OYT South bulletin 21st 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 21st July 2023

by | Jul 21, 2023

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

* Voyage news
Last week’s newsletter left our crew from New Beacon School stuck in Dartmouth due to bad weather and just embarking on an epic session of pizza-making:

New Beacon School making pizza in Prolific's saloon

They were very lucky that our enforced stop in Dartmouth happened to coincide with an Open Day at the Britannia Royal Naval College which proved to be a brilliant way of keeping fourteen boys interested and occupied while they couldn’t sail. There was everything from PT displays to historical expeditions, a training helicopter, beagles, owls from a local conservation society, a chance for one of the boys to play the Chapel organ, a Cadet describing life in the College and the expectations of ironed bedsheets, super-polished boots and shoes and inspections. There was a shanty group, a parade display, a gun-carriage display, a bridge mock-up and much more ….

Prolific's crew visit the Royal Naval Academy in Dartmouth Prolific's crew visit the Royal Naval Academy in Dartmouth Prolific's crew visit the Royal Naval Academy in Dartmouth Prolific's crew visit the Royal Naval Academy in Dartmouth

They had dinner in a hotel and then a movie on board.

Next day they were finally able to sail. The winds might have eased but sadly the sea state had been whipped up by two days of very strong winds and it was an extremely challenging passage for a crew aged 10-13 – and for some of the adults as well! They had thought about aiming for Falmouth in one hit, but the opportunity to pull into Cawsand, just outside Plymouth, was very much welcomed and it was amazing to see everyone bounce back once they were anchored in calmer waters.

Next morning they had a trip to the beach for games and ice-cream:

In Prolific's RIB Cawsand beach Ice cream!

After that Prolific headed west again – this time with excellent sailing conditions, no seasickness, plenty of dolphins, and all the boys getting involved in everything:

Winching At the helm! At the helm! At the helm!

They anchored in Helford at around 2300. Next day was a chance to explore the beautiful Fal Estuary, taking Prolific deep into the woods to drop anchor for lunch.

At the helm!

The boys then took charge of the pilotage back to Falmouth. The school minibus was there (thanks to Andy Bristow and the team who kindly arranged for it to be moved from Brixham to Falmouth while the group was at sea), which made it easy to take the boys for a swim and a barbeque.

The crew left next morning having completed 138 nautical miles and all earned RYA Competent Crew certificates. You can see the voyage track here though it doesn’t show the two days stationary in Dartmouth!

All these young people would be very welcome back on board, and the school values of resilience, exploration, and adventure very clearly upheld with enthusiasm and a willingness to get involved.

Big thanks to sea staff Diggory, Graeme Cole, Lauren, Patrick Kelly, Unity Bowns, Susanna Paynter, Julian Ware, and a particularly special thank you to Mark O’Prey who has been organising these school voyages for many years but has decided that this will be his last sailing trip as he needs to spend more time at home. Mark first sailed with the Ocean Youth Club nearly thirty years ago and he has managed to pass on that experience to so many New Beacon students. Mark has been one of the most enthusiastic and ambitious of the group leaders who sail with us regularly, and his pride in the achievements of his boys always shines through.

Comments included:

“Absolutely amazing experience that I will remember always. Thank you.”

“I had a good time although it was a bit of a drag sometimes. Hoisting the sail was fun and doing various jobs on the boat could either be good or bad, like cleaning the heads and stuff like that. Some jobs were very fun like washing up sometimes. It was a great time overall.”

“I really enjoyed it! The sea staff were very nice and the bedding was very comfortable. A great way to spend summer in my opinion.”

“I was scared at first that we would sink but now I know we won’t.”

My most memorable bit was probably when the dolphin jumped out of the water going like six feet in the air.”

“My favourite bit was probably going to the Navy college. My least favourite bit was the day when everybody was sick and it just felt horrible to not be sick which was kind of weird.”

“My favourite bit was steering down the windy river by myself for quite a long time. That was really fun. And my most memorable bit was probably seeing the dolphins and everyone shouting ‘dolphin, dolphin’ and it was so exciting.”

And from the teaching staff:

“Thank you so much for taking such amazing care of our boys. It is always a pleasure to sail with the OYT family, as you help them to learn and develop, both their sailing skills and themselves, as they discover resilience and facets about their character they will never have the chance to find in any other way … Too many memorable bits to list but I’ll try: the dolphins obviously; but one that will stick in my head was as I was videoing the rough weather we had on the passage from Cawsand to Helford and I explained to the skipper “I’m recording video” – immediately followed by the sound of M chucking up into a bucket, followed by skipper saying ‘Oh, and that is the sound of a boy enjoying himself immensely”. That will stick in my head!”

I really enjoyed going to the Naval college: I know we came on a sailing cruise, that was awesome as well, but as a historian it was great to go and see where some [previous New Beacon students] went … Most memorable bit was being out on the rough day: I quite like the exhilaration of all that, but that was quite rough so I enjoyed that, it’s going to be memorable. Sorry that so many of you were sick on that day!”

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

We started a new voyage yesterday – mixed individual bookings – and they sailed to Helford last night and are heading east today. A promising beginning in terms of crew enthusiasm as we had an 0600 start today with no complaints! But we’ll give their full story in the next newsletter. Big thanks to sea staff Diggory, Lauren, Brigid Stoney, Tom Knight, Unity Bowns, Jack Ould and Adeana Rowan.

In the meantime, huge thanks to Falmouth for making us feel so welcome. We had various visitors to the boat asking why we’re not in Falmouth more often, and evidently we should try to get there when we can!

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* Ocean Globe race
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. This marks 50 years since the first Whitbread round the world race, coinciding with MDL’s own 50th anniversary. The Ocean Globe is a race forordinary 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. We’ll let you know in due course if we can use volunteers in Ocean Village to help with this.

MDL has a podcast about the event on Spotify, including an extended interview with OYT South CEO Mark Todd.

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

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* New Trustee James Stevens
At a Board meeting this week, a new Trustee was co-opted for OYT South.

James Stevens is a professional yachtsman and former Training Manager and Chief Examiner of the RYA. He was the RYA’s safety spokesman and chaired the National Watersports Safety Committee.

He was Chairman of the Association of Sail Training Organisations until 2020 and is a trustee of several maritime charities. He is chairman of the Yachtmaster Qualification and Disciplinary Panel, a Younger Brother of Trinity House and Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation. He has written several books and is a regular contributor to the yachting press when not sailing his 34ft yacht out of Cowes.

We’re delighted to welcome James to the OYT South team!

James Stevens

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* Kindly Light, ex-Theodora
While Prolific is in Falmouth, the team took up a very kind offer from owner Malcom McKeand to visit one of the Ocean Youth Club’s founding vessels, Kindly Light – formerly Theodora. Here’s first mate Lauren on Kindly Light’s deck:

First mate Lauren Mackenzie on board Kindly Light

Theodora / Kindly Light

Malcolm has spent several years restoring Kindly Light. Here’s what he told us when we reported on the project in this newsletter a couple of years ago:

In her days as a sail training vessel, she had been converted to a yacht, a long way from her origins as a Bristol Channel pilot cutter. This was ideal for sail training as there was plenty for a crew of young people to do on board – lots of ropes to pull, lots of different ways for crew members to be actively involved. But as a pilot cutter, the opposite was true: she needed to be sailed by just two pilots because taking on a crew would have cost money – and of the two pilots, one might be asleep, or eating, or cooking, so the pilot on deck had to be able to manage the boat alone. This meant that pilot cutters were set up with some remarkable features which Malcolm wants to return to Kindly Light.

The boat had no engine, and not a single winch – only blocks and tackles. The rig was designed to be as simple as possible: one pole mast (no separate topmast); no bobstay, no whisker shrouds, no backstays (the mast was raked aft for this reason) – everything pared down to the minimum. The mainsail (925 square feet) could be reefed by one person alone using an Appledore roller reefing system – you could even reef on any point of sail, rather than having to come up to the wind. The main sheet was set up with a system which allowed you to gybe all standing, rather than having to sheet everything in to protect the mast and rig from the forces involved. All the headsail sheets were led aft to the cockpit so that the pilot on the helm could reach them easily. The bilge pump handle weas located so that you could pump with one hand, keeping the other hand on the tiller. And these pilot boats were the first vessels to have self-draining cockpits.

There are still a few pilot cutters actively sailing, but none is still set up in this way: the restored Kindly Light will be unique.

The work that has gone into this restoration is truly remarkable – for example, handmade blocks, including “sheaves made by a trumpet-maker from the Welsh mountains”:

Kindly Light restoration

And forging hooks for the new blocks:

Kindly Light restoration

This is Kindly Light’s 12′ punt Lead On under construction:

Kindly Light restoration Kindly Light restoration Kindly Light restoration

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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.

If you are sailing with us over the next few weeks and you think this extra voyage sounds interesting, do talk to staff on board to see if they will recommend you for a place.

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

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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
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 6 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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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 for more kind donations in memory of Alex Tsekouras.

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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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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