Volunteer and relief sea staff profiles
Sometimes known as “Becks” for his ace footballing skills, Graeme seldom goes sailing without his Garfield pillow.
Andy was sailing as a young crew member in the 1990s and has been involved ever since, including several years as a Trustee of OYT South. An engineer, he is passionate about street-furniture and often entertains his watch with his knowledge of street lighting. He can also snap things out of the air like a giraffe. He loves doing chart corrections.
Nic is a professional boat surveyor. He does a great David Bowie on guitar, and is very laid back. He thinks that the key to a good voyage is aftenoon tea with cake – preferably Jamaica ginger cake.
Steve is qualified as both a teacher and a youth worker specialising in outdoor education. He has extensive yacht racing experience, frequently as a race navigator. He retired as a Senior Youth Worker with Dorset County Council in June 2015. He became involved with OYT South by bringing a group of young people to sail in 2002, quickly qualified as a second mate and was upgraded to first mate in 2017. He is OYT South’s Safeguarding Officer.
Cathy was an Engineer Officer in the Royal Navy and also a qualified part-time youth worker.
Glyn has been involved with the Ocean Youth Trust for many years and is one of our most regular second mates.
Miranda did several voyages in John Laing as a crew member and also helped with maintenance and other jobs on board in order to earn her bosun’s recommendation. After a number of voyages as relief bosun, she passed her third mate’s assessment in 2010 and was later upgraded to second mate, before becoming a first mate in 2022.
Andrew sailed as a crew member aged 14 in 1997 with a young skipper called Dave Carnson…Ten years went by and Andrew became a watch leader with OYT North West before returning to OYT South in 2007 on a voyage skippered by….Dave Carnson.
Jon got involved with us at the 2007-8 winter refit and impressed everyone by working very hard while always looking as though he was enjoying it. He has previously spent a season as a flotilla engineer in the Mediterranean and is an enthusiastic second mate.
Lucinda first sailed with OYT South in 2004 when she organised a voyage for a group from her local youth club. Then she realised she could sail more often by becoming a watchleader! She became a second mate in 2015. Lucinda is the author of the excellent book “How to Talk to Teenagers” and more.
Ben “Sparky” Whinnett
Ben completed a Yachtmaster course in 2008 and is busy extending his sailing experience. He joined OYT South’s full-time core refit team for winter 2008-9, having completed a mate’s assessment at the end of the 2008 season, and was upgraded to second mate early in 2009 and to first mate at the end of that season. He has also worked for the charity, running a refit and helping with the New Boat Project before we bought Prolific.
Andrew spent many years in the telecoms industry and then ran a small business in Lymington; but now he sails as much as possible. He is the Editor of the Arctic and Northern Waters Cruising Guide published by the Royal Cruising Club Pilotage Foundation. Although he has sailed south to Cape Horn and north to Baffin Island, he says some of his most interesting sailing has been with OYT South in the English Channel. He joined the sea staff in 2009.
Frederik got involved with OYT South after meeting one of our mates at a music festival. He did an adult voyage from Germany to Poland in 2009, and came back as a volunteer in 2010.
Rooby joined the sea staff in 2010 and was quickly upgraded to second mate. She became a first mate in 2015.
Lee came to us after joining one of our RYA Instructors’ day sails, and qualified as a mate in early 2011. By 2012 he was a first mate, and in 2021 he became a relief skipper. He also sits on OYT South’s Board of Trustees.
Adam is from an OYT South family – his dad was once Chairman of the Trust. He started sailing with us in 2011 and quickly qualified as a second mate before being upgraded to first mate in 2019. His career lies in personal development, coaching & leadership – he is passionate about helping people realise their potential & have a great time doing it.
Patrick was one of our full-time refit volunteers over the winter of 2011-12. He then sailed as bosun and trainee mate before completing a watchleader assessment in summer 2012. He is now a junior doctor.
Andy is a former OYC staff skipper (for Grania and Falmouth Packet) who met his wife, Sally, when she sailed as his bosun! They both still sail with OYT and now have two daughters who also volunteer with us, plus a son (a doctor) who has previously sailed in John Laing. Andy is a Hydrographic Surveyor working in the Oil & Gas Industry.
Hannah is a primary school teacher (mainly to have the long holidays to go sailing!). She has done a lot of sail training in various vessels – long adventure voyages, trips with crews with disabilities and much more. She really enjoys the winter refits and is a keen watchleader.
In 1985 Sally sailed in the Round Britain and Ireland Yacht race with another keen OYC girl, Chris Bryan, to raise funds for the Ocean Youth Club (now OYT). They beat the Royal Marines who retired from the race because of heavy weather! Now a Paediatric Physiotherapist, she has a husband and two daughters who all sail with OYT South – it has been suggested that women make better sailors but maybe this is because Andy is outnumbered in the family…
Lauren was a dinghy instructor and came to OYT South to do her DofE Gold residential. She was invited to return as a volunteer and sailed as a bosun on a number of voyages before qualifying as a third mate on the first opportunity after her 18th birthday, and being upgraded to second mate later that season. Meanwhile she was completing a maths degree. At the end of 2022 she was further upgraded to First Mate, at the age of 22 – and might have got there even sooner if we hadn’t lost a season and a half to Covid!
Clara first sailed with us in 2014 and became a bosun in 2015. In 2022 she passed a third mate’s assessment.
Lucy runs the Association of Sail Training Organisations and enjoys coming on the occasional voyage with OYT South.
Tom first sailed with us with his youth club in 2016 and quickly became a keen volunteer, moving up through the ranks to become a second mate in 2019.
Will is from an OYT South family and followed in the footsteps of his older sister to sail several times as a young crew member before joining the volunteer sea staff. He became a second mate in 2018 and talked about his time with OYT South in a successful interview to join the Royal Navy. We hope he will manage to sail with us when on leave!
Charles first sailed as a young crew member in 2015 and became part of the core volunteer team for the 2017-18 winter refit. He has been a second mate since 2018.
Sumaiya first sailed with a school group in 2019 and quickly earned a recommendation to join our volunteer sea staff.
Danny first sailed on a voyage with Outdoor Lads in 2018 before joining our full-time vessel refit team for four months in winter 2018-19 and going on to become a volunteer watchleader.
Vince is a hugely experienced skipper and youthworker who sails on a number of our voyages and takes a particular interest in training new skippers.
Brigid has been a first mate since 2012. She works as a speech and language therapist but has also previously worked for OYT Scotland.
Martyn is a Trustee and Treasurer of OYT South. He came on a mates’ training weekend in 2012 and quickly made progress, passing a first mate assessment in 2015.
Andy started as a volunteer but eventually became OYT South’s Staff Skipper 2013-17, and was the skipper overseeing the transition from John Laing to Prolific. He still returns as an occasional relief skipper.
Becky is a teacher who first came on a voyage with her school group. She completed her third mate’s assessment in 2021 while enjoying her honeymoon on board Prolific!
Cathy made an instant impact on a training voyage for prospective volunteers in 2016 and has been one of our most regular watchleaders ever since, becoming a second mate at the end of 2018.
Sara first sailed with a school group in 2019 and quickly earned a recommendation to join our volunteer sea staff. She was signed off as a bosun in 2021, and upgraded to third mate in 2022. She was also awarded the Gipsy Moth trophy as our Young Volunteer of the Year 2022.
Chloe has family connections with OYT South and sailed several times as a young crew member before volunteering as a bosun. She qualified as a third mate in 2021.
Rosalie sailed as a young crew member before being recommended to join our volunteer sea staff. She qualfied as a second mate in 2018.
David did a mates’ training weekend in 2015 and sailed regularly as a third mate before being upgraded to second mate in 2021.
Jess first sailed as a young crew member in 2017 before earning her sea staff recommendation the following year. She was signed off as a third mate in 2021 and upgraded to second mate in 2022.
First mate / trainee skipper
Ollie is an experienced professional skipper who has volunteered with OYT South as a first mate and has now completed the first stage of a two-part skipper assessment.
Andy is an experienced sailing instructor who was signed off as a third mate on his first voyage with us, in 2015. He became a second mate in 2018 and a first mate in 2019.
Australian Di is a marine surveyor who got involved through surveying John Laing. She still does survey work for Prolific, and enjoys sailing with us when she can. She has an inexhaustible supply of jokes, some of which are very funny.
Hal was marked out as a potential future volunteer when he first sailed with us at the age of 15. He qualified as a bosun in 2019 and became a watchleader at the end of summer 2022.
Annant started sailing with OYT South in 2005 having had previous experience with other forms of sail training. He was upgraded to second mate in 2022.
Val is a longstanding volunteer who has also arranged groups of young people to sail with us. She returned to sailing with us in 2021 after a period of living abroad.
Muneerah first sailed with us in 2018 and began sailing as a volunteer the following year.
Willoughby first sailed as a crew member in John Laing in 2015 and joined the sea staff in 2017, becoming a third mate on board Prolific. His hobbies include politics, boats and travelling. By day, Willoughby volunteers for his local lifeboat station. He was upgraded to second mate in 2022.
Martin came across OYT South on a day sail for RYA instructors in 2015. He returned as a volunteer in 2018 and quickly qualified as a watchleader. He was upgraded to second mate in 2022.
Sandy is a retired Safety Engineer. He enjoys sailing anything bigger than a dinghy and is now attempting to learn celestial navigation . He joined the sea staff in 2021.
James was our Staff Skipper 2009-2012. He then led a sailing expedition to Antarctica and later began working as a paramedic. He still sails with us as an occasional relief skipper.
Jack was born unable to see out of his left eye and first sailed with OYT South in 2014 at the age of 17 with a group organised by MACS, the charity for children born without eyes or with underdeveloped eyes. He was invited back for volunteer training and became a second mate in 2015.
Jack earned his sea staff recommendation in 2019 and has since been back for further training.
Saul met an OYT South volunteer while training for the Clipper Race and was inspired to get involved too. He qualified as a bosun in 2021 and became a third mate in 2022.
Zeenat did quite a number of voyages with the MACS group of young people with visual impairments, sailing as a carer for her sister. In 2022 she started sailing with other youth groups and quickly showed all her experience from previous voyages in passing a watchleader assessment.
Sam sailed as a crew member in 2018 and 2019 and was recomended to start volunteer training. He was signed off as a third mate in 2022.
An experienced sailor, Vernon sailed with us for the first time in 2021 and was immediately signed off as a bosun, upgraded to third mate in 2022.
Julian did an adult voyage in 2019 and immediately earned an invitation to join the volunteer team. He was signed off as a third mate in 2021.
Harry first sailed with his school in 2018 when he was aged 13, and immediately impressed with his commitment and enthusiasm. He started volunteer training as soon as he was old enough and was signed off as a bosun early in 2022, at the age of 17.
Michelle van den Bergh
Michelle joined us as a volunteer in 2021 and completed her third mate’s assessment early in 2022 before being upgraded to second mate later the same year.
Iori was part of the full-time refit team over the winter of 2021-2, and passed a bosun assessment early in the 2022 season.
Anna is a teacher who joined us as a volunteer in 2021 and completed her third mate’s assessment in 2022.
Unity did a voyage in summer 2021 and quickly showed her potential as a future member of sea staff. She was signed off as a third mate in August 2022..
Annette is following in the footsteps of both her children, who sailed with OYT South and went on to train as volunteers! Annette also works in OYT South’s office and enjoys sailing on occasional voyages so she can see at first-hand what is achieved as a result of all the hard work the team puts in to admin and finance.
Ciaran sailed with us as an MDL Award winner in 2017 at the age of 13. It was immediately clear that he would be a great volunteer when he was old enough, and he was signed off as a watchleader in 2022.
Robert is a highly experienced skipper in smaller boats and came to us on a volunteers’ training weekend in 2022. He was signed off as a watchleader that summer on his first youth voyage, with a recommendation that he should go further.
Phil did a mates’ training voyage in 2021 and completed his third mate’s assessment after just two voyages in 2022.
Barry is an airline pilot who had given the charity extensive help with vessel maintenance before qualifying as a third mate in 2022 and moving straight on to start his second mate assessment.
Nige came on a mates’ training weekend in 2021 and was invited back as a volunteer. He was signed off as a third mate towards the end of 2022.
Millie first earned a sea staff recommendation when sailing on a youth voyage in 2018 but wasn’t able to come back to us until 2022, when her recommendation was confirmed on a summer voyage, followed by a completed bosun assessment in October.
When Joe first qualified as a watchleader, he was writing a DPhil thesis in Comparative Macro-Evolution of Retroviruses, which he was completing on an exclusive diet of noodles. He said he sailed with us to get more sleep and avoid both the thesis and the noodles.
Having done many years of sailing 30-footers around the south and east coast with family, he moved on to OYT South firstly as crew, qualifying as watchleader in 2006, stepping up to second mate in 2007 and first mate in 2009 at the age of only 21. He has been a Trustee of the charity since October 2008. Ben now works in renewable fuels for Phillips66 and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers.
Emma sailed with us as a crew member for several years. She graduated from Cambridge University in 2009, and completed her mate’s assessment that summer – sailing from Russia to Finland, a more glamorous location than most people get for their assessments! She helped a lot with the refit that winter, and was upgraded to second mate in 2010.
Craig is a former Sea Cadets skipper who now works for the RYA as Chief Instructor sail Cruising. He sails with OYT South as an occasional relief skipper.
Andy skippered the Army charter of John Laing which sailed to Antarctica in 2001-2. He became involved with OYT South after that and settled in happily to sailing with rather different types of crew!
Kirsty was heavily involved with the OYC in the 1990s and did a leg of the World Voyage, after which she needed a long rest – returning to us in 2009 and almost immediately qualifying as a second mate.
Emily is a keen dinghy sailor who was converted to yachting in 2002 after doing the Round the Island Race on board John Laing. She came back to us and passed her 3rd mates assessment in 2011, and was upgraded to second mate in 2013. Emily is now a teacher.
Mike is a merchant navy officer who has been a volunteer watchleader since 2012.
Jake has been sailing with OYT South since 2014. He was invited back as trainee bosun and has quickly climbed the ladder from bosun to third mate and then second mate.
Clare (aka Clareski) has been a volunteer with the Ocean Youth Trust since 2001 and will sail on any boat that will have her! In her spare time she plays with nuclear waste and organises small yacht sailing for “the Captain’s Daughters”. She became a first mate in 2011.