The Southern Wind
Name: The Southern Wind
Length Overall (LOA): 76’
Draft: 7 feet
Weight: 140,000 lbs
Hull: Triple marine plywood with triple fiberglass
layers and a keel with a full keel steel plate.
The Southern Wind was built in 1981 in Ventura, CA on the design of a commercial fishing double-ended sailboat. With an enormous cargo capacity (she can carry 10,000 pounds without sinking more than two inches deeper in the water!), she accommodates up to 20 people working onboard. Her sturdy construction and shallow draft make her the ideal vessel to navigate safely through shallow, treacherous waters to reach the isolated peoples served by the Floating Doctors. After she was built, the Southern Wind was sailed from California down through the Panama Canal and up to Florida. She lay unused for a number of years before she was generously donated the the Floating Doctors. She was extensively renovated by a volunteer Floating Doctors crew. On her first mission, she carried 11 tons of relief supplies to Petit Goave, Haiti. She carries and houses the relief volunteers and the crew. Since then, she has carried us reliably throughout the Caribbean. The Southern Wind has the deep love and respect of her crew as she gallantly carries them safely to their destinations.
“A ship in harbor is safe. But that is not what ships are for.”
When you are trying to deliver a clinic and personnel to a far-off community through heavy seas, dangerous shoals and mangrove mazes, you need a rugged small craft that can stand up to heavy abuse and still get the job done. In Bocas del Toro, Panama, Floating Doctors acquired the abandoned shell of a Panga–a 24-foot open fiberglass skiff in common use throughout the developing world. A local community member donated
a 40-hp outboard motor, and 6 weeks of fiberglass and repair work by the crew and volunteers transformed the dilapidated old boat into a heavy duty rescue Panga capable of 80-mile open boat journeys. Since its launch in November 2011, the Panga has done an average of 175 miles per week conducting high-speed emergency response and patient transport as well as delivering medical teams to over 20 communities scattered across a 500 square-mile region of isolated island and jungle territory.