It was expected to be an easy leg, but the Red Sea has so far proved a tougher challenge than envisaged for crew of Spirit of Cardiff

It was expected to be an easy leg, but the Red Sea has so far proved a tougher challenge than envisaged for crew of Spirit of Cardiff. Clive Tully reports:

“All right, own up. Which smart aleck told me the Red Sea was always flat? For the past three years, I’ve been deluding myself that Spirit of Cardiff’s passage through the Red Sea would be a doddle. Nothing less than a mill pond, in fact.

Now that I’m here, the truth is that we’re in a head sea, the waves beneath us rather like sleepers on a railway track, with the occasional few sleepers, and indeed railway embankment, missing. Every now and then a larger rogue wave appears, and whoever’s at the throttle has to knock it back quickly to avoid doing us too much damage. The boat handles it just fine, of course – it’s the crew that sustains the injuries.

Last night’s passage through the Gulf of Suez was pretty spectacular. On either side of us, as far as the eye could see, oil rigs blazed with lights, some of them flaring off gas in huge balls of fire which lit up the night sky.

On the minus side (not that everything else was a plus), we’re now minus one microwave cooker, so no hot drinks or cooked meals. It all happened rather dramatically last evening when the smell of burning filled the cabin, the result of an electrical short in a power socket adjacent to the cooker.

Given the rather bumpy sea conditions, we’ve been having a relatively relaxing day, making the most of the sunshine. But when we discover the southerly wind that’s providing the problem is set like this for another 24 hours, and we’re still 300 miles from Jeddah making just 10 knots, Alan decides to go for it and open the throttle. If nothing else, he’d pass an audition for a remake of “Death Race 2000″. But it’s just too painful, and we throttle back once more to 10 knots. So, Jeddah- sometime on Thursday. Hopefully…”