OYT South bulletin 14th June 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 14th June 2024

by | Jun 14, 2024

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


* Sea staff vacancies – for new and trainee volunteers as well as well as experienced and qualified people – including URGENT July vacancy
Please email webmaster1@oytsouth.org if you can help with any of the remaining vacancies.

People who have been newly-recommended to join the volunteers’ team: 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:

7-13 July, Brixham – one more qualified watchleader and possibly someone else as well, ideally able to help with maintenance day 6th July as well. This is a mixed individuals’ voyage.
27 July – 2 Aug, Brixham – qualified watchleader for the MACS group (young people born without eyes or with under-developed eyes) – tbc (we have someone pencilled for the place but they can’t yet be 100% certain of their availability)
6-10 Sept, Southampton – qualified watchleader and/or experienced bosun, ideally able to join in time for the maintenance day on 5th September. Client will be children in care from Brighton.
16-20 Sept, Southampton – qualified watchleader. School group (new client)
14-19 Oct, Southampton – one qualified or trainee watchleader, ideally able to stay for the maintenance day on 20th Oct. Cowes Enterprise College.
25-29 Oct, Southampton – qualified or trainee watchleader. Swindon Scouts group.

Please email webmaster1@oytsouth.org if you would like to sail!

Back to index


* 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 often 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!

Please share this with anyone you can think of who might be interested:

7-13 July, Brixham, 6 nights, £710 per person – filling 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.
30 Aug – 4 Sept, Brixham to Southampton, 5 nights, £605 per person

There’s a PDF flyer here – please share it!

Flyer about summer 2024 voyages

There’s also a YouTube playlist with a number of very short videos about standard youth voyages or DofE Gold residentials, originally made for TikTok – there might be something there you can share!

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.

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 there too.

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.

Back to index


* Prolific earrings inspired by a crew member and now NEW necklaces as well!
Exciting news – sales of the earrings based on a drawing by a young crew member have been strong enough that our friends at Vurchoo have been inspired to add necklaces to the range!

£68 in silver or £85 in gold – click the pictures to go to the website and see how to buy them:

Silver necklace and earrings based on a drawing by a Prolific crew member 

You can read the full story here of how the design was based on an idea from a Prolific crew member, with part of the proceeds coming to us to support our charitable work! The original earrings are still available for £40 in either gold or silver – click the pictures to see how to buy them:

Gold earrings Silver earrings

Back to index


* Voyage news
The last newsletter came out as our crew of looked after children from Kent were heading for Worbarrow Bay. They were spotted there by a family on the beach including a crew member from a school trip a few weeks ago! They had a great time at anchor, looking at the fantastic views of the cliffs and going ashore in the dinghy to look for fossils and interesting rocks. Everyone took part in anchor watches to keep Prolific safe through the night. They wrote a great anchor watch story. This is where each team writes an episode but only sees the episode immediately before theirs, and don’t get to see the earlier ones, and the result is read out at breakfast. They still have their list of things to watch for and record, but writing a story keeps people engaged!

They sailed off the anchor on Saturday morning and had a glorious sail in good conditions, back through the Needles and into Cowes for fuel. While Prolific filled up, the young people did some work on the remaining elements of the RYA Start Yachting syllabus. Then they sailed back to Ocean Village where the voyage ended after 118 miles – you can see the voyage track here.

Comments included:

“My favourite bit was like hoisting the sails and stuff and working as a team.”

“Incredible trip, very kind staff! Looking forward to hopefully coming again.”

“Very excited to be on board Prolific – had great time.”

“My most memorable part is probably cooking the dinner, ‘cos like I didn’t think anybody would like it, but I think – I hope – everybody liked it!”

Is the best want to do it again.”

“I have 8 friends now.”

The two adult leaders who came with them said:

“My favourite part was seeing everybody really interact, phones down and actually just spending time with each other and laughing – it was fantastic. I think, although the scenery and the sailing was fantastic, I think the evenings here, after the meal and the washing up, and the games, you know just the teamwork, it was fantastic.”

“I’ve got lots of positive memories, but what sticks out most for me, is how well the crew have worked with all our young people. So you have great skills, not only in sailing, but also in the inter-personal side of things.”

Big thanks to sea staff Andrew Wilkes, Rooby Vaughan-Woods, Josh, Lucinda Neall, Graeme Findlay, Tori Pickles and Simon Brammer.

The next voyage saw the return of The Petersfield School, who promptly embarked on the most ambitious voyage of the season so far! During the initial briefings, it was clear that they were very keen to go across the Channel overnight:

Crew gathered at the saloon table as first mate Lauren shows them a chart

So they set off, had dinner under way and broke into watches at the Needles before heading off into the Channel. They saw lots of stars, some dolphins and a sunrise, and then sailed through the Channel Islands past Alderney.

Two crew members at the helm - one steers and the other points ahead. Crew members on deck as distant land appears across a sparkling sea One person gives a thumbs-up while three others watch from Prolific's bow Eight crew line up on deck with one of the Channel islands behind them Crew sitting on deck box and standing against the bulwarks give thumbs-up while watchleader Patrick leans in to shot (top right). Island and beach visible behind.

They had a man overboard recovery drill before arriving in Guernsey, piloting in via the Little Russell. They paused outside the harbour to drop sails, drop the dinghy, raise the davits, and then wait for tide before getting in and alongside. They had showers, shore-leave, logbooks, games, dinner … and sleep!

On Wednesday there was a 5am start to catch the tide to Alderney – they motor-sailed there and picked up a buoy – there was lots of singing and dancing on deck during the approach! After lunch they got a water taxi ashore to the beach, which was beautiful and they had a fantastic time.

Crew on sandy beach Crew playing football on a sandy beach

Then back to the boat to get warm and dry.

They set off that evening for Cowes, initially motor-sailing but then the wind built and they were able to turn the engine off and sail all the way to the Needles Channel.

Girl giggles from Prolific's helm at sunset Boy measures a distance on a chart using dividers

In the Solent people got a chance to go out on the bowsprit, and there were more man overboard recovery drills. They went into Cowes for a nap, logbooks, weather chat, shore leave, pilotage planning and fajitas, and then did a night navigation exercise back to Southampton where the voyage ended next day after 230 miles – you can see the voyage track here. Fourteen people earned RYA Start Yachting certificates and one, who had sailed with us before, got the more advanced Competent Crew.

Feedback included:

“My best bit was crossing the channel and my favourite bit was probably Alderney Beach because it was such a beautiful beach and you can go cliff jumping.”

“My favourite bit was probably dancing to music on deck.”

“My favourite bit was probably seeing the dolphins swimming alongside the boat and going to Alderney Beach.”

The long days with two Channel crossings plus another early start to catch the tide were reflected in some comments:

“Favourite bit was the sunset and sunrises.”

 “Worst bit was getting woken up so enthusiastically at like 5am, oooh, it was so sad!”

 The staff member who sailed with them said: “I enjoyed the team work and the rest was amazing.”

Big thanks to sea staff Andy Viney, Lauren Mackenzie, Josh Caudery, Patrick Kelly (a great week as acting First Mate as he works towards his assessment), Cathy Ayres, Graeme Findlay, Victora Pickles and Ed Gordon-Thomson.

Last Saturday was a planned maintenance day – massive thanks to lots of people for loads of hard work: Gotch, Josh, Lauren, Patrick Kelly, Ed Gordon Thomson, Graeme Findlay, Rob Jelley, Tori Pickles, Keri Hammond, Val Hague, Unity Bowns and Glyn Collins. These maintenance days are so important to make sure that things run safely and smoothly on voyages so we are immensely grateful to everyone who gives up their time to help. This time the team got through lots of the regular checks and chart corrections; fixed the emergency tiller alignment; did some whippings on the running rigging and some repair work on the staysail leach line and much more. And there was a cake to celebrate Volunteers’ Week!

Maintenance day team with a cake to celebrate Volunteers' Week! Iced cake with OYT South logo and the words "Thank you to our lovely volunteers"

This week we have been sailing with Alfreton Park Special School – their website says they work with “a diverse range of highly complex Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)” and on this voyage eight students came with five staff to support them.

They joined on Sunday afternoon and settled into safety briefings, life jackets and oilskin fitting before dinner and bed.

Alfreton Park crew member getting used to wearing his lifejacket and moving round the boat Alfreton Park crew member points joyfully at the camera, with a watchleader behind

In the morning, after showers, winch drills and deck prep they set off for Lymington.

High five between watchleader and Alfreton Park crew member as they learn to use the winches!

They got the staysail up and did a man-overboard recovery drill in the West Solent before arriving alongside in Lymington for sausages and mash.

A slow start the next morning included a fire drill whilst alongside which turned into a Stand-by to Abandon Ship drill and people learned the contents of the emergency kits. Then they slipped out of Lymington and hoisted the mizzen and staysail and enjoyed a lovely sail towards Cowes with visits out onto the bowsprit. Some of the crew went for a walk to the Cowes fish-and-chip shop for a fantastic supper back on the boat.

Alfreton Park crew member grins from the skipper's chair while wearing a captain's hat!

A poor forecast for Thursday meant reverting to Plan B for Wednesday, which involved motoring out to Osborne Bay (with a dance party en route) and anchoring for lunch in the sunshine on deck, followed by the young people steering us up Southampton Water to our home on the new (old) pontoon in Ocean Village. [Thank you to MDL marinas for such shiny new pontoons!]

Thursday saw the promised strong gusty winds, so after showers and breakfast, everyone had a turn around the harbour in the dinghy using the new electric motor. [Thank you ePropulsion!]. Some people even practised rowing. Lunch followed and everyone made the most of the rainy afternoon with a movie.

During the week, all the young people got out on the bowsprit and steered the boat – and one pushed himself to get involved in EVERYTHING and learned knots etc. in order to earn his RYA Start Yachting certificate! It was a week of many smiles and much fun.

Big thanks to sea staff Gotch, Lauren, Josh, Glyn Collins, Lucy Grodie, Caitlin Neall-Johnston and Val Hague.

Back to index


2024 voyage 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 adult voyages are the only option for those over 25 who are not yet volunteers with the charity.

There is one adult voyage left this year:

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

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

Back to index


* 2025 DRAFT programme
We’ve been working on a draft programme for 2025 and have just sent it to our regular clients for their comments. If you are interested in booking full group voyage for young people, do let us know and we can send you a copy of the current draft showing possible dates, ports, durations and prices.

We will reserve some school holiday voyages for individual bookings and some weekends, day sails etc for adults, so any interest in those (as well as volunteer bookings) can come later!

Back to index


* Volunteers’ Week 2024
Huge thanks to everyone who got involved in Volunteers’ Week – we had lots of social media posts all through the week and we hope it showed everyone how inspirational and valued our volunteers are – as well as how much people enjoy volunteering for us! All the new contributions have been added to this page – do have a look.

Back to index


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

Back to index


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.

Back to index


* Maintenance days – please help – next one is 6th July
We have several planned maintenance days during the season – these are essential to keep Prolific in working order and avoid losing voyage time to maintenance issues. We need all the help we can get, both skilled and unskilled – there are easy jobs for people not used to boat maintenance, or maybe we can teach you a useful new skill!

Please put these dates in your diary:

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 make sure you are available to help!

Back to index


Raise funds for OYT South if you’re shopping online
we’ve made over £2,100 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 £2,100 through Easyfundraising – huge thanks to everyone who has used it!

Back to index


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

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

Back to index


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

Back to index


Office new address
Please note our new address is:

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

Phone number, email addresses etc. are not changing.

Back to index


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to index


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

Back to index