Bahamas to Florida on a 97' gaff-rigged ketch

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Bahamas to Florida on a 97' gaff-rigged ketch

IRG's flagship is a 97' steel gaff-rigged ketch commanded by Captain Ray. She is in the Bahamas readying for her return to Florida after a humanitarian aid cruise in the Caribbean and responding to the 2015 Dominica Storm Erika devastation and Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. After 5 missions and over 7,000 miles she is ready for her 4-year refit.

CREW - BOOKING YOUR FLIGHT:  Asking around George Town, everyone is advising that a visitor should either 1. Book a refundable portion round-trip flight giving you maybe 30 days visa, and then when you get to the boat simply cancel the return ticket for a refund, OR 2. Use this site for a cheap return ticket https://bestonwardticket.com/ for only a few bucks you’re all set!

This is NOT for someone who wants to plan things down to the day. We should depart from George Town maybe end August, one crew has already arrived, we need at leasst 2 more, plenty of berths available. It may take a week or two to Florida in a leisurely way. We will land in Fort Lauderdale. We have no rigid plans and will make them just before sailing as a team after consulting weather. Our main engine suffered an unfortunate breakdown and we have rebuilt in the Bahamas to the point where it can be run for 15 minutes at a time for maneuvering and anchoring, so this will be a learning experience for crew who would appreciate navigating a traditional ship mainly by sail. Over the last 4 years and 7,000nm, the Captain has plenty of this experience.

Weather permitting, we should arrive in Florida in early September. If you are relaxed about your time - and this is all very pleasant including comfortable cabins,volunteer crew are welcome immediately.

If you have any questions after reading this, contact ray.thackeray@internationalrescuegroup.org

We have 3 double cabins and bunks for 2 single sailors still available so plenty of room aboard.

We are a charity and sometimes these plans depend on the support we obtain. This is not a "mint-on-the-pillow" kind of thing, it's an adventure. Everybody works. Note again that this is not the kind of voyage for people with a rigid schedule!

Please note that crew contributions for this voyage are sharing food, fuel and consumable, so you'll spend a lot less than you do on land... We do eat well. ALL OUR CREW WHO HAVE ASKED FRIENDS, FAMILY, COLLEAGUES AND SOCIAL MEDIA FOR SPONSORSHIP THROUGH OUR ONLINE FUNDRAISER HAVE BEEN ABLE TO PAY FOR THEIR ENTIRE VOYAGE!

Location: George Town, Exuma, Bahamas
Members: 20
Latest Activity: Jul 23

Discussion Forum

MECHANIC NEEDED!

Started by Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG. Last reply by Jeff Brianas Oct 5, 2016. 8 Replies

If you have the skills to service a Volvo Penta 450HP Turbo and two 20kW Northern Lights generators and various equipment, and keep the ship's machinery running with TLC, you can voyage free, we will…Continue

JOINING INSTRUCTIONS

Started by Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG Apr 5, 2016. 0 Replies

All crew,Here are your joining instructions! Welcome aboard, we look forward to seeing you.Ask Captain Ray to send you a scan of our Cruising Permit and Vessel Documentation, you will need that to…Continue

VOLUNTEER APPLICATION FORM AND CREW WAIVER

Started by Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG Feb 25, 2016. 0 Replies

Please download and complete the Volunteer Application form. This has not been edited specially for this mission so just fill out what you can. The form may seem onerous at first glance, but most of…Continue

ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS

Started by Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG Jan 11, 2016. 0 Replies

What is the earliest one can volunteer? We're open now to accept volunteers while Thunderbird 5 lies at anchor in George Town, Exuma, Bahamas. Is housing provided? Volunteers get a cabin aboard the…Continue

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Comment by Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG on November 23, 2016 at 8:21am

CLEAN WATER FOR HAITI

New blog mainly about the re-commissioning of Thunderbird 5's watermakers by Chief Engineer Harrison Richardson: see http://members.internationalrescuegroup.org/group/clean-water-for-h...

Comment by Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG on November 13, 2016 at 12:53pm

More questions asked with my answers IN CAPS:

-  do you plan to actually sail or is it more motoring/motor-sailing?

WE ABSOLUTELY SAIL WHEN THE WIND IS RIGHT! IF WIND DROPS FOR A SHORT PERIOD WE WILL PROBABLY JUST STOP AND AWAIT WIND. THERE'S ALWAYS WORK TO DO ON A BOAT SO NOBODY WILL BE BORED. IF THE WIND IS IN OUR TEETH WE WILL MOTOR-SAIL AS CLOSE TO THE WIND AS WE CAN TO MAKE PROGRESS ON OUR TRACK.

- is there night sailing?

ALWAYS, THOUGH WHILE SAILING THROUGH THE BAHAMAS IF WIND DIES OR IS ADVERSE WE MAY DROP ANCHOR CLOSE TO AN ISLAND FOR A BREAK.

- don't need much, but am guessing we do need to bring own toiletries (shampoo, etc)? 

YES.

- for clothes, dress for the weather and comfort? As a woman, do i need to be concerned about any local customs where we'll be going? (Shorts, tank tops) I am not so familiar with the customs in these regions and don't want to be the one to invite trouble.

NO KNOWN CLOTHING TABOOS ON OUR PASSAGE. IT'S MAINLY THE CARIBBBEAN!

- shoes? Deck shoes? Close toed for shore? I am very much a slops (sandals) gal, so if you recommend proper shoes, i will need to take that into consideration. 

MOST OF OUR CREW WEAR SANDALS THOUGH DECK SHOES ON DECK ARE GOOD FOR GRIP AND MAKING SURE YOU DON'T STUB BARE TOES ON SOMETHING IMMOVABLE.

- regarding payment, how should it work? I have put out the link, had several replies saying folks will donate, but doesn't look like anyone has followed through. Do i already pay the full amount via paypal or to the link? And then what happens if anyone donates? Just want to make sure we are square!

CREW ARE EXPECTED TO PAY THEIR $20 PER DAY IN ADVANCE TO SECURE THEIR CABIN/BERTH FOR THE PERIOD ABOARD. PAYPAL IS GREAT, SELECT "FRIENDS AND FAMILY" SO THERE IS NO FEE. 

CREW ARE EXPECTED TO FORWARD IRG'S HAITI FUNDRAISER LINK TO FRIENDS, FAMILY, COLLEAGUES AND SOCIAL MEDIA, JUST ASK DONORS TO SPONSOR YOU BY NAME, WE GET ONLINE REPORTS AND VERY OFTEN CREW CAN GET THEIR ENTIRE CONTRIBUTION BACK.

Comment by Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG on October 1, 2016 at 11:15pm

We have been tracking Hurricane Matthew closely and it is looking bad imminently for southwest Haiti. THIS HURRICANE IS NOW PROJECTED TO PASS DIRECTLY OVER LES CAYES AND ILE A VACHE AND TOWNS WEST. International Rescue Group (IRG) has colleagues on the island and mainland town, below is a warning I have sent to them.

Please head not just to higher ground but EAST even a few kilometers can make a difference but make it more like a hundred. And watch for the storm changing direction.

On Monday morning you will start to feel high easterly winds from the south and likely rain, but by MONDAY AFTERNOON AND ALL NIGHT the best predictions I have show hurricane-force southerly winds over south-east Haiti. There is likely to be a dangerous storm surge from the sea that may inundate parts of Ile a Vache and Les Cayes and any other settlements along the coast. Please see the attached passageweather.com forecast to impress upon you the possible seriousness. If the storm takes another turn to the east it will become a monstrous killer that can even knock buildings down...

IRG has one 50-foot catamaran Rendezvous Cay that should be ready in 2 to 3 weeks to sail and we have more room for relief crew and supplies. Most of you know Thunderbird 5 (97-foot) and Tandemeer (56-foot) and they will also respond afterwards. If this hurricane does hit south east Haiti you may find it difficult to communicate even by cellphone unless you go east some distance, the telephone and internet infrastructure may well be completely knocked out.

Good luck and watch this very closely tomorrow while making plans.

Captain Ray

Comment by Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG on April 10, 2016 at 10:32am

My reply to Malin's recent question regarding Visas and itinerary:

Please do ask your own country's State Department responsible for travel concerning Visa requirements. 

The countries we are planning to visit in the first Atlantic and Caribbean Sea phase of our voyage are:

  • USA (Florida)
  • Bahamas
  • Haiti
  • Panama

Other countries that we may visit either in passing, to refuel or provision or to respond to requests for help may be:

  • Dominican Republic
  • Puerto Rico
  • British Virgin Islands
  • US Virgin Islands
  • Dominica
  • Jamaica
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent
  • The Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago

The target date for departure from Florida is July 1st weather permitting.

We can not fix a target date for arrival in Panama due to the nature of our mission, but preliminary planning indicates approximately mid-September. 

For the purposes of funds, why not assume at this time arrival in Panama will be 14th September and we'll work it out together if that changes later on?

I am looking forward to Thunderbird 5 coming back to life with enthusiastic crew and the preparation work we will be doing in a yard prior to departure!

Cheers,

Captain Ray

Comment by Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG on March 9, 2016 at 2:20am

MALARIA

The US CDC site is a reference for you concerning anti-malarial drugs. See http://www.cdc.gov/malaria/travelers/drugs.html for more information.

According to various sources including Wikipedia, "There is no practical or effective vaccine that has been introduced into clinical practice."

IRG recommends you get advice from your own doctor.

Comment by Bill Hajek on February 24, 2016 at 10:02am

Captain, Crew and Volunteers,

I look forward to meeting everyone and getting my hands dirty as soon as I am able to break free and truck over to Hollywood. Cheers All.

Comment by Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG on February 17, 2016 at 10:40am

Debby, now that you are a member of this Group, you will automatically receive and change notifications.

Comment by Debby Mohr on February 17, 2016 at 10:38am

Capt. Ray, It's me again :) Let me know when the schedule is complete.. I would love to finally join you this year :) xoxo <3

Comment by Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG on February 14, 2016 at 7:43am
Malin and Luca, welcome to the crew and supporters site! Our planning is just beginning and the schedule has only just started to firm up. Please do feel free to invite friends, family and colleagues to this forum, the more people involved, the better. Apart from crewing, calls will soon go out for land support volunteers and anyone who would enjoy helping prepare the boat for this 4,000 nautical miles voyage, people to help with fundraising, events prior to and after sailing and many other aspects of making this a successful mission such as obtaining donated medical supplies from local hospitals and even inviting other boats to join us. Glad to have you aboard!
Comment by Frederick mashack on January 23, 2016 at 6:46am
I am now in Florida and willing to volunteer for the next couple weeks if you need help,
 

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IRG membership and donations

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Discussion Forum

MECHANIC NEEDED!

Started by Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG. Last reply by Jeff Brianas Oct 5, 2016. 8 Replies

If you have the skills to service a Volvo Penta 450HP Turbo and two 20kW Northern Lights generators and various equipment, and keep the ship's machinery running with TLC, you can voyage free, we will…Continue

JOINING INSTRUCTIONS

Started by Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG Apr 5, 2016. 0 Replies

All crew,Here are your joining instructions! Welcome aboard, we look forward to seeing you.Ask Captain Ray to send you a scan of our Cruising Permit and Vessel Documentation, you will need that to…Continue

VOLUNTEER APPLICATION FORM AND CREW WAIVER

Started by Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG Feb 25, 2016. 0 Replies

Please download and complete the Volunteer Application form. This has not been edited specially for this mission so just fill out what you can. The form may seem onerous at first glance, but most of…Continue

ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS

Started by Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG Jan 11, 2016. 0 Replies

What is the earliest one can volunteer? We're open now to accept volunteers while Thunderbird 5 lies at anchor in George Town, Exuma, Bahamas. Is housing provided? Volunteers get a cabin aboard the…Continue

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