The Kraken goes live today on all production oceans! No longer do you need access to Ice to try out this brand-new Sea Monster Hunt. All you need now is a Bravery Badge or a Subscription, a rowboat kit for each type of rowboat you want to steer (available at your local furnisher's), and, if you're the officer in charge of the expedition, a map and a lifeboat.
Ships allowed into Kraken-infested waters include the following: sloop, cutter, dhow, fanchuan, longship, baglah or junk. Why nothing larger? According to the release notes, "Theories suggest that these vessels are small enough that the Kraken doesn't take notice; any larger, and the Kraken would immediately sink the entire vessel."
Hold up a minute. Lifeboats?
Lifeboats are the form of investment by which the vessel owner earns their higher cut of the profits. Generally, the vessel owner gets a special division of the booty to reward them for putting their personal ship at risk. But when you're hunting a Kraken, there is no sinking of the main vessel. Instead, the vessel owner's contribution is to provide the means for rescuing pirates whose individual rowboats get sunk.
Vessel owners must bring one lifeboat per pirate entering the Kraken zone. These lifeboats may be ordered and purchased at your local shipyard. Once the crew enters the Kraken zone, any lifeboats needed to grant entry will be consumed at that time.
It's in your best interest to purchase lifeboats at the shipyard that's nearest to where your chart places the Kraken zone.
As for other SMHs, maps to the Kraken's lair may be won randomly via pillaging the ocean. But keep your eyes peeled as well for special "Release the Kraken!" competitions. Jade just had one this afternoon, rewarding the best carpenter and patcher with Kraken SMH maps and other prizes. Your Examiner has not been successful at locating a schedule for these tournaments, unfortunately. If one's about and you discover where it's hidden, won't you please let the rest of us know by posting a note to the Disqus comments below?