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Changing Lives with Ocean Youth Trust South

February 10, 2017


If there’s one thing all yachting enthusiasts can agree on, it is that all second-hand yachts possess a certain…quality. Each vessel has been on her own unique journey, be it completing epic voyages across vast oceans, battling extreme conditions (intentionally or otherwise) and living to tell the tale, or simply island hopping around the prettiest corners of the globe. In short, if she’s been more than once around the buoy, you can guarantee she’s seen some life.

Sailing is frequently regarded as a life-changing experience for those who get out on the water, and this has never been more apposite than with our latest blog superstars, Ocean Youth Trust South (OYT South).

Ever since becoming aware of the Trust, we have looked on with admiration at the work they do, and we really take our hats off to them. In 2016, we lent a helping hand by managing the sale of JOHN LAING, their 22m Bermudan ketch. Mark Todd, Chief Executive of OYT South, says: “We can’t thank Berthon enough for their assistance in selling our previous vessel. Their professionalism and advice was invaluable to the charity, and their friendly support is much appreciated as we face an exciting future with our new vessel Prolific.


JOHN LAING has been a fundamental member of the OYT South team for many years, and like all second-hand yachts, has been on some exceptional voyages in that time.

OYT South is one of three regional charities born out of the Ocean Youth Club, set up in 1960. Their sole intention is to enable children, many of whom would otherwise have little or no opportunity, to get out on the water and learn to sail. Sailing is about so much more than knots, nav and sails after all, and OYT South have proved this time and time again.

Each year, the charity sails with approximately 450 young people, two thirds of whom are vulnerable or disadvantaged in some way. The challenges these particular children face range from having been bullied to being homeless, from broken homes exposed to drug or alcohol abuse, to being born with significant physical impairments or suffering with behavioural difficulties that have led to exclusion from schools or homes.



Teaching these children skills that will build their confidence as well as help them to discover talents they never even knew they had is an unquantifiable feat, and goes a very long way in helping them prepare for adult life.

The Trust also offers places to young people from more mainstream backgrounds, who wish to learn new skills and push themselves in a situation entirely removed from their everyday lives.

The young people who take part learn essential seafaring skills like basic navigation, the importance of team work and tolerance under pressure, as well as cooking and cleaning – any sailor will tell you, a hearty meal and hot cup of tea go an awfully long way to making a passage more enjoyable!


Prior to every voyage, the sea staff make every crew member a promise: whatever effort and enthusiasm they put into the voyage, they will match and beat. This has been the driving force behind OYT South, and it is no surprise their selfless dedication to thousands of young people over the years has been recognised with a number of awards, including being the first sail training charity to receive The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2011. They were also chosen by Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, to benefit from the Royal Wedding Charitable Gift Fund.


To read more about their endeavours, all information can be found on their website:

The OYT is a charitable trust and is therefore keen to hear from people who wish to make a donation. There is always plenty of demand and it’s a big part of their charitable purpose to keep their voyages open to young people from all backgrounds. Details on donations and how you can donate can be found here:

The list of 2017 berths still available (including age limits, dates, ports and prices) can be found here: and they’ve got some exciting voyages planned including Cuxhaven to Copenhagen in July and Szczecin to Cuxhaven in August.

For further insight into the lasting impact of the Trust as well as their new yacht PROLIFIC, please have a look at the following links: gives an idea of what a voyage is like, and was made by some of their young participants… is evidence of the lasting impact of the work of OYT South, as this young man with first-hand experience explains… talks about their newly purchased yacht, PROLIFIC…










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