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Old 11-30-2006, 11:29 PM   #1
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Default Cape Town to the Med

Good day

This my first posting on this site.

I would like to Sail From Cape Town up the coast to Moz and on to Kenya and finaly into the Red Sea and the Med.

Is this a bad idea and should I go to S.America and up to the USA and then back across to the Med.

I first concern is the Agulhas current and secondly the Pirate threat going into the Red Sea.

Has anyone travelled this route who can give me some advice.

I assume that I should leave at the start of the Cape winter so as to get the north westerly winds to blow me up the coast and stay in close to shore to avoid the large waves and strong current.

Rhodie.
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Old 12-01-2006, 01:54 AM   #2
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Rhodie.

Welcome to the forums.

May I suggest the following as a start:

http://www.seerose.cruiser.co.za/ - A cruise up the the east coast of Africa (and then across the Indian Ocean to SE Asia).

You would like to be out of the Mozambique Channel during cyclone season so a good time to go north from Durban would be in May/June (see the above website). The circumnavigators head in to the Red Sea (from Thailand/Malaysia) from about December/January so you have plenty of time to spend leisurely sailing up the coast and then meet up with other yachts going in to the Red Sea.

Also see the Indian Ocean cruising forums at http://www.cruisingconnections.co.za . Tony Herrick will give you as much assistance as possible and his website has great weather info for the Indian Ocean.

And, I suggest you get the book "World Cruising Routes" by Jimmy Cornell which will give fairly accurate timing to sail the route.

Books: http://www.cruiser.co.za/books.asp

Good luck with your planning.

.
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Old 12-01-2006, 06:11 AM   #3
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Welcome to the forum Rhodie,

I have not done the trip fropm the Cape to the Red Sea, although I lived in the Cape until March of this year and am now working in Aden at the entrance to the Red Sea. However, I have a lot of experience of different parts of the coast of East Africa.

In 1973 I was an officer cadet on a British ship sailing south along the coast between Durban and East London when we, at about 03:00 fell into a huge trough in the waves. We, as I wrote, were steaming southwards along the edge of the continental shelf at about 21 knots. The wind was south west at about force 4 -5. The ships, named Bencruachan, survived the incident but was severely damaged. She is named on a plaque in the museum in East London as one of the vessels which was lost or severely damaged along the Wild Coast.

That aside, my advice is when going north along the east coast of South Africa is to hug the shore. You will receive the benefit of the counter current and avoid the freak waves which occur along the 100-fathom line.

Otherwise, see the advice given in the previous response.

Good luck with your trip.

Yours aye,

Stephen

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Old 12-01-2006, 02:48 PM   #4
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Oh, and regarding the pirate threat, if you go back a little while in the forum you will find that there was quite a long discussion about this.

[<font color="red">Admin Edit</font id="red">] Old thread: http://www.cruiserlog.com/forums/top...?TOPIC_ID=1355

In fact, I am here in Aden to train the Yemeni Coast Guard and one of the issues we look at is the threat of pirates.

My advivce is to keep east of the island of Socotra and then head for the Yemeni coast before going up the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. This advice is not given in the naive belief that the Yemenis have an effective anti-pirate organisation. They don't. But there are very many small fishing vessels on the Yemeni coast, the people are surprisingly honest and hospitable and there are a number of ports along the coast.

Also, the Yemeni navy is equiped with new patrol boats (built in Oz) and the Yemeni Coast Guard has a number of new Malaysian built vessels as well as some older cutters donated by the U.S. Again, I am not saying that these organisations are effective but compared with the total lack of surveillance vessels on the other side of the Red Sea / Gulf of Aden, the Yemeni side certainly is the lesser of two evils. You will also find a number of foreign naval vessels visiting Yemeni ports; a German frigate left Aden just a short while ago and two British warships are expected here soon.

I think, given the alternatives you have, I would head from the Cape to St. Helena and from there go over to the Coast of Brasil, making landfall north of Recife before continuing northwards to about 20 degrees north and then head for the Azores and from there to Gibraltar. Why? Because I would avoid the risks of piracy and heavy weather in the Gulf of Aden / Red Sea as well as heavy weather and battling against the current between Cape Point and Port Elizabeth as well as the Wild Coast (which certainly deserves its name). Also, by heading accross the relatively narrow gap between St. Helena and Brasil before heading northwards, I would be avoiding the Canaries current which flows southwards along the west coast of Africa.

On further thought. If my final destination was in the western end of the Med or in its central part, I would definately go for the western route. If I was heading for Turkey or Greece, on the other hand, the Suez Canal route would have the advantage of being far shorter. People under estimate the Med. I sailed, many years ago, from Gibraltar to Haifa. That was a major lesson in geography. I discovered that the distance from Gib. to Haifa is about the same as from Gib. to New York!

But, at the end of the day, the choice is yours. Which ever way you go I wish you bon voyage.
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Old 12-01-2006, 04:15 PM   #5
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Hullo all

Thanks to Admin & Nausikaa for your valued info I shall take on that info and research the websites and books refered to.

As i get organised shall keep you all informed of my progress.

I am sure I shall be asking for a lot more advise as I plan and get ready for our new life at sea.

Rhodie
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Old 12-01-2006, 06:53 PM   #6
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Stephen, I was glad to see your post. I remember from last year here that you had plans to work in Yemen with their coastal forces and wondered what your thoughts were after arriving. You seem to be suggesting that a coastal surveillance capacity is getting the infrastructure it needs but is a long way from being able to man it effectively. Is that a fair summary? Do you have any personal views yet on today's level of risk for piracy in that region? It seems to have diminished a bit - or is talk of it the only thing that is diminishing? I'd surely welcome some further commentary on this issue when you have the time; I'll bet others would, as well.

BTW we're 'smack dab' in the middle of the Med at the moment: Malta. Your comment about its size is a good one. I make it about 2,000 miles from Gib to Israel via rhumb line stops in Sardinia, Sicily, Malta and Crete.

Jack
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Old 12-01-2006, 08:57 PM   #7
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Good to hear from you Jack. I hope you are enjoying Malta.

Yemen has aquired a considerable fleeet of coastal patol vessels. The U.S. donated a number of old Coastgurad cutters. These are not fast vessels and their condition is not good. In fact they are rapidly deteriorating. Malaysia recently donated three high speed coastal patrol boats to the Yemen Coast Guard. Nice, capable vessels. Yemen also bought 5 patrol boats from Australia for the Yemen Navy. Fast craft of a design used by the Oz customs service.

All in all, the material assets are not too bad but the main issue is that of lack of maintenance. My roll here has been operational training and that has gone reasonably well. The U.S. Navy has been doing a lot of work at the policy and strategy levels and the Royal Navy has been doing a lot of work relating to planned maintenance. I am sure the R.N. has been doing their best but planned maintenance is an unknown concept here. Despite having a container load of spares donated by the U.K., defect equippment is not changed. I have been fighting for three weeks just to have a mooring cleat fixed. (The cleat is stainless and had been bolted down with gavanised bolts, which predictably rusted). It is still not done!

The deployment of patrol boats, I believe, has reduced incidents of piracy in this area. The bad news is that, as soon as we pull out, I am convinced that the vessels will be run until something goes wrong and then it will not be fixed.

The Fisheries Research Institute here in Aden has a research vessel which has not been to sea for more than three years because a cooling water pump failed. When asked why it had not been fixed, I was told that they did not have the money. On the other hand, they have had the money to pay salaries to the entire crew these last three years. Now the vessel is a wreck and will cost a fortune to put in order.

In short, yes this area has become a bit safer but without further aid and training the coastal forces here will not be able to keep an adequate fleet at sea without which we will probably see an increase in piracy again.

All the best

Stephen
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Old 12-01-2006, 10:35 PM   #8
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Thank you, Stephen. Very interesting. Please see my private email to you about a possible follow-up.

Jack
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Old 12-18-2006, 01:03 PM   #9
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Hi Rhodie

When sailing along the south african coast, keep a sharp eye on the barometer as when it drops weather is going to pick up and depending on the rate of the falling baro will determine how strong the wind will be. Very important. Email me if you wish as I have done many trips up and down that coast line.

Brett
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