NEWS  7th Dec 2017

Operation Drake - 40th Year Anniversary Reunion

We are delighted to share details of the Operation Drake 40th year anniversary reunion and associated sailing opportunities aboard the Eye of the Wind, which will take place around two exciting events on Tuesday 22nd May and Wednesday 23rd May 2018.

Eye of the Wind at Pool of London following the completion of Operation Drake

PHOTO: The Eye of the Wind at the Pool of London following the completion of Operation Drake.

It seems hard to believe that almost forty years have elapsed since the Eye of the Wind departed Plymouth at the commencement of its two-year voyage as flagship for Operation Drake.

From Operation Drake Alumni feedback, it is evident that many consider that participation on this expedition was a significant point in their lives. For some it was the catalyst to pursue a career or vocation in science or exploration. For others, it provided a whole new outlook on the world and had a direct impact on the context from which participants view this one planet on which we all exist.

During the past 40 years, the Scientific Exploration Society (SES) has continued to be at the forefront of discovery, scientific research and conservation under the continued leadership of Colonel John Blashford-Snell OBE as President. JB-S is a keen advocate of the 2018 Operation Drake Reunion and will be attending, in addition to other special guests.

The current owners of the Eye of the Wind suggested some months back that the ship could be available to host a reunion here in the UK to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Operation Drake. As a result, many Alumni have expressed an interest in attending such an event. This creates an opportunity to meet up with old friends and fellow…now not so…Young Explorers and the expedition staff.

With the assistance of staff at SES Expedition Base, the Eye of the Wind owners and other supporters, we have the unique opportunity to reunite aboard the Eye of the Wind. She will be moored at the jetty of HMS President, adjacent to the Tower of London on the River Thames on the evening of Wednesday 23rd May 2018 to celebrate the achievements of Operation Drake amongst the company of friends, family and past fellow expeditioners.

Furthermore, there will be a programme of events including the opportunity to attend the SES Explorer Awards on the preceding evening of Tuesday 22nd May 2018. The SES Explorer Awards evening celebrates the rising stars in exploration, scientific research and discovery as they set out on their expeditions.

There will also be SAILING OPPORTUNITIES aboard the Eye of the Wind in which you, your friends and families are also most welcome to participate. (Click this link to open details)

The programme will centre around a reunion celebration party on the evening of Wednesday 23rd May 2018. Provisional arrangements are as follows:

- The chance to get back aboard ship and show friends and family around whilst recounting your experiences.
- See the Eye of the Wind with rigging illuminated whilst at dock adjacent to Tower Bridge.
- Celebratory drinks and a welcoming reunion speech from JB-S.
- Food, drink and entertainment at the Officers Ward Room and deck of HMS President overlooking the Eye of the Wind at the adjacent jetty and one of the world’s most famous views as a backdrop.
- Accommodation is available aboard ship (at cost).

The event has been arranged to co-ordinate with the SES Explorer Awards, which take place on the prior evening of Tuesday 22nd May at Imperial College, London where the ongoing efforts of the SES to support the new generation of scientists and explorers in the field, will be celebrated - this is an event not to be missed.

Pool of London
PHOTO: View of the Pool of London, Tower Bridge and the Shard from the Ward Room and deck of HMS President where the Eye of the Wind will be moored for the Operation Drake Reunion.


Tuesday 22nd May 2018 - Day trip aboard Eye of the Wind - Gravesend to London - 10am to 5.00pm - discounted price for Operation Drake Alumni €100 per person, based on booking prior to 15th December 2017.

(PM) Tuesday 22nd May 2018 - SES Explorer Awards, Imperial College, London (to which Operation Drake Alumni are extended an invitation at the SES Members’ discounted rate of £15).

Wednesday 23rd May 2018 - Day trip aboard Eye of the Wind - Pool of London with the possibility (to be confirmed) of sailing under a raised Tower Bridge - 9am to 4pm - discounted price for Operation Drake Alumni of €100 per person, based on booking prior to 15th December 2017.

(PM) Wednesday 23rd May 2018 - 5.00pm to 11.00pm - Reunion party on board the Eye of the Wind and at the Ward Room of HMS President including food, celebratory drinks and entertainment (and with a cash bar) - £(GBP)50.00 per person (estimate depending on number of attendees and potential sponsorship).

Thursday 24th May 2018 - Day sail aboard Eye of the Wind - London to Gravesend - 10am to 5pm - discounted rate for Operation Drake Alumni €100 per person, based on booking prior to 15th December 2017.

Thursday 24th May at 7pm to Sunday 27th May 2018 at 10am - Gravesend to Ramsgate - €720 including accommodation aboard ship, based on booking prior to 15th December 2017.

Overnight accommodation aboard ship is available for those who require accommodation following day sails and events (subject to availability), for €75.00 per person, per night (accommodation in double cabins).


REGISTER YOUR INTENTION TO ATTEND the Operation Drake Reunion on the evening of Wednesday 23rd May (and the number of your guests so that we can send booking details to you for this event).

Bookings for day sails and berths aboard the Eye of the Wind should be made to - NOTE DISCOUNTED RATES APPLY ONLY TO BOOKINGS MADE BEFORE 15TH DECEMBER 2018.

SES Members who did not participate in the Operation Drake expedition are most welcome to apply for the sailing activities aboard the Eye of the Wind.

Book your ticket(s) for the SES Explorer Awards on Tuesday 22nd May 2018 (Operation Drake Alumni may purchase tickets at the SES Members’ rate of £15).

Eye of the Wind prices are per passenger, including voyage, cabin (other than day trips), meals. Unlimited coffee, tea, water and soft drinks, as well as port charges and tax. Alcoholic beverages and personal on-board expenses are not included.

Trainees aged from 16-25 years receive a 50% discount on all voyages (except day trips).

Accommodation: Comfortable two-berth cabins with cold/hot water, shower, lavatory, and air conditioning.

NOT INCLUDED: Transportation to and from ports of arrival and departure, shore excursions. Ports and destinations may be subject to change due to unpredictable weather conditions.

All information as of November 2017. Itinerary may be subject to change without prior notice.

For those proposing to book flights into and out of the UK, it is recommended that you provisionally state that you wish to reserve places for the above-mentioned events and/or on board accommodation and receive confirmation of such prior to paying for flights and other costs as all proposed events are provisional at this stage.

Please note that no responsibility will be incumbent upon the Scientific Exploration Society, its Trustees, Officers, Members or Staff for cancellation, curtailment or changes to pricing to these proposed events or any subsequent alterations beyond its control.

Enquires are currently taking place to seek discounted rates for hotel accommodation in London. There may also be opportunities to ‘bunk down’ at fellow ex- Operation Drakers’ premises in or around London and/or garden camping (details to follow).

We trust that you are as excited at these events as we are and we look forward to hearing from you.

With best wishes


(Operation Draker and SES Trustee)

Story by Henrietta Thorpe 

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