Yucatan to Guatemala!

UPDATED 1st August: We need 2 or 3 crew to sail from Yucatan, Mexico (near Cancun) to Rio Dulce, Guatemala, 450nm south, departing Rio Lagartos 11th Aug (weather permitting).

Our 97-foot boat has sailed 8,000 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. 

LEARN HOW TO SAIL A TRADITIONAL 100-TON GAFF-RIGGED KETCH! During this voyage you will learn sailing, navigation and weather forecasting.

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

After the voyage, if you wish to stay aboard in Rio Dulce, help re-fit our yacht and would like some experience in a marine yard on hull steel, wooden rig, electronics and painting etc., come and join us! We are sail-only so this is an experience to truly learn how to sail without an engine!

COST: We will share just food and fuel (generator) expenses and crew are expected to make their own travel arrangements (we're a charity, we don't have a budget or volunteer flights...)


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.

  • Now Ship is anchored in Rio Lagartos, Yucatan and ready to fuel, water, provision and sail.
  • Mid August (crew and weather permitting) Voyage from Yucatan to shipyard in Guatemala with a stop enroute in Isla Mujeres (near Cancun). The voyage will probably take 3 to 4 weeks though of course is weather dependent, it might take another week or more if we get adverse winds.
  • November 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
  • 2019 Voyage to South Pacific and on to South China Seas, to establish an IRG base in the Philippines about end 2018.


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, sail all the way in the easterly tradewinds, and have 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. This yacht has been under pure sail for over 2,500nm in the Bahamas, Atlantic and Gulf so we have a lot of experience!

Find more VOYAGE NOTES and CREW APPLICATION FORMS to the right ===>>.

Location: Rio Lagartos, Yucatan, Mexico
Members: 4
Latest Activity: Aug 5


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Comment by Matt Taylor on May 11, 2018 at 2:59pm

I've seen thunderbird 5 anchored around Mobile Bay and recently caught wind of her mission. I'm interested in talking to someone in person about joining her crew.

 - Matt


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