EXPEDITION FROM FLORIDA TO THE SOUTH CHINA SEAS VIA HAITI AND PANAMA
International Rescue Group has a classic Steel Dutch 97' ketch Thunderbird 5 (click here for pictures) which has recently run two successful operations in Haiti to support hospitals, orphanages and performed disaster relief standby in the Caribbean 2015 and Haiti after Hurricane Matthew in 2016. We are planning to depart from Fort Lauderdale, Florida early December bound via the Bahamas to Haiti for a third mission, then on to the Panama Canal and then the Pacific. We are considering a stop in the Galapagos then will sail onward through South Pacific islands and on to Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Indonesia and ending in Thailand.
IRG has now established another vessel (Tandemeer under IRG Captain Sequioa) in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, so now desires to do the same in Asia-Pacific. Our primary mission is disaster relief and humanitarian aid, but this 13,000 nautical mile voyage - over half way around the world - is planned as an expedition to develop emergency management relationships and opportunities with island and coastal governments along the way and to recruit cruising vessels into the IRG Reserve. Our Asia-Pacific base will be in Thailand.
As we are a registered US-based nonprofit with IRS tax exemption, we receive some small donations, but nothing in the budget is intended to cover a transition like this, so this exciting voyage must be cash-neutral and paid for entirely by the crew. This donated vessel is almost charter quality (see pictures and description) and this expedition is a unique opportunity to sail long blue-water distances, learn passage-making, visit exotic and rare locations, meet and interact with the locals and officials and will be the cruise of a lifetime - but with an underlying serious mission.
This will appeal only to those who are relatively independent, can take a few months off with a flexible and adventurous mindset, can afford to cover approximately $25,000 for a berth for 10 to 11 months including food (couples get discounts for sharing cabins), are relatively fit, believe in our mission and have a desire to "pitch in" and help cruise the vessel. Her very experienced and personable captain is Executive Director of IRG, Ray Thackeray, who has sailed over 30,000 nautical miles and over 2,500 on this vessel over the last year. Captain Thackeray enjoys teaching sailing, navigation and vessel management. We are all the crew and share in preparing, navigating and safely sailing to our destinations. Medical professionals are especially welcome to help offer clinics in remote locations.
Prior visits are encouraged (we'll give you a cabin for your stay to view the vessel and meet Captain Ray) and all crew will meet at least by video over the internet to help determine compatibility prior to making decisions to join the cruise.
Crew are responsible for provisioning their own beverages. Globalstar Satellite phone is available for $1 per minute, internet/WiFi only at ports. We do have global weatherFAX and SSB and all safety equipment including two life rafts.
FIRST DRAFT ITINERARY
Crew may join in Florida for the full voyage, or embark in Haiti or Panama for pro-rata fees.
Mid-Dec 2016 depart Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA
Christmas/New Year's in Haiti at IRG's base on Ile a Vache
Mid-Jan 2017 sail to Panama
Early Feb set sail for the Galapagos Islands (under consideration, also looking at a visit to San Francisco first)
Early Mar set sail to South Pacific
April-Jun explore Marquesas Islands, Tuamotu Archipelago and French Polynesia
Jul-Sep explore Papua New Guinea, Philippines
Sep-Oct Bali, Indonesia and terminate in Phuket, Thailand.
This itinerary is negotiable depending on input from volunteer crew and dates are flexible; we will all discuss this together and develop a detailed plan to meet all our availabilities, etc.
APPROXIMATE DISTANCES INVOLVED
Florida - Haiti: 800nm
Haiti - Panama: 650nm
Panama - Galapagos: 850nm
Galapagos - Tahiti: 3,600nm
Tahiti - Papua New Guinea: 3,900nm
New Guinea - Bali, Indonesia: 1,900nm
Bali - Phuket, Thailand: 1,400nm
Total approx: 13,000nm Great Circle)
This will be an extended voyage and the total cost including vessel preparation, transit fees, fuel and food will be about $25,000 per person. Note that this works out at an average of only about $580 per week not including beverages and incidental travel and entertainment. Some people can recover this by renting out their homes while away on this expedition, while others may have greater expenses just living in the city...
50% deposits required to secure a berth and full payment required immediately prior to departure. Deposits and full voyage fees are non-refundable. The typical full inclusive charter cost for a vessel like this is $20,000 per WEEK so it's an amazing deal, but after all we are a charity not a corporation and we are not trying to make a profit, just fulfill our mission.