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Rally/convoy heading to the Red Sea

by Rene Tiemessen/Sail-World Cruising on 31 Aug 2010
Thailand to Turkey - organised by Alondra, who has been sailing in Thailand since 2007 .. .
The Tiemessen family, sailing in their Phillip Rhodes designed sloop Alondra, a 60ft classic yacht, are heading from Thailand to Turkey via the Red Sea, and organising an informal rally or convoy for the journey, beginning the transit in early 2011.

The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) strongly recommends against travelling this route because of the pirate activity in the area, but it doesn't stop dozens of yachts from making the journey. Travelling by convoy has long been recognised as sensible for yachts travelling through the Gulf of Aden, with recent convoys hugging the coast of Yemen to remain under the control of the Yemeni Coastguard. Yemen has played a significant role in recent years in the war against piracy, with coordination centres in three Yemeni cities.

Alondra has already transited this area in 2007 in the reverse direction, visiting Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, Eritrea, Yemen, Oman, India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives on their way to Thailand. On board for the voyage back to the Mediterranean are Rene and Edith Tiemessen, their two-year-old daughter Devi, all from the Netherlands, and American crew member Kate Schafer.

According to the Tiemessens, over the years a clear view has developed as to how to organize the convoy from Salalah into the Red Sea.

While reluctant to divulge details of the plan on the internet for security reasons, the couple are confident, using the experience of their own previous passage and innumerable transits by others. In addition, they remind us, on their website, that no leisure yacht has been attacked by Somali pirates in the most recent season.

The rally/convoy will address such issues as:
Notifying and staying in touch with the proper authorities
Sailing with a group leader, acting as the sole one to take on group decisions
Not more than 5 or 6 boats together per group being able to maintain the same speed
Code names
Distance to the coast and strict route planning
Fishing nets and a plan to cut nets off propeller of any one boat if necessary
Formation and distance
Navigational lights
General radio conversations
Plan of attack
Keeping together
Towing plan
Mayday, Distress

The intention is to leave Phuket on or around the 15th January, and end in the Med the beginning of April 2011, in spring.

In the middle of December they will organize a meeting in Phuket for the yachts that have joined up with all detailed information.

For more information, go to the!website which has been specially set up for the voyage.

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