IT Seychelles to Red

Best time: Tropical storms: Charts:


Cruising guides: Waypoints:


September to mid-October

May to June, October to November (North Indian)

BA: 3, 39, 64 US: 170, 171, 172 Red Sea Pilot.


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Destination Distance (M)

Route ITJfiA IT60 Mahe N 4'34'S, 55'27'E

oDoo',5roo'E IT162

3'30'N, 49'00'E IT163 Hafun 10°30'N, 52"00'E IT 164 Guardafui 12'00'N,5r50'E IT165

IT166 Tadjoura 1V4m.43CJ\3'£ IT167 Yemen S WMN.AS'OO'Z

Djibouti 1693 ?r36.57V. 43r07.5'E Aden 1584 12*48% 44'58'E

UouU* ITIbli

O'OQ', 63'00'E "T169 SocctraNE


[IT164 Guardafui] IT165

!T166 Tadjoura

Djibouti 2153

The best time to make this passage is towards the end of the SW monsoon, in September or early October, when the strength of the winds begins to subside in the NW part of the Indian Ocean. At this time of year the SE trade winds reach as far north as the equator. From there the winds become gradually SW and blow with increasing force as one approaches Socotra Island. This area is notorious for its high frequency of gales during the SW monsoon and this is the reason why an earlier passage, during July or August, is not recommended. Even towards the end of the SW monsoon winds can be very strong and this fact combined with the strong currents usually produce rough seas around the Horn of Africa.

Taking one's departure from WPIT160, off North Point on Mahe Island, boats sailing during the rec ommended period (route IT16A) should follow a NW course on leaving the Seychelles so as to cross the equator at WP IT161. If conditions allow it, more westing should be made while south, before the equator is crossed. This avoids the strong current that sets SE during the transitional period between monsoons. From the equator the course can be altered for WP IT162 from where the route runs parallel to the African coast. Along this coast the Somali Current sets strongly to the north and can reach rates as high as 170 miles per day in the area south of Socotra Island. During the transitional period, the SE trade winds blow as far as the equator and favourable winds can be held into the Gulf of Aden. In October winds in that area will be SW or S. However, the passage must not be left too late, because NE winds start to predominate north of the equator after the second half of October. Thick haze and poor visibility make navigation hazardous along the African coast and a safe distance should be kept off the coast both at night and in day time.

From WPIT162 a course can be set for WPIT163, off Ras Hafun. From there the course turns almost due north to WP IT164, NE of Cape Guardafui. Having reached the Horn of Africa, the route passes SW of Socotra towards WP IT165, in the Gulf of Aden. If the intention is to call at Djibouti, from WP IT165 a course can be set for WP IT166, in the Gulf o£ Tadjoura. The route passes south of the Musha Islands and then turns SW towards the port of Djibouti avoiding the various dangers, all of which are marked by buoys. The recommended anchorage (ll"36.rN, 43°08.rE) is off the Djibouti Yacht Club whose facilities may be used by visiting boats. The various authorities are in the nearby commercial harbour and must be visited to complete entry formalities.

From WP IT165, boats bound for Aden should alter course for WP IT167, at the entrance into the port of Aden. A marked channel leads into the Inner Harbour, where yachts anchor off the customs dock. Boats are normally met on arrival by a port control launch and directed to the anchorage.

Although better conditions may be experienced during the SW monsoon, the time of arrival in the Red Sea may not agree with most people's plans, unless one is prepared to spend the coming winter in the Red Sea and only reach the Mediterranean the following spring. Mainly for these reasons,

IT17 Kenya to Red Sea most boats tend to make this passage in the early part of the year (route IT16B). If the passage is attempted during the NE monsoon, sufficient easting should be made south of the equator so that the NE winds will be met at a better angle. Because of the strong N or NW winds that will be met on leaving the Seychelles, a NE course should be sailed so that the equator is crossed as far east as longitude 66 °E or even 68 °E. The ground lost to the east will be made up later when a better sailing angle will ensure good speeds once under the full influence of the NE monsoon. However, it may not be always necessary to make so much easting south of the equator and boats that have made the passage towards the end of the NE monsoon, in late February or March, have been able to sail a more northerly course after leaving the Seychelles and have crossed the equator around longitude 63 °E (WP IT168). From the equator the course turns NW to pass, if conditions allow it, on the windward side of Socotra. During the NE monsoon winds in the Gulf of Aden are mostly easterly.

After the equator has been crossed, and if sufficient easting has been made, it should be possible to set a course that passes east of Socotra through WP IT169. If this proves impossible, or not convenient if the equator had been crossed too far to the west, a course should be set for WP IT164, NE of Cape Guardafui, to pass between Socotra and the Horn of Africa. From there similar directions apply as for the alternative route described above.

Best time: Tropical storms: Charts:


•Cruising guides: Waypoints:

Departure "

April to May, September June, October BA;4071


Intermediate Landfall


Distance (M)

IT171 Mombasa 4C00'S, 39'45'E


5n00'N,49*00'E IT174 Hafun 10'30'N, 52"00'E




Destination Distance (M)

IT 175 Guardafui



IT177 Tadjoura

Djibouti 1765

12'30'N, 50" '

ir40'N, 43C13'E


IT178 Yemen S

Aden 1656

12'44'N, 45'00'E

12'48'N, 44'58'E

This classic route of the Arab traders benefits from favourable winds throughout the SW monsoon, from May to September. However, as the winds often attain gale force during the months of July and August in the vicinity of Socotra and the Horn of Africa, the voyage is more comfortable either at the beginning or at the end of the SW monsoon. Good passages on this route have been made in September, when the winds are favourable both south and north of the equator and the strong Somali Current also gives a considerable boost to daily runs. The course runs parallel to the African coast, but because of the thick haze and poor visibility associated with the SW monsoon, particular attention must be paid to navigation. The most dangerous area is when approaching Ras Hafun, which has claimed several boats whose navigators had wrongly identified this headland. •

The time of departure is critical, as the transitional period is very short and the NE monsoon can sometimes arrive before the middle of October, when both winds and current change direction. (Alternatively, the passage can be made at the beginning of the SW monsoon, when winds might be lighter. If the passage is made at the height of the SW monsoon, in July or August, one must be prepared to put up with very strong winds and rough seas. Although strong, the winds will be favourable as far as the Horn of Africa, but in the Gulf of Aden strong westerly winds will make it very difficult to reach Bab el Mandeb.

If this passage is made during the NE monsoon it is better to wait until the end of March, so as to arrive north of the equator at the change of monsoons. On leaving Mombasa, easting should be made south of the equator, which should be crossed in about longitude 53*E. The best tack should be sailed from there northwards so as to pass between Socotra and Cape Guardafui.

Boats making this passage at the optimum time, in late April or early May, on leaving Mombasa at WPIT171 should sail a course parallel to the coast and cross the equator at WP IT172. Continuing parallel to the coast, the route then passes through WP IT 173 to WP IT174, off Ras Hafun. From here the course turns almost due north to WP IT175, NE of Cape Guardafui, to pass between Socotra and the Horn of Africa. Having passed the Horn of Africa, the route enters the Gulf of Aden and makes for WP IT176. From that point, boats bound for Djibouti should set a course for WP IT177 in the Bay of Tadjoura. Those planning to stop in Aden should alter course for WP IT178. See route IT16 for details on Djibouti and Aden.

Bist time:

July to September

Tropical storms:

May to June, October to November



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