OYT South bulletin 17th November 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 17th November 2023

by | Nov 17, 2023

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

* New Staff Skipper!
We’re absolutely delighted to announce that Prolific’s new Staff Skipper is Constantinos Jensen!

Constantinos is a very experienced Yachtmaster Instructor whose most recent work has been instructing at UKSA, who describe themselves as “the world’s leading provider of maritime training”. Constantinos has been skippering their Farr 65, running Yachtmaster training. He has 12 years’ experience in the sailing industry, including time spent as a sailmaker as well as training and coaching racing sailors in events from the Clipper round the world race through to the Fastnet Race.

It was this last experience that sparked his interest in sail training. Many of you will know of our regular voyages with Greig City Academy in Haringey, which, through the Scaramouche sailing trust, has a remarkable reputation for giving sailing opportunities to inner-city young people, and back in 2017 realised an ambition to become the first state school to compete in the Fastnet race. Constantinos coached the Greig City Academy crew for the 2019 Fastnet and has seen the difference that sailing has made to their lives. He has also worked with the SeaChange Foundation at UKSA – all of which convinced him that the most fulfilling next step in his career would be to become a full-time sail training skipper.

Contantinos Jensen

Constantinos says:

“Dear all,
I am very excited in taking on the role of Staff Skipper on board the incredible Prolific.  I am really looking forward to sharing this adventure with all of you.
Sailing has always been much more than just a job for me, I have made some lifelong friendships through it and I have seen people discover strengths they never knew they had.
What I’m most looking forward to is creating an environment where our young sailors can pick up not just sailing skills but also life skills that will stay with them such as teamwork, resilience, and adaptability.
I am also just very excited to sail Prolific, she seems like a perfect boat for the voyages we are on.
I’m sure we’ll have a lot of fun, build friendships and ignite a lifelong love for the ocean.
Fair winds,
Constantinos Jensen”

He will be joining us at the beginning of January and we know everyone will want to make him very welcome!

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* Refit news – please come and help!
Winter refit 2023-4 is under way!

Big thanks this week to Josh, Lauren, Lynne, Susanna, Caitlin Neall-Johnston, Julian Ware and Robert Lawrence.

We were lucky to have the weather to get on with some hull painting – special thanks to International Paint for all their support:

Preparing Prolific's hull for painting Preparing Prolific's hull for painting Toplac - Mauritius Blue

We also had Golden Arrow on board, working with Josh to look at the engine; and Spinlock visited to look at the jammers and constrictors and came up with some very useful suggestions.

The team has done an inventory of the oilskins and, along with the bunk curtains, they are now off the boat for cleaning and repair. Robert has been bleeding the radiators which is obviously important for keeping the workforce warm over the winter! And Lauren has been doing chart corrections.

Here’s the team reacting to the news of a very generous donation towards refit costs:

Refit team on pontoon next to prolific, leaping with excitement

Please come and help!

Prolific is staying in Ocean Village but not on our usual berth – we are tucked in for the winter on a sheltered berth by the hotel. We also have some lovely refit accommodation a short drive away by the Hamble.

Just call the boat on 07990 518915 or email refit@oytsouth.org if you want to come and help us. At the moment we are looking for help on weekdays: do let us know if you can help anytime time from now until March, either for just one day or for a longer period or some sort of regular commitment such as a day each week.

If you want to come and help for longer than a day and you need accommodation, just ask – it all depends what we have available.

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 next season to maintenance issues.

Sea staff who want to sail next season: remember that if lots of volunteers all apply for the same dates, priority will go to people who have helped us in other ways – coming to refit, raising money, introducing new clients etc!

You can read more about how refit works here.

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* Lost property – did you leave anything on board Prolific this year?
Would anyone like to claim any of the following items left on board Prolific during the season? Contact office@oytsouth.org if you think something here is yours:

Black Fortinet water bottle
Anker power bank
Lazy Jacks jumper
Contact lenses
Green washbag
Primark black shorts
Wellies (wrapped in socks)
Rucksack containing bike lock
Black coat with hood

Lost property - Black Fortinet water bottle Lost property - Lazy Jacks jumper Lost property - washbag Lost property - Primark black shorts Lost property - wellies Lost property - rucksack and bike lock Lost property - coat Lost property - contact lenses Lost property - Anker power bank

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2024 volunteer sea staff bookings – including people who were told on voyages this year that they should think about returning as volunteers
You are welcome to start sending in your bids for sailing next year – though it is NOT first-come, first-served and it will be something we work on over the winter. If you possibly can, get your bids to us by 1st January – either dates when you would like to sail, or details of the maximum number of days you can offer and any dates you can’t manage.

The process is that we will do a rota for the paid staff and book relief skippers, and then go on to booking relief first mates. After that we’ll look at a few other priorities (e.g. for training and assessment to senior levels) before allocating teams of people to fill the other roles on each voyage.

For those of you who haven’t been through the process before or can’t remember, here’s a quick run-down:

It really helps if you can look at the sailing programme when sending in your availability. There’s no point, for example, telling us you can sail from 5th to 15th August – that’s half of one voyage and half of the next so there’s no complete voyage you can do!

Qualified sea staff (anyone who has previously sailed with us as a watchleader, bosun or engineer) and anyone who has already sailed as sea staff but is partway through training and assessment – ideally please give us voyage numbers of anything you would like to do (see here for voyage numbers); or give us names of any regular clients you’d particularly like to sail with; or simply tell us the maximum number of days you can offer in 2024 and any times of year you can or can’t manage. Please be specific: “voyages in university holidays” only works if you tell us your exact holiday dates!

If you have NOT already sailed as sea staff but you HAVE had a skipper’s recommendation (which means that EITHER you have sailed on a youth voyage and been told at the end that you have been recommended to come back for bosun or watchleader training, or you have done an adult voyage and been given a recommendation at the end) but are not yet an assessed and qualified member of sea staff, your next step is to sail on a youth voyage of four nights or more, for further training and assessment (after which you can do other voyages next year). Not all voyages are suitable for this but please send in details of your availability and we’ll aim to match you with an appropriate voyage. There is paperwork to be completed before you can sail (DBS, references etc) and we will give priority in bookings to people who have completed or made good progress with this, ahead of people who haven’t started or have delayed with it. So if you want to sail as a volunteer in 2024, please make sure you are in touch with seastaffadmin@oytsouth.org about your paperwork.

If you have NOT yet had a recommendation from our skipper to join our sea staff, then you need to do a training/selection voyage first, and the next step depends on your age. If you are aged 16 or 17 then you need to book on any standard youth voyage and aim to get your recommendation there. If you are aged over 25 you will need to get your recommendation on an adult training voyage (open to people aged 18+): there will be two adult weekends in 2024 (3-5 May and 11-13 Oct) plus a longer adult voyage which is currently pencilled for 11-15 Sept though we can still move it if a youth group requests that week.

 Please note that we DO need you to send in details of when you can sail and how much time you can offer – please DON’T email to ask what voyage dates are available. The reasons for this are complicated but we will try to explain the process just to help people understand how complex it is for us to get the volunteer bookings organised!

Essentially, it’s not simply a question of finding dates that work for individuals and then just booking you. What we have to do is put together a TEAM of staff and volunteers for each voyage, with a skipper, 1M, 2M, 3M, bosun and/or engineer and often but not always a trainee mate or bosun, and we can’t book anyone until we have at least some idea of who else is going to make up each team. For example, at least one adult on each voyage must be a woman, if there are girls in the crew; and then we have to think about special skills if the group includes people with disabilities or challenging behaviour. We also don’t want to end up with a voyage where too many of the volunteers are all newly-qualified at their particular level – each trip should include some people who are comfortable and familiar in their roles and therefore hopefully able to support others who are new to their own role. Then sometimes the client will be a school or charity where a staff member has qualified or wants to qualify as a volunteer, so needs a staff berth. Meanwhile, some client groups are just not suitable for brand-new trainee mates. Plus we have to think about some priority bookings (e.g. people who have been identified as potential first mates or skippers, if we can give them enough time on the boat). And we do promise that people who help the most with other things like refit or raising money or introducing us to new clients will be higher up the list to get their choice of voyages.

On top of all that we want to try to be fair to all our volunteers and make sure everyone gets at least a voyage or two! No point confirming voyages for someone who is really flexible only to find that they have taken the only dates that would have worked for someone else who has limited availability.

We hope that explains things for you – we really need to get bids in from as many people as possible before we can start the allocation process and it will take until January before we can start confirming bookings for every voyage. If you really need an answer more quickly than that then please tell us your deadline and we will do our best for you.

Once the main round of allocations is completed we will advertise any remaining gaps, but you may find there’s not a lot of choice at that stage. Please send bids or questions to webmaster1@oytsouth.org.

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Chris Ellis Award – win £££s off the price of your next voyage!
Open for 2023 entries.

If you have enjoyed a voyage with OYT South and want to come again (and are aged 11-25), please think about entering for this award. You can win up to £500 off the price of another voyage, by sending in an account of a voyage you have already done with us. It can be a logbook, diary, story, pictures, video – anything which gives the judges an idea of why you had a good time and would like to come again. The prize is judged at the end of each season and the award can be spent on a voyage the following year. Entries should be emailed to webmaster1@oytsouth.org or posted to the office. See here for more details of this award, which was set up in memory of the charity’s founder. You can also see some previous winning entries.

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Shorebased training weekend 10-11 February
Our shorebased training weekend next year will be 10-11 February, where we can run RYA First Aid and a range of other courses. We’ve had some great ideas for courses and we are just in the process of arranging instructors – we’ll let you have details and prices in due course.

If you would be interested in running a course on something that would interest our volunteers, or want to request training in something which we might look into putting on, please let us know. Otherwise, just put the date in your diary for now!

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2024 voyages available for individuals and group bookings
Please see here for next year’s voyage availability – we have some voyages designated for group bookings (such as a school or youth group, or another charity); some voyages for individual bookings; and some which could be either for groups or individuals, depending on demand. A couple of individual voyages are shown as “UK only” which makes them suitable for younger crew members and people without passports. (Other individual voyages MAY go to France if we are lucky with the weather so passports will be needed; passport requirements for group bookings will be agreed with the group organiser).

For individual bookings on youth voyages, please contact VoyageAdmin@oytsouth.org.

To discuss group bookings, please email caroline.white@oytsouth.org.

For adult bookings and volunteer training / selection voyages, please contact SeaStaffAdmin@oytsouth.org.

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Nominate an exceptional young person for an MDL sail training award – please spread the word
MDL Marinas are seeking nominations for exceptional young people for fully-funded places on a voyage with us in the Easter holidays next year.

OYT South has run voyages for MDL award winners for many years and we’ve met some outstanding young people through the scheme. As the website says, MDL wants to recognise “young people aged between 12 and 18, who have supported those around them, shown exceptional accomplishments and achievements or who have overcome adverse personal circumstances”.

Please do think about whether you know anyone who deserves to be nominated, and spread the word as widely as possible.

Nominations need to go to MDL, not to OYT South – we have no role in selecting the winners, apart from checking that that there isn’t anything which would make it hard for us to keep them safe on board.

MDL will aim to arrange informal chats with shortlisted candidates at one of their marinas so ideally anyone nominated should live within reach of an MDL marina.

Deadline for nominations: Friday 12th January.

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Movement for Good Awards – please nominate us to win £1,000 – deadline 17th December
In December, 120 charities will receive a £1,000 grant, spread across 12 days, 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 the Patrick and Helena Frost Foundation for a fantastic donation towards refit costs; to the Whirlwind Charitable Trust for a great contribution towards the cost of a sail; and to the Peter Dixon Trust’s Mohawk Voyage Programme and to Chris Lane for very generous donations towards bursaries for young people. And finally to Rob Harwood whose donation to a new harness means that Josh can spend significant time working in the rig without coming to any harm!

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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Prolific earrings inspired by a crew member – ideal Christmas present!
As Christmas approaches, don’t forget these very special earrings, designed by Vurchoo based on a drawing by a Prolific crew member and with part of the proceeds coming to us to support our charitable work! You can read the full story here.

£40 in either gold or silver – click the pictures to see how to buy them.

Gold earrings Silver earrings

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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. 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.

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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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