OYT South bulletin 5th 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 5th April 2024

by | Apr 5, 2024

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


* Voyage news – the 2024 season gets underway!
The first voyage of our 2024 season was with students from The Petersfield School, who faced a challenging weather forecast and still managed to have a great time! They started with basic boat familiarisation with lines and winches:

First mate teaches safe winch use Watchleader Dave teaches safe winch use

And then skipper Gotch took them to sea:

Staff Skipper Constantinos Jensen at the helm during his first youth voyage in this job

They went to Cowes on the first night, in the dark, and then managed a wet, cold sail in light winds the next day, heading in to the western Solent for lots of tacking and manoeuvres.

Young crew lined up ready to haul on a halyard together, as watchleader Dave looks on

They got involved with navigation:

Two girls with a logbook and tidal stream atlas

People took turns on the helm:

Young crew member at the helm, supervised by a watchleader

And we had a man overboard recovery drill:

Lowering a staff member over the side in full man overboard recovery gear. The orange fender used for these drills is visible as the boat moves down towards it.

They ended the day with another night passage, back into Ocean Village – where sadly they remained for the rest of the voyage, due to strong winds and horizontal rain! However, they accepted this without complaint and enjoyed some activity-packed days on board – making homemade pizza, working through the RYA Start Yachting syllabus, trying some of the experiments in our environmental toolkit, playing lots of games, and celebrating watchleader Sara’s birthday with a party!

A group of young people in the saloon assembling pizza toppings Gotch sits at the table with a group of young people all practising their knots in short lengths of rope Watchleader Tom with two young people on the roof, trying out an environmental toolkit experiment

12 people achieved RYA Start Yachting certificates (two had the qualification already); they sailed 46 miles, and you can see the voyage track here.

Watchleader Tom with two young people on the roof, trying out an environmental toolkit experiment

Comments included:

“This was my first time sailing and it was really fun. This was a really good time. Thank you!!!!!!”

“Cold and wet but it makes it better when you go back in. Very fun.”

“Thank you so much. I loved it so much.”

“Very exciting opportunity, highly recommended.”

“It was very fun, if you get the chance to go, take it.”

And from the teacher who sailed with them: Thank you so much for an amazing week. It has been a pleasure to see the students grow in confidence, work as a team and learn new skills.  Such an incredible environment for young people to grow – particularly with incredible support from Sea Staff.”

Big thanks to sea staff Gotch, Lauren, Vince Brodie, Dave Dent, Katie Hamlet, Sara Abdur and extra special thanks to Tom Knight who stepped in at very short notice when another watchleader had a problem.

Our second voyage of the year was a mixed group – some individual bookings, some young people involved in local young carers’ groups or referred by youth organisations, including a refugee project recommended by Shamila who delivered a fantastic session on diversity and cultural awareness back in February at our volunteers’ training weekend.

They sailed to Cowes on the first night and then next day had a breezy upwind sail into the eastern Solent which some found quite challenging. They cheered up as Prolific turned downwind, ending the day in Lymington where they enjoyed a walk round the town.

Next day they had some amazing sunny sailing:

A line of young people hauling together on a halyard Refit volunteer Juliette at the helm, supervised by watchleader Sara Young crew member sitting in the nav area giving a thumbs-up Three people by the helm - one with binoculars, one steering, one supervising Three happy people in the bowsprit netting

We were very glad to have generous supplies of quality sunscreen on board, donated by our friends at Saltee:

Young crew member applying Saltee sunscreen

One of our volunteers, Willoughby, saw us passing, looking good:

Prolific at sea with blue skies and white clouds (photo: Willoughby Matthews)

They ended the day in Cowes with a visit to the beach and to get ice-cream. Next day it was quite windy and they went out with three reefs in the main and two in the mizzen, but the crew were ready for it now:

Two happy people at the helm

They anchored in Osborne Bay and planned the pilotage back to Ocean Village in the dark:

Young people gathered round a chart, working out distance and course

This exercise took place in wind and rain, and the crew did exceptionally well not just to join in but actually to enjoy it!

The voyage ended with 13 people achieving RYA Start Yachting certificates (two had the qualification already); they sailed 102 miles with a maximum wind of Force 7, and you can see the voyage track here.

Happy crew in the saloon with all their end-voyage certificates

Comments included:

“Favourite part of the voyage: probably the night sail and all the huge waves and stuff.”

“My best part about this trip was meeting new people, hanging around with you guys, and getting to know you guys.”

“The entire week has been absolutely great, meeting new people, having many laughs.”

“My most memorable part of the voyage was probably learning new things and making new friends.”

“I liked steering in the dark!”

“I really enjoyed the voyage it was a great experience I would highly recommend to others.”

Very fun, made lots of new friends and learnt loads of new skills such as different knots and how to steer the boat.”

It was amazing and really fun! The bowsprit was really fun.”

Big thanks to sea staff Gotch, Brigid, Lauren, Diggory, Sara Abdur, Katie Hamlet, Kiera Webster and special congratulations to Caitlin Neall-Johnson who successfully completed her third mate assessment to become the first newly-qualified watchleader of 2024, after being part of the core refit team over the winter! Can anyone else claim to be a grandmother-granddaughter pairing sailing as qualified watchleaders in the same season, or have Lucinda and Caitlin set a new record?

Prolific is at sea once more with a new group – our very special voyage with MDL Award Winners selected by our major sponsors. More news on their voyage in the next issue!

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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:

25-28 May, Southampton – watchleader, trainee watchleader or bosun tbc (we’ve had one possible offer and will know in the next few days if the place is filled or not)
29 May – 2 June, Southampton – qualified watchleader
24-29 June, Southampton – possibly a qualified watchleader and one other person tbc
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
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) – 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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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, 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:

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 the Ellis Campbell Foundation, Bob Trimble and David Wakeford for very generous 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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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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