OYT South bulletin 6th October 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 6th October 2023

by | Oct 6, 2023

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

* Diggory’s leaving present – four weeks to go
Sadly we have just four weeks left with Diggory as our Staff Skipper – please see here for how to contribute to his 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.

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* Voyage news
Last Saturday we were delighted to see another group from the Vyne School in Basingstoke, which has sent 96 students to sail with us over the years – recently with very generous support from Ned’s Fund.

They sailed first to Cowes:

Girl on the helm, flanked by another crew member and a watchleader

On Sunday they went out to the Nab before going into Gosport for the night.

Crew members working at the mast Crew member on the helm, supervised by watchleader Crew member working at the mast

Monday was another big sail into the western Solent and then some night pilotage back to Ocean Village.

Two young people and a watchleader smiling in the bowsprit netting A line of people heaving on a halyard Two girls working with fenders

It was a very busy couple of days, in light winds and strong tides, for a relatively young crew (ages 12-13).

They covered 73 nautical miles – no mean feat in a short voyage – and you can see the full voyage track here. Big thanks to sea staff Diggory, Steve Lacey, Sara Abdur, Glyn Collins, Sandy Garrity, Katie Hamlet and Clara Theil.

Feedback included:

“I thought it was amazing and my favourite bit was going onto the net at the front of the boat … And my most memorable bit was sailing when it was dark yesterday and it was freezing cold and being on watch with all the lights going around.”

“My most favourite bit was when I was steering the boat through the two forts … My most memorable bit is when we nearly died in a thunderstorm … And my least favourite bit was – um – I don’t know if I have a least favourite bit. No, I don’t have one.”

“It was fun, I learnt a lot.”

“I loved it all the people here was lovely to me and accepted me as me and I am thankful for that. “

“It was fun most of the time, I enjoyed it a lot and had fun. I hope I can go next year. “

“It was really fun, I really want to do it again.”

And from the teachers who sailed with them:

“My favourite part of the trip was seeing the students have so much fun and learn new skills and make lots of memories … Fantastic experience again! Second time sailing on the Prolific. Lovely sea staff and very welcoming and supportive of everyone.”

“My favourite bit was probably steering the boat, I really enjoyed that … And my most memorable bit I think was setting sail when we left Cowes, and it was a lovely sunny afternoon and it was just great to be on the water … A really enjoyable trip. I loved the sailing. We were really well looked after by the friendly, knowledgeable sea staff.”

This week we have a crew of students from two schools in Gosport, Bay House and Brune Park, who will be taking part in ASTO’s Cowes Small Ships Race tomorrow #CSSR23, racing against other sail training vessels crewed by young people. They have had a busy week learning how to sail the boat and becoming an effective team for the race. They had lots of briefings and sailed to Cowes on Wednesday:

Crew gathered on deck while a watchleader runs a briefing on using winches Crew gathered on deck while a watchleader runs a briefing on using lifejackets A crew member eases a rope on a winch while others look on

Yesterday they went out to the Nab Tower:

View from the bow down the entire deck with lots of smiling crew Crew member on the helm looks ahead while watchleader points Watchleader sits on the end of the bowsprit while one crew member climbs on the bowsprit and another relaxes in the netting Crew members gathering in a headsail as it is dropped Watchleader and two crew members in the bowsprit netting

And so far today they have worked on some tacking and manoeuvres.

Big thanks to sea staff Diggory, Miranda Camping, Glyn Collins, Sara Abdur, Willoughby Matthews, Katie Hamlet and Unity Bowns.

We’ll let you know next week how they got on in the race!

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* Feedback
We aim to put voyage feedback in the newsletter each week; but sometimes we get a great bit of feedback which may be long after a voyage, when someone emails the office. You might like to see extracts from two which have come in recently.

The first from a parent:

“[My daughter] absolutely loved her time on Prolific and I can truly say it was a life changing experience for her …  She finally met people like her – people who want to do stuff, experience things, try new adventures. Her school seems to be full of teenagers who don’t want to do anything, who are happy to cruise along mostly playing on their phones … [My daughter] likes to make the most of experiences offered and volunteers for anything going, but … she’s had so many bad reactions from friends to her willingness to try stuff. They roll their eyes at her, mimic her enthusiasm in an unpleasant way and generally make fun, but the others on Prolific were all like her, they all wanted to get out there and get involved! She came back so energised and so delighted that she does have ‘her tribe’! … A big thanks for being there and making such experiences affordable – and giving my teenager the confidence boost she needed.”

The second from a young crew member:

“I just wanted to say a massive Thank you to all the staff, the hard work, patience, skills, and determination for helping us kids, and doing the thing you love most. I’ve learnt a lot from sailing, but sailing has also taught me a lot about myself! Before my first voyage I was naughty in school and horrible to the people around me, but being on the voyage helped me to realise there’s more to life than being naughty and being horrible to the people around me. On my first voyage I got over my fear of boats, learning how to get along with people I didn’t know, helping people, working as a team, and becoming the best version of myself. I also learnt that I have a passion for sailing and there was nothing to be scared of and I love it. After the voyage I went back to school I was good and had respect for the people around me, and wanted to do well. This year [I have been] keeping my head down and being the best version of myself. I was kindly offered to come back and go on another voyage, I accepted the offer in a heart beat because I love sailing. Being on this voyage taught me a lot more about sailing and the sea! However sailing also taught me a lot more about myself that I didn’t know and now I’ll keep on using the life skills I learnt in sailing. The staff taught me a lot and I’ll forever be thankful for that. So thank you for helping me be the best person I can be, you guys really did help me!”

You can see more feedback here.

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AGM and curry night 4th November – please book NOW for curry!
The official Notice of AGM and associated paperwork has now been sent out to members (and to recently lapsed members, with a reminder) – if you think you are a member and haven’t received yours, please let us know.

If you are not a member, it’s not too late – people can still join in time for the AGM.

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). More details here, including a link to see the menu and book for the curry.

We are combining this with a refit weekend as we’ll need lots of help moving gear off the boat.

Non-members are very welcome to attend the AGM (and come to the curry) – you just won’t be able to vote!

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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.

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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!

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* Winter refit core team and regular helpers needed – including a driver
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? Or could you come regularly for shorter periods – maybe one day a week? More details here.

At the moment we are particularly keen to attract more help from people who can drive and have a car – we have some refit accommodation which is a drive away from the boat, and there are often errands to run requiring a car!

Prolific will be staying in Ocean Village, Southampton, this winter, and the team is in the process of developing detailed plans and schedules so we will know when we will particularly need extra help.

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.

In due course we will also want to hear from casual refit helpers – people offering the odd day or weekend here or there; but for the moment we are mainly interested in sorting out the long-term or regular helpers.

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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!

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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.

Tracking map showing Prolific in the Solent

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

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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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* Financial appeal
Big thanks to the Royal Thames Yacht Club charity for another generous contribution towards a voyage for young people who all qualify for Pupil premium Funding. Thanks also 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.

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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.”

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 pictures to see how to buy them.

Gold earrings Silver earrings

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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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