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Old 09-06-2011, 00:43   #121
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Re: Piracy - Reality vs Perception

"shoot em up stuff didnt work in Vietnam, Korea,afghanistan, chad, Chetnya, etc It can be used to temporarily suppress or reduce the violence,( often at great cost to the innocents) but it never solves teh underlying problem." - Clearly we live in the same world but see different realities. The 'shoot em up stuff' is the only thing that works once one side decides to take it up: The 'shoot em up stuff' worked well in Vietnam - by the time I was there in 1970-71 the VC were mostly done as a fighting force and we were fighting the North Vietnamese Army backed by China and the Soviet Union. We left the country primarily because of changing political realities in the USA brought about by losing the propaganda war on TV. The 'shoot em up stuff' worked well in Korea as well - sure the North Koreans are obnoxious but they are mainly a backwater of little importance. 'Shoot em up stuff' bought us around 55 years of relative 'peace'. Afghanistan is an excellent example of what happens when one doesn't use the 'shoot em up' option and leaves them alone - recall that we walked away after helping the locals push out the Soviets. Chad? This is not a USA problem, go talk to the French (but I don't recall of any piracy problem there that seriously affects the rest of the world). Chechnya? This is not a USA problem, go talk to the Russians (but the Russian version of 'shoot em up stuff' seems to have eliminated most of the problem). There is probably a long list of violent incidents where the 'shoot em up stuff' has worked well - you are just never going to see it.

It is nice to know that you are at least willing to admit that "
It ['shoot em up stuff'] can be used to temporarily suppress or reduce the violence". Most of the time this is all that most of us want - to be left alone. Note that while the 'innocents' often take some collateral damage in a rescue, the longer term killing by the local thugs is seldom ever reported and generally takes a much higher toll of them. Further it is not our job to "solves teh underlying problem". The pirates we have today are alive and killing our citizens because twenty years ago we fed them when they were starving - no good deed goes unpunished!

The appropriateness of insurgency analogies where the armed locals have jungles and mountains to hide in can be questioned. Pirates have to come out onto the ocean and attack their target in the open. It is only the most myopic who restrict the fundamental right of people to effectively protect their lives and property. If captains and crews have no interest in protecting their own lives and the property that they are responsible for, as an owner I would simply insure the ship and cargo (cost of doing business) and if the ship were taken you just fire the crew and let the insurance company handle the problem since this is a low probability event for any one ship. Eventually there will be a break even point where inexpensive measures will outweigh the additional insurance premiums, at which point we may see more effective action taken. One wonders if the captains and crews currently in pirate custody would now reject the option of having had no option of effective self defense. Since training was mentioned, it should be pointed out that pirates are not well trained operatives - they are kids with AK-47s and a few loaded magazines. I would guess that they can hit a person who is close to them - likely by spraying the room with full automatic fire. And the object is not to get into a close range gunfight with pirates - it is to discourage them from getting close to the ship. Once a crew has a modicum of arms and training, the odds shift seriously against a bunch of rag-tag pirates - and once a ship puts up effective resistance I expect that the pirates will move on to a less prepared ship of prey.
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Old 09-06-2011, 01:03   #122
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Re: Piracy - Reality vs Perception

It's interesting how those who are most violently opposed to a group of people often share a similar mindset with their enemy, or at least envisage similar solutions to their various problems.
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Old 09-06-2011, 04:27   #123
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Re: Piracy - Reality vs Perception

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It's interesting how those who are most violently opposed to a group of people often share a similar mindset with their enemy, or at least envisage similar solutions to their various problems.
While I suppose that an unsophisticated observer might confuse a willingness to go out and commit violent actions against innocent people for criminal (or political) purposes with a desire to defend one's self, one's family, and one's property from being preyed upon by these miscreants as a similar mindset, I see a clear distinction. It is possibly confusion by wanting to use the most effective tools for the job, typically some kind of firearm weaponry. Apparently in your mind there is no difference between the police and the criminals that they try to catch as they are both typically armed with handguns. As a foreigner living and soon to be cruising in the Philippines, I am not allowed access to any type of effective self defense weaponry - I accept this limitation as just the way things are here. I find it odd that armed guards are ubiquitous here and typically carry both a handgun and a 12 gauge shotgun - often with minimal training, and, that the government cannot control large armed groups and private armies who have military grade automatic weaponry - but - everyone is terrified of an American with a handgun. Such is life in the third world.

What I find odd on many of these cruising and boating forums is that so many cruisers who are prepared for every contingency that might occur - carrying spares, tools, and various emergency equipment - are adamantly opposed to having a firearm for self defense. It just doesn't seem to fit with the general mindset of being prepared and able to deal with a whole gamut of life threatening situations. I can understand that firearms are a nuisance because so many countries prefer to have subjects rather than citizens, but so many seem philosophically opposed to having and being able to use a firearm in self defense - even in the USA where it is legal. It is a concept that I just cannot understand - why would an otherwise intelligent person choose to become prey. So, OK - I refuse to become easy prey, I guess that you will just have to keep believing that I am really some kind of covert terrorist.
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Old 09-06-2011, 05:26   #124
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Re: Piracy - Reality vs Perception

There have been folk here advocating machine gunning houses from the air - on the basis that they have a satellite dish on the roof. Or setting explosive traps that may catch pirates, or fishermen, or folk just passing by (collateral damage seems to be the accepted term). And other even more bizarre and, frankly, loopy ideas. As for not carrying guns around - most people never need them, and feel the negatives (and there are many - but I'm not getting into that debate) outweigh the unlikely chance of ever needing one.
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Old 09-06-2011, 10:06   #125
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Re: Piracy - Reality vs Perception

I'd like to move this thread back to CRUISERS, not big ships. Cruisers are what we all are, & we have lots fewer options, so let's talk about those. Big ships don't tend to read these posts, so there's not much point there.

Bruce, you should have been a Marine Security Consultant. You only joined CF recently, so we don't know much about you except that you're a retired LA IT guy - how long you've been cruising, where you've been, experiences, etc. You seem to have a "take no prisoners" attitude that's common among newbies, but that may not be fair. Care to enlighten us?

Those of us who've been blue-water cruising a while know the difficulties involved in carrying firearms through foreign countries, & how often those arms are used against the owners when it comes to crunch time. FWIW, I don't think fancy booby traps are necessary on cruising boats. In fact, from what I hear (& it's only hearsay, but I do a lot of listening) ALL pirate attacks that have faced armed resistance have been aborted. There was a story a few years ago about a cruise-ship that repelled pirates by throwing deck chairs at them. These guys are after soft targets. It doesn't take much to convince them we're not soft. (But you're right that it does take SOMEthing, much as we dislike that)
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Old 09-06-2011, 11:02   #126
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Originally Posted by Bruce626
What I find odd on many of these cruising and boating forums is that so many cruisers who are prepared for every contingency that might occur - carrying spares, tools, and various emergency equipment - are adamantly opposed to having a firearm for self defense. It just doesn't seem to fit with the general mindset of being prepared and able to deal with a whole gamut of life threatening situations. I can understand that firearms are a nuisance because so many countries prefer to have subjects rather than citizens, but so many seem philosophically opposed to having and being able to use a firearm in self defense - even in the USA where it is legal. It is a concept that I just cannot understand - why would an otherwise intelligent person choose to become prey.
It is very clear to me that a single sailor on a small vessel armed with the type of firearms commonly allowed ( ie shotguns or small calibre rifles) will be very ineffective in combatting people armed with many automatic weapons and RPGs.

While most sailors know how to use their tools etc , very few have combat training or any experience of firefights. Hence most wisely take the decision that they are ineffective deferents, administratively complex and socially frowned upon and wisely avoid firearms.

Not carrying a firearm does not mean we are " prey". I resent that. Wr can take lots of proactive and passive defense actions. The primary one being " not being there"

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Old 09-06-2011, 11:18   #127
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Clearly we live in the same world but see different realities. The 'shoot em up stuff' is the only thing that works once one side decides to take it up: The 'shoot em up stuff' worked well in Vietnam
Of course, I have a European perspective, formed from centuries of armed conflict. That history teaches us the complexity of the situations and shows us how ineffectual military action can be in solving overall socio- economic problems. The list is endless.

Couple that with the after effects of European imperialism and most Europeans have a very jaundiced view of military action. Thus differs from a US centric view, firstly the average citizen is not well informed as to non US history. The country was formed on the back of armed personal freedom and this view tends to pervade the thinking.

However the rest of the world is older, cynical and much more suspicious of an armed populace.

I mentioned chad and chetnya, because " shoot em up " is not limited to Americans. Ask any Russian soldier about Afghanistan. ( and any US one in a year or two).

The fact is that US naval commanders themselves have said that the pirate problem cannot be solved militarily ( see my Time link in previous post). This echoes the comments from the commander of EUNAVFOR

The best way to overcome the piracy problems is to suppress it, acting within a reasonable ROE , and to get our politicians to ensure that the Naval task forces cooperate more ( currently 3 million euros a day is being spent to keep EUNAVFOR in the gulf of Aden. ) secondly ensure that private yachts avoid the area and thirdly we have to help and support the messy business of restoring government and order to Somalia and bring some sense of hope and economic prosperity to it's population

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Old 09-06-2011, 18:19   #128
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Re: Piracy - Reality vs Perception

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... secondly ensure that private yachts avoid the area ...
So what are we (& the other several hundred cruisers) here in SE Asia supposed to do? It's very easy to make the above comment when you're not planning to come here yourself, but it's not very helpful to those of us on the sharp & pointy end of it all.
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Old 09-06-2011, 18:37   #129
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Re: Piracy - Reality vs Perception

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So what are we (& the other several hundred cruisers) here in SE Asia supposed to do? It's very easy to make the above comment when you're not planning to come here yourself, but it's not very helpful to those of us on the sharp & pointy end of it all.

What you can do is sail somewhere else, The gulf of Aden is off limits, Its unreasonable to expect that costly Naval resources should be deployed to protect leisure sailors, who have no compelling reason to be there. If you want to get to teh atlantic , the route around SA is well documented and do-able

Its a sad state of affairs, but its the only practical solution

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Old 09-06-2011, 19:09   #130
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Re: Piracy - Reality vs Perception

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Originally Posted by Jon Hacking View Post
So what are we (& the other several hundred cruisers) here in SE Asia supposed to do? It's very easy to make the above comment when you're not planning to come here yourself, but it's not very helpful to those of us on the sharp & pointy end of it all.

Jon,

Have another look at the Cape of Good Hope. (One needs to have an open mind because we have read a few hundred years of terror stories of the Cape of Storms)
You make Durban, (Richards Bay) then its day sails or short hops in weather windows to East London, Port Elizabeth, Knysna, Mossel Bay, Simonstown False Bay, Hout Bay, Cape Town

Evans Starzinger who is on this forum has done it both ways and has some good writings on his website including the need to change thoughts due to piracy and head south.

Look at Beth & Evans and scroll down the front page a bit till you see Quick News theres several links


I haven't done it. But if I were in Asia thats what I would do.
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Old 09-06-2011, 23:29   #131
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Re: Piracy - Reality vs Perception

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Jon, Have another look at the Cape of Good Hope. ... I haven't done it. But if I were in Asia thats what I would do.
Thanks, Mark. Good, useful suggestion, the kind of thing I'm hoping this thread will produce. The route around the Cape seems to have received some bad press, but you're right that it's not difficult (& very interesting & quite beautiful).

If you go back to post 73 of this thread (page 5) you'll see that we crossed the Indian Ocean in 2007, stayed 2 years in Richards Bay, & crossed back to SE Asia in 2009. We hope to cross to South Africa again in 2012.

Our planned route skirts the edge of pirate territory, as boats have been attacked near the north tip of Madagascar. But there have been no attacks (that I know of) from the end of May until about Sept, presumably because it gets too rough for the pirates open attack boats.

One problem is that BIOT has been severely limiting the amount of time that cruisers can stay in Chagos. The Maldives make it very expensive to stay more than about a week. This makes the timing for crossing the Indian a bit ticklish, as we need to cross the north Indian during the NE monsoon & the south Indian when the trades come that far north. But we're hoping to work something out...
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Old 10-06-2011, 06:32   #132
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Re: Piracy - Reality vs Perception

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no attacks (that I know of) from the end of May until about Sept, presumably because it gets too rough for the pirates open attack boats.
Yes, but the Chandlers were taken immediatly the old cruising season started. In October, if I remember correctly.

By May the Pilot chart says the Cyclones are at 20% of the level of April. So it seems a much better month. By June its clear.
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One problem is that BIOT has been severely limiting the amount of time that cruisers can stay in Chagos.
Chagos might not be so bad when one gets on the ground. Owned by the Britts and operated by USA are they going to thrown boats to the wolves/weather?
How long are they letting people stay? Some cruisers used to stay there the whole season.

Why wouldn't you head down there, leaving Thailand August, 10 days in Uligan; 1 month Chagros, Mauritious, few weeks Reunion, slide around the corner to Richards bay mid October?

Bay of Bengal cyclones wont affect you.
Gives you 2 months from now to plan it and head out. And if you are ready sooner you can go anytime from now.

Think of the French food on Reunion!



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Old 12-06-2011, 08:41   #133
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Re: Piracy - Reality vs Perception

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There have been folk here advocating machine gunning houses from the air - on the basis that they have a satellite dish on the roof. Or setting explosive traps that may catch pirates, or fishermen, or folk just passing by (collateral damage seems to be the accepted term). And other even more bizarre and, frankly, loopy ideas. As for not carrying guns around - most people never need them, and feel the negatives (and there are many - but I'm not getting into that debate) outweigh the unlikely chance of ever needing one.
"Or setting explosive traps that may catch pirates, or fishermen, or folk just passing by (collateral damage seems to be the accepted term)." - Some just don't read or understand. The 'explosive trap' is on board a commercial vessel at sea. The fishermen or 'folk just passing by' have chased said commercial vessel which has maneuvered to avoid them; further, the armed fishermen or 'folk just passing by' have boarded said ship despite passive measures and the crew has had to retreat to a safe area. Said fishermen or 'folk just passing by' are actively searching for the crew to take them hostage at gunpoint and are trying to takeover (steal) the ship - pretty clear evidence of pirate activity to most observers. The command fired set gun is actually not an 'explosive devise' as it is a 12 gauge shot shell in a short barrel propelled by smokeless powder (not a high explosive). While there is an option that it could be fired by pirate activity, it is likely that it will be command fired based on video from a small camera. The possibility that an honest fishermen or 'folk just passing by' will be injured is remote in the extreme.

The other "even more bizarre and, frankly, loopy ideas" would be considered by some unbiased observers to be thinking outside the box to come up with inexpensive yet effective measures to thwart pirate activity on large steel commercial vessels. None of which applies to cruisers who, once in pirate waters, typically cannot run and cannot hide.
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Old 12-06-2011, 09:40   #134
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Re: Piracy - Reality vs Perception

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I'd like to move this thread back to CRUISERS, not big ships. Cruisers are what we all are, & we have lots fewer options, so let's talk about those. Big ships don't tend to read these posts, so there's not much point there.

Bruce, you should have been a Marine Security Consultant. You only joined CF recently, so we don't know much about you except that you're a retired LA IT guy - how long you've been cruising, where you've been, experiences, etc. You seem to have a "take no prisoners" attitude that's common among newbies, but that may not be fair. Care to enlighten us?

Those of us who've been blue-water cruising a while know the difficulties involved in carrying firearms through foreign countries, & how often those arms are used against the owners when it comes to crunch time. FWIW, I don't think fancy booby traps are necessary on cruising boats. In fact, from what I hear (& it's only hearsay, but I do a lot of listening) ALL pirate attacks that have faced armed resistance have been aborted. There was a story a few years ago about a cruise-ship that repelled pirates by throwing deck chairs at them. These guys are after soft targets. It doesn't take much to convince them we're not soft. (But you're right that it does take SOMEthing, much as we dislike that)
"You only joined CF recently, so we don't know much about you except that you're a retired LA IT guy - how long you've been cruising, where you've been, experiences, etc. You seem to have a "take no prisoners" attitude that's common among newbies, but that may not be fair. Care to enlighten us?" - You are correct, I am new to CF and new to cruising. I have been living in a third world country for the last five years (Philippines) where my catamaran has been under construction for the last two and a half years - and I expect to begin cruising the central Philippines shortly. Still, piracy is not strictly a 'sailing' subject and one need not be a cruiser to have an opinion.

I was an officer in the Ordnance Corps of the US Army and am a Vietnam veteran - so I have some familiarity with infantry weapons. My primary job training initially was in Explosive Ordnance Disposal - what civilians are familar with as the 'bomb squad'. In addition to my military experience I have many years of training in martial arts and a lot of experience with various kinds of ancient weaponry. I have also been on a military pistol team and have done some hunting.

My post on commercial ships was in response to the subject being raised by another poster - and it is commercial ships that has made this piracy thing so lucrative, not cruisers. I do not think that there is anything a cruiser can realistically do if confronted by a pirate attack. Sailboats will never outrun the pirate fast attack craft and it is hard to hide a sailboat - nor can sailboats resist small weapons fire or provide a place of safety to hide or hole up. All you can do is be lucky - or, as others have pointed out - avoid any area where there is any extensive pirate activity.

If a cruiser is confronted by a couple of fishermen armed with knives, having a handgun or a shotgun would make a difference - assuming that one could legally carry them and is proficient in their use. On the other hand, if one is going to be killed in any event as recently happened, many people would like the option to fight back with some effective means - so if one has firearms and determines that given the situation it is better to fight, the only real option is to allow the pirates to board your vessel and attempt a tactical surprise. An RPG is of no use at close range and a pistol is likely to be easier to use in close quarters than an AK-47. Certainly not good odds, but you are expecting to die any. This is the warriors paradox - a person who accepts death and can suppress the fear is more likely to survive than a person who is terrified. Pirates are not warriors - they are in it for the easy money, neither are they typically well trained and their equipment is not likely to be in the best of condition. I see third world local armed security guards every day here in the PI and I am rarely impressed by the condition of their weapons or their weapon handling skills - and these are people who are paid a salary doing a job. One can only imagine the condition of pirate weaponry and ammunition being in a salt water environment for months.

My "take no prisoners" attitude is because I do not think that being a prisoner is a deterrent to typical pirates - especially when they find out that they are likely to be housed in better conditions than they have ever experienced, fed better than they have likely ever experienced, and given better medical care than even the wealthy in Somalia could get. So they have a shot at getting wealthy with the downside being that they live out their lives in better conditions that most of their countrymen will ever see.
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Old 12-06-2011, 09:58   #135
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Re: Piracy - Reality vs Perception

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Yes, but the Chandlers were taken immediatly the old cruising season started. In October, if I remember correctly.
You're right, Mark. The Chandlers were taken early in the new season, & only weeks after a fishing boat had been taken in the exact same location.

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Chagos might not be so bad when one gets on the ground... How long are they letting people stay? Some cruisers used to stay there the whole season.
Chagos is delightful, & some folks used to stay there more than a year. You can't go anywhere near Diego Garcia (the US military base) but there are 2 atolls about 100nm north of DG that cruisers are allowed to visit. But BIOT has recently been limiting the amount of time cruisers can stay, & now we're limited to only 4 weeks. (BIOT has also raised their fees by about a factor of 10, from US$33/month to GBP50/week).

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...are they going to throw boats to the wolves/weather?
Very good question. In theory, BIOT won't force a cruiser to leave if conditions aren't ideal. But I don't know if they'll extend that to piracy & waiting until the pirates leave the area.

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Why wouldn't you head down there, leaving Thailand August, 10 days in Uligan; 1 month Chagos, Mauritious, few weeks Reunion, slide around the corner to Richards bay mid October?...
We can't leave Thailand until December at the earliest. The N Indian Ocean is unique in that it's driven by Monsoon winds, not trades. The SW monsoon blows from about April or May until about Sept-Oct, & you can't go west then. We tried. Then there's a month or 2 of light & fluky winds, and then the NE Monsoon starts up in Nov-Dec. A (very) few boats have gone down the outside of Sumatra to pick up the SE trades that blow in the S Indian (& move N/S as the season progresses) but there are issues there as well.

The trick is to leave just before the NE Monsoon ends, & ride it to at least Sri Lanka or possibly Addu Atoll (southernmost of the Maldives). Unfortunately, the Maldives now wants a $400 "cruising permit" if you stay more than a week. That, coupled with Sri Lanka's $200 entry fee & BIOT's GPB200/month fee makes it rather expensive to cross the Indian without careful attention to timing.

There are currently 7 cruising boats in Rodrigues, & all but 1 came from Chagos. But we got smacked pretty hard (35kts) in July 2007 going due west to the Seychelles. I would not have wanted to turn another 50° further upwind to get to Rodrigues & Mauritius, but I'm told it's better earlier in the season, before the SE trades really get established.

Also, the waters south of Madagascar have a well earned reputation. We know several boats that have gotten beat up sailing those waters, including 1 dismasting. I believe most of those cruisers in Rodrigues are planning to go around the top of Madagascar & then down. Seems silly when you look at a chart, but...
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