Djibouti to Suakin
12 days in so called civilization is more than enough but there was simply no chance to leave from Djibouti cause of the constant northerly winds and when its blowing 20knots in Bab el Mandeb it is more like 30knots on the nose – i don‘t need this.
But finally there is a so called weather window coming. Distance 620nm, in good conditions with southerly winds from 15-20knots an easy 4 day sail – so far the theory.
As usual it comes different, the weather window shrinks to 3 days, the winds are not constant at all only the first 200 miles is a strong south wind. BUT only 2 hours after leaving my autopilot decides to go on strike again and so i sail with small sails, much slower than planned through Bab el Mandeb, having here also the last stretch of pirate invested waters, it just takes me forever to get the pilot working again and speed up.
Already during the second night the wind goes to sleep after midnight and i only make a 3 knot average till the morning when sun and wind come back. After dark falls in, the wind sleeps as well is i do. There is no chance that i can do it in 4 days so i change my strategy and instead of sailing a direct course to Suakin i sail about 345 degrees, making more north than west. The thought is that the Northwind will come, 100% sure, question is just when, and it will be very important how far north i am at this time. With the shift of the wind from south to over east to north i will change course from north to the westnorthwest which will still be sail able without bumping to much in the growing waves.
Day 4 and the the boat is winding its way 40-50 degrees left and right, whats going on? It takes a while till a find out that a huge bush of seaweed is stuck in the starboard rudder turning the boat around and confusing my helpless autopilot as well as me. A 5 minute swim and with the help of a good knife the boat is ready to sail straight again as well as my strong odeur seems to be gone.
I can not even make it till Wednesday evening to Suakin, so one more night out and doing the last 80 miles through the coral filled waters. It is blowing 25 and then my autopilot fails again. This will be tough with that strong wind, not knowing exactly where i am, hundreds of reefs around me, shooting along with 7 knots.
I know i have about 15 miles of clear waters, so i take out my tools, sitting in the cockpit, the left hand on the tiller and steering, the right eye on the compass, the left eye on the autopilot which i hold with my feet to the ground so it can not fly around, and in the right hand my screw driver opening the case, and fiddling around in the entrails of the electronic and mechanic parts. 10 miles later it makes the first beep and an other 3 miles more till the autopilot is in place again, bringing me safe to Suakin which i reach around noon after 6 days of very intense sailing.
The anchorage is super safe in Suakin, you could not wish for better protection. The village has a interesting market, very friendly people, lots of donkeys, goats and sheep's running around freely everywhere and tons of fine sanddust.
The old town, which is situated on a small island, are just ruins, nobody living there anymore. The newer part on the mainland looks the same but with people in the downgoing houses, who cares, its warm, does not rain, so they can watch the stars from their beds.