Following the success of the 2005 Med-Red Rally, the first international yacht rally to transit the Suez Canal, the organisers have announced the 2nd event for next year.

In March, over 500 sailors hoisted sail from Tel Aviv marina and set course for Port Said where the Israeli contingent received a lively introduction to Egyptian hospitality in the Suez Canal. The convoy of 50 yachts was the largest convoy ever to pass through De Lessep’s famous waterway. “The Canal authorities stopped commercial shipping for almost a whole day as we made our way under engine between Africa and Asia,” said Eitan Friedlander, one of the rally’s founding organisers.

Red Sea Rally 2005“Unbelievable,” is the word Tel Aviv based sail maker Easy Swissa used to describe the scene as night fell. “I looked astern and saw a fairground of navigation lights stretching back up the Canal into the darkness.”

The Med-Red 2006 will build on the success of the first rally. ”At first we weren’t sure how the Egyptian authorities would react,” says Swissa, ”but they were fantastic hosts and all the stories we’d heard about masses of paperwork and red tape to make the canal transit just faded away.” The yachts also enjoyed a special, low canal toll for making the trip as a group. Registration will soon be open for yachtsmen to join the next Med-Red Rally already set for April 2006. www.med-red-rally.com