The Beginning: Explorer Ship 529 was established in the summer of 1991 when a group of Boy Scouts decided to take their high adventure summer program to the British Virgin Islands for 2 weeks of sailing. Ship 529 has remained strong ever since.

 Our Goals: To gain confidence while learning the art of sailing and working together as a crew. Knowing the different parts of our vessels from the inside out, including charting and GPS skills, engine mechanics, and usage of marine various electronics.

Our Boats: Ship 529 owns 2 boats: Chantey, a 32' Challenger and Cheng-Ho, a custom built 37' cutter.

Sailing Trips: Since the program started in 1991, we have taken a myriad of day trips to scenic spots like the Queen Mary in Long Beach Marina (which includes the famous Shoreline Village ice cream run).  We also take a couple weekend trips per year to Santa Catalina Island (approximately 25 miles off the Southern California coast). We usually sail to Two Harbors, but we will also sail to Avalon and have twice sailed to Emerald Bay.

Ultimate Adventures: Ship 529 has taken five two-week trips to the B.V.I. (British Virgin Islands). At least six of our Crew have been on two trips, two of our Crew members have been on four trips and one Crew member has been on all five trips.

Our first trip to the B.V.I. was in 1992, with five youth and five adults. We missed Hurricane Hugo by a few days, and were able to spend our two weeks in perfect sailing conditions. One of our many adventures while in the BVI included snorkeling the shipwreck of "The Rhone" (the boat on which the movie "The Deep" was based), which sank in 30 to 90 feet of water.  We visited several towns, participated in their Carnivals, and learned a lot of what island life is all about.

During our second trip in July 1996, Hurricane Bertha brought its two day unrelenting wrath upon us and passed her eye directly over our hotel on Tortola. It was a once in a lifetime experience and allowed us to see first hand how the Atlantic Ocean storms compared to Pacific Ocean storms here in Long Beach. In addition to Ship members on Bi-Op-Sea, we had our first boat of returning crew, 4 of our original 1992 crew, on a second boat named Ariel III. Our two boats sailed to 9 different islands during our 2 weeks, and left feeling more confident in all of our abilities knowing we could handle anything that was blown our way!

Our third trip in July of 1999 was quite a memorable trip, on board the 51' Great Expectations. While we didn't have to endure a hurricane this time, we did have to endure some pretty nasty rain storms from time to time. This made our daily sails quite thrilling, and gave us some great heavy weather experience. The nights were much as the days, including nightly rain showers. This forced many of us to abandon our outside sleeping areas and seek emergency shelter below (as our cabins do not really comfortably sleep two). During our 13 days we visited 16 islands, including St. John in the US Virgin Islands. We caught a few fish, and saw many more in their beautiful coral homes.

Our fourth trip was in August of 2007 and for the second time we were able to crew two 50-footers. Nine Ship Crew, six youth and three adults, sailed aboard Toy Boat III. And, for the first time, we had a second boat of Ship adults: two Caribbean veterans, two first-time adults and one sibling sailed aboard Badger B. For four of our crew, they were returning for at least the second time. We had beautiful weather and lots of wind for our crew. We also visited a new island, Cooper Island. Late in the trip Hurricane Dean passed approximately 200 miles south of the BVI, pounding us with 8 to 10 foot swells and winds gusts to 40 knots and making for a fun ride down to Norman Island for the last night on the boat.

We completed our fifth trip in 2012. Again we had two boats: four youth and three adults on Tiger Pause and six adults and one sibling on Caribbean Soul (most of whom attended the 2007 trip). For the first time, we visited Anegada, a coral atoll 15 miles from the rest of the BVI and surrounded by Horseshoe Reef, the fourth largest barrier reef on Earth (and home to hundreds of shipwrecks).

We will soon begin planning our sixth trip, with a date still to be determined. Another new crew will soon begin the journey that leads to a two week cruise in the Caribbean, learing the art of sailing, with the goal, as always, of each crew member being able to serve in any capacity onboard at any time. Not only does that give our adult advisors peace of mind (and the ability to take all our beautiful pictures), but it also assures each person that they have truly earned the best sailing vacation in the world.

Sailing is for Everyone: No sailing experience is needed! Boys and girls ages 14 to 20 are welcome to join our program any time.  The minimum age to join Sea Scouting is 14, or 13 years old AND completion of the 8th grade.

To join Ship 529, it only costs $30.00 a year for registration with the Boy Scouts of America and $60.00 per year for membership dues. Adults over 21 are also welcome to join us (for the same registration fee and membership dues). For both youth and adults no sailing experience is required. The easiest way to contact us is via email.

Click here to see where we are located.


Donations: You may help support our program through donations. Donatable items like boats, boat equipment, engines and other nautical equipment are most appreciated. All donated items are fully tax deductible.

Adult Advisors: 

Ship's Petty Officers (Youth Leadership) Ship's Adult Advisors Ship Committee
Boatswain: Stephen Lopez Skipper: Lonny McClure Committee Chairman: Nick Liddi III
Boatswain Mate: Will Whitney First Mate: Robert McClure Secretary: Harold Brightenburg
  Advancement: Robert McClure

If you have any questions about our program, E-mail us!