Yucatan base preparing IRGs flagship for the 2019 season


Yucatan base preparing  IRGs flagship for the 2019 season

UPDATED 30th April 2019: We hauled out our yacht for re-fit in Progreso, Yucatan.

Our 97-foot boat has sailed over 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. 

Thunderbird 5 has been our flagship and focal point in the Caribbean, now IRG is re-fitting for a new mission to set up operations in Yucatan based in Progress as IRG's supply base for Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean.

If you wish to stay aboard in Progreso, 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 have extracted our old Volvo diesel , are planning a diesel-electric repowering and servicing our biggest Lugger generator so there's a lot of work to be done... Anyone interested in an Eco-conversion could help with this, whether remotely or here in Mexico.

We would also like to go an outreach with a short documentary and web page - this could be a full-time project for an enthusiast.

LEARN HOW TO SAIL A TRADITIONAL 100-TON GAFF-RIGGED KETCH! During the Gulf/Caribbean shake-down cruise in Nov/Dec 2019 you will learn sailing, navigation and weather forecasting.

COST: IRG will feed you but we are entirely an unpaid volunteer organization so you are expected to make your own travel arrangements (we're a charity, we don't have a budget for 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 voyage suitable.

  • Now Ship is hauled out in a Yard in Progreso, Yucatan. Bottom is being sandblasted and painted with primer, a cleaner comes aboard every week to scrub and vacuum end-to-end. Looking for a caretaker to stay aboard and supervise the occasional contractor, maybe get some work done there are lots of projects!
  • January 1st 2019 Commencing re-fit in earnest having masts, bottom, hull work, de-rusting, painting and new propulsion. We can live comfortably aboard on the boat.
  • June 2019 Launch and continue work at dock.
  • November 2019 Shakedown sail in Caribbean  and Gulf region. 
  • 2019 Set up for relief status and work with local orgs like the Yucatan Yacht Club.


We are using local contractors for the heavy work such as pulling the propshaft, take out the old engine etc. We will do our own 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.

Some people react badly to being offshore becalmed for more than a few hours or offshore for more than a few days or have a "hard stop" date to fly to another location... 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 sail only for over 2,500nm in the Bahamas, Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico so we have a lot of experience!

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

Location: Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico
Members: 5
Latest Activity: Jan 16, 2019


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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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