New sail training vessel for the OYT

The new Owen Clarke OYT sail training ketch
The new Owen Clarke OYT sail training ketch

John Laing. Existing OYT South training ketch.
John Laing. Existing OYT South training ketch.

Generations of young people have enjoyed adventure under sail with the Ocean Youth Club/Ocean Youth Trust.The boats they have sailed have evolved over half a century. In every era, the OYC and OYT have sought to provide vessels that are strong and seaworthy; capable of being sailed by young people of different ages and abilities; and suited to developing the life skills which are a core part of the OYC / OYT experience. Since 1970, the Club has commissioned a number of purpose-built sail training vessels, incorporating the best of each generation’s experience of sail training and yacht design. OYT South’s current vessel, John Laing, has been in continuous service for twenty years. It is time to think of the next generation. OYT South has had a vessel specially designed to provide an outstanding sail training experience to young people over the next thirty years.

OYT South’s new boat comes from Owen Clarke Design: world leaders in yacht design, having produced record-breaking boats for internationally-renowned sailors such as Ellen MacArthur and Mike Golding. Merfyn Owen sailed with the Ocean Youth Club at the age of sixteen, and went on to skipper for the club – so he has a real understanding of and commitment to sail training with young people. Owen Clarke Design have used all their experience of designing low-maintenance, ultra-strong, safe yet exciting and innovative vessels, and have been working with OYT South to adapt these ideas to crew members as young as twelve. The design they have produced is for a vessel which could set the standards in sail training for years to come.

Length overall: 23.95m
Beam: 5.93m
Draught: 3.0m
Upwind sail area: 290m2
Downwind sail area: 485m2
Displacement:  42.1 tonnes
Engine: 130 HP
Sleeps: 20 people

Key requirements for the new design include:

Low maintenance: John Laing’s maintenance is increasingly a burden on the charity’s time and money. A shorter refit means a longer season and more voyages for young people.

Improved accommodation: meeting the needs of clients, giving the option to screen off a group leaders’ cabin – or to create privacy for crew members if required. Larger navigation area, space for crew members to be around and involved in navigation. Better traffic flow, avoiding the congestion that currently occurs at watch changes on the John Laing. Large, airy and  light saloon with a table which can seat the whole crew for meals, games and training sessions.Improved ergonomics: Everything from boom height to  light switch location designed with young and disadvantaged crew members in mind.

Better sailing performance: especially in light winds – more sailing, less motoring. A sail plan which allows three watches to be actively involved.

Above all else the new boat should be safe, strong and thoroughly reliable.

The design of the vessel is well advanced with a competitive tendering and final costing process now underway. For further information on OYT South and progress on this project and if you feel that you could make a donation to support OYT in their efforts to build this new sail training vessel which promises to enliven the experience for the young and disadvantaged of going to sea. Please visit OYT South



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