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Old 08-17-2006, 09:15 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 10
Default Djibouti westwards across the indian ocean

Hello everyone. I have to take a cat down the Red Sea and then across to Sri Lanka on to Thailand next year. Has anyone gone that way in September/October, and if so, what were the winds/currents? Oh, and has anyone actually met with the pirate problem off Somalia?

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Old 08-17-2006, 10:41 PM   #2
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First - I believe you'd better flip your chart around!

To the best of my limited knowledge the voyage you describe is more east than west.

A Pilot Chart of the IO will provide best info on wind & currents for any given month.

"Oh, and has anyone actually met with the pirate problem off Somalia?"

A group of four open speedboats approached us close enough to get eye-to-eye with the pricks when we were 35 miles off the coast of Yemen in 2001. We were traveling west in convoy with ten yachts. Each speedboat had three or four desperados. They claimed to be fishing but there was no gear in sight and the water was thousands of feet deep. They didn't bother us for anything more than water & smokes but I feel certain the affair would have ended differently if we had been sailing alone.

I suggest you plot a course directly between the Horn of Africa & Yemen and make best speed until well clear of Socotra. You can take fuel & provisions in Salalah, Oman. Things will start to get better in the Maldives.

Try to spend some time at your destination. I believe the region around Phuket is among the finest cruising destinations on this planet.

Have fun,


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Old 08-17-2006, 11:57 PM   #3
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 10

Many thanks for the guidance. And of course you're right! I have belatedly come to realise that certain spell checkers don't get - and indeed automatically correct - "west-east"! So now I look a right pratt! I'll see if it allows the word eastabout in future....

Thanks for the info on the piracy - seems like it's best to convoy up. Frightening stuff....

the only Pilot I can find is Heikell's and that's 7 years old, but new edition next year so they say. Do you know of any others?

And your advice on Phuket is spot on - and the reason for this trip - she'll be based either at Yacht Haven up top of Phang Nga bay or at the Southern tip - or at the new marina (yet another, being built) on the NE shoulder of Phuket.

Thanks again,

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Old 08-18-2006, 02:11 AM   #4
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I am in Aden just now working with the Yemeni Coast Guard. There is a tremendous training programme going on here at the moment to bring the coast guard up to scratch. The American are here in a big way and the British to a lesser extent. The Yemeni Coast Guard is coming along quite nicely but they lack larger vessels and so have difficulty patrolling the entire coastline.

The scuttlebutt arround here though is that the piracy incidents are almost always from the other side of the Red Sea where the rule of law has broken down completely. Here, at least, there is a semblance of organisation.

If I were coming down the Red Sea, I would stick to the main shipping lanes as there is a fair chance that there are larger commercial vessels or even foreign warships in that area. If I had to choose one coast over the other, I would choose the Yemeni.

As far as Sucottra is concerned, that is probably the most law abiding part of the whole of Yemen - and an interesting Island.

I can recommend the British Admiralty's routing charts for weather information. You will find them in a tremendous publication called Ocean PAssages of the World. It is pricy so get your local library to get it for you if possible and then make a note (I dare not say photocopy as that would be an offence) the relevant info and charts.

Bon voyage.


Yacht NAUSIKAA | Call Sign: 2AJH2



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Old 08-18-2006, 02:55 PM   #5
Join Date: Sep 2004
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Another way to obtain wind/current information is the program Visual Passage Planner.

Nausikaa is correct when he says that the Yemenis reckon all pirates are from Somalia. I had a group(14) of Aden Marine Police and Police on board checking bullet holes and checking for finger prints in 2000. When they asked me what the pirates looked like, I said "just like you". Oh No they replied, they were Somalis. The finger print guy was from Somalia, he quietly asked me did they look like him. No I said they were not like you. The boss of the Marine Police would not let me put in my report that the pirates looked like they were from Yemen.

Stay well clear of Somalia on your trip.

Most yachts have no problems going thru the Gulf of Aden. Have done it twice and about to do it again in February.

May catch up with you around Phuket/Langkawi.

Happy Sailing, Stephen
Happy Sailing,


Crowther Windspeed 36

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Old 08-18-2006, 03:42 PM   #6
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 10

Ouch! All this talk of bullet holes is scaring me! But you guys are a mine of information, thanks. Nice to get the SP from people who've 'been there, done that' and in my total novice situation.....

Hope to catch up with you guys en route

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Old 08-21-2006, 05:36 PM   #7
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Each year a couple of hundred yacht pass that area. And how many pirate reports did you see? Crooks everywhere, that's true, and **** happens, but if you prepare well you'll find that the incident-area is quite narrow (< 100 nm), so with good timing can pass this largely at night... Risks minimal; bigger risk that you'll be accidently run over by one of the many coalition forces warships in the area.. :-)



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