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Old 08-04-2013, 12:48   #1
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Anyone Sailing Somalia?

Hi all,
To to the reduction in piracy over the last few years, has anyone gone through the Suez canal and the gulf of Aden?
Im looking to bring a yacht from the Med to East Africa and not sure if this route is now passable and if so, at what risk?
Are there escorted flotillas through the gulf?

Any advice or comments welcome.

Cheers

Sean
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Old 08-04-2013, 12:55   #2
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Re: Anyone Sailing Somalia?

What is the boat's speed under motor? Would you be perhaps be thinking of hiring some "temporary supplemental special crew members" to accompany you?
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Old 08-04-2013, 13:06   #3
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Re: Anyone Sailing Somalia?

Boat speed is 8 knots at full tilt or 6.5 knots cruising.
Special crew could be an option if needed but need to determine the risk first.
I dont feel like an extended holiday in Somalia!
Are there Navy escorts for flotillas? Or any flotillas where there is safety in numbers?
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Old 08-04-2013, 14:04   #4
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Re: Anyone Sailing Somalia?

There are flotillas, though maybe not when you'd like them to happen. Not likely a naval escort, unless you're a Russian multi-billionaire.
Last I heard there was a "corridor" where naval folks would kind of sort of keep an eye out and be doing some patrols for a portion of the passage.

So, some wild, crude, theoretical guesses from an absolute non-expert via the PFA algorithm (PFA = "plucked from the air"). Maybe someone who actually knows something can replace these with real numbers...
assumptions: 44' sailboat, 3 crew, boat worth $125 000, extra fuel on board, reliable engine and good level of mechanical skills and spares.

option 1 ... put the boat on top of a ship. $45,000 -- including not just shipping cost, but voyage to loading point, preparation, constructing cradle if needed, crew travel, insurance, etc. Some opportunity cost of waiting for a ship going your way.

option 2 ... Suez. Slow convoy, coordinated and in communication with naval authorities, no "special crew" on board. More guesses -- chance of captivity 1 in 200, ransom value of crew $ 2 000 000 in US dollars. Assumes convoy is not sailing during time of year when strong winds blowing up the Red Sea are more frequent. Usual wear and tear and damage to boat, sails, and gear, maybe costing $5 000, usual other customary annoyances and hardships.

2b: special crew on board, cost $15 000, chance of captivity essentially nil, but still a chance of damage or injury.

option 3... Cape of Good Hope. Longer transit time (value of this time ??), maybe a little more need for crew, definitely more wear and tear ($15 000 -- 20 000 ???), somewhat more chance loss of vessel (1 in 500 ??? $ 125 000 vessel ???). Assume voyage is planned for best time of year... may require additional delay.

Crew experience, time available, climate tolerance of crew, value of opportunity to visit particular places, value of chance of extended in-depth study of local culture.... all in the "your mileage may vary" category.

All these numbers are arbitrary guesses -- put in your own.
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Old 08-04-2013, 15:03   #5
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Re: Anyone Sailing Somalia?

It has been a long time since I have been out that way, the shooting had not quite died down from the US invasion, the passage was nice, however there wasn't any wind, as in flat calm, you could see the reflection of the stars on the ocean surface. Come the rainy season the winds pick up and provide for some steady winds from north to south. We saw a few dhows other than that military vessels. I would be reluctant to sail that way just now. If I were to plan a trip down that way, I would stay well offshore, 200nm at least. There are a couple of choke points before you make the turn south that would be hazardous at best with regards to the bad guys hanging around.
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Old 08-04-2013, 15:34   #6
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Re: Anyone Sailing Somalia?

Any Somali Pirates reading this?
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Old 09-04-2013, 05:26   #7
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Re: Anyone Sailing Somalia?

They already know where to hide out for unsuspecting cruisers passing by.
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Old 09-04-2013, 05:28   #8
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Re: Anyone Sailing Somalia?

The dhows being mostly wooden provide a very intermittent radar target, very hard to see on the screen, and few have lights.
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