Sea Dragon Heavy Maintenance
Oct 06 2011
Like commercial airplanes, ships and big trucks, Sea Dragon is a complex machine that deserves alot of careful attention. Operating in tough, remote and unforgiving environments she needs go for months on end, keeping her crew safe and productive. Part of making this possible, is her exceptional design and on board crew. This rugged, capable boat has delivered flawlessly for over 35,000 miles in three oceans in just the last 18 months alone. Her crew, led by Dale, Clive and Emily have been a big part of making this work. We follow a simple motto 24/7 in any ocean: Protect the Boat, Care for the Crew, and Be Productive.
An important part of this is the periodic “heavy” maintenance and refit work we do in select ports. The first, of course was the 8 months we spent back in the UK in 2009. The next major stop was South Africa in late 2010 when we pulled the mast and totally rebuilt the sailing rig – a huge job that is essential to the power and safety of the boats main engine….her sails. Now, in San Diego California we have begun the next major phase of refurb and refit. This is about catching up on wear and tear first. Second we look at ways to streamline and simplify the boat systems – further increasing their reliability and efficiency. Finally there are several important upgrades that will make Sea Dragon – already one of the world’s most capable expedition yachts, even more mission ready.
Our good friends Kevin and Colleen Ryan at Outbound Yachts in Dana Point CA are leading this important work. We’ve know Outbound for many years and trust them to our most critical work. In our view, you will find no better team to hande this type of work ( Outbound Yachts )
In the first group there are important tasks that keep us running well. Out of the water, her hull will be smoothed down and painted with a super low toxicty “anti foul” paint that keeps a clean fast shape in the water – and a minimum of chemicals in the water. The side hull will be repainted a shiny new color (looks do count ), and the top decks will be repainted to renew her anti-slip work surfaces. Bilge steel is cleaned an cleared of rust. The main engine and generator are set to get major overhauls that increase reliability and also decrease fuel burn. Lines and rigging are being redone – with some exciting new technology we wil reveal at a later date.
In the second, we are adding a new in-board freezer system, removing a bulky,smoky diesel heaters, and re-doing much of the fuel systems. Exciting for the working 14 person crew, all bunks will now have a/c and 12V dc power – you cannot believe what a huge deal this is for the laptop that used to lie all over the boat. The boats vital navigation systems are being upgraded with a new Furuno NAVNET 3D main display. this will take the prior laptop computer out of the loop – also saving power. New battery chargers – very advanced versions of what you might use on a car, will dramatically increase our ability to recharge main batteries- and therefore save fuel. A new 400′ (130m) anchor chain increases our safe anchor depth to over 100′. We are adding purpose built storage space to tighten up space on the boat. Most important for some….two advanced air conditioning units will be on board that allow us to heat, cool and dry air inside the boat- very important in the tropics!
The latter category of major capability upgrades holds a few very important items. Foremost, Sea Dragon’s entire stern section is being redesigned to create a working platform, new hoists and much, much easier access to overboard diving and work. Originally set up for intense offshore racing, she will now be much better suited to the expedition and research work we do.
This work is underway – stand by for more updates and photos!