Virtual Voyage

A hugely successful fundraising event completed in March 2021, when the start of the season was cancelled due to Covid

ARCHIVE PAGE – Prolific’s Big Virtual Voyage

A hugely successful fundraising event completed between 22nd – 28th March 2021, when the start of the season was cancelled due to Covid

Miles completed: 2,431

Funds donated so far: £5,788donate here

Monday 22nd March – Southampton to Harlingen
Tuesday 23rd March – Harlingen to Kiel via Cuxhaven and the Kiel Canal
Wednesday 24th March – Kiel to Hel, via Gedser and Bornholm
Thursday 25th March – Hel to Visby
Friday 26th March – Visby to Nagu
Saturday 27th March – Nagu to Parnu, via Tallinn
Sunday 28th March – Parnu to Karlskroan via Riga and Klaipeda

How it works
The Pledges
Other events during the week
Why sponsor us


Day 1: Monday 22nd March: Southampton to Harlingen

By the end of the day, 28 people had logged an amazing 359.2 miles – enough to take Prolific all the way from Southampton to Harlingen:

A few additional people also completed miles on Monday but didn’t log them until after we had calculated the day’s journey – those miles are included in the total as we go on!

James Maltby completed Monday’s five miles before 0720 – was he the first to set off?

Staff engineer Josh did his first eleven miles cycling – as he says, enough to get Prolific from Southampton to Cowes:


And Charles Kingston:

Toni Koczy says: “Ran 10 miles around Highland hills for Prolific’s Big Virtual Voyage…my longest ever run”.

Willoughby Matthews walked for 14.1 miles on the Isle of Wight:

Here’s Oysterband’s John Jones setting off for Monday’s walk – aiming to complete 20 of his pledged 50 miles today, he was having such a good time that he kept going for 27.2 miles!

Here’s John and the rest of Oysterband with their version of a song traditionally sung as a vessel leaves port for the start of a voyage:

Day 2: Tuesday 23rd March: Harlingen to Kiel via Cuxhaven and the Kiel Canal

Thirty eight people have now logged a total of 627.7 miles in two days, taking us from Southampton to Harlingen and on to Kiel! From Harlingen we cruised on past the low lying chain of the Frisian Islands, stopped off for an explore of Cuxhaven at lunch, then continued on through the 61 miles of the canal which links the North Sea to the Baltic.⠀

But we started the day in Harlingen. Last time we were in this area was June 2017, on an adult voyage. They had some good sailing on the way across:

Prolific was moored in Den Helder and the team took the ferry to the island of Texel to walk, cycle and explore:

Unfortunately it turned out that a team of ace navigators at sea doesn’t necessarily translate into the same skills ashore. They got lost and nearly missed the last bus and ferry. They only made it back by a whisker, to enjoy dinner on board Prolific!

On the Virtual Voyage, though, we are imagining firm favourites Fish Finger Wraps – as many as you can manage – and Creme Caramel for dessert, sans spoon (if you know, you know).

Inevitably this would be followed by Extreme Washing Up:

The Virtual Voyage day ended with a passage through the Kiel Canal. Here’s a reminder from 2017 of how Prolific cruises through the canal.

This was Anne Dunn starting her 14.6 mile contribution for the day:

Meanwhile, here is Tuesday’s track from Oysterband, who are supporting our virtual voyage and whose singer John Jones posted the greatest mileage on Monday from anyone who wasn’t cycling (he walked 27.2 miles), is an Oysterband original song, Over The Water: “I’ll take you with me over the water, over the water when I go, I’ll take you with me over the water, over the water where the wild winds blow”:

Day 3: Wednesday 24th March: Kiel to Hel, via Gedser and Bornholm

Forty people have now walked, run, rowed, cycled and stepped all the way from Southampton to … Hel!

We started with a sunny morning in Kiel and this was the day’s track from Oysterband who are supporting our virtual voyage. There are diamonds on the water, music in the air:

Here’s Martin Bayfield contributing today’s miles on his bike:

And our Staff cadet Georgia is actually at sea this week, delivering a yacht to Scotland, but still getting a few of her miles done:

By the end of the day we were in Hel, in Poland – an amazingly attractive place. We have wanted to go back since we visited in 2009, when we were on the way to a Tall Ships festival in Gdynia and our Polish crew member Magda recommended it as a place to stop. We found an attractive town full of fish restaurants on the south side of the peninsula and then went for an evening stroll through aromatic pine forests, coming out on the north side of the peninsula to find a glorious empty beach of fine silver sand, and the moon rising over the sea.

On the Virtual Voyage, however, we spent the evening enjoying one of skipper Mark’s famous bedtime stories!

Day 4: Thursday 25th March: Hel to Visby, Gotland (Sweden)

Forty people have now walked, run, rowed, cycled and stepped all the way from Southampton to … Visby, on the Swedish island of Gotland!

The virtual Prolific enjoyed a cracking downwind sail straight through the heart of the Baltic Sea yesterday, departing Hel bright and early to fly the mizzen staysail and cruising chute through the daylight hours. We even had dolphins come to cheer us on, only leaving our bow wave just as we hoisted the yellow Q flag once more and berthed alongside in Visby, on the Swedish island of Gotland.

The day’s track from Oysterband had an appropriate title: “The Boy’s Still Running.” And the girls. And the dogs. And walking. And cycling. And stepping. And rowing. And cross-training….):

In the evening several people joined us for Zoom cookalong, trying out a new recipe for future voyages: Saag Aloo Shepherds Pie. It received a definitive “more, please” from us! ⠀

Day 5: Friday 26th March: Visby to Nagu

The virtual Prolific started the day back in Sweden – where the real Prolific was built! We went back there in Prolific’s first summer with OYT South, in 2017. As you can see, it’s beautiful:


We sailed up to Stockholm and moored in the heart of the city, with wonderful sunsets.

This virtual voyage has had a lot of support from Oysterband and their fans, and a fomer member of the band, Ray Cooper, lives in Sweden and came to give us a concert on Prolific’s deck.

Today’s song of the day from the band shows the parallel lives of sailors and touring musicians … both often ending up in town for one night only before heading off for their next port of call!


Day 6: Saturday 27th March:
Nagu to Parnu via Tallinn

We start the day in Nagu, a beautiful island in Finland which we have visited several times before. Here’s Prolific in Nagu in 2017:

Nagu invites interesting visiting vessels to decorate a board and leave it as a permanent record – and we were asked for one! Crew member Henry did the artwork:

And the crew had great times on the beach:

We know there were plenty of people planning a walk this weekend to add some miles to our virtual voyage, so today’s song of the day from Oysterband is called Walking Down the Road With You:

On leaving Nagu, the rest of the day was all about Estonia. This reminds us of the Estonian connection in Prolific’s history: in 1948 the original Prolific was sold to Estonian refugees not wanting to be repatriated to Russia in the aftermath of the war. After many struggles, they sailed her to the United States. In 2017 we were in Turku in Finland and a local resident, Hans Andersson, recognised the name Prolific and came to say hello – and it turned out his grandfather had skippered that voyage to the US and his family had a painting of the boat:

The Virtual Voyage had lunch in Tallin and then sailed on to Parnu, a fantastic beach resort which we last visited in 2013 during a cruise in company.

Day 7: Sunday 28th March: Parnu to Karlskrona

We had a lot of miles in hand today because of people submitting miles completed but not declared during the week!

So the Virtual Voyage went from Parnu in Estonia, across the bay to Riga in Latvia, which we visited for a Tall Ships festival in 2013, then around the corner to Klaipeda in Lithuania, where we last went in 2017. That brings us to an impressive 10 countries visited over the course of the voyage including sailing out of the Solent, through the English Channel, over the North Sea, down the Kiel Canal, and all over the Baltic! ?But even once we made it to Klaipeda we still had 200+ miles in the bag, so we began the journey west back towards home… with Karlskrona (in Sweden where the original Prolific was built) providing the perfect stopover for our crew to say their goodbyes and fly home.?

Today’s song of the day from Oysterband is appropriate for the last day of the Virtual Voyage:


Usually at the end of March we’d be welcoming young people on board Prolific for our first sail training voyage of the season. This year our trips are likely to be delayed further by the pandemic, but we’re still as keen as ever to get back to working as a team and raise some funds to further support our charitable work.

Given that we’re not able to get out on the water just yet, we are setting our young crew, volunteers, and supporters a challenge: to get Prolific ‘sailing’ again.

Over the course of a week we’re going to virtually recreate a typical trip, and will travel as many miles as we can, by any method. Of course we’d all ordinarily choose to sail, but for now we’ll be cycling, running, walking, swimming, cartwheeling, skateboarding… and with each mile travelled, we’ll get Prolific closer to the next port. Day by day we’ll add up everyone’s combined mileage and see how far we’ve got – maybe we’ll be on the way to Portugal, or Norway, or Sweden, or Estonia?!

If this sounds like your kind of challenge and you’re keen to get involved, send us an email with your pledge to  and please remember that you can add as much or as little to the mileage as you like – every little bit will help! Don’t be intimidated by some of the huge distances already pledged, if you can “only” squeeze in 2 miles – that’s equally great. We just want as many people to get involved as possible. You don’t even have to pledge your miles in advance if you’re not sure what you can do next week – just let us know about any miles you find you can contribute during the event!


Our Virtual Voyage – like all our other voyages – is about far more than just the sailing, and there will be other fun activities during the week which you can join even if you’re not contributing any miles.

On Monday 22nd at 8pm it’s a film night, with us all getting the popcorn ready then pressing play at the same time! We’ll be able to chat about it on our Facebook page, as though we’re sitting in the saloon together with the projector on. The chosen film is …. Wonder Woman (the 2017 film, available on Amazon).

On Wednesday 24th at 9pm Mark will be reading a bedtime story aired on Facebook, so be sure to share that with your little ones (or your slightly older ones too)

On Thursday 25th at 6.30pm, we’re going to do a live cookalong on zoom, making chef Anna Jones’ Saag Aloo Shepherd’s Pie from her book “One”. So please do get hold of the ingredients in advance and join us then from your own kitchens, ready for a catch up with each other and to decide if we put this dish on our voyage menu for the rest of the season or not! Adapting the recipe to suit what’s already in your cupboard is of course allowed. Alternatively make the recipe in your own time and share a photo of the dish with us to admire.


We currently have 1,462 miles pledged by 36 people! They are:

Charles Kingston, 50 miles
Halima Mehmood, 62 miles
James Maltby, 70 miles
Brigid Stoney, 26 miles
Sara Abdur, 50 miles
Georgia Watson, 40 miles
Ben Hawkins, 40 miles
Hilary Croft, 10 miles
John Hicks, 70 miles
Glyn Collins, 70 miles
Penny Scott Bayfield, 30 miles
Lauren Mackenzie, 125 miles
Fred Cole, 28 miles
Tansy Roberts, 20 miles
Andy Gissing, 26 miles
John Jones, 50 miles
Caz White, 30 miles
Millie Doodson, 20 miles
Anne Dunne, 40 miles
Niamh Lamin, 10 miles
Joshua Caudery, 100 miles
Holly Vint, 50 miles
Callum Doyle, 50 miles
Andy Viney, 30 miles
Rosalie Sanders, 50 miles
Mark Boggis, mystery miles
Kieran O’Malley, 40 miles
Willoughby Matthews, 70 miles
Toni Koczy, 12 miles
Abi Davies, 7 miles
Jaqueline Taylor, 7 miles
Ben and Helena Martin, 50 miles
Jon Seddon, 51 miles
Phil Loutsis, 52 miles
Jez Snead, 26 miles
Barry Walker
Andy Kitching
Martin Bayfield


Ocean Youth Trust South is a registered charity (no. 1079959) which grew out of the Ocean Youth Club, founded in 1960. We are the first sail training charity to have been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – equivalent to an MBE. 450 young people sail with us each year as active crew members in a purpose-built sail training vessel, Prolific.

See here for more information on our charitable work.

We take groups of disadvantaged and vulnerable young people to sea every year, build their confidence, widen their horizons and change their lives – for good. Voyages are designed to develop confidence, team-work, communication, the ability to cope with unfamiliar situations and more – all skills needed by families, schools, employers and the wider community.

We do this by giving the young people responsibility for the boat, the voyage and themselves. Steering a 32 metre boat, hoisting her sails, keeping watch, navigating – as well as cooking for the whole crew and cleaning the vessel – are new experiences that build skills and confidence. We don’t just tell the young people what to do; we involve them in decisions and make them a part of the team.

The pandemic meant that we weren’t able to sail at all in 2020, which had a huge impact on our income. Your support will help to ensure that once it’s safe to do so, we’re able to keep delivering such life-changing voyages.

Donate here.

Donate Online

Click on the button below to donate online using PayPal’s secure service. You can either use your own PayPal account to donate, or you can use a credit card.

Donate Online

Using PayPal’s Secure Service

Donate by Post

Please send a cheque made payable to “Ocean Youth Trust South” to Ocean Youth Trust South, 8 North Meadow, Weevil Lane, Gosport, Hampshire PO12 1BP.

Donate by Post

8 North Meadow, Weevil Lane, Gosport, Hampshire PO12 1BP

How to sail with us

Ocean Youth Trust South is an adventure sail training charity which takes young people aged 11-25 to sea in our 30-metre vessel Prolific.

Individual Voyages

Voyages for people aged 11-25

 Group Voyages

Introduction for adult leaders

Adult Voyages

Voyages for people aged over 18