The International Sailing Federation
has posted guidelines for dealing with the piracy threat. It is available on their web site, or can be downloaded here
I've extracted few paragraphs about the reality of sailing to, and through, the Gulf of Aden into the Red Sea, but there is much more information included that is important to read.
Q: Can yachts passing through the GoA expect a naval escort,
perhaps by forming a large convoy?
A: No. There are insufficient warships to provide this protection and their primary duties are
to guard World Food Programme and vulnerable merchant ships.
Q: Can I expect help from naval forces if attacked?
A: Realistically, probably not. It would take a skiff at 25 knots about 3 minutes from being
spotted to being alongside a yacht. Once pirates have boarded, the rules of engagement of
the naval forces prevent further action due to the risk of cross fire killing the yacht crew. The
skipper of the yacht Tanit was killed by cross fire in a 2008 rescue attempt.
Q: So what is the advice to yachts considering sailing through
A: The clear advice from MSCHOA is ‘Do not go’. Only do so if you have fully considered the
risks. If you decide to go ahead you are strongly encouraged to register in advance and to
report during the passage (see below).
For the transit of the Somali Basin you may wish to plot a course which keeps you clear of
the main areas of past activity. See chart above. However, the pirates follow their prey and
as merchant ships sail ever further east, so do the pirates.
Note the reality that at the speed that a pirate skiff can travel, there is about 3 minutes between its being spotted and its being alongside your boat. Unless your lifelines have been electrified, they would be aboard before anybody would even be able to change course to get to you.
Though the odds of being found and attacked by Somali pirates are quite small, the odds of escaping and attack are even smaller. In our approach to life we don't count on luck to save us.