www.Red Sea Rally.com
Between October 31 2005 and April 30 2006 we did the Vasco da Gama Yacht Rally. Inspired by the will to explore the unknown and vivid stories of some yachtsmen we thought it time for an international yachting activity to take place in the Red Sea and Arabian Sea area.
This rally had a limited participation of 30 yachts. Eventual participation rose beyond expectation and a total of over 70 yachtsmen from many different countries cruised with us for over 4.000 nautical miles. At all ports, rich social activities and guided sightseeing excursions where arranged for the rally participants. There was great public interest everywhere.
Turkey October 26-31, 2005
At the last days of October 2005 we all came together in Setur Marina Finike, they offered us two free nights' stay and a lovely farewell party.
Egypt November 3-December 7, 2005
In Port Said, Mr.Nagib Latif
(Director of Felix Agency), arranged special prices and discounts for harbours
and with the Suez Canal Authorities. The smallest yacht paid around $350US,
the biggest $500US. All yachtsman were invited to a very nice diner, with many
local officials, traditional music and dance.
From Ismaylia, we had our first tour to the museum in Cairo, the Pyramids and the Sfinx.
The anchorages down the Gulf of Suez gave wonderful diving and snorkel opportunities in unspoiled and remote places visited only by sailing yachts.
Several yachts visited Abu Tig marina along the way and enjoyed the luxury and nice ambiance very much. Philip Jones, the marina manager, provided a perfect service to the visiting yachts.
Sharm El Sheikh was visited November 24 till December 2, 2005. A large part of the group went to Sainte Catharine Monastery and visited the Sinai National Park.
Jordan December 7-20, 2005
In Aqaba the yachtsman participated
in the opening from Talabay Marina, situated in a very luxurious resort. Reporters
from almost all Jordan newspapers and 3 TV-network crews work together with
the rallygroup on an unforgetable opening for this new marina-resort. We very
much appreciated the hospitality offered from the Talabay Chairman Mr. Ziad
Abu Jaber, the marina manager Ahmed Qatawneh and the wonderfull Nikky.
During our 10 days' (free!) stay we had 2 excursions, one 4-day trip to Petra, Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea, and a 1-day trip to Petra which were enjoyed by almost every yachtsman in the rallygroup.
Between events some diving yachties found their way into the Gulf and had an unforgettable and unexpectedly good experience under water.
Israel December 20-January 7, 2006
In Eilat, Mr. Doron Heler the marinamanager and his staff did a good job to give place to all the yachts in this already crowded marina. We had a fixed price here of $150US for every boat, big or small. Many yachties visited Jerusalem and many other places from here.
Egypt January 7-31, 2006
Port Ghalib Marina. In this new marina still under construction and situated in a huge holiday resort we stayed 15 days, till 23 January 2006. This huge resort is built in the style of Port Grimaud in France. The management invited us with a free stay as well as an exclusive diner in the new Coral Beach Diving Hotel. Also Camper and Nicholson who participate in this new marina were so nice to give us a welcome reception. From here we make a excursion to Luxor. As Port of Entry and the last port in Egypt, the efficient working marina staff did a great job. Mr. James Pringle, senior Counselor from the M.A. Kharafi Group, and Capt. Sherif Fawzy the marina manager give all the yachties a wonderful time in their marina.
Sudan February 1-10, 2006
We had our first casualty here on the remote Sudanese coast. One of the yachts hit a reef and was sinking, but saved thanks to the efforts of other rally participants. Later we had a 1 week stay in Suakin, the oldest natural harbour in the Red Sea. From here we went on a trip through the dessert to Port Sudan.
Eritrea February 15-March 3, 2006
Anchored in the well protected
harbour of Massawa most yachties enjoy the trip to the capital Asmara, situated
in the mountains 2.200 meters high. The waters in this part of the Red Sea aren't
as clear as in the North, but the cruising ground with all the shattered islands
Then happened a gruelling thing, a yacht caught fire and was ablaze within minutes. The crew aboard could get of in time and floated around in their liferaft. Again the value of the group payed off for they were picked up in minutes after the accident, bereaved of everything they had. Later on another yacht hit a reef along the Eritrean coast and had to be left waiting repairs in Assab.
Jemen March 7-28, 2006
In Aden something went wrong
in the rally organisation. Where we had arranged escort for the group as a whole,
the chairman choose to break up the group in smaller parts.
This affected the safety of the trip for the group as a whole.
Oman March 29-April 7, 2006
Salalah Port, the biggest
Container Harbour in the Arabian Sea, we were assigned a space for yachts inside
the harbour, but space was limited. The harbour authorities (Mr. Bart Noothoven
van Goor, Mr. Rolf van Strijbos, Mr. Mohammed Hardan and yachtclub owner Mr.
Cyril van der Merwe) organised many things. In co-operation with the tourist
office they showed us a very nice folklore show and Cyril gave us a very nice
BBQ-evening in the Club. We ran to Muscat to arrange visas for India.
Then we started the longest trip in this rally, 1100 miles to Mumbai. With the season still favourable we had a very good sail to India.
India April 17-27, 2006
In Mumbay a very warm welcome was organised by our sponsors and counterpart in India, the H2O organisation of Mr. Somani and his staff and Marine Solutions (Gen.Maj. S.Dutta VSM retd. and Mr. Col. Gautama Dutta and his wife Anju). The flag-in ceremony held by Vice-Admiral S.S.Bais and the following diner where great. All the Rally members became honourable members of the Royal Bombay Yacht Club (the oldest yachtclub in the Far East) and this allowed us to use all the facilities from this club. At the last night we got a nice dinner-party in the club, offered by the President of the club, Mr. Gulshan Rai.
Our Indian counterparts
organised a race in co-operation with the Maharashtra Bureau of Tourism, called
it the Vasco da Gama Cup and most of the rallyboats left participated in it.
4 open sailingboats from the Indian Navy joined in it too. The route lead along
the coast to the first stop, the fishing harbour Jaigarh. We were invited in
a resort on account of and the day after we had the second leg to Panjim in
Mr. Pratapsingh Rane, Chief Minister of the state of Goa, attended the welcoming ceremony and and handed over the Vasco da Gama cup to the winning boat (of the Indian Navy of course).
And Drishti Marina was created, with Commander Patil and the staff in Goa supervising. Due to newly bound relations, enough substance could be archieved to establish a small new marina in the Mandovi River in the centre of Panjim city.
Our rally has been recognized as the single most important activity for the yachting community in the Middle East. With the successful organisation, the mission we assumed has been achieved.