OYT South bulletin 22nd February 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 22nd February 2024

by | Feb 22, 2024

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


* Refit – please come and help
It’s been a while since the last update, so a big thank you to everyone who has been down to the boat and helped since then: Gotch (Constantinos), Lauren, Susanna, Lynne, Caitlin Neall-Johnston, Juliette Draper, Matt Boreham, Caz White, Mark Todd, Steve and Cathy Lacey, Thomas Hypher, Ben Whinnett, Andy Viney, Andrew Wilkes, Aoife Harrington, Sara Abdur, Tom Knight, and Rob Jelley.

The team has been doing a lot of sanding and painting, including more on the hull, and inside the bunks. Many thanks to International Paint who have kindly donated the primers and paints we’ve used on board.

Matt and Juliette dressed in overalls sit on the bowsprit applying masking tape Caitlin in a woolly hat and overalls stands on the pontoon painting the hull dark blue Susanna and Juliette sit in the dinghy with sandpaper and give the camera a ‘thumbs up’ while a swan watches

The jackstays are back on, the aft fridge has been cleaned and sorted, and the new batteries are being charged. The in-use sails are being returned from Kemp Sails, and some of the old (John Laing!) sails have been taken out of the store and given to OceanRepublic to turn into beach cleaning nets – you can buy items made from recycled marine materials from their shop.

Bradley from Vortec Marine came to do some repairs to the bowsprit, and BD Marine took the gangway to be fixed and returned it within a day! Pressing Needs cleaned and returned the foul-weather gear and bunk cushion covers; MSOS have serviced and returned the med kit; and Ocean Safety serviced and returned all the lifejackets and the Jonbuoy.

New grip material has arrived to apply to the gangway, and Juliette has been doing more work to finish servicing the winches.

Juliette kneels by a half-assembled winch, holding an Allen key

Last Monday we had lots of extra volunteers come down to help move the boat to Swanwick to get the main mast removed – thanks to AllSpars for their continuing help with that!

They made the mast lift look easy:

The tide in Swanwick was very strong, which made arriving and departing very tricky – a massive thank you to Andy Viney for making a stressful park look easy! It wouldn’t have been possible without everyone else too – Steve and Cathy rigged up a temporary VHF ariel and helm pedestal, and Caitlin wrote a great passage plan. Andy said “I was really grateful for everyone’s help. It could have been really difficult, but all the staff who turned up made the day great!”

Lauren and Tom stand at the helm and smile with arms outstretched Andrew Wilkes waves through a window as Ocean Village marina is reflected in the background Sara, Tom and Lauren peer through the hole left in the deck by the mast

This is Staff Skipper Gotch at the helm of Prolific for the very first time – she has been in refit and hadn’t moved since he joined us!

Gotch smiles at the camera as he steers Prolific

Juliette celebrated her birthday with cake and a trip to a boardgame café for the refit team.

Juliette sits in the shed while Gotch brings a cake with candles lit and everyone sings

Meanwhile in other news, our Staff Engineer Josh passed his RYA Coastal Skipper and then his Yachtmaster Coastal on consecutive weeks – huge congratulations to him!

Josh and the team on his Yachtmaster Coastal week

There’s plenty more to do at refit so please come and help!

Prolific is in Ocean Village but not on our usual berth – we are tucked in for the winter on a sheltered berth by the hotel. We also have some lovely refit accommodation a short drive away by the Hamble.

Just call the boat on 07990 518915 or email refit@oytsouth.org if you want to come and help us any time from now until March, either for just one day or for a longer period or some sort of regular commitment such as a day each week.

If you want to come and help for longer than a day and you need accommodation, just ask – it all depends what we have available.

There will be a volunteers’ refit weekend 2-3 March to get loads of gear back on board – as well as a social event on the Saturday night. Email refit@oytsouth.org to book yourself in.

We are provisionally hoping to put the mast back in on Friday 8th March (this involves sailing the boat to Swanwick and back), and then put the sails back on at the weekend of 9-10 March – this hasn’t been confirmed yet and still depends on a number of factors, but if you’re keen to be involved then please save that weekend in your diary. To express interest please phone the office or email refit@oytsouth.org, and food and accommodation will be available over that weekend.

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 next season to maintenance issues.

You can read more about how refit works here.

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Shorebased training weekend report
Huge thanks to everyone involved in running another successful training weekend, and all those who came along!

Seventeen people over two days earned or updated their RYA First aid qualifications (big thanks to instructor Tony Salmon):

Tony Salmon, first aid instructor Rob learns CPR

Three people earned their RYA Marine Radio Short Range Certificate (SRC) (big thanks to Mark Todd).

Apart from the certificated courses, we had plenty of other fascinating options. There were rave reviews for the two speakers from Engendering Change. Shamila Dhana had the room gripped by her videos on diversity and cultural awareness, and her facts and figures regarding refugees; and Hannah Murray delivered a great session on looking after our own mental wellbeing as well as supporting those who sail with us.

Hannah Murray's session on mental wellbeing

James Stevens got us thinking about how all sea staff can work as a team on board to avoid accidents and incidents, and had some valuable insights on dealing with the aftermath if an incident should occur. Lauren gave us all an update on new systems for keeping Prolific’s charts corrected, and managed to make a dry subject sound interesting. Ocean Safety very kindly gave us a run-through on lifejacket care and maintenance, and also allowed us to inflate and deflate a life-raft in the classroom. (NB Prolific’s life-rafts are MUCH bigger than this one!)

Steve and Cathy Lacey gave us an update on some amendments to our Safeguarding Policy which is now available online. Special thanks to the Old Bake House which stepped in with a brilliant alternative when we lost our other venue at short notice, and also provided lunches.

Big thanks also to Gosport Cruising Club which gave us a venue for First Aid plus Saturday dinner and Sunday breakfast, which were provided by Tony and Nix Salmon who did a fantastic job as ever.

Huge thanks also to Lynne, Susanna and Annette for a lot of hard work behind the scenes to get the weekend organised.

On Saturday night, our CEO Mark Todd gave a speech looking at highlights from last season and plans for this year, and also announced the winner of our Young Volunteer of the Year Award – see next section!

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* Gipsy Moth Young Volunteer of the Year winner: Unity Bowns
In 2022, Ocean Youth Trust South received a generous grant from the Gipsy Moth Trust which they asked us to spend on training and supporting young people who excel on an initial youth voyage and are working towards becoming the bosuns and watchleaders of the future.

Along with the grant came a trophy: a mounted section of the mizzen mast from Gipsy Moth IV, which after her epic 1967 voyage held the records for the fastest voyage around the world by any small vessel; the longest non-stop passage that had been made by a small sailing vessel (15,000 miles (24,000 km)); and more than twice the distance of the previous longest passage by a singlehanded sailor. These days we regularly hear of record-breaking single-handed non-stop voyages round the world, but in 1967 to see Francis Chichester circle the globe alone with only one stop was truly remarkable.

This trophy is awarded annually to a volunteer aged 16-25 who has successfully made the step up from youth crew to sea staff and is excelling as a young volunteer.

At the training weekend, we were delighted to announce that the latest winner is Unity Bowns, who received the trophy from previous winner Tom Knight:

Tom Knight hands on the Gipsy Moth trophy to OYT South's Young Volunteer of the Year, Unity Bowns. The trophy is a mounted section of the mizzen mast from Gipsy Moth IV

Unity first sailed as youth crew in 2021, and skipper Andy Viney phoned the office midweek and said “I think I’ve got a future skipper on board”. He gave Unity a sea staff recommendation at the end of the week, writing:“Already able to function as a watch leader with their sailing and interpersonal skills. Initially nervous of translating their small boat experience on to sailing a larger vessel but was delighted when they found so much of their knowledge was transferrable. Always had a smile and was great at supporting other crew and the sea staff. A natural born leader who does it with grace and ease. Would be an asset to OYT South.”

Unity has definitely become the asset that Andy predicted, having qualified as a third mate in 2022 and being upgraded to second mate last year, sailing as often as possible and reliably stepping in to help us with unexpected sea staff vacancies. Last year’s Staff Skipper Diggory said: “Awarded for utter dedication, covered in oil or in the rain … Nothing they won’t do, nothing they won’t attempt, often in the face of specific circumstances that make things especially challenging.” Staff Mate Lauren added:“Loved by so many for bringing a sense of friendship and fun to the boat. Strong watchleader and has given us a lot of time at last winter’s refit and all last season. Performed a few pranks …”

Unity sitting at the bow of Prolific against a background of white sails

Unity is the third winner of this trophy, following Tom Knight and Sara Abdur – you can read about them here.

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* Brian Mead – Isle of Wight
Sadly we have to announce the death of Brian Mead, who played a huge part in Ocean Youth Trust South’s support group on the Isle of Wight for many years.

Brian Mead at the helm of Prolific

Marion Heming writes:

“Brian Mead, who sadly died on Sunday 4th February 2024, aged 89, joined the Island Support Group in the autumn of1997 and quietly observed and supported his new charity with great optimism.

This paid off handsomely for the then chairman, Ted Atkinson, who in the Spring of 2004, had to retire suddenly and return to the mainland.

Brian nobly took the helm for the next 16 years as Chairman – that surely says it all.

During those 16 years Brian ran a very happy Island Support Group of like-minded boatowners with like-minded aims of getting youngsters to sea.

Brian never missed a meeting and always followed up meetings with accurate minutes – practically the following day. He gave presentations to numerous Isle of Wight schools in all weathers and always thanked me, when he had really done all the work!

During his time he ran several fundraising events enticing the young to try something new and emphasizing that the cost of a voyage was not to put them off. This worked really well and enabled many Island youngsters to achieve their wish for adventure.

John Laing, our flagship, needed replacing. She had been a wonderful 72’ steel ketch but was now 26 years old. A replacement was found in the shape of 105’ Prolific, based on an 1890s fishing vessel. A special day sail from Southampton to Cowes was arranged for generous donors and other worthies. Naturally Brian was one.

The photo above is of Brian taking the helm on that voyage and is one of my favourite photographs of the gentlest, stoical giants you could ever meet.” By Marion Heming

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* ICOM and Dorset Marine Training – video for OYT South
Towards the end of last season, we had a very kind donation of handheld radios from ICOM and Dorset Marine Training (big thanks to Dom Coleman), and a young crew from east London charity Ambition, Aspire, Achieve were the first to use them, making all the calls on the way into Poole. They were congratulated on arrival by the harbour team who had enjoyed listening to all the different voices!

ICOM has been doing some fantastic publicity for us – in particular this video:

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* Sea staff vacancies – not many, so grab them while you can!
Huge thanks to all the volunteers who sent in details of their availability for voyages this year. We drew up a rota and successfully filled over 200 volunteer berths in the initial round (thank you!) but inevitably, some people weren’t able to do everything we offered. Thanks to those who emailed us about covering some of the gaps advertised in the last bulletin – we’re just sorting out what to do about voyages where several people offered, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

However, we haven’t yet had suitable offers to fill the following gaps, so please email webmaster1@oytsouth.org if you can help with any of the remaining vacancies. Dates given are when crew are on board so volunteers are generally needed the day before:

3-5 May, Southampton – one more experienced volunteer would be useful – preferably female
18 May, Southampton – one more person for a day sail (day sail volunteers should have a reasonable familiarity with Prolific as there is no time to train anyone new)
29 May – 2 June, Southampton – experienced watchleader
17-21 June, Southampton –qualified or trainee watchleader or possibly bosun
7-13 July, Brixham – one more qualified watchleader (ideally able to help with maintenance day 6th July as well)
20-26 July, Brixham – watchleader or bosun

At this stage we don’t necessarily want to fill all the remaining September and October places (we may want spaces for good new people who emerge during the season, or to finish upgrade assessments started earlier in the year).

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2024 voyages available for individuals, group bookings and adults
Please see here for this year’s voyage availability – we have some voyages designated for group bookings (such as a school or youth group, or another charity); some voyages for individual bookings; and some which could be either for groups or individuals, depending on demand. A couple of individual voyages are shown as “UK only” which makes them suitable for younger crew members and people without passports. (Other individual voyages MAY go to France if we are lucky with the weather so passports will be needed; passport requirements for group bookings will be agreed with the group organiser).

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

To discuss group bookings, please email caroline.white@oytsouth.org.

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

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South Coast Boat Show – help needed
Prolific will once again be at the heart of the South Coast Boat Show in Ocean Village, which this year runs from 19th – 21st April. We will need lots of volunteers on board to show visitors around, talk about the charity, collect money and sell bacon rolls! Email webmaster1@oytsouth.org if you’d like to come and help.

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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
Huge thanks to Pointer Family Trust whose very generous contribution towards refit has reached us; to Rhys Parry; and to ASTO for the latest Hammond Innes bursary. Also to Rob Hill for another very kind donation towards bursaries; and to Spinlock for a very generous saving on the costs of Prolific’s jammers this winter!

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  – 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 weredesigned 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 £1,700 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 £1,700 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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