We signed up for the last edition of TTT (2011). When we reached the Maldives
, there had been little communication from the leader - he did not have SSB
and his email
system seemed refuse to talk to Sailmail. He was also stuck in Sri Lanka with severe technical problems (later he only completed the passage
by being towed considerable distances by a smaller yacht in his group). It was also clear that the piracy
situation had changed, spreading across the Arabian Sea and no longer concentrated in the Gulf of Aden. It was rumoured that the TTT response would be to take a coastal route
north, adding many extra sea miles without gaining extra distance from the pirated areas. We decided to take another option and joined an impromptu convoy, but well organized and disciplined, which stuck together from the Maldives
to the Red Sea. Most of the other yachts originally signed up with TTT took alternative routes - only 9 of the almost 30 yachts listed in January completed the passage
TTT stated that it was not to be profit making and any surplus funds would go towards the Chandlers, who were released before the event (each signed up boat
paid 250 euros). Requests for refunds on the basis that service
had not been provided and/or accounts of how the money
had been spent were curtly dismissed. Now the fee is 495 euros.
The incidents involving Quest, Ing and the more recent French yacht perhaps illustrate a further escalation of danger
to yachts in the region. Before we departed the Maldives, no yacht had been attacked along that route
for over a year.
Any yacht considering joining TTT, or even making the passage at all, needs to take all these factors into account before committing.