In this Bulletin
Sections which have changed since last time marked *
- Staff Skipper – job advertisement
- * Sally Croly’s leaving party
- * Voyage news
- * Fantastic event at the Royal Yacht Squadron
- * Chris Ellis Award – win £££s off the cost of your next voyage!
- * Sea staff vacancy for a day sail
- AGM and curry night 4th November
- Shorebased training weekend 10-11 February
- * Winter refit core team needed– including a driver
- Vessel tracking – see where Prolific is sailing!
- 2024 draft programme
- Maintenance days – please come and help!
- Financial appeal
- Prolific earrings inspired by a crew member – available to buy!
- Raise funds for OYT South if you’re shopping online – we’ve made over £1,500 through Easyfundraising!
- OYT South social media – please share as well as liking!
- Branded clothing
- New readers’ welcome and introduction
- Receiving this newsletter by email
Diggory says: “Having had a really enjoyable season, seeing the great works of OYT South, it is unfortunate that, for personal reasons, I will have to relinquish the helm as Staff Skipper, but I look forward to continued involvement as relief skipper and supporter. Looking forward to sailing with you all in the future.”
We’ll be delighted to see Diggory back on board as relief skipper next season and beyond.
In due course there will be a chance to thank Diggory for all his efforts this season and for creating such a happy atmosphere on board, and you can contribute to his leaving present here. But meanwhile we need to search for the right person to build on his legacy and take the charity forward. There is a detailed job advertisement here including job description, person specification, timescales, salary and more.
As we have done in the past, we are prepared to look at two different options for finding the right person. Sometimes we have recruited an experienced and qualified skipper, able to take over following basic familiarisation and handover, while at other times we have taken on someone with immense potential but who was not ready to skipper the vessel and needed a training programme lasting up to a year (and looking to stay long enough in the role to make this worthwhile).
Please share this widely: somewhere out there is a brilliant future Staff Skipper for Prolific but we need to make sure they hear about this fantastic opportunity!
* Sally Croly’s leaving party
Regular readers will remember that Sally Croly left our office team in May after 20 years with the charity, ending as Finance Manager. Many of her longstanding friends in the charity weren’t able to say goodbye to her in person when she left, and last weekend we finally managed to get together for a proper farewell dinner. Those who contributed to her leaving present might like to know that we gave her a large framed picture of Prolific and the rest in cash so she can spend it on something she really wants.
Huge thanks to Lynne and Annette who organised the party and provided amazing food.
We all wish the very best to Sally and Pete in the future and we know they will stay in touch as friends of the charity.
Friday saw more practice with sail hoists, drops and reefs, with different people in charge each time.
They sailed towards the Needles and some crew members ran the Solent pilotage, while others learned how to rig the ORC (a headsail for stronger winds), and some learned or revised collision rules.
There were more man overboard recovery drills and several people had a chance to try going over the side in recovery gear:
They anchored off Lee-on-the-Solent and got up at 0530 on Saturday when some crew members got involved in weighing the anchor and others took charge of pilotage into the Hamble which they had planned the previous night. Once alongside there were dinghy handling lessons and knot practice, and the voyage ended after lunch. They had completed 112 nautical miles and you can see the full voyage track here.
There was a great deal of hard work on this voyage and the young people took a lot more responsibility than they would on most other voyages; but they still had a lot of fun, and some firm friendships were made. Some of these faces should be part of the long-term future of the charity and can help to pass on these experiences to hundreds of other young people in their turn:
“My most memorable bit is probably – it’s a bit strange – but it’s the feeling of fulfilment and joy that comes from learning something new and from being so close with this group of people and just laughing so much. So thank you so much to everyone who has taught me something, or sung with me, or made me laugh – and yeah, heart full, and head definitely full.”
“I think my most memorable bit is probably going over the side doing a Man Overboard recovery drill, I’ve never done that before, and I think that was amazing.”
“My best bit was probably dropping the anchor, like taking off the handbrake and like, yeah I really enjoyed that, it gave me a deeper understanding. And also, probably, leaving my comfort zone and leading the mizzen hoist, because I probably would never have done that if I didn’t get asked and it was great, and it built up my confidence a little more.”
“My most memorable bit: I was sitting on the beanbags on deck and then I heard a watchleader speaking to someone like, yeah, you should get someone new to drop the sail, like maybe someone that hasn’t done it before, maybe someone with a little bit less experience, and I remember like ‘ooh, avoid eye contact’, ‘make sure I don’t, make sure he doesn’t think it’s me’ and I was just like, this could be a perfect time to go get some water, and as I get up and I like turn the corner, and Jack’s called my name! and I was just like, oohhhh, oh god ‘Yes, yeah sure’… so it pushed me out of my comfort zone a little bit because I was like … telling people to do things, like confidently, hoping it was the right thing, but yeah, but I’m gonna remember that, but I’m really happy I did it because it gave me a real sense of pride after and I was just smiling.”
Big thanks to sea staff Lee Mosscrop, Lauren, Josh, Susanna Paynter, Andy Royse, Niamh Lamin and Jack Ould.
After the young volunteers’ voyage, we had the great pleasure of taking a team from MDL marinas, including our Patron , Lord Iliffe, out to watch the start of the Ocean Globe Race. MDL had been hosting the race fleet in Ocean Village and raising funds for us at a series of events.
The Ocean Globe race round the world is 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” – it was great to be able to wave them off and wish them luck. One of the yachts, Maiden, is skippered by Heather Thomas who used to sail with OYT North, and at the time of writing is lying third in the race.
After the race fleet had gone, Prolific headed back to Southampton, but were joined on the way by Cowes Inshore Lifeboat, with one of our volunteers, Willoughby Matthews, on board. They asked to spend some time practising coming alongside as they would have to do if they were coming to help a vessel in an emergency. We were happy not only to join in their exercise but also to offer cups of tea or ice creams!
One of our MDL guests wrote in the comments book:
“Top dollar day! OYT makes friends effortlessly!”
Big thanks to see staff for the day Mark Todd, Lee Mosscrop, Lauren, Josh, Niamh Lamin, Susanna Paynter, Andy Royse, George Price, Asher Kreit and Caz.
Last week we had an adult voyage involving lots of people who were interested in getting involved with the charity, as volunteer watchleaders or in some other capacity. After their welcome, introductions and safety briefings, they set off to Cowes on Monday, hoisted three sails and did some tacking and a bit of night sailing – thinking to make the most of the wind as there was little in the forecast for the rest of the week.
On Tuesday they went ashore for showers before fuelling up and then heading west.
They thought about stopping near Poole but there was a little wind so they decided to keep going towards Weymouth and into the night. There was plenty to see: the Starlink satellites; firing at Lulworth range; helicopters manoeuvring, the Milky Way and more. They anchored around 3am in Weymouth Bay.
On Wednesday, different crew members were asked to deliver RYA Competent Crew training sessions to the rest of the group, and there were reefing drills and time spent talking through the process of getting involved as a member of the OYT South team on board. They had lunch on deck in the beautiful sunshine before heading into Weymouth to enjoy the beach, swimming, ice cream, more RYA training, fajitas, and shore leave. A relaxed day after the long night before!
On Thursday they set off back to Southampton.
They expected a long motor but managed to sail for ages – hoisting five sails including the mizzen staysail.
They had ice cream but it was a bit melted! People went out on the bowsprit for the jib drop, dolphin-watching and sunset, and then the crew were busy spotting lights of boats and buoys as they came up into Southampton Water.
This was a great group and would all be very welcome back.
Those few who didn’t already have RYA qualifications achieved Start Yachting certificates – though they learned some skills far beyond this. The week was a great mix of new and experienced sailors all helping each other to learn, have a fun week and sail 149 nautical miles – way beyond what we expected when the forecast suggested a lot of drifting or motoring! You can see the complete voyage track here.
“I think my best bit and my most memorable bit is the people and kind of like meeting everyone and how quickly a whole load of strangers have come together to really be able to achieve stuff.”
“Seeing all five sails up yesterday was really special – I have never hoisted or seen a mizzen staysail before so that was like really fresh and interesting.”
“What a week, thanks so much to the crew and sea staff (and of course, Skipper Mark) for making me feel so welcome. Can’t wait to come back!”
“It’s been a great week, many thanks to all at OYT South for all your patience and support. Super impressed with the yacht, how it is managed, and the enthusiasm of the sea staff.”
“I had an amazing first experience sailing and couldn’t have asked for a better crew to support me on this voyage. Thank you to all the Prolific staff for everything this week.”
Big thanks to sea staff Mark, Lauren, Josh, Cathy Lacey, Vernon Harten-Ash (who completed part of a second mate assessment) and special congratulations to George Price who was signed off as a qualified bosun!
We finished that voyage on Friday morning and quickly had to turn things round to head down to Cowes that same afternoon, with special guests on board, for a fundraising dinner at the Royal Yacht Squadron, and then we sailed back next day. Big thanks to sea staff Mark Todd, Josh, Cathy Lacey, Niamh Lamin, Vernon Harten-Ash, Jack Dignan, Hal Strode and Caz.
Regular readers may remember that Prolific went to look at the Bournemouth Air Show on a recent voyage and the Red Arrows shared a fantastic photo with us in the background … well, they seem to be following us around as Prolific is visible here on her usual berth during the Southampton Boat Show:
On Sunday we had a day sail for sponsors, donors and other special guests. We were delighted to see several people responsible for very generous donations to support voyages for disadvantaged young people; a teacher who organised a voyage this year for a new school client; our newest vice patron Rupert MacInnes; and others who are interested in getting involved with our work – as well as Alex, designer of our very special Prolific earrings – now on sale!
Unfortunately the weather chose to deliver truly punishing conditions for all those lovely people who had done so much to support us: here’s a picture of Mark enjoying himself:
Amazingly the guests rose above the horrendous conditions with great good spirits and some even commented that it was good to see what the young people sometimes have to go through on board:
And the weather did pick up as the day went on:
We’ve had some lovely feedback from the day:
“Despite the temporary lapse in the weather conditions, it was a really fun day. We both really enjoyed meeting all the crew and other guests and now have a really clear understanding of what the team are doing and how the service is provided … Thank you again for a wonderful day out and I very much look forward to getting more engaged with the Trust and Prolific.”
“Just a note to say a huge thank you for yesterday – we really enjoyed our day, meeting some very interesting people who are all either supporting or helping to provide so many great opportunities for young people on board Prolific. It was very impressive, and great to be out sailing / motoring for the day on a boat so different to our own.”
“Very many thanks to you and your team for organising the Day Sail yesterday … It was very informative to meet with yourself and hear more about the way that OYT South operates in terms of the voyages and support for young people involved. I found it particularly worthwhile to be able to talk informally with the volunteers and with Mark and learn more about the voyages and role of volunteers. It is clear that OYT South have a dedicated sea staff and excellent team of volunteers. The voyages for young people are clearly a fantastic and potentially life changing experience for those who take part.”
Big thanks to sea staff Mark, Lauren, Josh, Jack Dignan, Michelle van den Bergh, Hal Strode, Brian Eyres and Caz.
This week has also been affected by the weather as our crew from Outdoor Lads faced a truly terrible forecast! Knowing that Tuesday and Wednesday would be very difficult, they made the most of sailing on Monday and put lots of sail up, making their way to Osborne Bay where they anchored, and then eventually getting into East Cowes at 0115. On Tuesday the crew took the bus to visit the Needles. The viewing point was closed due to the weather and it was hard to stand without being blown over!
On Wednesday they had some good sessions of RYA and theory training but it was still blowing Force 7 by the evening, so they were delighted when better weather finally emerged as forecast on Thursday. They got up at 0600 and headed out for lots of sailing, a man overboard recovery drill, tacking and gybing – fitting a full voyage of sail training into the time available! Vince the skipper turned out to be an expert weather guru as they anchored in Osborne Bay and everyone went below, seconds before the heavens opened… In the evening they made their way back to Ocean Village where the voyage ended today.
You can see the full voyage track here. Big thanks to sea staff Vince Brodie, Lauren, Josh, Tom Knight, Hal Strode, Sandy Garrity and Caitlin Neall-Johnston.
* Fantastic event at the Royal Yacht Squadron
Huge thanks to Jamie Sheldon who arranged a fundraising dinner for us at the Royal Yacht Squadron on Friday night, with 200 guests. It was a fabulous evening featuring a piano recital by Thomas Luke, who was born on the isle of Wight and won his category in the BBC Young Musician 2020 competition. We had a view of sunset on the Solent as he played.
The other stars of the evening were Jonathan Pinnock and Niamh Lamin, who both sailed with OYT South as teenagers and spoke movingly about how their experience on board had given them skills which had helped them achieve far more than they ever dreamed.
The event raised a fantastic sum of money to support our charitable work and we are so grateful to everyone who contributed and to Jamie for arranging it all (plus a special mention for Mandy Miles from his office who did a lot of hard work behind the scenes!).
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 email@example.com 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.
* Sea staff vacancy for a day sail
We could do with one more member of sea staff for a day sail on Monday 30th October, with staff from our sponsors MDL. This will be Diggory’s last sail with us as Staff Skipper so although he will be back in other guises, you might like to join him on this day sail! Ideally an experience and qualified volunteer, if possible … Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help.
AGM and curry night 4th November
OYT South’s AGM will be held on Saturday 4th November in Southampton, followed by a curry in the Coriander Lounge (not the same restaurant as last year). We will aim to combine this with a refit weekend as we’ll need lots of help moving gear off the boat. More details here.
Shorebased training weekend 10-11 February
We’re looking at 10-11 February for our shorebased training weekend next year, where we can run RYA First Aid and a range of other courses. 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 pencil the date in your diary for now!
* Winter refit core team needed – including a driver
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.
We particularly need another driver on the team, as we have some refit accommodation which is a drive away from the boat!
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.
There are also apps like Marine Traffic that you can use to track Prolific on your phone.
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 email@example.com. 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!
Maintenance days – please come and help!
Please come to 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. There is one left this year:
Sunday 15th October – Southampton
Just call the boat on 07990 518915 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to come and help.
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.
Prolific earrings inspired by a crew member – available to buy!
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.
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.”
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.
“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!
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.
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!
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 email@example.com 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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.