OYT South bulletin 29th September 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 29th September 2023

by | Sep 29, 2023

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

Staff Skipper – job advertisement
Only a couple of days to go if anyone is still thinking of applying to be our next Staff Skipper! There is a detailed job advertisement here.

Back to index

* Diggory’s leaving present
Please see here for how to contribute to Diggory’s leaving present. And if you want to come and say goodbye to him, a good opportunity would be to join the refit weekend, AGM and curry night on 4th November – see below. Though of course he will continue to be involved in other ways once he is no longer Staff Skipper!

Back to index

* Voyage news
Last weekend was a short adult voyage for volunteer training, including several new people interested in getting involved with our charitable work. They did lots of manoeuvres and sail training in the western Solent, spent the night in Cowes, and sailed back to Southampton on Sunday.

Three adult crew in the bowsprit netting Two adult crew in the bowsprit netting while a watchleader looks joyously happy in the bow

You can see the full voyage track here. Big thanks to sea staff Lee Mosscrop, Josh, Miranda Camping, Tom Knight, Glyn Collins, Katie Hamlet and Michelle van den Bergh.

Adult crew gathered at the bow

Comments included:

Everything was favourite really, it was top. Loved getting to know everyone, everyone’s stories, where they’ve been, their sailing experience, that’s been amazing, and also, seeing the people behind the show, who run this and keep her going, I see Prolific up and down Southampton water a lot and I’ve always wanted to see what it was like on board so it’s really cool.

“The best memory, I think just sailing on this amazing ship, because she’s incredible and I’ve never sailed on anything as big and majestic as this, and that was fantastic, so thank you.

My favourite part was probably being behind the helm and tacking, because I’ve never been on a boat of this size, so it was really amazing to experience a boat of this size, and how it manoeuvres, and doing tacks with everyone.

Most memorable has got to be the whole weekendhas to be, because there was so many really new and exciting bits.

“Everyone was so friendly, crew was lovely, staff was lovely, and really helpful.

My most favourite I suppose was being supported, thank you, for doing a little bit of watchleadering, which was amazing because I kind of know enough about boats to have an idea what I was trying to achieve, but it drags me to my least favourite moment, which was where I thought I knew what I was doing, on a separate occasion, and went wading in, and realised afterwards that I might have an idea of what I’m trying to do, but I don’t know this boat and I don’t know these procedures, so I’ve got to learn.”

“Fantastic supportive environment, without the horrendous macho issues that some places have. Thank you!”

“Loved meeting everyone. What a fantastic talented team! The boat is awesome, I learnt lots and remembered lots. After 35 years it was wonderful to sail with the OYT again.”


“Most memorable: I hate doing the dishes: I’ve always hated doing the dishes … I’ve never had this experience like last night of everyone getting together, having a bit of a boogie and competing. I was even thinking of introducing this at home with my partner, let’s see how he picks it up, I really loved it.”

This week’s crew came from Cowes Enterprise College, with the support of Cowes Harbour Commission and the Royal Thames Yacht Club charity. Boisterous weather kept them in the Solent but they still managed to cover a lot of distance.

Crew in the saloon looking at the skipper as he talks about the Solent chart held up in front of them

They joined on Monday afternoon and didn’t set off that night, instead having a night in harbour and an early start on Tuesday, tacking down the western Solent in a fresh breeze and then back up to the forts in the east before anchoring in Osborne Bay for the night.

Happy boy at the helm Watchleader on the bowsprit with two girls in the bowsprit netting Girl and boy at the helm looking as though they are having fun

The young people kept anchor watches overnight. On Wednesday morning they knew bad weather was coming so they had a short day and headed into Gosport for showers and training towards their RYA sailing qualifications. Steve Wenham very kindly sent us a lovely set of photos:

Prolific approaching her berth with fenders out Prolific coming in to harbour Fort with Prolific in the background

Yesterday it was breezy again and they headed west once more, celebrating #WorldMaritimeDay which this year is looking at how we protect the marine environment and take care of our oceans, but is also a great opportunity for giving young people ideas about the host of maritime career opportunities available to them. As Cowes Enterprise College says: “CEC is incredibly proud of our local maritime culture and heritage and that’s why we have the #MaritimeFutures curriculum!”

Crew group seen from the bow - lots of arms in the air and thumbs up!

Thanks also to John Green for photos from the day:

Prolific under sail (thanks to John Green) Prolific under sail (thanks to John Green) Prolific under sail (thanks to John Green)

They were back in Cowes last night, and the voyage ended this morning after 88 nautical miles.

You can see the full voyage track here, and ten people earned RYA Start Yachting certificates.

Comments included:

“Most memorable bit: when we were all doing the night watch thing and we were all having really deep conversations with each other, I loved that bit.”

“Best bit probably all the fun we had, we had so much fun.”

“Best bit easily the night watch, actually so fun despite not sleeping at all – it was actually nice.”

“Worst bit probably the weather and the fact that the voyage wasn’t longer, I wish it had been longer than 5 days.”

Big thanks to sea staff Diggory, Steve Lacey, Cathy Lacey, Willoughby Matthews, Julian Ware, Nige Bush and Katie Hamlet.

Back to index

AGM and curry night 4th November – please book now for curry!
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, including a link to book for the curry.

The formal AGM mailing for members will be going out shortly. If your membership has recently lapsed or is just about to lapse, you should have had a reminder; but other people can still join in time for the AGM. And non-members are very welcome to attend the AGM (and come to the curry) – you just can’t vote!

Back to index

Chris Ellis Award – win £££s off the price of your next voyage!
Now 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.

Back to index

* 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!

Back to index

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!

Back to index

* Maintenance days and refit weekends – please come and help!
Please come to our in-season maintenance days and refit weekends! 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 or next season to maintenance issues.

Sunday 15th October – Southampton
Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th November – Southampton – part of the AGM and curry weekend

Just call the boat on 07990 518915 or email refit@oytsouth.org if you want to come and help. If you would like to stay on board Prolific for the November weekend, please let us know as soon as possible, as the boat may fill up!

There will be other refit weekends as the winter goes on – watch this space!

Back to index

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

If you discover that Prolific is in a harbour somewhere near you, please come and say hello. Sometimes you may be just what we need if you have local information or a bit of time to spare to help with something, or a car for running a quick errand!

Big thanks to the Graham High Charity who sponsor our vessel tracking.

Tracking map showing Prolific in the Solent

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

Back to index

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

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

Back to index

* Financial appeal
Big thanks to all involved for donations still coming in after our recent fundraising dinner at the Royal Yacht Squadron!

We need a regular flow of funds to cover at least three major areas: bursaries for young people who could not otherwise afford to sail; vessel maintenance and equipment; and staff salaries – please help, or pass on our details to anyone you come across who might make a grant, large or small.

See here for how to make a donation – you can contribute by cheque, phone or PayPal, but please do something if you possibly can. Don’t forget that if you complete and return a Gift Aid form we can claim back tax on your donation.

Back to index

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.

Joey's drawing

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

Shooting Star siblings voyage 2022

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

Blue Chalcedony Gold Stud:

Gold earrings

Blue Chalcedony Silver Stud:

Silver earrings

Back to index

Raise funds for OYT South if you’re shopping online
we’ve made over £1,500 through Easyfundraising!
“What a fool I was!” says Mark Todd.

“For ages I’ve seen in the bulletin that Easyfundraising is a good way to raise money for charity, but I never got round to doing anything about it, and when Caz told me how easy it was, I didn’t listen.

I thought it might be a hassle, or that I’d have to remember to do something when I bought stuff online, or that it probably wasn’t really worthwhile.

This week I finally got round to it and it turns out it’s a REALLY EASY way to raise money for the charity I care about … and I definitely should have done it sooner.

It takes a minute or two to sign up; you can do it on a desktop, tablet and/or phone, and you can install a widget that flags up when a donation is available. Once that’s done, imagine you’re looking to buy – say – a rainbow unicorn: just put “rainbow unicorn” in your usual search box, and the list of results shows you which sites come with donations, and how much. It’s up to you what to pick and whether to accept the donation from the site, but a huge choice of sites will offer a donation – and it doesn’t cost you a penny.

I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner … but if there’s anyone else who has been like me and just not got round to it, PLEASE click the link now and sign up!”

We have already raised over £1,500 through Easyfundraising – huge thanks to everyone who has used it!

Back to index

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

Please note that OYT South has a policy that our adult staff and volunteers should not make or accept personal online connections with crew members aged under 18, or vulnerable adults. Crew members can use the sites to stay in touch with the boat and with each other, but not with individual staff and volunteers.

Back to index

Branded clothing
OYT South branded clothing available – please see here. You can buy hoodies (in a wide range of colours), fleeces, short- and long-sleeved t-shirts, baseball caps, beanie hats, polo shirts and more, all with OYT South’s logo!

Back to index

New readers’ welcome and introduction
If you have recently registered your interest in OYT South, welcome to our newsletter, which is sent out almost every week, normally on a Friday, and is also copied onto the website.

If you have just started receiving this newsletter by email, it is because we believe you have signed up and consented to receive it – perhaps by emailing us to ask for it, completing a form on our website, or adding your email address to the book on board where people can sign up to receive news, as well as leaving comments. If this was a mistake or you simply decide you want to stop receiving the newsletter, just press “reply” to the email and write UNSUBSCRIBE at the top, or email webmaster1@oytsouth.org asking to unsubscribe.

Each week the newsletter includes a wide range of news from the boat and from the charity, including details of voyages available for young people; adult voyages; opportunities for adult volunteers both ashore and afloat, and much more. We find that while some people read the bulletin almost every week, many others dip in and out, and read it when it’s convenient – which is why some items are repeated. New items are marked with an asterisk * so that if you did read it last week, you can see which sections you can safely skip.

Please feel free to join in any OYT South activities – nothing here is restricted to long-standing members or people who already know one another. New people are always very welcome!

If you need an introduction to the work of OYT South, you should find a lot of useful information on our website. But essentially, we are a registered charity (no. 1079959) which exists to offer adventure under sail as a personal development opportunity for young people aged 11-25, from the widest possible range of backgrounds. A high proportion of our young crew members are disadvantaged or deserving in some way: many of these sail in groups organised by other charities, youth clubs, special schools and so on, and will fill the bulk of our term-time voyages. But those from more fortunate backgrounds are also welcome to sail, either in groups or by coming as individuals on a mixed voyage. Every year we run a variety of shorter local voyages plus longer adventure trips – sometimes including Tall Ships races during the summer holidays. If you are aged 11-25 and hoping to sail as a crew member, take a look here – and this section is also useful for adults who are thinking of organising a voyage for a young person. Adults planning to organise a full group voyage should also see here. Adults who want to sail themselves should see here.

We have a professional staff skipper, mate and engineer, but our watch leaders are normally all volunteers, who combine sailing skills with an interest in working with young people. You can find more information here – how the system works, how to join, and profiles of existing staff and volunteers.

To volunteer for OYT South ashore, please see here. To help with the vessel’s annual refit, see here.

It is a very expensive business maintaining a boat, running an office and employing staff. If you want to help us, please become a member of OYT South. Or see here for information on making a donation.

If you have any questions, please do email – or contact the office.

Back to index

Receiving this newsletter by email
Many thanks to all those who have given consent to receiving this newsletter by email. If you are not currently getting it by email and would like to, please just click here Newsletter Subscribe and press “send”, or email webmaster1@oytsouth.org.

Back to index