Donated catamaran transit from France to Florida, USA


Donated catamaran transit from France to Florida, USA

At this time, four crew are fully committed (Captain Ray, Patrick Merckle, Matthew Hock and Georges Clement) and maybe one close to or all but signed on (based on travel plans made), this will be kept up to date. The members to the right include interested parties and shore support.

IRG has accepted the donation of a 1998 50-foot catamaran Mayotte Voyage 500 "Rendezvous Cay" which is presently in the south of France. I will be travelling to France soon to conduct all the paperwork and supervise the yacht's transit from France to Florida, where she will be placed in service to support IRG's mission.

The latest on itinerary:

  • 25-May depart from the Marseille area. This is dependent on weather and crew joining, we can be a bit flexible.
  • Late June arrive Ile a Vache, Haiti, this is our safe island base with shore support we know well.
  • Approx 7th July arrive Florida, USA - but this is a fast boat downwind and we won't be afraid of using fuel so might be somewhat earlier.

This is an opportunity for anyone who would enjoy the learning and experience of an Atlantic and Caribbean passage aboard a well-maintained catamaran with an experienced captain. We even have two sextants aboard for anyone who wants to try celestial navigation.

Calling anyone interested in joining this voyage as crew. Our usual rules apply, IRG is an all unpaid volunteer organization and we all pay our own way, even me. Crew pay just $20 per day and that covers all provisioning and consumables for the preparation and voyage. This will not be a "dry" voyage though you are responsible for laying in your own supply of alcoholic beverages (in moderation!). Crew are responsible for their own travel to the departure point and from the arrival point.

This yacht has four queen-size cabins en-suite with head and shower plus comfortable sleeping room in the salon, so she is an extremely comfortable vessel and of course any couples that may join this voyage will be allocated their own cabin. With a large salon and patio, we could accommodate up to 8 crew comfortably.

This should be a comparatively rapid passage, we will carry enough fuel to motor over half the distance.

So this is a short call for interested crew as we hope to sail 25th May weather permitting to beat most of the tropical storm season. We will of course be carrying all the appropriate modern safety equipment including EPIRB and marine SSB but will also have a satphone and 2-way satellite communicator for email and texts and will be contracting a professional shore-based weather and voyage routing service for an efficient transit and storm avoidance.

Please join this Group and post a comment with your interest and any questions.

Fair winds and following seas,

Captain Ray

Location: Marseille, France
Members: 8
Latest Activity: May 31, 2016

Rendezvous Cay, Voyage 500

Discussion Forum


Started by Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG. Last reply by Jan Albert May 6, 2016. 1 Reply

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


Started by Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG May 6, 2016. 0 Replies

All crew,Here are your joining instructions! Welcome aboard, we look forward to seeing you, so far we have 4 crew committed (including me as skipper) and three more likely for the early part of the…Continue


Started by Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG May 6, 2016. 0 Replies

What is the earliest one can volunteer? We're open now to accept volunteers.Is housing provided before departure? Volunteers get a berth aboard the boat as if we are sailing.Is food provided? Yes, we…Continue


Started by Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG May 6, 2016. 0 Replies

We are still working out some of the details but here are some general guidelines for those interested in this cruise aboard IRG's new donation Rendezsvous Cay, a Voyage Mayotte 500 catamaran…Continue

Tags: disaster, relief, Coastal, aid, voyage

Comment Wall


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Comment by Helen 'Hillis' Andersson on May 31, 2016 at 8:23pm
Did you depart yet?
Comment by Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG on May 17, 2016 at 10:40pm
The crane cannot operate in the forecast winds until next Tuesday according to weather forecasts! The boat is still on stands waiting. No problem - we probably wouldn't want to depart in 40+ knot winds anyway.
We are in Port Napoleon marina near the town of Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhone. 
The nearest town with a train station is Istres. has trains from stations like Marseille airport. At night it will be hard to find a bus nearer to the destination, but during the day you may be able to cut down the taxi distance.
Comment by Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG on May 16, 2016 at 2:14pm


Please send me a list of all your contacts that you wish to communicate with while offshore in the mid-Atlantic, I need to program the DeLorme InReach SE before departing and sync so that you may send them texts or emails. You will be able to send a 160 character message and each message is sent with a link to a map page that pinpoints our position within a few feet at the time you send the message. People can even reply, so this is 2-way communication. When you send me your list, I will reply with a message you need to send your recipients, because they must send messages in plain text with only the 160 characters, no images, videos etc.

You can add to the list when you get here or underway, but it's a pain in the arse on the little communicator keypad.

Please send me the following information IN THIS FORMAT:

ORGANIZATION: (optional)


Captain Ray

Comment by Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG on May 16, 2016 at 10:54am

Hi all crew,

Please bring your own harness and PFD (life vest) if you have one. We do have three on board but I don't know what sizes. If you don't have one, don't worry we'll figure it out. If you have your own VHF handheld please bring that.

We have plenty of towels, bed sheets and pillowcases so don't bring those, but if you have a favourite sleeping bag then do feel free to bring if you wish.

I hope you got my previous message about the satellite communicator.

Also please bring your own sailor's knife but remember if you try to bring aboard a plane in carry-on baggage it will be confiscated so it must go checked-in baggage.

Do any of you have a tablet with iNavX or equivalent navigation program and charts? I will be buying paper charts which I consider the primary basis for navigation, but if you have electronic charts for France to Gibraltar and the Caribbean including Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Bahamas and Florida that's a nice convenience.

Finally, for those who would like to do celestial navigation, I do have a couple of sextants aboard so I'll be happy to teach that - but I won't be buying the sight reduction tables and almanacs, they are expensive - I have downloaded a free celestial nav sight reduction program that gives a Line of Position. Do please research what you can find for your iPhones and Androids and download, it'll be an interesting exercise when underway.


Captain Ray

Comment by Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG on May 8, 2016 at 4:08pm

Jan Albert has asked some questions. 

Q. Estimated arrival at Ile A Vache ??

  • I just heard of a recent passage time of 19 days from Gibraltar to the Eastern Caribbean on what should be a slower boat but everything depends on weather and the route we take. From Marseille to Ile a Vache it could be anything from 21 days +, I try never to predict because I'll always be proven wrong!
Q. Ile A Vache to Port Au Prince - do not know how to get from and to yet?
  • I have done that route and know it very well, basically it's a water taxi ride to the mainland Les Cayes (7 miles/50 minutes), a taxi to the bus terminal then a comfortable air conditioned bus to Port au Prince (2 hours or so). Then you take a taxi directly to the airport OR if you have to stay the night I recommend Haiti Communitere, an excellent charity we work with that rents out beds in their secure compound near the airport.
Flight from Port Au Prince to ...
  • I recommend booking on arrival at Haiti or you can even send messages to shore via satellite while we are underway when the arrival schedule looks clearer to your support on shore to book your flight.
Am I correct to assume we will have wifi on board?
  • There is WiFi here in our Marina in France. 
  • I am bought a DeLorme InReach satellite communicator. This will allow crew to send and receive 160-character text messages with GPS coordinates to cell numbers or email addresses. We will all share the device underway. The InReach will also be plotting our position every hour or so onto a web page so that our friends and family can see our progress. 

Also, what temperature do you anticipate for the most of the passage to be during day and at night watch?

  • It is summer in the Mediterranean, but it can still get cold when there's a wind blowing. All I can advise is to wear multiple layers, have at least a thin windcheater outer covering, and foulies in case of spray or rain.
Comment by Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG on May 8, 2016 at 8:15am

Welcome Jan Albert as new crew member. Shane, Matt, Hillis and Ron are yet to confirm but we will certainly have a fine crew with easy watches!

Comment by shane jensen on May 6, 2016 at 9:55am

Hello Captain Ray and other members.  Yes  I would like to join the ocean crossing. When you see the boat please let me know what kind of foul weather gear may be necessary. 

Comment by Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG on May 6, 2016 at 9:20am

Hello all, Shane Jensen is interested (he's in Spain which isn't far from the catamaran) and Matthew Hock says he's planning on joining this voyage. Another person has already committed, I have asked him to join this group.

Please do read what we're planning and make sure you can commit as it looks like we have a good size crew shaping up.

Comment by Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG on May 4, 2016 at 1:06pm

OK all, here's the latest, details are firming up quickly.

Departure from Marseilles, France 21st May weather permitting. I'll be there days earlier to prepare the yacht, we'll have a last big provisioning run in downtown Marseilles and sail out.

Voyage expectation is 5 weeks from France to the Caribbean, we will go to our anchorage in Ile a Vache, a resort island off the south coast of Haiti where we'll meet up with the charities we support and take a break before sailing on to Florida.

ETA Florida is probably 1st or 2nd week in July, weather permitting. We will be joining Thunderbird 5, a 97-foot ketch, one of our other yachts in IRG's Caribbean fleet.


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Discussion Forum


Started by Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG. Last reply by Jan Albert May 6, 2016. 1 Reply


Started by Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG May 6, 2016. 0 Replies


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Started by Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG May 6, 2016. 0 Replies

france to virgin islands

Started by Linda Andrus, RN, BSN. Last reply by Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG May 3, 2016. 2 Replies


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