Take a look at Balmacara, a Corbin 39, running downwind in the Bab Al Mandeb.
There are forty-five knots of wind coming up the stern, short steep seas,
blowing desert sand, and freighters in the haze welcoming us to the Red
Sea. True Adventure.
The Bab Al Mandeb lies at the southern entrance of the Red Sea and is
seventeen miles wide. This patch of water won't disappoint you if what
you're looking for is adventure. The mountains on both sides of the Bab al
Mandeb create a wind acceleration zone that frequently pumps the winds up to
fifty knots. And fifty knot winds in the desert would be incomplete unless
they picked up some dust and created an awesome duststorm that reduces your
visibility to less than a mile. On top of that throw in a couple dozen
freighters steaming by at full speed through the haze. True Adventure.
Once you make it through the Bab, you can remain in the wind acceleration
zone for as long as thirty-six hours if you are unlucky. That means a
relatively sleepless night as you bounce along in the darkness with steep
seas coming up your stern, or your other choice is to anchor behind a
headland in Eritrea, and immediately achieve the status of illegal alien.
We chose to go the illegal alien route and anchor behind a deserted
headland, Ras Terma. The last three miles to Ras Terma had 38 knots of
wind on the nose, but with both Yanmars at full throttle, we put our anchor
down in ten feet of water several hundred meters from the beach. True
the full force of the sand storm. For two days, stinging sand polished our
bows and collected in our cockpit. We could either sit inside the hot salon
of our battened down cabin, or lounge in the cool and comfortable cockpit
wearing sand goggles. True Adventure.
When we were in Thailand planning the next leg of the circumnavigation, we
had misgiving about sailing up the Red Sea. We debated whether we should
sail south around the Cape of Good Hope or face the rigors and rumors of Red
Sea cruising. We chose the Red Sea, we sailed through the Bab Al Mandeb,
and we had a True Adventure