OYT South bulletin 22nd March 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 March 2024

by | Mar 22, 2024

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


* Refit – Prolific is sailing again!
Thank you to everyone who has been to help in this final week of refit: Gotch, Lauren, Josh, Caitlin Neall-Johnston, Juliette Draper, Mark, Susanna, Lynne, Andy Viney, Steve and Cathy Lacey, Glyn Collins, Katie Hamlet, Miranda Camping, Lee Mosscrop, Martin Bayfield and Barry Walker.

Refit has now come to an end and the season is about to begin! Last weekend the refit team (plus lots of volunteers) helped to move the boat from Ocean Village Marina to Swanwick and back, to get the mast back. When not moving the boat, Josh ran some training sessions for some of the skippers and first mates who wanted a refresher on the various systems we have on board.

Our staff engineer Josh delivering training for skippers and first mates

Allspars continued to help us, getting the main mast back in and both booms reattached:

Prolific's mast ready to go back in to the boat Three riggers from Allspars wearing hi-vis and hard hats working on the main mast on deck. Gotch, Josh, and one of the Allspars team look at the main mast in the saloon. Three people from Allspars work to bring the mizzen boom back on board.

CEO Mark Todd added his expertise and gravitas to the proceedings:

Mark Todd smiles at the camera from the deckhouse, wearing a hard hat.

Here we are leaving Premier Marinas, Swanwick, and heading back home to Ocean Village with two masts again, and our first night sail of the season:

Prolific leaving Premier Marinas, Swanwick, with two masts again Prolific returning home in the dark, with lights of buildings behind her

Lots more volunteers came down on Tuesday to help reattach the sails – amazingly they managed to attach the main, staysail and jib all before lunch!

Several volunteers work on the bow and the bowsprit to pass the jib forwards and hank it on. Josh and Caitlin wear harnesses and dangle from the main mast as they take a break from attaching the mainsail. Josh and Caitlin both smile as they get back to work on the main – Josh rests on the boom while Caitlin dangles in her harness on the other side of the mast. Lauren stands on the mizzen boom wearing a harness, while Katie smiles at the camera from deck level. Wider shot of Prolific with mainsail being re-attached

Wednesday involved going out into Southampton Water to do a compass swing (we do this annually to check how the metal on the boat affects the compass). A huge thank you to Jo Robinson who has been very accommodating as we reorganised the date for the compass swing, and who didn’t charge us for her help.

A huge thank you also to Trauma Resus for gifting us a new AED unit for Prolific and helping to train and refresh the Sea Staff in how to use it – with special thanks to Glyn Collins for running the training. As with all our medical kit, we hope never to have to use it but it’s great to have that confidence that we can use it if we need it. Safety is always our number one priority and we are grateful to Trauma Resus for helping us offer the best care for everyone who sails with us.

Glyn on the pontoon handing the new AED over to Mark, with Prolific behind them Glyn supervising staff and volunteers training with the new AED

The rest of the week has been taken up with a final clean and tidy before the start of the season, a big sort out of all the reefing lines and so on that also attach to the sails, and a lot of chart corrections so that they are fully ready-to-go too.

Glyn and Katie work on the reefing lines on the main, leading them through the blocks and whipping the ends. A photo taken from beside the main mast, showing the boom and mainsail, and the mizzen boom and sail, the lines coiled on the pins, and the deck tidied and ship-shape.

The first voyage of the season is now under way – a short training voyage especially for parking practice, but this will be a bit of a shakedown voyage too.

Now that refit is over, a huge thank you should be reiterated to the core refit team who have stuck with it over the whole winter. Thanks again to Gotch, Josh, and Lauren, the amazing volunteers Caitlin and Juliette, Susanna, and to Lynne who has been popping down to the boat regularly to keep everything organised. Very special thanks also to Steve and Cathy Lacey for the hard work they’ve put in behind the scenes on the voyage paperwork, and in particular the Life Saving Appliances file and rigging reports in addition to their usual safeguarding responsibilities.

Up to the end of last week, we had a superb total of 354 days worked by 61 volunteers on the refit over the winter. When you add that to 200 days worked by the paid staff, you get an idea of the scale of the volunteer effort and the difference it makes to the charity – imagine if we had had to pay for all that extra work! All those fantastic volunteers mean that far more of our resources can be devoted to our work with young people, which is what really counts. So a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who has helped.

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* Voyage Handbook – new edition
Lauren has done a huge amount of work on the Voyage Handbook (often known as the Baboon file owing to the fact that a previous edition used to live in a lever arch file with an ape on the cover), particularly on Volume 2, the watchleader training manual, which covers everything from how to hoist the mainsail to how to launch the dinghy or teach a young person to fill in the logbook. Sea staff can find it all on the password access section of the website. If you have forgotten your password, email webmaster1@oytsouth.org.

Anything new for this season is shown in the pdf in blue text so you can find the changes easily. Lauren has improved the wording in places; added additional sections as well as habits we’ve been adopting on board and would like to sustain; changed some things which were out of date; and deleted some things we no longer do.

As ever, let us know if you spot any mistakes or if something doesn’t make sense. And just because we’ve established a certain way of doing something doesn’t mean it can’t ever be changed. We’ve generally found an approach that is safe on board Prolific and works for voyages with young people, and we want to be consistent so that young people aren’t being told different things by different watchleaders, and watchleaders aren’t being given different instructions when sailing with a different skipper or first mate; but if you think you have a better idea, PLEASE discuss it with the team on board and it might be included in the next edition of the Voyage Handbook.

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* Saltee sunscreen sponsorship
We are delighted to announce that Saltee has renewed their sponsorship of OYT South and will continue to provide us with top-of-the-range sunscreen to protect everyone who sails with us. Their sunscreen really is lovely to use, ocean friendly, sustainable and from a company with great values which include support for young people. We are very proud to continue our partnership with Saltee and to continue to educate young people on board about the need to protect their skin.

Using Saltee sunscreen At sea - with sunscreen

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* Sea staff vacancies – including urgent gap in April!
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:

15-19 April, Southampton – one more watchleader or bosun – URGENT
6-10 May, Southampton – qualified watchleader if possible – URGENT
12-16 May, Southampton – one more watchleader, ideally available to help with the maintenance day on 11th May as well.
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 – qualified watchleader
3-7 June, Southampton – another qualified watchleader, ideally available to stay for the maintenance day on 8th June as well
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.

NB if you can’t do 6-10 May or 12-16 May but could pick up a voyage later in May instead, or even just cover the day sails 17-18 May, let us know as there may be someone who can do a swap.

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 people aged 11-25 – PLEASE SHARE
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
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+
* 24-29 Aug, Poole to Brixham, 5 nights, £605 per person
30 Aug – 4 Sept, Brixham to Southampton, 5 nights, £605 per person

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
These 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.

3-5 May, Southampton, 2 nights, age range 18+, £255 per person, adult weekend voyage (Friday evening to Sunday evening)
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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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.

We could really do with a few more people at this event, including a couple who have sailed as young crew members. It’s a fun weekend so please do think about coming along!

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* Maintenance days – dates for your diary
If you are in any danger of feeling nostalgic for the refit once the sailing season has started, or if you didn’t manage to get down and help this winter, don’t worry – we have six planned maintenance days during the season and you can always come and help with one of those. Please put these dates in your diary:

Monday 22nd April – Southampton
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 a few days beforehand, 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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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
Big thanks this week to Lindy Chamberlain and the Royal Southern Yacht Club Trust for another very generous donation to bursaries in memory of former Ocean Youth Club Skipper Tony Chamberlain. Thanks also to Gordon Pennie, and to the PCC of St. Mary’s in Buriton, for kind donations.

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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* ASTO administrator – job advertisement
The Association of Sail Training Organisations is looking for a new Administrator. You can read the job advertisement here. This is a great opportunity for someone who would be interested in a job in UK Sail Training, supporting the industry which includes OYT South as one of 30 member organisations operating more than 50 Sail Training vessels and taking 10,000 young people to sea each year. Closing date 02 April 2024 at 08:00.

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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 £1,800 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 £1,800 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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