OYT South bulletin 11th August 2023

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 11th August 2023

by | Aug 11, 2023

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

* Voyage news
This week it has been fantastic to see our crew from MACS back on board. MACS is a small national charity supporting children and adults born without eyes or with underdeveloped eyes. Every year in the UK, an estimated 114 babies will be born with no eyes (Anophthalmia), small eyes (Microphthalmia), or a cleft in the eye (Coloboma). MACS now helps over 3,000 people from 1,000 families across the UK, supporting them at every stage of their journey by providing peer support, practical help and opportunities to take part in life-changing activity trips – like this one!

Several members of the MACS group sail with us every year so this was a celebration and reunion of old friends.

With the crew joining on a very windy Wednesday in Brixham, the first evening was spent on safety and domestic briefings, a dry alongside Man Overboard recovery drill and an abandon ship drill where everyone went to bed (dressed) and then had to get out of the boat to sit by the life-raft and then put on their full oilskins, lifejackets and hats. The crew were not at all fazed by this and all were up and dressed ready to put a life-raft over the side within 5 minutes. A good first day with some excellent teamwork from the sea staff and the MACs team.

Next day they sailed to Cawsand (just outside Plymouth) – windy conditions which certainly challenged some of the group – and spent the evening anchored near four other sail training vessels: Olga, Johanna Lucretia, Pegasus and Rona II. It was great to meet up with old and new friends.

At anchor

They had a terrific sail to Falmouth next day with a close reach in around 20 knots of wind – everyone had found their sea legs! They were given a berth in Pendennis marina, by the Falmouth Maritime Museum.

The team had been closely following the weather forecast and tracking Storm Antoni which predicted 50 knot winds on Saturday, so that plainly was not a day for sailing and instead the team managed to arrange a visit to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Argus. She is a 100-bed hospital ship that is deployed to take casualties in the time of war or during a humanitarian crisis. She is 175m long and displaces more than 28,000 tonnes and can steam at 18 knots. We were shown around the ship by Hamish, Ben and Jason (RFA Cadets). Hamish had sailed Prolific a few years ago. The MACS crew particularly enjoyed sitting in the Captain’s chair on the bridge!

The Captain's chair Royal Fleet Auxiliary hospital ship Argus Royal Fleet Auxiliary hospital ship Argus

They also spent time in Falmouth working on some sailing theory, especially for those who were working toward RYA sailing qualifications:


When the winds eased they sailed to Fowey in flat seas (the wind was blowing off the land which gave some shelter) and they even managed to get the mizzen staysail up! A few friendly dolphins helped them on their way.

Mizzen staysail

The crew managed to hoist the mainsail and mizzen simultaneously as they sailed out of the river next day, passing our friends on Rona II while giving them a Mexican wave! The lighter SW winds pushed them with the tide round to Anstey’s Cove just north of Torbay where they spent a couple of hours preparing for a short night sail back to Brixham.

Everyone played a full part in the voyage – hoisting sails, going out on the bowsprit, steering and more:

Bowsprit At the helm At sea

They sailed 167 nautical miles and you can see the full voyage track here. One new crew member completed the RYA Start Yachting qualification and three returners earned Competent Crew certificates. The others had all sailed often enough that they had done it already.

Huge thanks to the sea staff Andy Brown, Lauren, Josh, Glyn Collins and Jack Ould; to Robert Lawrence and Sandy Garrity who are both making great progress with second mate assessments; and extra special congratulations to crew member Tori Pickles who was signed off as a third mate! Hannah Brown also joined the sea staff for the first part of the voyage but had leave the voyage early to fly back to her job in Kathmandu in Nepal on Sunday. But she managed to join the end-voyage debrief by WhatsApp video – definitely the first time a member of sea staff has done this from half way around the world!

Feedback included:

“I think this might be one of my BEST trips ever – staff were, like, wonderful. They’ve given us the opportunity to learn amazing stuff really. I learnt how to do the dinghy, and then to do, like, all sorts, I’m almost in tears here because it’s amazing … On any other trip so I’ve always been in a bit of the background, not sure what that bit does or this one or what am I doing here but this trip I felt like I knew a bit more. I was getting to know a bit more and that was mostly because of your staff giving us the opportunity and standing there and helping us out.”

“I think my best bit, although I hated it while I was there, was taking the jib down on the bowsprit ‘cos I originally told Sandy I’d go stand at the front, not on the net and it got to the point Sandy was like, ‘you need to go on the net’ and I was like ‘I don’t want to Sandy’ but I did in the end. So that was really good, that’s like cured my fear a little bit I think.”

“In my bandana looking so piratey, rowing the boat, that was great. I felt like Mr Toad, you know! The worst bit was probably, yeah, feeling quite ill on the second day and thinking, oh god, have I made a mistake. But it was fine the next day so it was alright.”

“It was the most amazing trip. It feels like a big family, the staff have been top notch. Don’t worry, I’ll be back later for some more amazing adventures!”

“I had the best time! I was able to learn new things and gained lots of confidence, thank you for all your help, the sea staff were very helpful and helped me understand everything.”

“My actual, actual worst bit is leaving the ship.”

You can see more voyage feedback here.

We have now started a voyage for mixed group of individuals who sailed to Guernsey yesterday; but you can read about their adventures in the next issue!

Back to index

* Special Prolific earrings inspired by a crew member – now on sale!
More than a year ago we were approached at MDL’s South Coast Boat Show by someone with an interesting idea. He makes earrings based on drawings by children and young people all over the world: would we like to see if a crew member on board Prolific could do a drawing that would inspire earrings whose sale would help to fund other young people to sail with us?

This seemed like an exciting prospect – and now, thanks to Alex Angel-Benscher and Vurchoo, the earrings exist and you can buy them!

The first stage was to ask crew members to submit their drawings, and this happened on last year’s voyage with Shooting Star Children’s Hospice, for brothers and sisters of children with life-limiting conditions.

The winning drawing came from Joey, whose combination of a boat and an eye made us think of all the new things that young crew members see and experience from the deck of Prolific.

Joey's drawing

Shooting Star Children’s Hospice has supported Joey’s younger brother Nathan and the family over the last 10 years and Joey said: “The voyage meant a lot to me as I met a lot of young people like me who have siblings with life-limiting conditions like Nathan. It made me feel like I wasn’t alone in this world. Being a part of the crew and being on the voyage allowed me to experience being out of my comfort zone and becoming comfortable with that. I made friends who know what it’s like to be like me, and that’s so important.”

Shooting Star siblings voyage 2022

Alex loved Joey’s drawing and used it as the inspiration for an earring shaped like the hull and mast of a boat with a Blue Chalcedony stone representing the eye. Having tested it at trade fairs this summer, it is now part of Alex’s Studs of Hope collection, available in quite a number of shops and also for sale online for £40 – and don’t forget, a share of the profit comes back to OYT South! Buying a pair of earrings for yourself or someone else can rarely have been so meaningful. We hope you like them and will want to buy them! Click the links or pictures to see how to buy them.

Blue Chalcedony Gold Stud:

Gold earrings

Blue Chalcedony Silver Stud:

Silver earrings

Back to index

* Watchleader vacancy – new
Owing to a cancellation, we now have space for one more watchleader, trainee mate or bosun from 24th-30th October, for a youth voyage plus an adult day sail. Email caroline.white@oytsouth.org if you would like to sail then!

Back to index

Ocean Globe race – are you interested in helping us in the race village?
As we reported in recent issues, our home port of Ocean Village is set for exciting times in September when, thanks to OYT South’s major sponsors MDL Marinas, they will be hosting the fleet ahead of the start of the Ocean Globe race round the world – a race for “ordinary sailors on normal yachts. Racing ocean-going GRP production yachts designed before 1988, there will be no computers, no satellites, no GPS, and no high-tech materials”.

There will be a race village open to the public for a couple of weeks ahead of the race start on 10th September, with free tickets – highly recommended for any interested sailors!

But most excitingly, the race village has picked three charity partners, with Ocean Youth Trust South alongside the Blue Marine Foundation and the Maiden Factor Foundation all set to benefit from fundraising during the event.

OYT South’s dedicated charity day is Saturday 2nd September and we’ll have a stand and leaflets to give out – can anyone help? Or if you were thinking of visiting the event on another day (29 Aug – 10 Sept) could you spare a bit of time to help us? Email caroline.white@oytsouth.org if you are interested.

Huge thanks to MDL for involving us in such a fantastic and exciting event!

Back to index 

Winter refit core team needed
We haven’t yet finalised plans for Prolific’s winter refit 2023-24, but 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 interested in joining our full-time refit team? We may well need a couple of full-time volunteers between November and March. More details here. 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! If you’re interested, please read the web page and email us with the details requested at the bottom of the page.

If you are new to OYT South and wondering whether you would enjoy being a refit volunteer, why not book on a September adult voyage, to see the boat and meet some of the team?

Back to index

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

If you discover that Prolific is in a harbour somewhere near you, please come and say hello. 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.

Vessel tracking

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

Back to index

2023 adult voyages and volunteer training
does anyone not eligible for youth voyages want to sail our beautiful boat?
We have adult voyages scheduled as follows:

11-15 Sept 2023, Southampton, 4 nights, age range 18+, £475 per person, adult week (Monday to Friday), 6 places left.

22-24 Sept 2023, Southampton, 2 nights, age range 18+, £245 per person, adult weekend voyage (Friday evening to Sunday evening), up to 7 places left tbc.

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 to reserve a place on an adult voyage.

Back to index

2024 draft programme
We now have a DRAFT sailing programme for 2024 and we have sent it round to our regular clients! If anyone else is interested in a full-boat group booking for next year, please contact caroline.white@oytsouth.org. At this stage it may be possible to amend the programme slightly to meet clients’ needs, though that depends on any impact your preferred changes would have on the groups sailing either side of you.

Once we have a final version of the programme, we will designate some voyages for individual rather than group bookings, so there’s no rush to enquire about those just yet!

Back to index

Maintenance days – please come and help! NEW location for September date
Please come to one of our in-season maintenance days! We can use both skilled and unskilled volunteers, and it all helps to keep the boat in good condition and to try and avoid losing any time on voyages to maintenance issues.

Monday 4th September – Gosport
Sunday 15th October – Southampton

Just call the boat on 07990 518915 or email refit@oytsouth.org if you want to come and help.

Please note that the maintenance day on 4th Sept was previously advertised as Southampton but it will now be at Victoria Quay, Gosport, close to our office in Royal Clarence.

Back to index

Movement for Good Awards – please nominate us to win £1,000

In September, 150 charities will each win £1,000, based on nominations from the public, through Movement for Good – please nominate us! If you follow that link and scroll down the page, you’ll come to a form already set to vote for us – you just have to add a few details and press the button at the bottom. It takes seconds!

We have been lucky enough to win a few times in the past but not recently, so PLEASE send in your nomination this time. £1,000 could provide voyages for two disadvantaged young people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to sail; or it could buy food for everyone on board for days, or a piece of equipment for the boat.

Movement for Good logo

Back to index

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.

Back to index

Raise funds for OYT South if you’re shopping online
we’ve made over £1,500 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 over £1,500 through Easyfundraising – huge thanks to everyone who has used it!

Back to index

OYT South social media – please share as well as liking!
If you look at the top left of any page on our website, you can click on icons for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn. We are also on TikTok. Please share our social media posts as widely as you can – with the help of all our supporters, this charity is doing some amazing work and we need more people to hear about it. You don’t need to do anything more than share a post, or perhaps add a comment which could be as simple as “I’ve sailed with this charity!” or “I volunteer for this charity!”.

Please note that OYT South has a policy that our adult staff and volunteers should not make or accept personal online connections 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.

Back to index

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!

Back to index

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 11-25, 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 11-25 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, mate 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.

Back to index

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.

Back to index