OYT South bulletin 26th April 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 26th April 2024

by | Apr 26, 2024

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


* Voyage news
The last newsletter was written as we were starting a voyage with students from Testbourne School. They joined on the Wednesday and after introductions and safety briefings, motor-sailed to Cowes, learning to use winches along the way. Dinner was followed by extreme washing up led by watchleaders Emily and Caitlin (described as the reigning champion vs the rising star).

They woke on Saturday to a forecast of fog so had time looking round Cowes while they waited for things to clear, and then had fish finger wraps for lunch. First mate Steve took Prolific off the berth – not easy as there were ferries moving every time we wanted to leave!

Engineer Josh shows a crew member how to tie fenders onto the shrouds where they are stowed

All hands were involved in setting sail – mizzen and main with one reef each, plus staysail. The visibility decreased again and the wind picked up as they tacked towards Lymington. They were buzzed by a 1930s torpedo boat driven by our previous Staff Skipper Diggory!

Two crew members sit on an aft deck box and give a thumbs up to the camera, with Cowes harbour in the background.

They arrived in Lymington and had some shore leave and a walk through the marshes, and showers, before curry for dinner and more extreme washing up.

On Friday they had some more shore leave and then a fire drill before leaving Lymington, with good helming by one of the young people on the way out.

Two crew members steer Prolific, and smile at the camera. A group of young people stand and sit at the bow and smile for the camera.

The main and mizzen were hoisted and they had a man overboard recovery drill with the young people doing a great job of watching for the “casualty” in the water (fender Bob) and then, after engineer Josh had rescued him, learning how we would lift someone out of the water:

A group of young people point out at sea, indicating where the buoy used for man overboard recovery drills is floating. Josh the engineer demonstrates how we would recover a casualty in the water Josh the engineer shows how we would use twin helicopter strops to lift a casualty

They had a lovely downwind sail in the sunshine – broke into watches and everyone got a chance to steer if they hadn’t already, or to go out on the bowsprit:

Two of the crew sit out on the bowsprit and give ‘thumbs up’ to the camera. Out on the bowsprit Two crew members recreate the ‘Titanic’ pose at the bow, with a view of the rest of Prolific behind them, and the main sail far out with preventer rigged.

They anchored off Ryde before dinner, and enjoyed a lovely sunset and dusk time looking across at Fawley and at Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth. There were some games and a movie before bed.

On Saturday they woke to no wind at all and a flat calm so the initial plan to sail round the Nab Tower was discarded and instead they focussed on their RYA Start Yachting qualifications – looking at points of sail, meteorology, and knots. Caitlin led more games – Duck Bang and Zip Zap Boing. Then the young people divided into watches to plan the navigation back to Southampton.

A watch leader pulls a pose for the camera, while a crew member opposite sits on a life raft and laughs. A crew member kneels beside a mizzen winch, holding a reefing line in their hand, and smiles at the camera.

The wind picked up … and then kept increasing! They hoisted the mizzen with two reefs while at anchor, and then the staysail as they got underway. By now the wind was a Force 6! They sailed up the North Channel as each watch took control for a while, and then dropped the staysail in the shelter of some big tankers off Fawley, and motored the rest of the way up Southampton Water. They had dinner and games before bed, and after certificates and debriefs the crew left next morning.

Crew spread along the deck looking down at the pontoon

The voyage ended with everyone achieving RYA Start Yachting certificates; they sailed 65 miles with a maximum wind of Force 6, and you can see the voyage track here.

Comments included:

“My favourite bit was just coming on the ship and just meeting loads of new people and kinda just branching out and talking to people that I wouldn’t at school or anywhere else.”

“I think my favourite bit was when were at anchor and the view, the sunset, it was just magical.”

“I wasn’t expecting this trip to be so fun! I would definitely do it again and don’t regret coming. I loved learning all the things about the sail boat. I loved socialising with everyone and I’m so glad I was able to come.”

“My best bit was probably going on the bowsprit and looking down at the water, ‘cos it’s really beautiful to see like the water splashing around. My most memorable bit was probably sailing down to Ryde ‘cos it was such a lovely sunset!”

“I have had an amazing time! The food was great, the crew was great. I have learnt so much – loved raising the sail, being at anchor was amazing. It was an amazingly planned trip.”

“My favourite bit was probably going out on deck and seeing all the views and the waves and I also really enjoyed hanging out with all the people here, and the crew members, and everyone.”

“The bit that I’ll remember forever is most definitely navigating back to Southampton and seeing that in totally different weather conditions, that’s gonna stick in my mind.”

The teacher who sailed with them added: “My best bit of the voyage was seeing all of the students and how they were getting on, getting stuck into things, enjoying themselves, not grumbling, just doing everything that was asked of them, and just having a really good time. My most lasting memory I think would be tacking through the fog and also the amount of noise and excitement during the washing up games when that was done. I had an incredible time seeing the Testbourne students enjoying their sailing adventure with the Ocean Youth Trust. Everyone has been amazing and we have all learnt so much”.

Big thanks to sea staff Andrew Wilkes, Josh, Steve Lacey, Susanna Paynter, Emily Parker, Caitlin Neall-Johnson and Aoife Harrington.

That was followed by an all-girl group from Harris Merton Academy in south London. They joined in Southampton on Monday amidst Force 8 gales so the first afternoon and evening was spent on introductions and familiarisation in harbour.

Things eased on Tuesday and they were able to get going:

The all-female crew line up along the starboard side of the deck, facing the camera and pulling on the mizzen halyard, while a watch leader faces away from the camera and encourages them. An action shot of the crew lined up and pulling up the main sail.

They were just in time to greet Maiden, the UK entry in the OGR round-the-word yacht race which was coming home to cross the finish line off Cowes with an all-female crew including a skipper who used to sail with Ocean Youth Trust North.

Prolific crew watching Maiden finish the OGR round the world race Maiden, heeling over with mainsail and jib up, races away from the camera, while several motorboats accompany her on the final stretch.

We were able to cheer them on to the finish – and we heard a few days later that they had won the race on handicap! And Tracy Edwards MBE, who skippered the first all-female crew in a round-the-world yacht race on board Maiden in 1989, came over for a word with Prolific’s all-girl crew.

A view of the foredeck of Prolific, with some of the crew watching Maiden and several motorboats pass on the port bow.

After all that excitement, Prolific headed west and took the afternoon tide out of the Needles:

Women at the helm – crew members and watchleaders steering, keeping a lookout, and smiling. A crew member steers Prolific past the Needles. The Needles

They sailed to Studland where they had a beautiful night at anchor. On Wednesday they sailed to Weymouth – a good sail in winds of Force 6, gusting 7, with a man overboard recovery drill on the way. They had time ashore in Weymouth and enjoyed a lovely sunset:

Several crew members stand with their backs to the camera, watching the sun set over Weymouth.

On Thursday they headed back to the Solent with a fire and abandon ship drill on the way. Initially they were motor-sailing in light winds but things filled in as they came through the Needles channel at 9 knots under mainsail and mizzen. Then they were able to hoist the staysail and had a cracking sail, gybing all the way to Netley.

Hoisting a headsail as we sail into the sun Chatting on the deck boxes on a sunny day at sea Foredeck with sunshine, clouds and light reflected on the water.

The voyage ended with everyone achieving RYA Start Yachting certificates; they sailed 155 miles with a maximum wind of Force 7, and you can see the voyage track here.

Comments included:

“My favourite part was steering the ship, and seeing the sunrise and going out on the bowsprit.”

“It was a different experience. Not like anything I have been before. The fajitas I helped make was so good and everyone worked so hard.”

And from the teacher who sailed with them: It sounds really cliche, but I think it’s why we teach and why we volunteer is seeing so many young people coming onto the boat, never having sailed, learning everything the first time, and just smashing it … I love as a teacher when the students are just better than you at things, and I have to say that you were all better than me! But I’m so glad for it, like you guys could steer, navigate, do the ropes, you are just like “yeah, no sweat, no problem” and I just really admired it, you guys worked really really hard, and it just makes us happy and proud. And I know that’s just like “ugh, really miss? c’mon” but that is why we teach and it’s really lovely to see something … you know, I’m a classroom teacher, it’s cool to see you guys out and about, and up and active, doing things. And it’s a really unique experience for me, and I loved being here and part of it with you guys, and it’ll be fun seeing year 11s in the hall and being like “hey miss we were on a boat together for a week” – that’s a forever bond, guys.”

The two teachers said at the end: “What a week! We had an amazing experience with our students. We laughed had fun and worked hard! The staff made our experience super memorable, so thank you!” 

You can see more feedback here.

Big thanks to sea staff Mark Todd, Josh, Cathy Lacey, Cathy Ayres, Tyler Grant and special congratulations to Rob Lawrence who completed his 2M assessment and Richard White who just needs an RYA qualification to finish off his 3M assessment.

After that Prolific had a weekend at MDL’s South Coast and Green Tech Boat Show in Ocean Village. With help from our major sponsors, MDL Marinas, we provided bacon butties to all the stall holders and members of the public who walked by. We collected over £600 in donations over the weekend, thanks to many generous bacon-butty-eaters!

We showed probably hundreds of people around the boat, and met lots of old and new friends. On Saturday we saw Maiden make her final return to Ocean Village, and we met some of the amazing women who raced around the world – and won!

Maiden's crew at the South Coast Boat Show

A huge thank you to ePropulsion who have very kindly donated a Spirit 1 Plus Electric Outboard to us. We are so excited! Not only will this make our operations more environmentally friendly but it’s great to be able to teach the young people who sail with us about alternative and more eco ways of generating power.

Lauren receiving our new outboard from ePropulsion Details for our new outboard!

George Heming, grandson of Marion who was a stalwart of our support group on the Isle of Wight for so many years, did some drone images of Prolific at the show:

The team on Prolific's foredeck at the show, seen from above

(Click to play video below)

A huge thank you to MDL, and to all the people who came to help: Mark, Lauren, Josh, Lynne, Susanna, Glyn Collins, Andy Gissing, Richard White, Tyler Grant, Keira Webster, Rob Jelley, William Robinson, Sara Abdur, Unity Bowns, Willoughby Matthews, Jonathan Pinnock, Vince Brodie, David Marshall and Ollie Bowden.

After that we had a maintenance day – big thanks to Constantinos, Lauren, Josh, Rob Jelley, Ben Whinnett, Rachel Hill, Katie Hamlet, Sandy Garrity, Willoughby Matthews, Vince Brodie and Linnea Johanson for lots of hard work.

This week we have been sailing with a crew from Grieg City Academy in Haringey – apparently a lovely and very keen group! They sailed to Cowes on Monday and then on Tuesday took the tide out of the Solent in light winds before the breeze filled in and took them to Weymouth, with a man overboard recovery drill under sail on the way. They enjoyed shore leave and time on the beach, and then had a 6am start next day. The wind grew as they sailed in to the Solent via the north channel until the gusts were much stronger than forecast, so a decision was taken to drop the sails and get into Cowes. This morning they are working hard on their RYA qualifications with sessions on rowing, knots and points of sail. The plan is to sail this afternoon, anchor for some passage planning and then have a night sail back to Southampton. Big thanks to sea staff Constantinos, Lauren, Vince Brodie, Glyn Collins, Katie Hamlet, Willoughby Matthews and Sandy Garrity.

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* Sea staff vacancies
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:

6-10 May, Southampton – qualified or trainee watchleader or bosun, ideally able to stay for the maintenance day on 11th May.
9-14 June, Southampton – qualified or trainee watchleader or bosun, ideally able to join for the maintenance day on 8th June.
17-21 June, Southampton – qualified or trainee watchleader or bosun
7-13 July, Brixham – one more qualified watchleader, ideally able to help with maintenance day 6th July as well.
20-26 July, Brixham – possibly one more person tbc

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). But if any sea staff would like voyages in the autumn, do email webmaster1@oytsouth.org and we’ll keep a priority list of people who can be offered any unfilled gaps.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feedback from last year included:

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

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

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

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

RYA sailing qualifications and DofE Gold Residential voyages available.

More information here on sailing with us.

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

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

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2024 voyages available for adults
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) – provisionally fully-booked but we can take names for a reserve list.
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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Maintenance days – dates for your diary
If you are in any danger of feeling nostalgic for the refit, now 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:

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

£40 in either gold or silver – click the pictures to see how to buy them.

Gold earrings Silver earrings

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Raise funds for OYT South if you’re shopping online
we’ve made over £2,000 through Easyfundraising!
“What a fool I was!” says Mark Todd.

“For ages I’ve seen in the bulletin that Easyfundraising is a good way to raise money for charity, but I never got round to doing anything about it, and when Caz told me how easy it was, I didn’t listen.

I thought it might be a hassle, or that I’d have to remember to do something when I bought stuff online, or that it probably wasn’t really worthwhile.

This week I finally got round to it and it turns out it’s a REALLY EASY way to raise money for the charity I care about … and I definitely should have done it sooner.

It takes a minute or two to sign up; you can do it on a desktop, tablet and/or phone, and you can install a widget that flags up when a donation is available. Once that’s done, imagine you’re looking to buy – say – a rainbow unicorn: just put “rainbow unicorn” in your usual search box, and the list of results shows you which sites come with donations, and how much. It’s up to you what to pick and whether to accept the donation from the site, but a huge choice of sites will offer a donation – and it doesn’t cost you a penny.

I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner … but if there’s anyone else who has been like me and just not got round to it, PLEASE click the link now and sign up!”

We have already raised over £2,000 through Easyfundraising – huge thanks to everyone who has used it!

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

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

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

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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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