OYT South bulletin 4th August 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 4th August 2023

by | Aug 4, 2023

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

* Voyage news
Two great voyages since the last newsletter, which reported on a mixed group of individuals which had sailed to Helford on their first night and were just setting off to the east after an 0600 start next morning, which took them to Dartmouth, with the crew getting used to steering and going out on the bowsprit:

At sea At sea At sea - with sunscreen Entering harbour

They spent a day sheltering from strong winds which sadly limited the scope of this trip as this was otherwise a group which might have made it to the Channel Islands or the Scillies. However, the forecast ruled this out and this turned out to be the day which saw 85 boats retire from the Fastnet Race due to the conditions. However, our crew made the most of their day in Dartmouth, with training towards their RYA sailing qualifications as well as having time to explore ashore – some people walked to the castle – and making homemade pizzas:

Pizza! Sunny day

Sunday saw what the skipper described as “the epic sail of the season” with great winds and the boat sailing fast with at least a dozen dolphins accompanying them nearly all day. You can see a video clip here to give you an idea of the sailing conditions:

This took them on a 10-hour passage to Portland:

At the helm On the bowsprit At sea Bowsprit Sunset

Next day they anchored for lunch in Ringstead Bay and then expected to have to motor westwards in light winds but again they were lucky with the weather, and once through the Portland race they were able to turn the engine off and enjoy a beautiful night sail, with yet more dolphins leaping alongside in a phosphorescent sea – the skipper described it as “magical”. They anchored in Torbay shortly after 4am.

After some rest, they got going again later that day and did some tacking and man overboard recovery drills in the bay. This happened to be World Drowning Prevention Day so we took the opportunity to do some work with the young people on all the safety gear on board, with social media posts explaining how each item helps reduce the risk of drowning, and thanking all the sponsors and suppliers who provide the equipment: Ocean Safety’s danbuoy and life-ring which can be thrown to a person in the water (its height helps us keep sight of the casualty as we manoeuvre the boat and prepare for the recovery); white parachute flares from WesCom Signal and Rescue which would give us visibility over an area of water at night; Seago life rafts; throwing lines; lifejackets from Survitec and safety harnesses from Spinlock; and AIS beacons inside the lifejackets that transmit to our Raymarine chart plotters; a Jon Buoy recovery module from Ocean Safety that a person in the water can get into; our EPIRB which provides our accurate location; and all the gear worn by someone who can be lowered to assist a casualty:

Safety Safety Safety Safety Man overboard recovery drill

They sailed 200 nautical miles, and you can see the full voyage track here. Big thanks to sea staff Diggory, Lauren, Brigid Stoney, Tom Knight, Unity Bowns and Adeana Rowan, and special congratulations to Jack Ould who was signed off as a bosun on this voyage.

Feedback included:

My most memorable bit was probably helming between half past midnight and one in the morning and staring up at the Milky Way and realising I’d gone 20 degrees off course to port.”

“My most memorable bit is probably being on the bowsprit when the first batch of dolphins came, because it’s the first time I ever saw dolphins as well so it was pretty cool.”

“My most memorable bit was the five dolphins we saw that were sort of dancing around at the front of the boat which was brilliant.”

“My most memorable bit was probably staying up for like 20 hours without getting any sleep and seeing the sunrise and the sunset in the same space of time.”

Several members of this group showed real potential for the future and some over-16s have been invited to consider training as volunteers, while some younger ones have been encouraged to sail again with the hope that they might train to join the team when they are old enough. One 14-year-old told us: “Thank you so much for this offer, I am very excited by it! I absolutely loved my time on board and I am still buzzing from it, so to know that it might be possible to come again is the best thing. The sea staff made the atmosphere so welcoming and inclusive and I like that they managed to make the trip seem informal but professional; I came away with so much respect for them all. To have the chance to become a member of the team feels really special.”

Next came a group of Air Cadets from 1475 (Dulwich) Squadron, who set out from Brixham to Salcombe on their first evening, facing some poor visibility and also heavy seas that some people found very challenging.

Two six heave Fog!

The next morning everyone went ashore to a great little sandy beach in the beautiful Salcombe river – everyone was impressed by the scenery. After swimming and ball games – and some burying of crew in the sand – they headed back to the boat and prepared for a sail round to Plymouth. All four sails up in great conditions: they made excellent way and arrived into the Sound with everyone feeling much less sick and much more involved!

At sea At the helm

Moored in the Yacht Haven as neighbours with the Island Trust’s three boats, the morning brought excellent showers and a feeling of freshness, ready to set sail for Dartmouth and some shelter for the coming heavy weather. The passage east saw some excellent sailing conditions, and kept everyone on deck to see dolphins swimming beside Prolific, as well as some fabulous foredeck singing performances from the crew.

At sea At sea At sea

Another beautiful river with fabulous scenery, they picked up a mooring buoy and prepared for a pseudo-BBQ with dining alfresco on deck and a lovely sunset.

Entering port

In the morning they headed ashore to see Dartmouth with local ice creams all round, before an afternoon of RYA Start Yachting theory work in port whilst they sat out the strong winds at sea. In the evening they settled in for a movie night.

Monday morning saw some very Monday weather with a solid warm front of drizzle, but it didn’t dampen the spirits as they tacked and gybed our way through the Start Yachting syllabus and the crew showed their prowess through all the manoeuvres. By the afternoon they were in Torbay and hunting for the perfect anchorage for the last night on board. After dropping anchor in Elberry Cove they ran ashore in the dinghy to enjoy a lovely beach, and a well-earned swim. Some excellent stone-skimming later, they returned the boat and the crew agreed that staying at anchor for the night was a great way to wrap up their voyage, and they enjoyed another beautiful sunset on the water.

At sea At sea At sea

The morning brought a bright and early start, and a very swift passage round the corner into Brixham, ready for a final clean-up and a farewell to an extraordinarily enthusiastic and energetic crew who thoroughly appreciated the southwest’s stunning scenery and wildlife.

End of voyage

They sailed 120 nautical miles and you can see the voyage track here. Big thanks to sea staff Mark Todd, Lauren, Josh, Andy Kitching, Val Hague, Rebecca Brookes, Lewis Haig (on a visit from his job with OYT Scotland) and extra special congratulations to Jack Ould who was signed off as a third mate only a week after completing his bosun assessment – surely some kind of record!

One girl said: “My favourite part will probably have to be, like, seeing the dolphins, I was sooo excited ‘cos like I’ve never seen like a dolphin … And the view, oh the view was so incredible. I don’t see stuff like that unless, like they’re in pictures and stuff. That was incredible like, yeah, I loved that … The first day, I was actually so sick I got really seasick and like it was raining and stuff so I went and sat at the back by myself and I was just like looking out into the ocean and I was deep in life, like I thought I was having a mid-life crisis. It was crazy, and I was going through it, I was like ‘doh’. The way I was feeling, it was so bad, but yeah, I was seriously going through it but then, you know, I got over that … I really loved how every day was new and we really did not know what we were going to be doing tomorrow.”

Other comments included:

“My favourite bit was like leading a sail hoist. I find that very interesting and a chance to, like, develop my leadership a bit more … I guess that the bit that will stick with me the most was when that we all came together at  the dinner table, just having vibes and fun.”

“The best thing was I think was just the pure chaos that came with the group. So, like the banter that we all had, the stupid stuff we did like above deck, the singing, the dancing, that was probably the best experience.”

“Best bit probably, I really like sailing in the really bad fog and kinda really bad visibility. I don’t know why but it was really just fun and kinda, yeah, when it was bouncy and going up and down and really rough. I really like that.”

You can see more voyage feedback here.

This week we started a new voyage with the MACS charity for young people born without eyes or with underdeveloped eyes; but you can read about their adventures in the next issue!

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* Ocean Globe race – are you interested in helping us in the race village?
As we reported in the last issue, 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 – 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”.

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.

OYT South’s dedicated charity day is Saturday 2nd September and we’ll have a stand and leaflets to give out – can anyone help? Or if you were thinking of visiting the event on another day (29 Aug – 10 Sept) could you spare a bit of time to help us? Email caroline.white@oytsouth.org if you are interested.

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

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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!
All places on youth voyages for people aged 11 upwards have now been reserved to the end of the 2023 season, with the exception of these three:

* 9-15 Aug 2023, Brixham to Brixham, 6 nights, £675. Other bookings are aged 13-17. ONE place left, following a cancellation

* 29 Aug – 3 Sept 2023, Poole to Gosport, 5 nights, £575. Other bookings are aged 12-18. ONE place left, following a cancellation

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. 5 places left tbc.

* 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 per person, adult week (Monday to Friday), 6 places left.

22-24 Sept 2023, Southampton, 2 nights, age range 18+, £245 per person, adult weekend voyage (Friday evening to Sunday evening), up to 7 places left tbc.

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 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!

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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 a very generous legacy from the estate of former Ocean Youth Club skipper Roger Grimsdick. Thanks also for more kind donations in memory of Alex Tsekouras and Stephen Scott, and for a donation from Robin Sellwood.

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. We are also on TikTok. Please share our social media posts as widely as you can – with the help of all our supporters, this charity is doing some amazing work and we need more people to hear about it. You don’t need to do anything more than share a post, or perhaps add a comment which could be as simple as “I’ve sailed with this charity!” or “I volunteer for this charity!”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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