Below Decks

Precious Dragon's hull is divided into compartments by watertight bulkheads, all Chinese junks were traditionally divided like this for safety, any leaks are then confined to one area and cannot fill the whole boat. Precious Dragon is divided into: the chain locker - a small compartment in the bows containing the anchor warp, bosun's stores, mooring warps and fenders; the fo'c's'le; the engine room and the main cabin.

Main cabin

This is under the poop deck, entered through double doors off the maindeck. This is an all in living and working area, with four bunks - two of which can be used as a comfortable sitting area, these have large storage lockers underneath, containing more provisions. There is a table and benches that will seat six, and a galley to port and a navigation area to starboard next to the heads compartment.

Christmas Dinner

The crew enjoying their Christmas Dinner at the main cabin table (baked potatoes and sweet potatoes, carrots and Spam!). The bunks can just be see to the left and the galley behind the crew.

Navigation area

The large chart table has storage under it for our extensive portfolio of charts, sponsored by Small Craft Deliveries of Woodbridge, Suffolk. These cover all the seas and coastline of our proposed route, with detailed charts of the approaches to and harbour plans of most of the ports along our route, not just the ones we plan to visit. This is so in case of bad weather or damage we can get into the nearest port. SCD also provided all the pilot books, tidal atlases and lists of radiosignals and lights for our route, as well nautical almanacs and navigation tables - a truly comprehensive set of navigation information

The electronic equipment comprises of VHF radio, Autohelm satellite navigator, log and depth sounder, with a Garmin and a Magellan handheld satellite navigators as back up.For the ultimate backup we have the traditional navigator's sextant.

Chart table ready for serious navigation work!

Chart table, with bookcase of pilot books and navigation information,  a sextant, nautical almanacs and sight reduction tables


The galley runs the full length of the port side of the main cabin. There is a sink, with fresh water pumped from the tanks in the engine room. The domestic cooking stove is fuelled by propane, the gas bottles are stored on deck for safety. Propane gas is dangerous on boats, as it is heavier than air any gas leaking will sink into the bilges where it cannot escape and collects there until a spark can cause it to explode. The bottles are kept where any leaks are to the outside world, and the pipework and fittings are regularly checked for leakage. The galley has plenty of stowage for everyday items, all with fiddles to prevent everything ending up on the floor when we are rolling at sea.

Magnus cooking dinner to Bat out of hell!

Cooking at sea, note everything is held in place, fiddles on the stove keep the pans on it, the wok is tied on. The bucket holds seawater for washing up, saving on fresh water.

Engine room

The engine room is amidships, with access via a deck hatch at the forward end and doors to the storeroom/workshop at the aft, from there is a hatch to the main cabin, so there is an exit at each end in case of fire.(The boat is well equipped with fire extinguishers, with foam and CO2 extinguishers in all the compartments.)

The main engine is a Gardner - the best Diesel engine in the world, a 180HP Gardner LXB6 driving a 49" dia. propeller through a hydraulic gearbox. The diesel tanks port and starboard hold a total of 1,600 litres.of fuel, enough for a range of 1,100 nautical miles.

There are two generators, the main one is a 5KW diesel Yanmar TF90 with a 2.5KW petrol Mitsubishi as backup.

Also in the engine room are three fresh water tanks, port, starboard and amidships. These contain a total of 1000 litres of water. We have three tanks so if one leaks or is contaminated we still have plenty of water. For absolute safety we also carry another approx. 180 litres in plastic jerrycans.

Kevin checking the main engine

The main engine, the large generator is in the foreground, the small generator and starboard fuel tank in the background and the amidships water tank to the left.


The store/workshop aft of the engine room contains the ships tools and engine spares and lubricants. The bilge pumping system is controlled from here, there are electric pumps in all the seperate compartments, plus a spare and a manual backup.

The store also contains the batteries and electrical switchboard. There are two banks of  24 volt, 150 AH. batteries, one for engine start the other for domestic and navigation equipment plus a spare (the old domestic bank which was replaced with new batteries in Hong Kong). Both banks can be charge by the generators or the main engine alternator. There is 24/12volt converter as the navigation electronics are 12 volt, also there is 24v DC to 220v AC inverter so we can use the computers and recharge their and the video camera batteries without running the generator.



This is the forward cabin in the boat, containing three bunks and stowage for the crew's gear. The access is through a hatch in the main deck - as this is basically a large hole in the cabin roof, the bunk next to the companionway has been fitted with a curtain made from an old windsurfer sail to keep the rain off!! Four portlights and a large mirror make this look a large and airy cabin.

Two asleep in the focsle