New staff skipper for Ocean Youth Trust South

Ocean Youth Trust South has appointed Holly Vint as staff skipper for the charity’s sail training vessel Prolific. Holly is taking over from Peta Koczy who, after four years with OYT South, is moving on to a new adventure.

Vint’s first-ever sailing experience was as a teenage crew member with Ocean Youth Trust South in 2012, making her the first person to have progressed from youth crew to staff skipper with the charity.

Following her recommendation on the 2012 voyage to join the volunteer bosun training programme, Vint became a regular volunteer with the charity. She subsequently gained her Yachtmaster Ocean and Cruising Instructor qualifications and completed two years as first mate with OYT North, which was followed by adult adventurous training and science research expeditions. Vint returned to OYT South full-time as first mate for the 2018 season to support the transition to Prolific.

Since 2018, she’s completed two Atlantic crossings, and other long-distance voyages, where she collected data on oceanic toxins, and built on her skippering experience. Last winter, she developed an environmental package for young people sailing with Ocean Youth Trust South, using games and activities to teach about issues from pollution to sustainability.

“When I first joined a sail training voyage as a teenager, I never dreamed that one day I would be returning as staff skipper,” says Vint. “In the last couple of years, I have done lots of sailing with adults and had some great times, but I am so excited to get back to full-time sail training with young people.

“There is so much job satisfaction in knowing that a voyage has made a lasting difference to a young person who might be from a disadvantaged background. I love seeing the positive impact we can have on young crew members during the voyage, and then hearing feedback from parents, carers and schools. And I’m so proud to have gone all the way from novice youth crew to staff skipper – I’d love to be able to inspire other young people to believe that all sorts of exciting opportunities might be open to them if they put enough effort and enthusiasm into following their dreams.”

OYT South Chief Executive, Mark Todd, says: “It’s fantastic that we have homegrown talent like Holly to take over from Peta. OYT South is very lucky to have two such talented and popular individuals as part of the OYT South family, helping the charity to go from strength to strength.”

Ocean Youth Trust South has been unable to sail in 2020 due to Covid-19, making this the first year since 1960 when no young people have been at sea with the Ocean Youth Club or Ocean Youth Trust. The charity plans to return to sailing in 2021.

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