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?