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.