What is Sea Dragon like?
Sea Dragon is a 72ft (22m), 90,000lb displacement, steel-hulled sailing vessel built in the UK in 2000. Originally built for the Global Challenge Race, she is designed to safely handle conditions in the Southern Ocean and set up for amateur crew with limited sailing experience. The British Maritime and Coastal Agency rate Sea Dragon to the highest safety standard of “Category Zero All Oceans”. These qualities make her an exceptional platform for the type of remote sailing expeditions we do.
Below decks there is plenty of space for the whole crew to enjoy a meal round the saloon table together, or relax in comfort with a movie. Air conditioning makes life down below very pleasant in the tropics, while a drying room sorts out any wet clothes. The galley is well equipped to feed a crew of 14. There are two shared heads (lavatories).
What is ‘domestic’ life like on board?
– we are happy to cater to most diets. A freezer and plenty of fresh food storage means we eat very well! Food preparation is a team effort and a lot of fun with the mix of nationalities and backgrounds on board. Helping with bread baking and catching fish are also part of life on the ocean.
Fresh Water – Sea Dragon is equipped with a powerful water maker, ensuring a plentiful supply of fresh water for drinking, showers (hot and cold) and washing.
What sort of power supply there is on board?
We have limited supplies of US plugs, 120VAC power for personal use. There are also 12/24 VDC charging sockets available.
Where do I sleep?
You will have your own dry and comfy bunk down below. ( see yacht plan)
Where can store my belongings?
Each crew member has a box beside their bunk measuring 50cm x 40cm x 26cm. There might be extra space for film and dive gear. Please pack using a small, “squashy” duffle bag.
What about smoking and drinking on board?
There is No Smoking on the boat at any time. We also operate under a “zero tolerance” rule for controlled or illegal drugs, as defined by the United States Coast Guard and British Maritime and Coastal Agency. This means there must be no trace of any with you. The boat also operates as a “dry” – alcohol free – vessel when underway. (In port and some anchorages moderate alcohol may be allowed.)
Can I contact family and friends from the boat?
Yes, you can! Sea Dragon has an Iridium satellite phone for emergency contact with land and other important communications during expeditions. It is available for crew use, but is expensive, so limited to calls and simple emails. There is no internet access onboard Sea Dragon, so no web surfing!
Very short incoming and outgoing emails are free.
Outgoing phone calls and any long emails with/without attachments are charged in US$.
For blogging, you will need to arrange to email a friend/colleague who can upload the blog for you.
You will receive a bill for any satellite phone charges and be expected to pay on your departure.
What should I bring to wear?
You will receive a separate kit list tailored to suit the needs of your particular expedition. All crew will be issued with foul weather gear for the duration of the trip, together with life jackets and harnesses.
What about safety on board?
Crew – Sea Dragon always has at least two fully qualified and professional crew on board – the skipper and 1st mate. The skipper holds the highest British rating of RYA Yachtmaster Ocean/Commercial. The 1st mate is rated RYA Yachtmaster and has a deep knowledge of the boat and support systems. An expedition leader will organise the scientific work on board. All are exceptional individuals specifically chosen for their seamanship, team leadership and expedition skills.
Training – you will receive full training for an ocean passage prior to leaving port, including scenarios such as man overboard drill.
Life rafts – Sea Dragon is equipped with four six-man ocean grade life rafts, fully stocked with survival gear, food, water and EPIRBs.
Personal safety – each crew member is supplied with an ocean grade, fully automatic life jacket and their own survival suit.
Medical – as well as carrying a full ocean emergency response medical kit, Sea Dragon has access to 24hr / 7day a week medical advisors at Medical Support Offshore www.msos.org.uk
Backup systems – Sea Dragon is equipped with backup systems in case of emergency. Safety is our highest priority, so if we encounter an electrical problem mid-ocean, precedence will be given to navigation and communication systems.
- No sight of land for days and days and only seascapes stretching to the horizon.
- Reduced connectivity to the outside world.
- Living in close quarters with your team. Big as she is, Sea Dragon is still a limited space of 72’ (22m) by 20’ (5.5m).
- Eating as a group. Individual snacks are fine, but the team generally eats meals together
- Working at odd hours and disconnecting from outside schedules. You will find that you’re up at all hours, but often sleeping 10+ hours a day. Weekends have no meaning at sea.
- Wearing and using new gear. Ocean sailing will introduce you to a lot of new equipment and terminology. Going on deck at night always means clipping on your harness!
- Being physical. Life on a boat is physical work – often using muscles that you’ve not used much before.
- Living in a hierarchy. The boat is a team based on mutual trust and respect. However, there is a hierarchy – your skipper, expedition leader and project leaders are responsible for making decisions and always make any final calls.
How much sailing experience do I need?
No previous experience is necessary as we provide all the training you will need. A good attitude to learning and following instructions will ensure you get the maximum out of your experience on board Sea Dragon. Our experienced crew is able to sign off sea miles for those working towards qualifications.
How fit do I need to be?
Although you don’t have to be super-fit, it is advisable to at least be mobile and have a reasonable level of physical and mental stamina. This will enable you to get the most out of your time with us.
Will I feel seasick?
You may or may not experience sea sickness, but either way the first few days will most likely be a period of adjustment for you, as you adapt to the motion of the boat and the routine on board. We have a Motion Sickness Plan to help you as you go through this period.
What are the minimum requirements for joining the Sea Dragon team?
- Speak functional English
- Lift 1/3 of your body weight
- Swim 200m
- Work happily as a team
Do I need a medical?
We do not require a medical, but if you have any medical conditions that either limit your activity, or would complicate life on board, you must discuss these with our crew and our medical Advisors at Medical Support Offshore (MSOS http://www.msos.org.uk )
You are responsible for obtaining all required vaccinations and health prevention measures prior to arrival.
What does it mean to be part of the team on Sea Dragon?
Watch system – at sea, the boat is running 24/7 and the crew stands 24-hour watch, normally in three watch teams, with a professional crew member always on watch. On Sea Dragon we usually run a rolling watch system which ensures that everyone gets to enjoy sailing the boat and being off watch at different times of the day and night.
What duties are involved with being on watch?
The team on watch sails the boat and duties might include steering, working the sails, maintaining a look out and monitoring boat systems. Other responsibilities will include important supporting roles like cleaning and cooking meals for everyone.
Part of the fun of an expedition like this, is that you are fully part of the team, all working and learning together, sharing all duties associated with sailing.
What about the scientific work?
This will vary depending on the expedition focus, but you can expect to be helping the scientists with their research. Offshore the action might revolve around nets in the water taking samples and cameras filming. Near shore the routine varies with the addition of diving, shore work and even sub-teams that go on away-missions, sometimes for days.
Can I do my own science project during the expedition?
Most likely “Yes”, but you would need to discuss it with the expedition science leader, in order to fit in with the main scientific focus and also, to gauge if Pangaea can accommodate what you would like to do. Please be prepared to notify Pangaea if you need any additional equipment, so that storage space can be assessed.
What happens to the scientific information gathered on expedition?
This depends on the mission and generally varies on a trip by trip basis. You are welcome to discuss this with the science leader, especially if you have any particular requirements for the data.
Will I be able to dive on expedition?
Not all trips include scuba diving, so we suggest you check the individual trip pages or get in touch with our team.
If diving is possible on my trip, what will I need to bring?
You will need to bring proof of your dive qualification and if possible, your own gear. The boat has 6 sets of Sherwood scuba gear, tanks are provided and there is a compressor on board.
You must have DAN (Divers Alert Network) Insurance. DAN is by far the best dive insurance available – they have the logistical know-how to best assist a dive accident anywhere in the world. http://www.dan.org/insurance
Where do my travel responsibilities begin and end?
You are expected to make your own way to and from the boat. This typically includes you taking care of your flights and transfers. Your accommodation space on board will generally be available to you a full 24 hours before departure and after arrival in port at the end.
It’s important to remember that sailing is subject to changeable sea conditions and the weather, so some leeway should be made in your plans for unpredictable delays – we suggest 2-3 days either side of your arrival and departure – remembering that your team will be depending on you, so give yourself time to allow for any holdups. You might be able to connect with other crew members in your travels to and from the boat.
Disclaimer – Pangaea is not responsible for your flights in the event of a delay to schedule.
What about insurance?
You must organise your own personal travel and medical insurance for the entire duration of the trip. You must ensure that you have sufficient cover for shore based medical treatment, rescue and medical evacuation if required. Divers must carry dive accident insurance from DANhttp://www.dan.org/insurance/.
What about visas?
You must identify and secure all required visas. In addition your passport must be current and have adequate life to extend well beyond your departure date from the expedition.
Will I need any money?
Not while you’re on board as everything is inclusive, apart from your use of the satellite phone, which you will pay for when leaving the boat. You are likely to want a crew meal out at beginning and end of the expedition, and if your expedition allows for shore time on remote islands, you might want some cash for souvenirs
Will I be on camera?
It’s important to understand that there are often film crew and journalists on board Sea Dragon. This means that you might appear in footage. You need to be happy with this and if you’re not, then please don’t hesitate to talk with us. On a more personal note, the crew generally share any photos amongst themselves at the end of the expedition, so you might like to bring a memory stick or spare hard drive.