OYT South bulletin 31st March 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 31st March 2023

by | Mar 31, 2023

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

* Voyage news – we are sailing again!

We started the season with a training weekend for some of the people who may be looking to make progress towards first mate – big thanks to former Staff Skipper James Boyce for laying on some really good sessions on boat handling and other skills. We’ve had excellent feedback and the weekend has clearly built a lot of confidence and motivation.

You can see from the vessel tracks for Saturday and Sunday just how hard they were working and how many times different people were able to have a go!

Approaching the pontoon for a careful park Watchleader Andy looks happy to be on board Watchleader Patrick supervising winches in use Training mates by the winches

You may remember that at the Gosport training weekend in February, we announced that Tom Knight was the winner of the Gipsy Moth trophy as our Young Volunteer of the Year – but he wasn’t able to be there at the time to collect the trophy (which is a mounted section of the mizzen mast of the record-breaking yacht). However, Tom was on board for the training weekend and here he is collecting the trophy from the previous winner, Sara Abdur.

Tom Knight receiving the Gipsy Moth Young Volunteer of the Year Trophy from Sara Abdur

Then on Monday we had our first youth crew of the season – the girls from Greig City Academy in Haringey! They have been a great group to get our 2023 sailing under way. Many of them had never left London before so this was a real adventure.

They started with lots of briefings:

Crew being given a briefing on deck Crew being given a briefing on deck Prolific crew ready to set off on their voyage

And then they were ready to get under way, with lots of fun and laughter. Staff Skipper Diggory seems to be enjoying his return to sail training:

Skipper Diggory laughing with a girl on the helm

They went to Yarmouth on the first night and stopped for a few hours’ sleep before a VERY early start (0330!) and a challenging passage to Portland. They arrived before lunch, very glad to be in harbour, and had showers, a walk on the beach, and a chance to catch up with much-needed sleep. Some of these young people had never been to a beach or had the chance to throw pebbles into the water before, so they had a good time, with hot chocolate on board to warm them up.

On Wednesday they had a more civilised 0930 start and a much easier downwind passage back to the Solent, ending up in Cowes and going ashore for ice-cream.

Girls handling ropes on board Prolific in evening light Young crew member on Prolific's bowsprit on a windy day

Yesterday it was very windy again and the crew – who were all just 12-13 years old – did incredibly well with sail training exercises in those conditions, including a fire drill and taking charge of pilotage back to Southampton, doing the navigation and making VHF calls for themselves.

We’ve got some fantastic new navigation equipment from Raymarine, which the crew has enjoyed using as they filled in the logbook and checked our position. These girls were chosen by the school for the voyage because of their effort, progress or success in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) so it was great to get them involved in those aspects of running a boat.

Young crew member navigating using Raymarine kit

That included some experiments in harbour – here they are checking the wind speed on deck (it was very windy!):

On Prolific's deck using a hand-held wind speed indicator

Diggory says they were a lovely group for his first voyage with us – very well-behaved and co-operative, helpful in the galley and at bedtimes, and there was lots of laughter on board.

They sailed around 120 nautical miles and you can see the full voyage track here.

Big thanks to sea staff Andy Viney, Diggory, Lauren, Sara, Martin Bayfield, Unity and Cathy Lacey.

A great start to the 2023 sailing season!

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* Maintenance days – for your diary
If you’re missing refit already, or feeling guilty because you weren’t around to help much, please come to one of our in-season maintenance days!

Monday 24th April – Southampton
Saturday 13th May – Southampton
Saturday 10th June – Southampton
Tuesday 11th July – Brixham
Monday 4th September – Southampton
Sunday 15th October – Southampton

Just call the boat on 07990 518915 or email refit@oytsouth.org nearer the time if you want to come and help.

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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.

Sample map showing Prolific's location

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* Sea staff vacancies
Just a couple of spaces left for volunteer sea staff – can anyone help?

  • 26-30 May, Southampton – another qualified watchleader needed.
  • 5-9 June plus maintenance day 10th June, Southampton – another qualified watchleader needed.

Email caroline.white@oytsouth.org if you can help with one of these.

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* Sea staff section of the website
All staff and volunteers sailing this year should be aware of the sea staff section of the website! It’s accessed by password but everyone sailing this season should have been sent the password (check your emails around 21-23 February 2023). If you really don’t have yours then please email webmaster1@oytsouth.org.

The page includes some Technical & Safety notices covering incidents on board in recent years – how we dealt with them, and learning lessons for the future.

You can also find three of the presentations from the training weekend (Safeguarding, Online Harm, and Understanding Autistic People), we have links to the handbooks for the new Raymarine kit we have on board – if you are going to be involved in any navigation this season, do have a look. And then we have the 2023 editions of the three main volumes of the Voyage Handbook:

Volume 1: Pre-voyage preparations – covering things like boat familiarisation checklists, sea staff briefings, emergency muster stations and more. Updated for 2023 including colours for lots of new ropes plus some information about fire suppression.

Volume 2: Watchleader training manual – covering everything from the initial briefings you might be asked to deliver to young people; sail hoists and drops; other deck work; watch-keeping and navigation; clean-up; how to teach RYA courses and more. Minor changes for 2023.

Volume 3: Policies – including everything from safeguarding and equal opportunities to garbage management and working aloft. Updated for 2023 including a complete revision of the Safeguarding Policy – please read.


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* Updated leaflets about OYT South!
With thanks to the Marine Ad Agency for design work, we have revised and updated the set of leaflets about our work, which you can read online or print out if you really need. There will also be some printed copies available from the office.

Please do share them with anyone aged 11-25 who might be interested in sailing with us – as well as with parents, grandparents, teachers, youthworkers and others. We still have some places to fill this year and the issue is not that there aren’t people wanting to sail – it’s that too many people who would love the opportunity don’t yet know about us! If everyone who reads this newsletter found someone new to give the link or a leaflet to, we could easily fill the remaining places.

Leaflet: Sail with us, Volunteer with us, Support us Leaflet: Sail with us, Volunteer with us, Support us

Leaflet: our boat Prolific Leaflet: giving young people the skills to succeeed in life Leaflet: making a lasting difference Leaflet: who we are Leaflet: facts and figures Leaflet: volunteers

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* 2023 voyages available for young people
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.

1-6 April 2023, Southampton, 5 nights, £575 –  only 1 space left
7-11 April 2023, Southampton, 4 nights, £475 – 1 space left
14-19 May 2023, Southampton, 5 nights, £575 per person (this could be an individual OR group voyage depending on demand – please ask)
5-10 July 2023, 5 nights, Poole to Brixham, £575 per person (this could be an individual OR group voyage depending on demand – please ask)
20-26 July 2023, Falmouth to Brixham, 6 nights, £675
9-15 Aug 2023, 6 nights, Brixham, £675
16-22 Aug 2023, 6 nights, Brixham, £675
29 Aug-3 Sept 2023, 5 nights, Poole to Southampton, £575
5-10 Sept 2023, Southampton, 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

We’re happy to take smaller groups (e.g. three or four people) on individual voyages to mix with others; but many clients will want to book the whole boat exclusively for their own group (twelve to fifteen people, including any adult leaders who come with the group). Dates available for whole-boat bookings:

14-19 May 2023, 5 nights, Southampton, £575 per person (this could be an individual OR group voyage depending on demand – please ask)
5-10 July 2023, 5 nights, Poole to Brixham, £575 per person (this could be an individual OR group voyage depending on demand – please ask)

Contact webmaster1@oytsouth.org to express an interest.

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Sally Croly leaving! – please contribute to her leaving present
Our Finance Manager Sally Croly is leaving!

Sally has been with OYT South since 2003, moving up from part-time administration assistant to a full-time role running the office. In 2018 she went back down to part-time hours with a greater focus on the finance side.

Sadly she has now decided that it is time to stop working and she will be leaving her job at the end of May. Though she is keen to stress that she will continue to be very much around as a friend and supporter of the charity and of all the people around OYT South!

Sally Croly on board John Laing (OYT South's previous vessel)

Sally has been involved with the charity for twenty years – almost the entire span of OYT South’s existence as an independent charity, and a third of our entire existence since the Ocean Youth Club was founded in 1960. She always gave the most steadfast and reliable support when the charity faced challenges, and she played a huge part in the best of times as well. When OYT South won The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2011, Sally was the obvious choice to represent us at a Buckingham Palace garden party.

Sally might not have been the most high-profile member of our staff and she never wanted the limelight, but the smooth running of the office for so many years was down to her: paying bills on time, managing bookings efficiently and always there to support the rest of the team. She has been an absolutely fundamental part of everything the charity has done for two decades – which means that more than 8,000 young people have benefitted from her efforts.

Everyone has loved working with Sally and we all depended on her support, help, guidance, honesty, and good humour.

She will be missed more than we can say, and we really want to send her off with a nice leaving present, so please give generously!

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Volunteer quotes on website
We’ve started a new page on the website where volunteers can explain why they enjoy volunteering for OYT South and what they get out of it. The idea is to encourage more people to think about volunteering for us in various different ways. At the moment the page only has examples from sea staff and refit volunteers (and we are happy to have more of those) but we would also like to add people who help in the office; people who raise funds or help us with events; volunteer Trustees; and anyone else who gives their time to support us. Please send your contributions to webmaster1@oytsouth.org. We’re happy to add photos too, if you have a good one of yourself in a volunteering capacity.

When anyone new enquires about volunteering with us, it would be great to send them a link to this page to show them that we have a wide variety of volunteers who have all sorts of reasons for being involved and get a lot out of it.

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Special voyage for young volunteers – could this be you?
Thanks to a generous donation from the Gipsy Moth Trust, OYT South has an annual training voyage funded specifically for young people aged 16-25 who are starting to sail as volunteer watchleaders or bosuns, or who have been newly recommended to join our volunteers.

This year’s young volunteers’ training voyage will be 5-10 Sept, starting and finishing in Southampton. If you have sailed with us in the last year or two and have been invited back for volunteer training, or have recently started sailing as a trainee mate, third mate or bosun and you want to develop your skills and are aged 16-25, let us know if you would be interested in joining this voyage.

If you have not yet been told by one of our skippers that you are ready for volunteer training but you are hoping to earn a recommendation this year, you can contact us about going on the waiting list for the September voyage. Then if you come on another voyage before then and do well enough to earn your recommendation, you might get a place on the September voyage as well.

The September voyage is designed to get people thinking not just as another crew member but as someone who can start stepping up to leading, teaching, supervising and encouraging other young people. Around one in three of our volunteers on board is aged under 25 and started out as crew members on an ordinary voyage before coming back for more training and working their way up the ladder. It’s a lot of fun and it’s also great for your own personal development and providing evidence to future employers that you can stand out from the crowd and take on responsibility.

Here’s what people said about last year’s Gipsy Moth voyage:

“My favourite bit has just been really watching everyone throw themselves into leading stuff, it’s been really really impressive. But also how everyone else supported them when they were doing leading, that was really really good.”

“My memorable bit was when I was told I had to take down the mizzen and I had to lead it and I stressed myself out and I knocked my confidence by doubting myself and I was going like, ‘I can’t do it, I can’t do it,’ and then I done it and then Andy [first mate] took me to the side and he said, ‘you just did it, you can do it,’ and I think that was just like a really nice, just a really nice little chat”.

“My favourite bit this trip was probably how confident I became learning how all the sailing procedures work, and all the different ropes, whereas previous trips I’ve not been that familiar with how it all works, but I’m definitely a lot more confident with it all now.”

Young volunteers voyage 2022

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2023 adult voyages and volunteer training

We have adult voyages scheduled as follows:

5-7 May 2023, Southampton, 2 nights, age range 18+, £245 per person, adult weekend voyage (Friday evening to Sunday evening).- only 5 places left.

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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* Financial appeal
Big thanks this week to the Graham High Charity who have pledged another very kind donation split between crew handbooks, vessel tracking, lifejackets and bursaries; to the Baxter and Grimshaw Trust who have approved a funding request for one of the April voyages; and to people who have been making very generous donations in memory of Chris Beddow, Matt Knott at HMS Sultan, and Donald Hedley Taylor.

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 £1,200 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 £1,200 through Easyfundraising – huge thanks to everyone who has used it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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