Sailing Adventures

Orion Guest Manual

Guest Manual

M/V Orion, Nordhavn 57-25

"Water on the outside, people on the inside"

Chain of Command

The Captain is legally and morally responsible for safety of the vessel and all souls aboard. Douglas is Captain and is responsible for all critical decisions whilst underway. Gerry is co-Captain and is second in command. Please respect the chain of command and promptly obey any directions from either of us without debate.

We have developed careful routines to ensure safe and calm operation of the vessel. When departing or returning from the dock and at other times when the operation of the vessel requires careful attention, guests are asked to stay alert but out of the way so we can perform our duties without distraction. Boats are too small for bystanders during critical operations.


Safety is our primary priority. Our goal is to always return to port with a full complement of crew, all in good health.

Life Jackets

Life jackets are provided for all guests and crewmembers upon arrival. Please fit your PFD to your body. Stow it safely in your cabin where you can find it quickly if needed.

Whilst underway, all guests and crew are to remain inside the vessel. If it becomes necessary to go outside, please inform the captain or helmsman before going out and wear a lifejacket.


In case of a catastrophic emergency, every effort should be made to transmit a Mayday call to the Coast Guard and other nearby vessels. The VHF radio immediately to the left of the helm is a DSC-equipped system. To transmit an emergency call, first press the button under the red protective flap. This will initiate a digital emergency call, transmitting the lat/lon position of the vessel and its MMSI identification number.

Next, press the Ch16 button to put the radio in voice mode. Press the button on the side of the microphone to talk. Speaking clearly into the microphone, say, "Mayday, Mayday, Mayday. This is the motor vessel Orion, located at ###.## by ###.## " (the lat/lon shown on the radio and on the Furuno sat compass just below the radio.) Describe the emergency and the required assistance.

If time allows, stay on the radio and retransmit after 30 seconds if you don't hear an answer.

The Furuno SSB radio located overhead to port is routinely programmed to the emergency hailing channel. Transmit a long range Mayday on that radio as well.


As a general rule, people are safer if they stay aboard a vessel that is taking on water than if they abandon ship. You should enter the water only when the water reaches the level of the top deck. Any decision to abandon ship shall be solely at the discretion of the Captain.

Your first line of defense consists of a survival suit. If it becomes apparent that the ship is sinking, put on one of the four suits stowed under the settee of the flybridge. Lay the suit out flat on the deck. Remove your shoes and slip a plastic grocery bag (stowed in the suit) over your feet to make it easier to slide into the suit. Pull the suit on much as you would slip into a sleeping bag. Zip it all the way to your chin, making sure the hood is tightly fitted over your head.

Just aft of the starboard exhaust stack is a six man self-inflating life raft. Upon orders from the Captain, cut the lines holding the raft to the rail and throw it overboard. It will inflate itself.

In the starboard exhaust stack is a ditch bag, which contains essential gear for surviving in the open ocean. If time allows, grab the EPIRB (stowed by the ditch bag), a handheld radio (mounted on the portside of the helm), and a portable GPS (stowed in a basket behind the settee in the pilot house.)

Also stowed in the starboard exhaust hatch are extra life jackets, flares, rockets, and smoke bombs, fresh water jugs, safety straps, extra clothing in a red dry bag, and other safety gear. Throw all of this gear in the dinghy and secure it as best you are able.

If time allows when preparing to abandon ship, release the straps holding the dinghy to the boat. Pull the kayaks from their mounts and tie them loosely to the dinghy. Allowing these boats to float free may provide an additional means of staying out of the water.

If you must abandon ship, swim or paddle well away from the vessel before it sinks. Sinking vessels create a vortex that can pull anything or anyone floating nearby under the water. When the flotsam returns to the surface, it can be with great and deadly force.


In case of fire, do not risk your life to save the vessel. The vessel can be replaced you cannot.

There are handheld fire extinguishers in every room of the vessel. Their locations are marked with red labels nearby. Familiarize yourself with their locations and usage.

Study the escape routes from your stateroom to the outside. In addition to the stairs to the pilothouse, there is an overhead hatch in the forward cabin. There is an emergency hatch in the master cabin in front of the washer/dryer cabinet. The mid cabin escape routes are through the forward or the master cabins or up the stairs.

There is an automatic Fireboy fire suppression system in the engine room. In case of a fire, this system will shut down the engines and fans and will flood the engine room with halon gas. Do not enter the engine room until the fire is completely out and the engine room has been adequately aired out.

There is a second automatic Fireboy fire suppression system in the lazarette where the battery banks and much of the electrical equipment are located. If there is any indication of fire in the lazarette, you can deploy this system manually. The trigger is located in the aft starboard corner of the saloon. Remove the pin then pull the red handle labeled "Fire" to fill the lazarette with halon gas.



Orion is well equipped for most "first aid" emergencies. For minor issues, there are band-aids and common ointments and pills stowed in the medicine cabinet in the forward head.

More serious injuries can be treated using the medical kit stowed on the top bunk of the mid cabin. In case of heart attack, there is an AED defibrillator stowed in the cabinet above the steps to the engine room.

If you are susceptible to sea sickness, please talk to your doctor about medication, perhaps including Scopace patches. Take your sea sick medicines prior to departure or the night before leaving. Once underway it may be too late to be effective.


It is critical to maintain balance and footing when in an open seaway. Orion is well equipped with grab rails and other handholds throughout the vessel. Get in the habit of using these aids even whilst in calm seas so you are familiar with them when you must move around the vessel in the dark and in pitching seas. Remember to use one hand for you and one hand for the boat.

Duties of Guests

Guests are welcome aboard for day cruises. Guests automatically become crew on any voyage lasting more than twelve hours.

Boats are small spaces shared by all. Please do not leave shoes, clothing, computers, or other personal belongings in the public spaces. Stow all personal belongings in your cabin.

Boats can pitch about unexpectedly. To avoid damage, secure your belongings within your cabin. Be sure to close all drawers and doors when not in use and lock the latches.

Be sure to close and secure any open hatches or portholes before departure.

Guests share in the preparation and cleanup of meals and other necessary tasks to keep the vessel clean, orderly, and safe.

We run a dry ship whilst underway. No alcohol consumption is allowed from two hours before departure until the boat is safely secured at anchor or the dock. Then you are welcome to imbibe in moderation. Smoking is not allowed aboard Orion. Possession or use of illegal drugs is strictly prohibited aboard Orion. Violators of these basic rules will be put ashore.

Duties of the Crew


Watch Standing

Crewmembers are expected to stand regular watches at the direction of the Captain. As a courtesy to other crewmembers, show up on time or even a little early for your watch. Tend to any personal needs before taking the helm.

Watch standers are to be rested and alert at all times during your watch. In open seas when the autopilot has the helm and there is no traffic you may listen to music or read a book as long as you are able to keep a careful watch.

During long passages, the watch shall record the current location and conditions in the logbook every hour on the hour. Record any passing traffic, Pan Pan, or Mayday announcements, weather changes, or other unusual events in the log.

Line Handling

One or more crewmembers may be designated to assist with line handling when departing or returning to the dock. Up to four crewmembers may be provided with wireless headsets so the Captain can direct operations with a minimum of shouting and excitement. Only one crewmember is able to report back to the Captain all others are in listen-only mode.

The usual configuration of dock lines includes a stern line, spring lines fore and aft, and a bow line. The spring lines go forward and aft from the chocks fore and aft of the side entry gate. Do not cross these lines across the gate or it becomes difficult to open the gate. Sometimes it is necessary to run a second stern line from the opposite side of the stern to get adequate leverage to secure the stern.

When entering a strange harbor we routinely rig both sides of the vessel with lines and fenders. This allows maximum flexibility if wind, currents, or other conditions require a last minute change of plans.

Because of the configuration of the hull it is important that the stern be well secured before securing the bow. If the bow line is tied too tight, it is impossible to get the stern close enough to the dock to use the swim platform for egress. The helmsman can usually control the bow using the bow thruster during docking maneuvers. Never pass the bow line to a bystander on the dock until the stern is well secured.



Orion has three staterooms, all accessed via a staircase from the pilothouse. The master cabin is aft. The guest cabin is forward with a double bed V-berth. The crew cabin is midships to port with two bunk beds.


We provide bedding and towels for our guests.


We will provide some space in drawers or a hanging locker for clothing for guests. Due to space constraints we recommend arriving with your belongings in a duffle bag or other folding luggage. Space for hard sided luggage is non-existent on the boat other than in your personal space.


There is a television in each stateroom. Each is equipped with a DVD player. There is a library of DVDs in the pilothouse. Feel free to make use of this equipment whilst being mindful of the need for sleep by others.


Orion has two heads located forward below deck. The master head is to starboard of the master stateroom. The guest/crew head is starboard of the companionway to the forward stateroom, opposite the bunkroom.


The Vacuflush toilets are similar to those on airplanes. They use vacuum to pull the contents of the toilet bowl into the holding tank. This is an efficient system that uses relatively little water.

To flush the toilet, step on the pedal on the left side of the bowl. If there are no solids in the bowl, a brief flush is usually sufficient. If there are solids, hold the pedal down for a few seconds to thoroughly flush the bowl. Moving the pedal up and down a few times ensures that the ball valve is largely clean before it closes.

The toilets do not always seal correctly and the vacuum pump will run repeatedly. A hissing sound of escaping air will emanate from the bowl. Please make it a habit after flushing to pull the flush lever up with your foot for two or three seconds to ensure that the ball valve is completely closed and well covered with water.

There is a status panel near the toilet with a red and a green light. The green light indicates the toilet is ready for flushing. The red light indicates that the vacuum pump is operating and there is insufficient vacuum to flush the toilet. In this case, please wait a few seconds until the red light is extinguished before flushing.

DO NOT FLUSH ANYTHING DOWN THE TOILET EXCEPT HUMAN WASTE AND LIMITED AMOUNTS OF TOILET PAPER. Marine toilets are not like household toilets and can be easily plugged by foreign objects. Avoid embarrassment and an unpleasant day helping the Captain unplug your toilet by not flushing anything that you haven't eaten first.

The black water tank is substantial but please conserve on water flushing, especially when during lengthy port calls, to avoid overfilling the tank. There is a gauge above the windows of the pilothouse portside that shows the fill level of the black water tank. If your toilet is not flushing correctly, please notify the captain.


Before taking a shower please turn on the exhaust fan to at least the thirty minute mark using the timer switch located near the sink.

The floor of the shower stalls are below water level so water will not drain by gravity. After starting the shower, please turn on the timer switch located overhead in the shower stall one full turn to activate an evacuation pump which will drain the shower pan.

Water Consumption

Orion carries a substantial water supply but please limit your water consumption such as the length of showers to conserve this supply, especially when resupply is not be readily available.

Gerry is in charge of water management. At times water will be on short rations. She will provide direction regarding water usage at these times.

A gauge above the windows of the pilothouse shows the level of water in the fresh water tank. Please notify Douglas or Gerry if the water level drops below half full. If you suddenly experience a sudden drop in water pressure, turn off the valve and notify the Douglas or Gerry immediately so they can turn off the water pump before it is damaged.

Hot Water

Hot water is produced by three methods. If shore power or the large generator are providing 240VAC power, the 20 gallon water heater is heated electrically like any home heater. If the small generator is running, a heating loop from its exhaust system provides endless hot water. When the boat is at anchor, the hot water supply is not refreshed until the generator is enabled.


Cleaning supplies are stowed under the sink in the heads or the galley. Please do not use bath towels for cleaning. Some cleaning supplies will stain or bleach the towels.


There is a washer and dryer aboard Orion. These appliances are available for use contingent upon adequate electrical power and water supply. Supplies are located in the cabinet next to the W/D. Please check with Gerry before using the appliances.


Orion has a sophisticated electrical supply system but, as with any vessel, the amount of power is sometimes limited. Most of the boat runs on 12VDC power from the battery bank.

Power Usage

120VAC house power availability will vary depending upon circumstances. When on 220V 50A shore power or when the big generator is running, the power available is similar to that of a house.

When the small generator is running, there is enough AC power for one heater or air conditioner unit but power management is important to keep from overloading the system.

When on anchor, 120VAC power is provided by the battery bank through the inverters and is more limited. Please do not use hair dryers, the microwave, heaters, or other power hungry appliances at these times. Douglas or Gerry will keep you apprised of the power available. Please do not change any electrical switches unless directed by Douglas or Gerry.


Most lights aboard Orion are LEDs. These draw little power. Please use whatever light necessary for your safety, comfort, and convenience but turn off lights when not needed. It is important to keep the pilothouse dark at night whilst underway to maintain night vision.


Gerry oversees the galley. Food procurement, preparation, and cleanup are shared responsibilities under her direction.

We are gluten intolerant so nearly everything we prepare is gluten free, so BYOG as needed. If you have any special food requirements, please inform Gerry before coming aboard.


No drinking is permitted whilst underway. In case of emergency, the captain needs everyone to be sober and able to care for themselves. Once the vessel is safely docked or anchored, feel free to imbibe in moderation.


Non-prescription recreational drugs are illegal in most countries. Our vessel could be seized by the authorities if they find illegal drugs onboard. DO NOT BRING ANY ILLEGAL DRUGS ABOARD!


There is a standard SubZero fridge aboard. It will hold a lot of food, however if you require extra space for beer or other bulky items, please bring an ice chest that can reside on the aft deck.

Open the fridge door with caution whilst underway. We install tension bars on each shelf before getting underway but things can still shift around. When you close the fridge, please engage the latch else the fridge may become self cleaning.


There are two SubZero freezers aboard. Please check with Gerry regarding space availability before bringing bulky frozen foods aboard.


Cooking is done on the propane stove or in the convection microwave oven. The microwave is available for use only when the vessel is on shore power or the generator is running.

To operate the propane stove, first press the leftmost button on the propane distribution panel located on the bulkhead behind the stove. This turns on the gas. Next turn the knob for the burner or oven and hold it in for a few seconds until the burner lights. Then move it to the heat level desired.

When the stove is not in use be sure to turn the propane distribution system off again to prevent propane from leaking into the boat.


There is a dishwasher onboard. It operates like any house dishwasher with two exceptions: shore power or generator power must be available, and hot water must be available. The dishes should be well rinsed before putting them in the dishwasher.


A trash compactor is located to the right of the dishwasher. When on short runs or when in port, we place a plastic bag in the compactor and a cloth bag behind it. Recyclables go in the cloth bag and all trash and garbage go in the plastic bag.

On long runs, a heavier plastic bag designed for compacting is used. All garbage goes directly overboard. All plastic and non-biodegradable materials go in the compactor. The bag is compacted on a regular basis. Compacted bales go in the lazarette until we reach shore. DO NOT PUT ANY GARBAGE IN THE COMPACTOR OR WE WILL LIVE WITH THE SMELL UNTIL WE REACH SHORE.

Welcome Aboard!

Orion is a pleasure yacht. We hope you will find your experience aboard to be very pleasurable.