OYT South bulletin 10th May 2024

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 10th May 2024

by | May 10, 2024

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

* Maintenance days –  including TOMORROW (May 11th)
If you are in any danger of feeling nostalgic for the refit, or if you didn’t manage to get down and help last winter, don’t worry – we have several planned maintenance days during the season and you can always come and help with one of those. Please put these dates in your diary:

Saturday 11th May – Southampton
Saturday 8th June – Southampton
Saturday 6th July – Brixham
Thursday 5th September – Southampton
Sunday 20th October – Southampton

If you call the boat on 07990 518915, or email refit@oytsouth.org, we can get you booked in for maintenance days. We can feed you on board and probably offer accommodation the night before or after if needed. Generally we need over-18s, or 16 and 17-year olds who are sailing as bosuns or trainee bosuns.

Sea staff on the voyages immediately before and after these days should plan to include the maintenance day as part of your booking unless specifically agreed. If we don’t have enough people at a maintenance day and there are significant jobs to do, it might even affect the start of the next voyage, so please do come and help! 

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* Voyage news
Last week’s bulletin ended just before we collected feedback from our crew from George Green’s School in Tower Hamlets. Their comments included:

“It’s all ending. That’s probably the worst part … The most memorable part is probably the fact that we’ve got 19 people who are all so different and hadn’t really spent that much time together at all or even met each other before and we all just got on so well and could have so much fun and made all just an unforgettable trip.”

“I really enjoyed learning new skills alongside all the amazing views I have witnessed, and everyone working together to solve anything.”

“One of the best weeks of my life, the experience was brilliant and the staff were just incredible! They were so caring and always willing to help. I would LOVE to come again!  10000000%!!!”

“I really enjoyed this whole trip, it was a crazy, fun experience. My favourite parts have to be when I was the Watch Leader, it was an incredible time. I loved all the singing me and my friends did on deck.”

“One of the greatest trips I have ever experienced and I learnt so much and did things I never thought I would do. The crew was simply amazing, everyone had a laugh and was approachable. I would love to come back again another time!”

“The most memorable bit for me was probably in the rain, keeping up morale and singing. But personally I would say my best moment was just looking out on to the waves ‘cos it was really calm and I had my snood on and I was all warm and it was lovely.”

“I enjoyed this trip very much and I’m glad I got the opportunity to come. What I enjoyed the most was playing games with everyone which was really funny, and I enjoyed helming very much and navigating went quite well. I also loved lying down on the net.”

“A phenomenal week that I will never forget, an incredible crew who made this time so fun and the wonderful boat that I’d love to come back on!”

“I love almost everything we done. I found it very fun and enjoyable even though I did feel sick like half of the time. But my favourite time or memory will have to be the time we spent together during dinner and especially the silly games we played. I loved singing in the rain. My favourite part was the last night. It was amazing. I thank you so much!!!”

“The crew members were so joyful I felt like home.”

That was followed by a mates’ training weekend with a mix of people who are already involved with the charity plus some new people wanting to find out more about us and potentially join our volunteers’ team. It was an outstanding group including plenty of experience and talent across sailing and youth work and we have definitely found some people who will be great additions to the team.

View from the end of the bowsprit looking back at the boat with people on the bowsprit and at the bow Crew members at the helm on a sunny day Crew member at the helm Crew member working on the bowsprit Looking at the tidal stream atlas At the helm, staring upwards at the mainsail

You can see their full voyage track here. Comments included:

“Really impressed with the boat, the professionalism of the sea staff, was amazing to watch them and how they teach and you can see how much the children who come on board would benefit from their skills. I look forward to being part of it in the future.”

“Stepping back into sail training after a break of a decade, I remember why I loved it so much – superbly skilled sea staff who juggle so many needs with such humour and grace; the variety of trainees / volunteers with such interesting passions and ‘edges’; the chance to flex and stretch my own skills, and the sensation of being utterly happy and spent as I leave!”

“Had a great time! It was so amazing to meet people from different life paths, ages and sailing experience. Really nice to improve my sailing skills as well and learn from more experienced people. The sea staff made the transition to a big boat easier than I expected, and definitely inspired me to continue my sailing experience.”

“Excellent weekend, blown away by professionalism of sea staff and the care they put into the safety and well-being of those on board. Learnt a lot and a great charity to support.”

“Sea staff attention to detail second to none, extremely helpful with a ‘can’t fail’ attitude, it was humbling.”

“The trip was amazing, lots of new stuff but the sea staff made it easy to pick it all up. I found it really cool scaling up previous sailing experiences to a much bigger boat.”

“I absolutely loved it. OYT is such a great charity. I can see the value it brings to young people.”

“Excellent team of lovely people met during voyage. The sea staff was very well experienced & taught us. My learning experience was immense I can’t thank enough everyone for lovely experience.”

“Excellent voyage with the best sea staff so far. Extremely helpful with what you need to achieve. Absolutely brilliant.”

Big thanks to the sea staff who earned such positive feedback: Gotch, Vince Brodie, Andrew Wilkes, Martin Bayfield, Glyn Collins, Patrick Kelly and Frederik Ferner. Though is this Patrick’s “No-one has brought me any ice-cream lately!” face?

Patrick pulling a face

This week we have had a welcome return from The Costello School in Basingstoke. They joined on Monday and went down to Shepards in Cowes where the crew surprised skipper Gotch with a birthday cake! They played some games, did their logbooks and then went to bed.

Next day they decided to head to Weymouth and were off the dock at 10am, getting the main and mizzen up. The winds were very light so they motored out of the north channel, and then the breeze filled in a bit sand they were able to sail. After lunch they did a man overboard recovery drill under sail, in about five knots of wind. They carried on motoring west, dodging a fishing fleet over St Alban’s Ledge. The wind filled in again after dying and they sailed the last five miles while singing with the crew on deck. It was an idyllic sunny day with little wind and flat calm seas, but it was a bit rolly with an underlying swell which a few of the crew found challenging – but everyone felt better once we reached Weymouth; and the crew got to visit the beach before dinner.

The next day the crew got an hour of shore leave. The day was planned to be a short one and they left Weymouth to head to Portland. However, while getting ready to hoist sails, they heard a nearby Mayday from a yacht taking on water with only one person onboard, so they started motoring towards their position even though the local lifeboat was tasked and there was also a RIB on scene. Fortunately they managed to contain the flooding and the yacht motored back to the marina and all was well – however, this resulted in Prolific motoring five miles upwind. They had a good view of Durdle Door and also Lulworth Cove. They hoisted the jib and mizzen and, in about seven knots of wind, slowly drifted back towards Portland. When they arrived in the marina they saw the yacht that had sent the Mayday moored up and spoke to the man on board, which was reassuring for some of our young people.

Crew member on the bowsprit, arms stretched wide Crew member sits in the bowsprit netting, muffled to the eyes and giving a thumbs-up.

It was a lovely evening and they had a barbecue on Chesil Beach. They also saw a sunset with an almost complete rainbow around the sun.

Crew on a pebble beach

They got up at 4:30am next day to catch the tide, with no wind, motoring into the sunrise and arriving back in the Solent at 10am where they tied up to Johnny Caulcutt’s buoy outside Yarmouth and caught up on some sleep, leaving a few people on watch in turn.

Crew member at the helm at sunrise against an orange sky

After lunch they worked on their RYA qualifications including knots, weather and points of sail. After a break, they did some passage planning and then the young people piloted Prolific back to Ocean Village in the dark.

Passage planning, gathered round a chart Passage planning, aided by soft toys Crew member at the helm in the dark, supervised by a watchleader

We’ll include their feedback in the next issue of this newsletter, but you can see their complete voyage track here. Big thanks to sea staff Gotch, Lauren, Josh, Unity Bowns, Glyn Collins, Diggory and teacher Andrew Page from Costello who is an experienced sailor and is making great progress with his Prolific watchleader qualification!

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* More feedback
This week we did a visit to a school which sailed at the beginning of the season, with one of our donors who had funded some of the places. It was a great visit with lots of enthusiasm from both staff and students, but in particular it demonstrated some of the concrete and lasting benefits of sailing with OYT South. One young person who had been reluctant to join the voyage and very anxious about the experience beforehand not only said that she would come again if given the chance, but also that she would be more likely to try new things in future; and staff confirmed that her confidence has visibly improved and that before the voyage she had been on a reduced curriculum and not attending school every day, but since the voyage she has been attending full-time and not missed a day!

You can see more feedback here.

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* Sea staff vacancies – including for new volunteers following last weekend’s trainingPlease email webmaster1@oytsouth.org if you can help with any of the remaining vacancies.

People who were newly-recommended to join the volunteers’ team after the recent training weekend: please do contact us if you are interested in suitable voyages from this list – we can advise you if a particular vacancy needs someone with more Prolific experience, but where possible this list is for you as much as it is for established volunteers. We will need to make sure your DBS, references and other paperwork is in place before you can sail. And do keep checking the list in each edition of the newsletter as people do occasionally drop out and leave other vacancies!

Dates given are when crew are on board so volunteers are generally needed the day before:

9-14 June, Southampton – qualified or trainee watchleader or bosun, ideally able to join for the maintenance day on 8th June.
DAY SAILS 15, 16, 22, 23 June – we MAY need another person on some or all of these days, qualified or trainee – let us know which you can do and we can sort things out with people who want to swap or drop out.
17-21 June, Southampton – qualified or trainee watchleader or bosun
24-29 June, Southampton to Poole – qualified or trainee watchleader
7-13 July, Brixham – one more qualified watchleader tbc, ideally able to help with maintenance day 6th July as well.
20-26 July, Brixham – possibly one more person tbc
27 July – 2 Aug, Brixham – qualified watchleader
6-10 Sept, Southampton – qualified watchleader, ideally able to join in time for the maintenance day on 5th September
16-20 Sept, Southampton – qualified or trainee watchleader
28 Sept – 1 Oct, Southampton – qualified watchleader
14-19 Oct, Southampton – at least one qualified watchleader, ideally able to stay for the maintenance day on 20th Oct.
25-29 Oct, Southampton – qualified or trainee watchleader

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* 2024 voyages available for people aged 11-25 – PLEASE SHARE – including discount offer
If all our members, volunteers, Trustees and other supporters shared our voyage availability with young people, parents, friends and colleagues, we could easily fill the rest of this year’s voyages. Don’t forget we can sometimes find bursary funding for genuinely disadvantaged young people who couldn’t otherwise afford to sail; but we also welcome those who can afford an amazing adventure holiday!

We have a VERY few full-boat bookings still available for a group such as a school, youth club or another charity. To discuss group bookings, please email caroline.white@oytsouth.org.

However, we have plenty of spaces still available for individual bookings, with fantastic adventure sailing opportunities for young people aged 11-25 in summer holidays – please share this with anyone you can think of who might be interested:

7-13 July, Brixham, 6 nights, £710 per person
14-19 July, Brixham, 5 nights, £605 per person – filling very fast!
3-9 Aug, Brixham to Guernsey, 6 nights, £710 per person (not including travel)
10-17 Aug, Guernsey to Poole, 7 nights, £815 per person (not including travel) – race against other sail training vessels – ideal for age 14+ – see here for more details about this exciting event.
* 24-29 Aug, Poole to Brixham, 5 nights, £605 per person – filling very fast!
30 Aug – 4 Sept, Brixham to Southampton, 5 nights, £605 per person

Owing to the additional costs of travel to and from Guernsey, we are looking at offering discounts to anyone who books on a Guernsey voyage and persuades a friend to book too. Contact the office for more information on “bring a friend discounts”. We would also discuss discounts for anyone who booked on two back-to-back voyages, out to Guernsey and back again.

Voyages marked * are UK-only and may be ideal for the youngest crew members or anyone else wanting a less ambitious voyage. Passports will be needed for the voyages starting or ending in Guernsey, which may also visit a French port; and other voyages MAY go to France if we are lucky with the weather, so passports will be needed.

No previous sailing experience needed – all we ask is that you come prepared to join in and make friends!

Feedback from last year included:

The experience was fantastic, I was able to achieve the uttermost of my ability. I got the chance to work as a team in hoisting the sails and cooking the food. Overall it was a spectacular trip and made me appreciate the challenges of sailing at sea. I hope this isn’t my last trip.”

“The trip was insane. The views was insane and the people I travelled with made it an incredible experience. It is hard work, but if you soldier through that you’ll find that the trip was a diamond.”.

“I would like to mention the incredibly friendly, energised and cheery sea staff who were always just to fun to be around. Overall, the trip was a great experience I’d recommend to everyone :)”

“A huge thank you to the crew of the Prolific for such a fantastic opportunity. My son was very nervous about the prospect of a trip where he knew no-one, but he really enjoyed it and got a huge amount from it. I’m very grateful to you all for such a great experience for him.”

RYA sailing qualifications and DofE Gold Residential voyages available.

More information here on sailing with us.

For individual bookings on youth voyages, please contact VoyageAdmin@oytsouth.org.

Please note that voyages above are for people aged 11-25 and the next section is for adults 18+ with no upper limit – that means that people aged 18-25 can sail on either type of voyage.

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2024 voyages available for adults
Adult voyages are ideal for current volunteers who want a bit more experience, or an opportunity to enjoy sailing and to focus on their own skills, without supervising young people and helping them to do all the fun tasks on board instead of having the chance to do them yourself! Adult voyages are also used to select and train new volunteers, as well as for other adults who simply want to come for a holiday or to enjoy sailing Prolific. Please note that people aged 18-25 can sail on either youth voyages or adult voyages; but these adult voyages are the only option for those over 25.

11-13 Oct, Southampton, 2 nights, age range 18+, £255 per person, adult weekend voyage (Friday evening to Sunday evening)

There may also be a longer adult voyage – dates to be confirmed to fit around the demand from youth clients.

For adult bookings and volunteer training / selection voyages, please contact SeaStaffAdmin@oytsouth.org.

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2024 AGM – a date for your diary
Advance notice that OYT South’s 2024 AGM date has been set for 9th November.

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Financial appeal
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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Annual Report
OYT South’s Annual Report and accounts for the year ending 31st October 2023 is now available – do have a look! It’s packed with information about the charity and highlights from the last season. If you want to know more about who’s who – Patron and Vice-Patrons, Trustees, staff, honorary life members – or where the money comes from, how it’s spent and what different it makes, you can find all that in the Annual Report.

Cover of OYT South's Annual Report for the year ending 31st October 2023, showing a group of young people on Prolific's foredeck entering harbour

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Prolific earrings inspired by a crew member  – shortlisted for an award! PLEASE VOTE
Our studs have been shortlisted for Ethical Gift of the Year! The shortlist has now moved to a public vote so please click the link and vote for our earrings!

These very special earrings were designed by Vurchoo based on a drawing by a Prolific crew member and with part of the proceeds coming to us to support our charitable work! You can read the full story here.

£40 in either gold or silver – 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 £2,000 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 £2,000 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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Office new address
Please note our new address is:

Unit 2
Endeavour Building
Shamrock Quay
Lower William Street
SO14 5QL

Phone number, email addresses etc. are not changing.

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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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