Brad, Dan and Scott's Sailing Adventure

"There she is boys! The SS More Powerful than Superman, Batman, Spiderman, and the Incredable Hulk combined." This space will be used to post updates of our odyssey.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Random Post

A lot of people have asked us about fear of pirates, so here's my random post explaining my thoughts.

Pirates in this part of the world tend to be poor, opportunistic fishermen as opposed to the more organized professionals of other regions of the world. There is very little of it North of Venezuela. The cruising community is a gossippy bunch and when a ship gets raided, especially if it occurs in a reputable place, like St. Lucia, it seems to get blown out of proportion. Crime is usually limited to dinghy stealing or a quick run through a vacant cabin. You occasionally hear of violence or hostage taking, but this seems to be rarer than any American city.

However, I have spent some time considering defense tactics if necessary. We do not carry a gun, but many cruisers do, especially those planning to travel Venezuela and Brazil. We do have a number of devices that could act as weapons. The flare gun is supposedly effective, as well as the spear gun. I've heard stories of intruders getting a deadly dose of spear-to-the-chest from a resourceful sailor. Given about a minute several molotov cocktail bombs could be made with gasoline and empty beer cans. Additionally the water-balloon launcher could fire a debilitating handful of nails at someone attempting to enter the companionway. We have two machetes on board, but it would take a lot for me to be able to knife someone. They could be useful as an intimidation tool. An old single-hander we met described a bomb he made with flares and propane cans as pirates approached him off Brazil. Eventually another ship came into view and the pirates fled.

Our official plan, should it become clear that someone wants our possessions at sea, was to appear on deck with as many weapons and objects that appear like weapons. I would wear a coat to make myself look bigger- a tactic I read in "worst case scenario" for dealing with mountain lions. If they still felt that they wanted to board, it probably meant they were more powerful and at this point I would help them aboard and start unscrewing our electronics.

But since we trashed our plans of visiting coastal Venezuela, the only thing we really have to worry about is locking our boat and dinghy when we go ashore.

I'm happy to write about any other aspect of the trip. Any requests from readers?


  • At 7:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I can sleep better now that I know you have a plan. Thanks for letting us know.Sandy

  • At 8:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Why did you decide not to go to Venezuela?
    It sounds like you are having a great trip!

  • At 8:11 PM, Blogger Dan Schlauch said…

    The hurricanes are coming. We gotta find shelter in the USA.
    Basically, boats move very slowly and the world is a very big place, so we don't have enough time to get to Venezuela, unfortunately.

  • At 11:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Whew! I, too, am glad to hear you have a plan. Where are you now? Do you plan to retrace your sailing route or seek a different route back to Florida?

    Not knowing a thing about sailing or boating, I'm just curious--in a previous post, you sailed to St. Martin at night? How can you see where you're going? Another dumb question -- have your seen any whales? I'd enjoy a good "Moby-Dick" story!!

    Take care - safe sailing.

  • At 1:29 PM, Blogger Dan Schlauch said…

    Well, there aren't a whole lot of things that we can run into out on the ocean, so we kind of just point where we want to go and hold that course. We don't need to look where we're going except to see other ships, we only need to see the compass. All overnighters are through deep water many miles offshore, never near land.

    As I write this we're preparing to go overnight again south about 140 miles to St. Vincent or St. Lucia.

    Yes, there will be a large amount of retracing on our way back to Florida. But that's OK, we liked those islands.

  • At 6:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey Dan
    Bob's headed over to the DR now to stay at Luperon for hurricane season, did you guys consider that yet?

  • At 4:26 PM, Anonymous Dan said…

    Hey Bon,
    We're in St. Vincent now. We're planning on making it back to Florida before hurricane season, probably skipping the DR. If we do go, we'll give him a call. We'll be in the Bahamas for a good part of May. Are you still there?

  • At 10:46 PM, Anonymous Phyllis said…

    Hey where are you now and where are you headed next. When is official start of hurricane season. Lots of flooding in Boston in the Carib. You're missing some good Red Sox games. Mike heads out to Papua New Guinea in next 10 days.

  • At 12:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    No we left the Bahamas a week ago and we are now back home in southwest Fl. You all should stop by on your way up north.

  • At 7:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I too want to hear about animal encounters, though it might be just as well you havent seen any whales since i doubt there's any animal you wont try to spear.
    i am currently in the south of spain. it is so mountainous i almost throw up after every car ride, bringing back fond memories of that day on kaleidoscope. I count myself as 1.5 times out of the 2 in your stats, bc Dan's episode was self induced so minimal at best.

  • At 12:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    Can you still hit a spladle? Who was crazier, Coach Tunney or Coach Ahern?

  • At 10:32 AM, Anonymous Dan said…

    I hit spladles while I sleep.
    Geez, who was crazier, that's a tough question and I'm not sure one can answr that. That's like asking who was smellier, Nasty Nate or Really Nasty Nate.
    Who is this? I have some ideas...

  • At 10:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I had the good fortune of helping steer the Needham wrestling ship your last two years. 39 pins in one year, Schlaucha. That's something. Glad to see that all is well. My wife and I are living in L.A...I'm trying to push a script I wrote, blah, blah...Take care.
    -P. Ahern

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