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Old 22-07-2016, 06:17   #31
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pirate Re: OK, I'm asking --> Pirate questions

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Originally Posted by Gerrycooper56 View Post
Would agree about aggressive fishermen West of Panama. We were approached about 90miles off the pacific Colombian coast by an open fishing boat approaching at high speed with 3 males on board. As it turns out we gave them a beer each and they left, however if it had been anything else we would have been exposed as we were unarmed.


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Have experienced this myself around 150miles W of the Galapagos... the main reason was we were headed for their nets.. but they did ask if we had any beer so chucked a few cans across and got offered Swordfish in exchange.. don't eat fish tho'.. nice guys doing a shitty job.. get dropped off by the mother ship and left for days at a time..
5 miles further on we were greeted by another boat.. fish for smokes.. they got the smokes.. and kept the fish.
Arming is simple.. a few bottles with gas and concentrated detergent mix..
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Old 22-07-2016, 06:22   #32
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Re: OK, I'm asking --> Pirate questions

There are true, dedicated pirates, and there are opportunists. Opportunists may be locals, or fishermen, who find you a soft target and figure they can get away with it. This type of crime is common in many places- Central America, Fiji, etc. Most of this doesn't make the big world news, but it happens more than focused piracy. So protect yourself and your boat the same way you would at home.

OP said he has experience with firearms. OP, if that's the case you know there is no warning shot- when you fire a gun you do so to kill. A "warning shot" is more likely to get you killed, and shooting someone, even in defense, is likely to turn into a legal nightmare. That said, if you truly feel that your life is in danger, that's your #1 priority.

Keeping safe against opportunists works the same at anchor as it does at home. Vary your routine. Don't be seen drinking till 2am at the bar. Don't flash cash or your Rolex ashore. Don't anchor alone, keep near other boats. Don't have a flashy dingy or other stuff that marks your boat as the one to hit. Travel with other boats. Feel free to walk around on deck at dusk with a big knife and flare gun.


If you're really worried about being boarded by opportunists, carry a bunch of lightbulbs, smash them up and toss the shards on deck and in the cockpit at night, then hose down in the morning.


As for real piracy, stay clear of those areas and always travel in groups with constant radio contact.
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Old 22-07-2016, 06:34   #33
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Re: OK, I'm asking --> Pirate questions

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OP said he has experience with firearms. OP, if that's the case you know there is no warning shot- when you fire a gun you do so to kill. A "warning shot" is more likely to get you killed, and shooting someone, even in defense, is likely to turn into a legal nightmare. That said, if you truly feel that your life is in danger, that's your #1 priority.
Experience shooting targets.

Ah you know, just trying to see what other people are doing out there to avoid trouble. I just want to travel a bit with my wife, live life, meet people.

What I'd really like to see is in the world is a move toward kindness. I guess asking about weapons isn't going to help get us there.
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Old 22-07-2016, 06:52   #34
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Re: OK, I'm asking --> Pirate questions

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I guess asking about weapons isn't going to help get us there.
Nah...That'll just turn into another gun control debate.
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Old 22-07-2016, 07:04   #35
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Re: OK, I'm asking --> Pirate questions

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Experience shooting targets.

Ah you know, just trying to see what other people are doing out there to avoid trouble. I just want to travel a bit with my wife, live life, meet people.

What I'd really like to see is in the world is a move toward kindness. I guess asking about weapons isn't going to help get us there.
That's the other thing, once you are out there you will meet lots of other friendly folks doing the same thing and they will have lots of up-to-date tips on local stuff along the way, like, "be sure to visit so-and-so in this or that port, they can really help you," or "avoid this or that area, or the best deal for that haul-out is in port X," etc. After a few thousand miles everyone's got a scary story to tell in a bar of close calls, or imagined close calls with all manners of sea beasts and storms...that happened 10 years ago. I like hearing them, I have a couple and I've only made up a few of them! If you go down to the Caribbean and charter a boat or two and your wife starts seeing how things are, she probably will stop worrying about pirates and will be lobbying for a big catamaran!
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Old 22-07-2016, 07:09   #36
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Re: OK, I'm asking --> Pirate questions

You were asking about the BVI.....and the Caribbean.....

We have sailed the BVI for over 30 years, as well as the Bahamas, French West Idies, and Windwards and Grenadines. Narry a prirate, or any kind of a problem. However, we were not further south than north of Grenada.

Pirate incident...sort of.

Our own encounter that was a problem was on a delivery of a new 35 foot Ericson, that had been raced down to Cabo, the south tip of Baha, mexico. I was retruning for the owner to Los Angeles Harbor, Calif.
1000 miles, or a little less. This was quite some time ago.

400 miles up the Baha Coast ( Pacific side ) our first stop for water and refueling was Turtle Bay. Of course the weather gods saw fit to hit us with a pretty good squawl of rain and wind about the time we entered and
anchored. It was short lived.

Erica and I stayed on board to take care of updating the log, and squaring away the vessel. My three burley crewmen hopped in the dink and rattled ashore for grub and grog( cervesa).

Down below I heard a thump against the hull. Looking out the port light, a
scruffy, long haired, sarape wearing, bearded lout was boarding our vessel.


No amrmentos on board, but we did have two flare guns, one the plastic toy type, and one an old Very Pistol ( metal flare gun of old with a shotgun looking barrel. It was loaded.

I took a shooting stance in the companion way, and as the thieving blaggard was pulling himself over our life line, I cocked the Very pistol and pointed it center mass in the middle of his chest.

" What do you want ? " Startled, he stop mid climb, his eyes the size of full moons, and mumbled something about coming over to our boat to see if we wanted to exchange some dollars for pesos, or some B.S.

" You are lying, you saw the dink and crew pull away for shore, and thought our boat was unattended. You were going to steal what every you could" ( passports, cash, cards, radios, electronics, quick buck items).

I asked the scruffy dog, thieving low life if where his boat was. He is shaking and points out a dilapidated unseaworthy looking old Cal 25.

"Get off my vessel, get back to your boat , and if I see you again I will kill you ! " Never laid eyes on him that or the next day. We sailed off to our next destination, San Diego, Ca.

Did he have pirate written across his forehead, or was the flying the jolly roger, nope he was not. But, he certainly gave a great impression of a thieving pirate.

As to the islands that we have sailed anywhere in the world, we stay a away from the hot pirate areas. Our areas of experience with zero pirates are Australia, Tahiti, Tonga, California Coast, Caribbean, Greek islands, and Ireland. ( river Shannon two weeks ( two different trips 34 ft M/v).

What do we do to protect our vessel. Respect others, slow in mooring or anchorage areas, give plenty of swing room, be friendly, lock up the boat and secure the hatches when leaving, lock up the dink when ashore.


Other than that one event in mexico, never had any kind of a problem in any of our cruising areas. Also, be careful about who you may meet ashore and invite on board. There are warf rats roaming about most anyplace on the planet. Including your home port. With experience you can pick them out, and just gravitate toward local and cruising folks that the good guys and gals.
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Old 22-07-2016, 07:33   #37
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Re: OK, I'm asking --> Pirate questions

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When cruising down the east coast the only pirates you have to worry about are up the Potomac river from the Cheasapeake bay. Watch out as you go by that area.
Quite true. Ruthless and unprincipled.
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Old 22-07-2016, 07:37   #38
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Re: OK, I'm asking --> Pirate questions

Two young guys came over to me in their dinghy "innocently" asking me what my flag was.

I knew what boat they came from so I know they were using it as an excuse to check me out. Time to move on.

This is their boat

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Old 22-07-2016, 07:47   #39
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Re: OK, I'm asking --> Pirate questions

Most of the pirate stories get so embellished after one cruiser tells another cruiser it's a joke. There are tons of other things that are likely to kill you way before a pirate ever will. If you are up for cruising then worry about getting your boat ready and getting yourselves ready and forget about the pirate BS. Life is short, just enjoy yourself.
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Old 22-07-2016, 07:56   #40
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Re: OK, I'm asking --> Pirate questions

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Most of the pirate stories get so embellished after one cruiser tells another cruiser it's a joke. There are tons of other things that are likely to kill you way before a pirate ever will. If you are up for cruising then worry about getting your boat ready and getting yourselves ready and forget about the pirate BS. Life is short, just enjoy yourself.
I wholeheartedly agree!

However, for my wife to simply enjoy herself, the galaxy would need to experience a significant event involving the coordinated alignment of all celestial bodies and several constellations.

She is great, but if the planets are not aligned she tends to worry "a bit".




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Old 26-07-2016, 18:46   #41
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Re: OK, I'm asking --> Pirate questions

Heart disease. Prolly very gets 100,000 timed more folks than pirates. But companionway metal grills sound worthwhile.

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Old 27-07-2016, 09:04   #42
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Re: OK, I'm asking --> Pirate questions

We (my wife and I) have sailed a number of times int he BVI, and the last two years in St Vincent and the Grenadines, and now own a live aboard in Martinique (moving aboard Jan 2017). We monitor CSSN, https://www.safetyandsecuritynet.com and a number of Facebook groups (Eastern Caribbean Cruisers, etc) to keep abreast of what's happening.

The VI has mostly petty theft and dinghy theft, which is somewhat rampant throughout the Caribbean. Cruisers use 10mm chain to secure motors (what generally is the target) as cable cutters are plenty available to take out the usual coated cable. St Croix had a violent attack in 2015 on a southern anchorage that led to the death of a French solo sailor. First we've seen of any violent attacks reported in the VI.

The windwards have seen a sufficient number of nighttime boardings to merit awareness. Do you lock your home at night? Same with your boat (assuming you have stout companionway hatch boards) -- secure hatches so they provide ventilation without room for a small person to enter or an arm to free them. We've experimented with IR alarm systems, they can trigger falsely facing from a companionway to the transom, but mounted low inside the cockpit in line with the beam, they provide warning and a loud alarm to scare off what are almost always opportunists.

There have been a handful of violent encounters on shore and at anchor in the EC over the past few years. They are statistically few (literally, half a dozen or fewer over 3 or 4 islands and over about a 5 year period to date). They are far more rare and unlikely than most modest US cities. Again, a secure boat at night is your best defense. The cruising community reacts strongly to any report, and I don't diminish the impact on victims, but I also try to keep it in context and, again, take prudent actions to be reasonably secure. Even ashore in our US hometown, someone with enough motivation and intent would be likely to overcome my usual prudent home security (which does not include firearms).

One note on firearms - many countries have strong laws against them, and most all I've seen the past 15 years on this topic discourages it for cruisers, they can lead to more trouble than benefit. If anchor in a country that does not permit them, at minimum you just declare and surrender them while there. In some cases, simply bringing them in (as I've read) can lead to at least short term detention. While I can't offer any evidence, i do suspect a well aimed flare gun can sufficiently defend against intruders.

Passage from Grenada to Trinidad/tobago is reporting genuine piracy. The trinidad coast guard has reacted to step up vigilance and filling sail plans helps them be aware of your presence. However, the passage is about 100nm of open water and Trinidad is vastly too close to a virtually lawless Venezuelan coast, I would not expect it will improve any time soon. However, many sailors make the passage without event, so awareness of recent activity can be a bit of a guide.

Grenada and north/west generally have few incidents (literally a few per year throughout all of the windwards), but St vincent and St Lucia have had a higher incidence of theft and night boardings, with two or three violent events in the past few years (again, few, but reason for appropriate precautions). Net, we sail in these waters without fear, but with prudence and situational awareness. CSSN is probably your best indicator to get a feel.
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