Yacht Discovery is immensely safe and strong with the highest safety rating possible MCA Category 0. This means that she is built and equipped to sail anywhere in the world in any conditions. She has sailed round the world. She was specially chosen by the British Army for an expedition to Antarctica in 2001-2, and she has completed many seasons of UK-based sail training in all weathers. Through all this, she has kept crew members safe and secure on board, whatever the conditions at sea.
Her accommodation is laid out with a bunk style set up so don’t expect a cabin cruiser, a lot of our crew prefer this open plan layout instead of being cramped into a small cabin with someone you may not know. with her size there is always a quite spot to be found just to relax and enjoy the surroundings. She is designed to be sailed hard in any weather all over the world. Discovery’s saloon is a great social area with plenty of seating large windows and a table big enough for everyone to sit round. This means that the whole team can have briefings together, discuss plans for the voyage, and have meals together. Everyone gets to know each other pretty quick and you soon become a valued part of the team.
Yacht Discovery is a ketch, which means that she has two masts, a taller main mast and shorter mizzen mast behind it. With a main sail, a mizzen sail and an assortment of headsails to be hoisted, there is plenty for the crew to do - and not much chance of getting bored!
At the stern (back end of the boat) is the cockpit, with plenty of room for lots of people to sit together - either on look out, listening to briefings, or simply enjoying the sailing. The steering wheel is also in the cockpit – all crew members can get as involved in all aspects of the voyage if they wish.
All around the deck are strong points and jackstays (lines) for people to clip onto with their harness lines so there is no risk of losing anyone overboard. We also have two liferafts, each big enough to hold the entire crew in an emergency; and we have a dinghy which can be rowed by crew members, though there is also an outboard engine if staff need to ferry people ashore.
There is also a navigation area containing all the navigational equipment and charts (maps) – all the crew members can be involved with navigation of the vessel if they wish.
As Yacht Discovery is so safe and strong, she can sail in an enormous range of conditions. If the wind is really too light, then we might just have to motor; but the boat will cope really well with very strong winds. We might choose not to put to sea in really bad weather out of consideration for the crew, but there are few things that Yacht Discovery herself couldn't cope with!
Safety is paramount on board Yacht Discovery. She is fully maintained in accordance with the Maritime Coastguard Agency's Code of Practice for Small Commercial Vessels and our own exacting standards. Annual surveys by an independent assessor and regular maintenance ensure that all the equipment and the vessel's specifications adhere to and exceed the legal requirements to run her as a commercial vessel.
From 3rd mate to the skipper are RYA (DOT) qualified at a level equal to or greater than their position of responsibility requires. In addition, all staff undergo rigorous in-house assessment and training to ensure the highest standards are maintained. Likewise, the crew undergo a structured training programme on joining the vessel so that they are able to participate fully and safely in the voyage When at sea, the vessel routinely reports in on a daily basis and is always contactable via one or more of the communication systems onboard.