IT Red Sea to South Indian Ocean

IT221, a direct course leads to WP IT222, off the Horn of Africa, which is rounded by setting course for WP IT223, off Cape Guardafui. From there the course goes due south to WP IT224 off Ras Hafun and then runs parallel to the African coast passing through WP IT225 and crossing the equator at WP IT226. A first port of entry into Kenya is at Lamu. The other two official ports of entry are Malindi (3 °13'S, 40 °07'E) and Mombasa <4°04'S, 39'41'E).

During the SW monsoon the coast of Africa can only be reached by taking a roundabout route via the Seychelles. Having passed north of Socotra, the course leads SE and crosses the equator as far west as the winds will permit. Having met the SE trade winds between latitudes 2 °S and 4 °S, the course can be shaped to pass north of the Seychelles and on to Kenya. Alternatively a stop can be made in the Seychelles and East Africa reached later. See also routes IS42 and IS43 (pages 415 and 416).

Best time:

September to November

Tropical storms:

May to June, October (North Indian)

November to March (South Indian)



BA: 3, 39, 64

US: 170, 171,172



Destination Distance (M)

Roule II23A

IT231 Mandeb té^O'IMSMO'E


1T231 Mandeb

IT232 Asir 12'10'N, 50"45'E IT233 Guardafui


IT237 Socotra NE 13'20'N. 54'30'E IT238

Victoria 1487

Fouquet 2276

Although most yacht traffic in the Red Sea is from south to north, every year a number of boats sail to various destinations in the South Indian Ocean by this more direct route from Europe and the Mediterranean.

Similar considerations apply for the first part of the voyage as far as the Horn of Africa as described in route IT22. Passages to the Seychelles during the NE monsoon (route IT23A) benefit from favourable conditions once the Horn of Africa has been left behind. Therefore the early part of the voyage should coincide with the transition period to avoid contrary winds in the Gulf of Aden. From WP IT233, off Cape Guardafui, the direct route crosses the equator at WP IT234. The next WP IT235 lies halfway between Bird and Denis, the northernmost Seychelles Islands. From there, a course can be set for WP IT236, three miles north of the entrance into Port Victoria. Port Control should be contacted on VHF channel 16. Arriving yachts must anchor 3 cables north of Victoria lighthouse.

The SW monsoon provides better conditions for reaching the further island groups in the South Indian Ocean, such as Chagos. On the route from the Red Sea to Chagos and Mauritius (route IT23B), easting is made north of the equator, which is crossed between longitudes 70 °E and 72"E. Landfall in Chagos is made at WP IT239, north of Peros Banhos. Southbound from Chagos the same directions apply as for route IS36 (page 412). A September passage from the Red Sea would also benefit from more favourable sailing conditions for the next leg to Mauritius, provided it takes place before the start of the cyclone season in the South Indian Ocean. For boats which have reached the South Indian Ocean towards the end of the year, the next leg of the voyage from either the Seychelles or Chagos to destinations further south should be postponed until after the end of the cyclone season in the South Indian Ocean. See also route IS41 (page 414).

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