Update for Red Sea Passage and Cochin India (June 2018)

See Wade Alarie’s update (Administrator for the Facebook Group RED SEA PASSAGE) at the bottom of the page – June 2018. All cruisers contemplating this route are encouraged to join the group.

Published 5 years ago, updated 3 years ago

Dear Noonsite,

I have been sailing some 15 years with 75,000 miles logged so far. So many miles because I crossed the Pacific several times.

We created a number of Facebook pages to help yachts making their first passages in the Indian Ocean.

South Atlantic Ocean Crossing

Indian Ocean Crossing

Red Sea Passage (This is a closed FB group. If you would like to join, please email Wade Alarie at [email protected]).

We have about 50 boats a year opting for a South African route. Only in the last couple of years has the Red Sea route seen a reemergence as a viable option. It has been several years since a yacht has been attacked on the route. Risk comparison between pirates and the weather problems around South Africa are always on yachties minds.

With the decrease in pirate activity on the Red Sea approaches there has been a ramping up of the number of yachts making a Red Sea passage.

Access to any of the Facebook groups can be gained by an email message to Bob Bechler, [email protected]. Please include the email address associated with your Facebook page.

Last year there were 4 boats making a northbound passage thru the Red Sea and 2 southbound. For 2018 we have a dozen in our northbound database, but realistically I think the number will be 8.  None of the vessels last year encountered any difficulties and none of our boats hired armed security. Stops were made at Socotra Island, Suakin Sudan and Egypt. Detailed passage reports are on our Facebook page and some have been submitted to Noonsite.

The Cochin International Marina has long been the traditional departure point for northbound Red Sea passages. Even though pirate activity has reduced the number of boats making the passage the advantages remain. Excellent stop for provisioning, good marina security, an interesting tourist experience, and excellent medical facilities are available. The recent visa change which allows e-visa entry into Cochin makes a visa solution inexpensive and easy.

Vessels interested in a Red Sea Passage can make contact and join our Facebook pages. The crossings are not formal rally’s. Rather they are for information exchange and mutual security if desired. Informal fleets can time their departures and sail together. Radio nets help keep all informed.

Bob & Alex Bechler
SV Sisiutl

Useful info from Albert Cook who posted this update on the Red Sea page:

In Egypt, there are two main agents that deal with yachts transiting the Suez Canal namely Prince of Red Sea and Felix. I wrote to both in early 2017. The below was their responses:

According to Prince of Red Sea, 2015 they saw 27 yachts sail through the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea either heading towards S.E Asia or towards the Mediterranean Sea and in 2016 that figure was 27. At the time of writing, we are aware of at least 10 yachts that sailed this route so far in 2017.

Felix quoted that in 2015/2016 85 Yachts transited South through the Suez Canal with some 70 yachts transiting North and in 2016/2017 it was 70 and 50 respectively.

Not one incident was reported.

Editor’s Note: A transit of the Suez channel does not necessarily mean a Red Sea transit too. Some yachts go to Egypt via Suez, stay for a period and then return to the Med. Egypt presents a non-Schengen destination to allow time to pass so they can again return to a Schengen country.

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  1. October 4, 2018 at 7:04 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    Although it is only June 2018, I have a very good idea of which boats have already passed through the Suez Canal and the Red Sea. There have been 31 private yachts that made the passage, of which 5 have made a North to South Passage. The boat names are: ANNA SAARA, AURA, BENYLEO 2, BONAVENTURE (North to South), BLUE PELICAN, CANNONBALL, DR NO, ELAS, ENIGMA, ESPRIT 3, GALAXY (North to South), GREEN BOAT, INCRESCENT MOON, ITCHY FEET, KANDU, KINGS LEGEND, LEVENTEIA (North to South), LYKA, MIYAGI MOON (North to South), ORONO 1, PHOENIX, ROCK & ROLL STAR, RON GLAS (North to South), RONIN, SALIMA 2, SOUL, SORCERESS, SOUTHERN WING, SPIRIT OF AFRICA, VIMY, YACUBAL. I’m certain that there are more boats that have made the passage, but these are NAMED yachts, and not just statistics reported by agents.
    As the Administrator for the Facebook Group RED SEA PASSAGE – I encourage cruisers who are contemplating this route to join the group. Since it is a secret, closed group – membership is vetted. You may email me at [email protected] to inquire. Wade Alarie / SV Joana / http://www.joana.ca

    A logical port to stage out of for a Westbound crossing of the Red Sea is Cochin Marina, India. Contact Nigel Joseph marina manager, +91 97470 57015, email to [email protected] Send vessel name, mono or cat, dimensions, ETA and length of stay, to reserve space in the marina.

  2. October 4, 2018 at 7:01 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    I was sailing up from South Africa from Dec. 22, 2017, onwards, passed the GoA and the Red Sea – arrived somewhen end of January in Turkey. Nothing happened in the high-risk area. Was doing the Suez passage also with Felix which was working great. For more info please visit http://www.lifgun.com

    1. December 3, 2019 at 9:41 PM
      abdofelix says:

      thanks captain markus from felix team and hope to see you soon

    2. March 1, 2020 at 4:34 PM
      alifuatgokce says:

      i am planning to make a south bound passage of suez with 2 Turkish passport holder on board with a 8,9 m sailing catamaran. What would be my expanse? my email [email protected]

    3. March 6, 2020 at 11:22 PM
      profile photo
      sue-richards says:

      Hi Ali, you can work this out yourself from our useful Suez Canal planning doc. which includes all fees. See https://www.noonsite.com/report/suez-canal-transit-information/
      It’s always worth putting the subject of what you are researching into Noonsite’s search – for example “Suez” – and you get a comprehensive list of everything on the site with that word in the title. See https://www.noonsite.com/?s=Suez.

  3. October 4, 2018 at 6:58 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    I have been compiling a list of named cruising sailboats that have made this passage, either Northbound or Southbound and this is what I have so far. 2015

    (15 Yachts went from South to North, according to Jimmy Cornell)




    ZOOMAX (Italian flag)



    BERSERKER – (2 on board, north to south transit non-stop. Egypt to Oman)

    GIAMPI (October 2016)





    TINKERBELL (NL Flagged, husband/wife and two girls onboard)


    AMBER NECTAR (UK Flagged)

    HOPE (NL Flagged) (Joshua and Katia)

    JUBILEE (buddy boat to Sea Turtle IV, unknown flag)

    LA BELLE ANAIS (French flagged)

    LUKE 8:24 (Australian flagged)

    STORM BIRD (Turkish flagged)

    SEA TURTLE IV (Canadian Flagged)

    TWIGA (German flagged) http://www.twiganauten.com

    UHURU (UK flagged)

    I will be posting the 2018 fleet names, once I have them. I am sure there are other boats that have made the passage, they just haven’t blogged about it. Also, Bob Bechler has handed over Administrator duties to me. If someone is interested in joining the Red Sea Passage Facebook group, please email me at [email protected] I’ll need to review your interest in joining and look at your profile.
    Wade Alarie / SV Joana / http://www.joana.ca

  4. October 4, 2018 at 6:57 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    I’m happy to report that we now have over 20 boats interested in a Red Sea transit in 2018. Most are planning a departure from Cochin, India.
    Bob Bechler
    SV Sisiutl