Florida to Guatemala and South China Seas via Panama - IRG's 97-foot flagship

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Florida to Guatemala and South China Seas via Panama - IRG's 97-foot flagship

Our 97-foot boat has sailed 7,000 nautical miles and conducted 8 humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations in the Caribbean in over 3 years, supporting dozens of other yachts in the region with volunteers and supplies. 

Thunderbird 5 has been our flagship and focal point in the Caribbean, now IRG plans to re-fit for a new mission to set up operations in Asia, based in the Philippines.

This yacht was previously maintained to charter yacht level at a cost of over $100,000 a year but the last 4 years has been a cargo ship with a shoestring budget. Looking for volunteers to voyage to Guatemala and help re-fit our yacht, if you'd like some experience in a marine yard on hull steel, wooden rig, electronics and painting etc., come and join us! There are comfortable cabins available, the weather's great (not hot!) and we have lots of work to do here in Florida before sailing and Guatemala for re-fit. Crew Joey Timmerman and Chief Engineer Shawn Sweetman are already aboard, looking for 3 or more crew prior to departure.

REFIT LOCATION

ABEL's at Rio Dulce Guatemala is  where we can continue to live on the boat and do DIY work, we'll use the Yard for the heavy work such as pulling the propshaft, repaint the bottom with anti-foulant etc. We will do various jobs like grinding, welding and re-priming steel where there is corrosion, taking of some old machinery, refresh the electronics and Nav, install a radar, do some sail repair and rig work etc.. NOTE that our main engine is being replaced in Guatemala, we will be using auxillary propulsion to exit our anchorage in Florida, sail all the way in the easterly tradewinds, and arranging a tugboat to take us to the shipyard. You must be comfortable with the idea that this is a sailboat, if the wind dies enroute we will simply await the wind to return. Please think carefully about this, some people react badly to being offshore becalmed for more than a few hours, if so this may not be the voyage for you. If you wish to truly hone your sailing skills, you will learn a lot.

ITINERARY

Note that this can be delayed for various reasons, this is the best stab at timing. Volunteers who have hard stops may not find this yoyage suitable.

  • Feb 2017 Preparing ship for voyage while coordinating disaster relief boats and supplies destined for Puerto Rico, BVI and Dominica
  • Mar 1st 2018 (Weather permitting) Voyage from Hollywood, Florida to shipyard in Guatemala
  • March-May 2018 Haul-out and block for 3 months. Crew may stay aboard in their own berth and help with re-fit of the yacht on many projects, food will be provided
  • June 2018 Launch and shakedown sail in Caribbean Panama region. Transit Panama Canal into the Pacific and tour the Gulf of Panama and Las Perlas islands on a humanitarian aid mission
  • July 2018 Voyage to South Pacific and on to South China Seas, to establish an IRG base in the Philippines approx November 2018.

NOTE the hurricane season in the South Pacific ends 31st April, we will quickly transit from Panama to the Galapagos s and enter the southeast trade winds headed for Marquesas Islands. Preliminary planning for the Pacific section are: Panama, Las Perlas, Galapagos (ONLY if funds become available via crew), Marquesas Islands and other stops to Papua New Guinea, then into the South China Seas.

Volunteers who join and support work in Florida gain priority for a cabin to the South China Seas. During voyaging volunteer crews share the cost of the voyage at $20 per day each which includes all food, consumables etc. Those volunteers who join the work on the vessel in Florida and Central America have a cabin of their own and food during the land work.

Location: Hollywood, FL
Members: 9
Latest Activity: on Friday

PROJECT PHOTOS

IRG's Flagship

Guest cabin

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Comment by Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG on December 21, 2017 at 6:45pm

Hello Joey, look forward to seeing you in Hollywood soon. Our projects are a real mix, including sanding and painting the bottom, some welding work which will be really interesting to those who have never welded before, grinding out rust from steel then prime and paint, some electrical work, deck work, rig work, sail repairs, etc. I doubt we'll get round to any varnishing, plenty of that can be done on nice voyaging days to the South China Seas! The heavy duty work like pulling the propshaft and renewing the stuffing box will be done by the Yard's mechanics.

Comment by Joey Timmerman on December 21, 2017 at 6:37pm

Hey Captain Ray! What's on the schedule for the refit? New bottom paint? Sanding some teak? Is the crew doing 100% of the work or will you bring in some contractors for certain projects?

Comment by Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG on December 15, 2017 at 8:49am

Hello all, including me we have 4 crew and I am confident that we will have 2 or 3 more soon! Joey arrives on 2nd January.

This is to connect you all and keep you in touch with planning and thoughts, I welcome discussion and research on this in this forum,I’m sure you’ll all have lots of questions and I may not have all the answers, so from this point we are a team working on this project!. This mission’s coordination will continue here and every Q&A will be available to all who are interested rather than trying to answer everything separately by email.

I won’t update the description above on re-fit destination yet but yesterday I met with a yacht broker and professional captain and they gave me a convincing argument that hauling out in Rio Dulce, Guatemala is the best decision to make. I have identified 2 marine yards in Panama and 1 yard in Rio Dulce, and they all have similar service and labour rates, but Rio Dulce is a far superior place to be for an extended period of 12 weeks which is my estimate for time to complete the re-fit. One good place for research about the region is Noonsite, see http://www.noonsite.com/Countries/Guatemala. I also have friends and supporters or IRG who live there and in Belize which is just a day-sail away who can be relied on to create a humanitarian aid mission in the region.

 

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