OYT South bulletin 14th July 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 14th July 2023

by | Jul 14, 2023

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

* Voyage news
The last newsletter ended as a crew from Dartmouth Academy was joining the boat. On the first night they motored to Cowes, for a fairly early start the next day to sail to Weymouth. It was a Force 7 and quite challenging for most people on board; but they all showed pretty amazing resilience and once they had stopped tacking and the boat flattened out, people bounced back well from seasickness.

At sea in challenging conditions Young people at sea

However, this experience was factored into the plans for the rest of the week and potential plans to sail to Alderney were scrapped: the weather wasn’t on our side and it could have been quite punishing with a lot of the crew getting exhausted and ill. So on Saturday they had a slower start to the day, with some shore leave and then out to anchor in the bay for lunch and a swim, followed by putting the sails up for tacking practice and a man overboard recovery drill, and finishing the day in Portland.

two six heave

On Sunday they had a fantastic downwind sail from Portland to Yarmouth. Everyone got involved with some really good gybing and had developed great skills by the time Prolific did three neat gybes into the Solent before heading into Weymouth. It was really clear how much progress the group had made in a couple of days as they were able to get the mainsail down and get ready for coming alongside with speed and efficiency. Some of the young people were able to take on responsibility for organising their area of the boat.

At the helm Salad!

The berth in Yarmouth was on a pontoon not attached to the shore – a bit of a disappointment for people who had hoped for shops and showers!

On Monday we managed to get them ashore for a while before a motor sail from Yarmouth to Poole. This was another upwind sail in winds significantly stronger than forecast but by this time they had their sea legs and were all either loving it or pushing themselves – and almost no seasickness.

At the helm At sea

All in all, a fantastic week with some really good sailing, pushing some comfort zones and all clearly showing progression, perseverance, and a good level of care for one another.

They sailed 153 nautical miles and you can see the voyage track here. Big thanks to sea staff James Boyce, Graeme Cole, Josh, Unity Bowns, Clara Theil, Caitlin Neall-Johnston and Hannah Blyton.

Group photo

The skipper’s conclusion was: “This group had a very hard set of weather conditions and did brilliantly. All worked very hard and should be very proud of themselves. Students were incredibly supportive of each other and pushed themselves to work outside of their pre-established social groups.”

Comments from the young people included:

“My favourite bit was probably learning how to tack and doing all the driving and all that stuff. My least favourite bit was turning our stomachs inside out being sick on the first day.” 

“My most memorable bit was when we were all sat up on deck and this massive wave splashed and we all got drowned.” 

“Had a good and exciting time and would definitely recommend. Opened up a whole new world for me.” 

“I really enjoyed and appreciated this incredible opportunity. It was tons of fun and I learnt loads.”

That was followed by a mixed crew of individual bookings. The crew joined in Poole, running through essential safety briefings and then heading straight out to an anchorage in Swanage Bay. We didn’t realise that someone had spotted us next morning and taken a photo which became the backdrop to the BBC weather forecast!

Still shot from BBC Weather

Coincidentally, it also turned out that BBC Weather presenter Carol Kirkwood was in the same class in the first year of secondary school as one of our volunteer watchleaders, Sandy Garrity!

Some of the crew had good dinghy sailing experience and two had been on Prolific before. Having explained the effects of tide and wind on our destination, the crew agreed on a plan to head west, towards Fowey. They started with sailing triangles around Swanage bay, learning about points of sail and how to tack a 105ft boat. The crew rotated through various positions on the foredeck and helm and then participated in a man overboard recovery drill to highlight the recovery process and the safety equipment on board.


After lunch, they set sail on a 120nm passage bound for Fowey, dropping into watches to sail through the night. They enjoyed a blood moon rise, and a clear starry night. One of the members of crew was very knowledgeable, pointing out constellations and galaxies. They had dolphins at 5am followed by a beautiful sunrise and even more dolphins who came to play. As the wind dropped in the morning, the crew dropped the sails and motored the rest of the way to Fowey to pick up a mooring.

At the helm At sea

The young people were then ferried ashore in the dinghy that afternoon to explore Fowey, enjoy Cornish ice cream and a refreshing swim in Readymoney Cove, before dinner, games and a movie night aboard.

Next day, after topping up with water, Prolific cruised downwind towards Salcombe. Surfing the southerly swell, the crew enjoyed the sun and fun on the bowsprit. With the boat safely moored in Salcombe, the crew enjoyed an evening picnic on the beach followed by a swim before returning to the boat for more fun and games.


On Sunday, the boat had to leave Salcombe early before the Merlin Rocket Regatta started. The boat dropped anchor in Start Bay to enjoy a delicious and sunny lunch on deck followed by a swim off the boat. Having learned a good set of sailing skills and bonded as a team, the crew felt confident enough to take charge of Prolific for the passage to Brixham, taking turns at helming, navigating, plotting positions and keeping watch.

Navigation Navigation

They sailed 264 nautical miles, the longest voyage of the season so far, and you can see the full voyage track here. Big thanks to sea staff Nic Crawford, Adam Lane, Josh, Tom Knigh5t, harry lack and special congratulations to Hilary Croft and James Robinson who both completed third mate assessments!

Feedback included:

“My favourite moment, probably on a night sail again was watching the moon rise. A beautiful blood moon over the ocean which I thought was really pretty and the stars coming out as well ‘cos there was no light pollution in the ocean. As well as Fowey which was beautiful … My least favourite moment would have to be the wake up for the early shift on the night sail which was quite rough … but then we got on with it. It was great to see the whole watch and whole crew persevering through that. It was really good.”

“It was a truly brilliant five days with many memories made. Everyone was in top form and bonded very well and very quickly. This made the trip 100 times better. A big thank you to all the crew and staff, who were very nice and helpful. I would truly recommend again. Cheers!”

“I would like to thank the sea staff for giving up their time and allowing us to gain a valuable experience that I for one know will stay with me for life. There are so many memorable moments from this trip – from balancing, precariously on the bowsprit to seeing dolphins to diving off the boat.”

“Loved the exciting opportunity to use this voyage as D of E residential. I really enjoyed it all, hope to get more into sailing and maybe do something like this again.”

And finally a special word from one of the young people for Josh our Staff Engineer:

“I’d like to thank all the sea staff and all the people behind the scenes for making another voyage possible for me. It was an awesome voyage with many views, I’d like to emphasise that Josh is perfect for his role on board. I’ve never met someone so passionate and in their element around boats. Thank you all so much, hope to see you again.”

You can see more voyage feedback here: https://www.oytsouth.org/feedback/.

That was followed by a maintenance day – many thanks to Diggory, Lauren, Graeme Cole, Patrick Kelly, Unity Bowns, Harry Lack, Hilary Croft, James Robinson, Julian Ware, Susanna Paynter and extra special thanks to Josh who spent a huge amount of time up the mast in order to complete a successful fix for a problem with the mizzen!

Prolific is now sailing with a crew of boys from New Beacon School. Aged 10-13, they are among the youngest group we have this season – and facing a challenging weather forecast! However, they sailed the short distance to Anstey’s Cove on the first night, and the boys took responsibility for anchor watches.

Yesterday they did lots of sail training with plenty of tacks and a chance for everyone to get used to helming and handling lines and winches. They seemed to be enjoying themselves!

At sea Tacking! At the helm

They got to Dartmouth yesterday and they will be there for a while as the forecast is awful – with gusts just touching storm force. They are not downhearted, however, as there is plenty of fun to be had on board and ashore. For the moment they are working on elements of their RYA sailing qualifications, and making pizzas …

Knots Knots Knots!

Big thanks to sea staff Diggory, Graeme Cole, Lauren, Patrick Kelly, Unity Bowns, Susanna Paynter, Julian Ware, plus the two school staff, Mark and James.

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* Special training voyage for young volunteers aged 16-25
Are you aged 16-25 and have you sailed with us in recent years and been told that the skipper would be prepared to recommend you for training as a volunteer bosun or watchleader?

Sometimes people don’t take up these recommendations at the time – maybe you were busy with exams, or didn’t know your plans for the following year; or maybe you are a year or two older now and feeling more confident about this sort of opportunity. It’s not too late to come back – and it’s a great chance to get some more sailing (which is free once you start sailing as a volunteer) as well as some amazing experience for your CV and to talk about in applications and interviews. It doesn’t even involve a huge commitment – some volunteers only sail on one or two voyages each year.

Or maybe you have already taken up a volunteer recommendation, but you know there is more to learn!

Either way, we still have spaces on this year’s young volunteer training voyage, which is now 4-9 September, starting in Gosport and finishing in the Hamble. On the first day you can learn about boat maintenance and all the checks we have to carry out, and then you’ll be sailing for the rest of the week. Bursaries available.

Contact caroline.white@oytsouth.org if you are interested or you would like to know more.

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* RYA Diesel Engine course
Our friends at Dorset Marine Training in Poole hare now able to offer the RYA Diesel Engine course, which we would recommend to all our sea staff!

Tom Knight is trying to put together a group to do a course in September or October which Dom Coleman has very kindly offered it to active OYT South volunteers for just £50pp. Anyone interested in being put in touch with Tom, email webmaster1@oytsouth.org. If you can’t do it in September or October but might like to do it at some other time (when it wouldn’t be a special OYT South course), let us know and we’ll put you in touch with Dorset Marine Training.

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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?

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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.

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* 2023 voyages available for young people – last few places this summer!
Dates open for individual bookings are as follows. Please state your age when applying – we can sail with young people aged 11-25 but we aim to organise compatible groups and not have too wide an age range on any voyage.

* 9-15 Aug 2023, 6 nights, Brixham, £675 – 1 place left
* 16-22 Aug 2023, 6 nights, Brixham, £675 – 1 place left tbc
4-9 Sept 2023, Gosport to Hamble, 5 nights, £575 – places available for people aged 16-25 to join a voyage with some of our young volunteers – please ask for more details. Up to 7 places left.

* Please note that passports are required for any voyage marked *. We can never guarantee to sail across the Channel because it is so dependent on the weather; but everyone currently booked on these voyages has a passport so we want to keep the option available in case the weather is on our side.

Contact webmaster1@oytsouth.org to express an interest.

Otherwise, we have a full programme of voyages through the summer and up to the end of October; and although they have all been reserved, we do occasionally find that people have to drop out, so if you would like to go on our waiting list and be kept informed of any vacancies, please email office@oytsouth.org.

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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, adult week (Monday to Friday).

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

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.

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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 to meet clients’ needs.

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!

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* OYC memories from fifty-one years ago!
John Glackin has very kindly written up some memories of a voyage with us in 1972, and what he learned from the experience. He also sent these “before” and “after” photos!

John Glackin John Glackin

“It was a competition in the Daily Express, when I was 18 years old at the time, that highlighted – “Win a sailing trip at Cowes Week, on the Falmouth Packet….”.

The criteria were, how would time at sea help your character, and what can you add to the ship’s crew … (this is me from a council estate on the East Coast of Scotland … let’s say that racing at Cowes Week was not one of my priorities).

Now, I had canoed in the Scouts, and was comfortable in lochs and rivers, but my Ace for this competition was when my employer selected me for a 2-week crew experience, on the Sail Training Ship, Sir Winston Churchill, the previous year. We sailed from Portsmouth in November 1971, and we cruised the French Ports & Channel Islands. My sign-off report said that “Glackin continually returned to the helm after severe bouts of vomiting….” (I still reckon that’s my best ever reference…)

Now, back to the Falmouth Packet (Ocean Youth Club) … In my essay for the competition, I stated that this adventure would test my resolve, identify the need for teamwork, and more importantly, highlight the importance of strangers working in a unique environment, having to make that little bit more effort.

Ten of us were selected for the Falmouth Packet Cowes Week adventure. Most had a modicum experience of light sailing, but not at the level where we were race competing with other ketches of our class around the Isle of Wight. Great experience, wonderful time, good contacts made.

In 1974, I was invited – and accepted – the role of Boatswain’s Mate, on the Malcolm Miller, sister ship of the Churchill. This was a month onboard, first with a male crew, then we had a female crew (43 women & 9 men). In these enlightened times, we had a laugh, challenges, rough conditions, and ultimate character development.

In later years, I was based on ships in the North Sea & Middle East, working in inspection & pipeline surveys.

What have I learned from sailing over the years, in any work environment?

It taught me how to work with new people in an effective manner, and to understand how the strengths & weaknesses of myself and others play a role in making any project a success. You’ll find out those who pull their weight, and those who are less committed to the cause.

You’ll find laughs, friendship, and the reason for having good leadership and support.

On the ship, when the weather picked up, it was all hands to the proverbial pump, to ensure sails were secure, hatches affirmed, and everyone was ok. This was always a good test of character. Same as we are under pressure in our team environment.

I feel sailing brought all individual and team issues together and verified why the only way we could get to the end result, was to focus on what we needed to do, ensure we communicated and worked as a unit. Most of the time it worked – when it didn’t, it wasn’t hard to identify the issues.

Me? – I think I’m more confident and dependable, because of my sailing journeys. It was an education. I had my eyes opened a few times and learned a lot about myself.

I cherish my sea experience – it adds to the individual character. I can give it no higher endorsement.”


1970s OYC crew

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* 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.

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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

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* Financial appeal
Big thanks this week to all the people who have been donating so generously in memory of Alex Tsekouras. Alex was the son-in-law of Howard Gross in whose memory we already had a bursaries fund: this now becomes the Howard Gross and Alex Tsekouras bursaries fund. Alex and his family joined us for a day sail in May and we were very pleased to be able to fulfil one of his last wishes, to spend a day at sea on board Prolific. Our thoughts and very best wishes are with the family,

Thanks also to the Royal Thames Yacht Club and to Nigel Pearce for kind donations.

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.

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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!

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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. 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.

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Website – Raise and Sail – help needed
Although we have a brand-new website, one section that still needs work is to update Raise and Sail, which was designed many years ago by volunteers Fiona Keen and Emma Burrows as a stand-alone area of the site full of ideas and resources for young people who want to raise money in order to come sailing. We have a volunteer doing some work on this but others may be able to help too, if you have good ideas or experience of raising money. Email caroline.white@oytsouth.org if you would like to help.

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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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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.

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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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