools break up for half term)

If you are interested in any of these dates. email webmaster1@oytsouth.org stating the age of the person who will be sailing. Our voyages can be open to people aged 11-25 but in practice we aim to divide people into compatible groups and not have 11-year-olds and 25-year-olds sailing together. If you are around the middle of the age range, any voyage on the list could work, but for younger or older people we will advise if your chosen date looks appropriate or not – sometimes it is hard to be sure until we have a reasonable number of enquiries.

People who are aged 18-25 can apply for places on youth voyages but would also be eligible for adult voyages (18+ with no upper age limit).

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2022 adult voyages and volunteer training
We have adult voyages scheduled as follows:

12-16 Sept 2022, Southampton, 4 nights, age range 18+, £425, adult week (Monday to Friday). Spaces available.

7-9 Oct 2022, Southampton, 2 nights, age range 18+, £215 per person, adult weekend voyage (Friday evening to Sunday evening). Spaces available.

These are open to anyone aged 18+ but priority will be given to people who are interested in finding out more about volunteering with the charity and potentially hoping to use the voyage to earn a recommendation for volunteer training (especially those who have not had the opportunity to earn a recommendation on a youth voyage), as well as current volunteers looking for some extra training on a voyage where they can focus on their own skills without the responsibility of supervising young people at the same time.

Email webmaster1@oytsouth.org if you are interested in an adult berth.

In addition, as we did in 2021, we have earmarked a special training voyage for young volunteers aged 16-25. This will run from 6-11 September and will be largely filled by invitation: we will be looking for young people who have excelled on a youth voyage and have great potential as volunteers, or people who have recently started sailing as young volunteers and whose training we are investing in for the future of the charity. We will be aiming to raise funds to make this voyage as affordable as possible: the priority is to focus on the best young people who could be part of the charity for years to come and will make it possible for us to sail with hundreds of other young people in future. Although we will be inviting people to join this voyage, if you would like to be considered, you can ask the skipper on any other voyage if they would recommend you, or you can email webmaster1@oytsouth.org asking to be considered. If not all the places are filled with young volunteers, we may open up a few places to others in the same age range who don’t mind getting involved while others practise their leadership skills.

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* Financial appeal

Big thanks this week to the Island Support Group for creating a very generous bursaries fund for young people from the Isle of Wight!

Thanks also to Martin Thomas and the Chichester u3a – Martin gave a talk called “In the Footsteps of Shackleton” and asked that a donation be made to OYT South in lieu of payment for his talk.

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
we’ve made over £1,000 through Easyfundraising!
“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!”


We have already raised more than £1,000 through Easyfundraising – huge thanks to everyone who has used it!

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 https://smile.amazon.co.uk, 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 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!

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 webmaster1@oytsouth.org 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 webmaster1@oytsouth.org.

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