OYT South bulletin 23rd 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 23rd May 2024

by | May 23, 2024

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


* Voyage news
The last newsletter came out just as the voyage with Costello School was ending and we promised to add some of their feedback once it had been typed up. Big thanks to the office team who do a great job of putting together all the feedback each week!

“I really enjoyed steering the boat and going on the bowsprit and taking photos and having a BBQ on the beach – the BBQ was very fun, and we roasted marshmallows with everyone.”

“I really enjoyed being able to steer and being given opportunities to do loads of stuff. The team is really nice as well.”

“I really enjoyed how welcoming everyone was and going to new areas, I also liked the community and making new friends.”

The teacher who sailed with them is working to qualify as an OYT South watchleader, and he said: Best bit has just been these little moments where I watch these young people take a little bit of leadership and a little bit of responsibility, and I literally just have to stand there, put my hands in my pockets and not do anything, it’s lovely, great … Memorable bit, in the same vein, was watching green watch doing their navigation, and that teamwork, that leadership that they worked together was just fantastic.”

That was followed by a maintenance day: big thanks to Gotch, Lauren, Josh, Glyn Collins, Unity Bowns, Ben “Sparky” Whinnett, Iori Kent, Andrew Page, Rob Jelley and Rebecca Brookes for lots of hard work.

Next came Applemore College from the edge of the New Forest. They started with introductions and briefings on how to use their lifejackets and safety harnesses:

Learning to use lifejackets and clip on using safety lines

As they headed down to Yarmouth on the first evening they learned how to use the winches and the young people also started learning to steer Prolific – and had to negotiate four cruise ships coming past Bramble Bank!

They spent the first night moored to a buoy outside Yarmouth – people seemed to sleep very well with the gentle rocking of the boat.

The following day, they got the sails up and sailed off the buoy (not using the engine):

Working at the winches

They sailed up towards Cowes, with a man overboard recovery drill on the way and then some demonstrations of first aid, showing how we would manage a casualty not breathing or with a leg injury.

In Cowes they met the Sea Cadets’ vessel Royalist and the young people showed each other around their ships:

Prolific's crew on board TS Royalist

They then did a session on points of sail: how a sailing vessel works depending on the angle of the wind to the boat.

The following day they hoped to get to Poole but the weather was not on their side so instead there were sessions on weather and knots, and they went for a day sail. On the way out of the harbour they had an exercise pretending that the engine had failed: they had to get the sails up very quickly and then find a specific place to anchor under sail. After all that they moved to an anchorage in Osborne Bay where they had ice-cream and did a fire drill before going back into Cowes for dinner and a look at charts for sailing round the Isle of Wight next day.

Girl on the helm, supervised by watchleader Pointing from the helm

They set off at 6am the next day and left the Solent via the Needles, but just as they were hoisting the mainsail, there was another man overboard recovery drill – just to show how slick the team had become with reacting to the unexpected. This time they weren’t recovering a bright orange fender which is easy to see in the water, but instead chose something around the size of a small person’s head floating in the water and not easy to keep sight of: a cauliflower!

Iori recovers a cauliflower overboard Crew members watch a demonstration of how we would lift a casualty in helicopter strops

Once past the Needles, in spite of sunshine and small waves, seasickness struck ten out of the 14 crew so the plan to sail round the isle of Wight was abandoned and they returned to the Solent where they had probably the best sailing of the whole season with perfect winds of force 4-5 and sunshine. Everyone very quickly felt better:

View through a door to the deck where a boy is on the helm, supervised by a watchleader Crew member out on the bowsprit on a sunny day Thumbs-up from the bowsprit Working on a winch A line of young crew members hauling on a halyard A line of young crew members hauling on a halyard Crew member filling in the logbook

They stopped on the buoy outside Yarmouth again to have dinner and plan a night pilotage exercise up Southampton water. The young people were amazing at piloting Prolific up one of the busiest stretches of water in the world in the dark – excellent work!

This was Mental Health Awareness Week and each day we looked at elements of our #SailToWellbeing programme which explores how things like getting outdoors, being physically active, connecting with other people and learning new skills can all help your mental wellbeing.

They sailed 102 nautical miles and you can see their complete voyage track here.

Seasoned sailors might wonder why there were quite so many emergency drills this week. The answer is that our new Staff Skipper Constantinos joined us at the beginning of the season and after a few weeks to get used to the boat and our routines, he was undergoing his final assessment before being able to take Prolific out unsupervised, and he had to show that he could deal with any incidents safely while looking after young people on board. We are all really grateful to the Applemore students who played such an important part in the week!

Thanks to all the sea staff for the week: Constantinos, Lauren, Mark Todd, Nige Bush, Willoughby Matthews, Unity Bowns, Iori Kent and congratulations also to Rebecca Brookes who passed her 3M assessment!

After that we had three lovely day sails. We spent Friday with a team from our insurers, Topsail; plus a small group from Brighton and Hove City Council who were interested in finding out more about working with us. On Saturday we had a group from 4th Netley Sea Scouts who were full of enthusiasm and we hope to see them back for a full residential voyage in future. And on Sunday we had an adult day with old friends and new; sponsors and donors; past and potential clients. You can see the complete voyage track across the three days here: out into the western Solent and back again three times!

It is really important to us to work with an insurance company which truly understands our work: Topsail Insurance have been great to us for years so it was lovely to have them on board:

Topsail Insurance team on board

The mix of Topsail and Brighton council staff worked really well and we spent a sunny day in great company. We even found a couple of people who would make great additions to our volunteer team!

Ian from Brighton and Hove City Council on the bowsprit Hoisting the mizzen

Comments at the end of the day included:

“Brilliant day, big thanks to the team and will spread the word! :)”

“As always, a fantastic day’s sail. Great hospitality, wonderful staff crew and superb sunshine. Thank you OYT South x”

“Fantastic day, such a great charity. See you again soon. Thank you.”

“Amazing day, big thank you to everyone for making the day so special.”

4th Netley Sea Scouts were sailing thanks to David O’Rourke who bid for the day at an auction at the start of the Ocean Globe race. They came with two excellent leaders and really couldn’t have put any more energy and enthusiasm into the day.

Netley Sea Scouts heaving on the mizzen halyard Scouts on the bowsprit Two Scouts lie in the bowsprit netting while a watchleader looks on One Scout steering, with the two Scout leaders either side

One of our volunteers, Willoughby Matthews, was out with Cowes Lifeboat and dropped in to meet the Scouts:

Willoughby sits with the Scouts on a deck box while the lifeboat comes alongside Sea Scout in RNLI helmet

Comments included:

“My favourite bit of the day was getting to drive the boat … My most memorable bit of the day was going out on the bowsprit.”

My favourite was getting to work with this awesome crew!”

“All the crew staff were great I learnt so much and they were so helpful.”

“I absolutely loved today and had a great time hopefully I will write in this Comments book again!! :)”

And from the Scout leaders:

“Favourite part personally was actually getting on a ship again and getting to drive a ship again after too long ashore … Memorable bit: seeing all the scouts getting into it, enjoying themselves, absolutely fantastic.”

“I think my favourite bit was just seeing everyone, all the scouts, really putting a lot of effort in, and all playing their roles, all taking part, that was really good to see. And yeah, probably favourite part, along with the scouts, was getting to drive the ship along Southampton Water, so – thank you very much!”

As we were handing out voyage certificates to the Scouts, Mark announced that there was an extra certificate … the words “was a crew member” had been replaced with “is the Staff Skipper” on a certificate for Constantinos, who had successfully completed his Skipper Assessment!

Mark presents Gotch with his skipper's qualification

We are all delighted for Constantinos and the team went to a Greek restaurant that night for a celebration combining Gotch’s qualification with Lauren’s birthday which happens to fall on the International Day for Women in Maritime!

Sunday’s crew included some of Unity’s family and friends who had been staff on board Ocean Youth Club boats some years ago. Unity’s parents are a former staff skipper and bosun and it was great to see them sailing together:

Unity's family on the bowsprit

And here’s a shot of Staff Skippers from two different periods in the charity’s history:

Two skippers

We also had other longstanding friends of the charity on board – not much wind but loads of sunshine:

At the helm on a calm sunny day Mizzen halyard - two, six, heave Enjoying the sunshine on the bowsprit Hoisting a sail

One of the guests was Dave Hamlet from Tanki who brought us a new supply of Tanki toilet paper which is much better for the environment and doesn’t block the pipes on board!

Dave at the winches Dave Hamlet from Tanki presents us with a fresh supply of Tanki toilet paper

Big thanks to all the sea staff who helped to run such a successful long weekend of day sails: Skipper Gotch, Unity Bowns, Iori Kent, Mark, Caz, Lauren and Willoughby (Friday), Annant Shah and Glyn Collins (Saturday and Sunday), Cathy Ayres (Saturday) and Susanna Paynter (Sunday).

Comments included:

“An excellent boat, Prolific ticks all the boxes for student involvement in and learning about sailing. The crew were delightful!”

“A truly inspiring day – what an experience. Fantastic hearing about the amazing work you are doing with young people!”

“What a fantastic day – thank you all. Good food, good sail training + lots of fun. Good to re-live our youth! Thank you x”

“Outstanding experience. Amazing team, unreal weather. Looking forward to continuing to support!”

This week we have been sailing with Muntham House School, a new client but with a staff member who had worked with us in a previous role. They joined on Monday and sailed to Lymington in time for dinner. Next day they had a walk ashore and then headed for Studland on a windless day, with a chance for people to enjoy the view of the Needles and to get out on the bowsprit. There was some fantastic helming from several of the young people. The also did some ocean litter picking, rescuing a floating birthday balloon!

Anchored in Studland they enjoyed the beach, paddling and collecting rocks, and then produced a birthday cake and candles for Cathy’s birthday!

Yesterday they left quite early and had winds around Force 5 and lots of gybes on the way to Cowes where they went ashore for football. Today they went ashore for ice-cream and were planning a sail in the eastern Solent before an anchorage and then a late return to Ocean Village. We’ll include their final voyage track and feedback in the next newsletter, but in the meantime big thanks to returning guest star skipper Holly Vint and the team of Cathy Lacey, Sara Abdur, Unity Bowns, Steve Lacey, Theo Bennison (starting third mate training) and Ed Gordon-Thomson (making great progress with his bosun assessment).

Crew posing in a group on deck Two crew members on the bowsprit

Back to index


* Sea staff vacancies – for new and trainee volunteers as well as well as experienced and qualified people
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:

9-14 June, Southampton – at least one qualified or trainee watchleader or bosun, ideally able to join for the maintenance day on 8th June. This is a voyage with Alfreton Park Special School – young people with physical and learning difficulties sailing with adult carers. It’s always a lovely and very rewarding week with gentle sailing and lots of fun!
17-21 June, Southampton – qualified or trainee watchleader or bosun to be on standby – we’ve had an offer from someone who can’t yet be 100% sure about his availability. Crew is a school from south London (all boys).
7-13 July, Brixham – one more qualified watchleader, ideally able to help with maintenance day 6th July as well. This is a mixed individuals’ voyage.
14-19 July, Brixham – one more qualified or trainee watchleader. 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)
6-10 Sept, Southampton – qualified watchleader and/or experienced bosun, ideally able to join in time for the maintenance day on 5th September. Client tbc.
16-20 Sept, Southampton – qualified watchleader. School group (new client)
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. 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 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!

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

7-13 July, Brixham, 6 nights, £710 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+ – 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

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


* Volunteers’ Week – coming soon, and we need stories from volunteers past and present!
Volunteers Week this year runs from 3rd – 9th June – a great chance to recognise, celebrate and thank all our amazing volunteers as well as inspiring other people to get involved.

There’s a page here on our website where people explain why they volunteer for OYT South and what they get out of the experience; but the page hasn’t been updated for a while. We’d really like to get lots of new contributions to the page before Volunteers’ Week, and then we can feature your stories on social media during the week. It’s for anyone who volunteers for OYT South – whether that means sailing on our voyages, helping in the office, maintaining Prolific, raising funds, or spreading the word to new potential clients. We would like to recognise current volunteers but also those whose efforts in the past made the charity what it is today, even if your volunteering days are long behind you! Please have a look at the page and send your own story to webmaster1@oytsouth.org. Thank you!

Back to index


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)

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

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
Huge thanks this week to lots of people for recent donations! The cheque from the amazing fundraising efforts by King’s Bruton School and Harry Lack has now reached us and is already being put to good use. The Royal Thames Yacht Club has sent very generous donations towards bursaries; Fred Cole has made a fantastic contribution to Prolific’s engineering department; and the recent day sails led to fantastic contributions from Matthew and Rachel Bowns, Janet and John Williams and Pauline Frost.

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
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 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 make sure you are available to help!

Back to index


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

Back to index


Prolific earrings inspired by a crew member
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

Back to index


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!

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