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  #51  
Old 10-06-2013
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

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Originally Posted by chrisncate View Post
A sentiment easily put forth by those who have not and are not actually going to places where these scenarios may unfold.
Such as James Baldwin? Those happen to be pics of his boat. Of course, he has only sailed that boat around the world, twice.

BTW, Chris. How much cruising have you done? Oh, that's right, you never got out of the Chesapeake in that boat that you claim to have built with your two bare hands. I guess that makes you our "resident expert."

(Now is about the time for Chris to start with the name-calling, again.)
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  #52  
Old 10-06-2013
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

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Originally Posted by ShoalFinder View Post
Fair enough, but you make the assumption that I haven't spent a lot of time there. I lived in the Caribbean for several years and have travelled there many times since leaving, albeit not on a sailboat floating around in nice, tourist areas. I know what I'm talking about.

Get off the boat and go live in the typical ramshackle third-world neighborhoods that are several blocks inland from the nice pretty waterfront. After a few weeks you can tell me all about how lovely life is in most of those areas, particulary at night time.

I'm not saying that all of the islands are all dangerous, not by a long shot. But it is disengenous to put forth the romantic notion that it's all Gilligan's Island and sipping milk from coconuts. If you can see the cruise ships from where you are standing then you aren't anywhere close to the reality of the slum life prevalent in many areas there.

Situational awareness is key, no matter where in the world you happen to be. If you are anchoring for the night in St. Petersburg, FL you will think it's the greatest place around. If you wander a mile inland and sleep in your car in the Church's Chicken parking lot you might discover a whole new reality.
I've spent a bit of time aboard boats in some pretty sketchy places, and I'm certainly not "putting forth the romantic notion that it's all Gilligan's Island and sipping milk from coconuts." I don't think Mark is either, he's been around the block, and I imagine he's pretty savvy when it comes to security issues when cruising...

In discussions of these types of incidents, my first inclination is always to revert to my default position regarding the exposure of one's self or one's family to such risk, which is simply this:

It's just SO much simpler to cruise where the bad guys ain't...

Problem areas have become remarkably well defined in today's world... In addition to the Coconut Telegraph, resources such as Noonsite and the Caribbean Security & Safety Net keep cruisers remarkably up to date on places one might consider avoiding...

The geography of world piracy, and these sort of incidents against cruising sailors, is really quite simple... With the exception of a region like South Africa/Madagascar, virtually all of these incidents against cruising sailors occur in latitudes within roughly 20 degrees of the equator... It's a very simple formula - with very few exceptions, the further you distance yourself from the equator, the safer you will be, and the constant concern over security will diminish... The odds of one being boarded by someone wielding a machete in a place like Nova Scotia, for example, are statistically nonexistent...

There are many other common sense approaches towards increasing security in regions like the Caribbean, as well... Visiting such places in a modest, low-profile style would seem to be one of the most obvious. We've all heard the joke about not having to be able to outrun the bear, but only having to outrun the slowest person you're with... One of the things that gives me the greatest comfort in virtually every anchorage I wind up sharing with other boats, is that mine is almost always the smallest and most modest of the fleet... it's always nice to be surrounded by other targets far more tempting than yourself :-)

Unfortunately, this is not the modern trend... Cruisers continue to visit such places aboard boats of ever-increasing size and value, festooned with a growing array of 'toys' and other shiny objects... It doesn't take much effort to downplay one's comparative 'wealth', in this regard, all the little things you can do quickly add up... Don't wear a watch, or jewelry when going ashore, for instance... ROW your tender ashore, or use a dinky 2 HP Honda in a place where NO ONE would have any use for such an engine, instead of zipping around with a 15 HP Yamaha that makes for an incredibly tempting target... In a world where the disparity of wealth only continues to grow, what the hell are some of these cruisers out there today thinking?

In places where security might be a concern, and there's a good chance you are being observed, simply making a 'show' of your concern with security could go a long way towards dissuading an observer from believing you might be an easy target... Even a little thing like always lifting your dinghy clear of the water when not in use, might be enough to plant the seed in a bad guy's mind that you might be one who takes security VERY seriously... so much of this stuff is so simple to do, good cockpit/deck lighting at night, for instance... If I'm alone in a remote spot, I might routinely light up the surroundings with a 2 million candlepower searchlight, that alone might make someone seeing me as a potential target think, "Whoa..."

And, of course, always flying my slightly oversized American flag proudly... Just because, well, everyone knows what any red-blooded American just might be packing... :-)

This attack is a sad and shocking occurrence, that appears to have taken the randomness and senselessness of such incidents to a new height... No matter how harshly the local authorities might deal with this one, I'm afraid this sort of thing will only continue to be of great concern to cruisers, going forward...

Again, there's a very simple solution, an easy means of avoiding such trouble...

All it requires, is the modification of the geographical parameters of what one considers to constitute "PARADISE"... :-)



Last edited by JonEisberg; 10-06-2013 at 10:28 AM.
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  #53  
Old 10-06-2013
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

Quote:
Originally Posted by SlowButSteady View Post
Such as James Baldwin? Those happen to be pics of his boat. Of course, he has only sailed that boat around the world, twice.
I meant you, not James Baldwin. Kudos to him for his security, and you're going about as far as I am, cruising wise (which is nowhere).

Quote:
BTW, Chris. How much cruising have you done? Oh, that's right, you never got out of the Chesapeake in that boat that you claim to have built with your two bare hands. I guess that makes you our "resident expert."
As stated above, it appears I've cruised about as many places as you have or will

Quote:
(Now is about the time for Chris to start with the name-calling, again.)
Relax and calm down, you're going to pop a vein. We all realize you are an activist putting forth a political agenda, have at it. I'll reserve any thoughts on you personally for the PWRG
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  #54  
Old 10-06-2013
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
I've spent a bit of time aboard boats in some pretty sketchy places, and I'm certainly not "putting forth the romantic notion that it's all Gilligan's Island and sipping milk from coconuts." I don't think Mark is either, he's been around the block, and I imagine he's pretty savvy when it comes to security issues when cruising...

In discussions of these types of incidents, my first inclination is always to revert to my default position regarding the exposure of one's self or one's family to such risk, which is simply this:

It's just SO much simpler to cruise where the bad guys ain't...

Problem areas have become remarkably well defined in today's world... In addition to the Coconut Telegraph, resources such as Noonsite and the Caribbean Security & Safety Net keep cruisers remarkably up to date on places one might consider avoiding...

The geography of world piracy, and these sort of incidents against cruising sailors, is really quite simple... With the exception of a region like South Africa/Madagascar, virtually all of these incidents against cruising sailors occur in latitudes within roughly 20 degrees of the equator... It's a very simple formula - with very few exceptions, the further you distance yourself from the equator, the safer you will be, and the constant concern over security will diminish... The odds of one being boarded by someone wielding a machete in a place like Nova Scotia, for example, are statistically nonexistent...

There are many other common sense approaches towards increasing security in regions like the Caribbean, as well... Visiting such places in a modest, low-profile style would seem to be one of the most obvious. We've all heard the joke about not having to be able to outrun the bear, but only having to outrun the slowest person you're with... One of the things that gives me the greatest comfort in virtually every anchorage I wind up sharing with other boats, is that mine is almost always the smallest and most modest of the fleet... it's always nice to be surrounded by other targets far more tempting than yourself :-)

Unfortunately, this is not the modern trend... Cruisers continue to visit such places aboard boats of ever-increasing size and value, festooned with a growing array of 'toys' and other shiny objects... It doesn't take much effort to downplay one's comparative 'wealth', in this regard, all the little things you can do quickly add up... Don't wear a watch, or jewelry when going ashore, for instance... ROW your tender ashore, or use a dinky 2 HP Honda in a place where NO ONE would have any use for such an engine, instead of zipping around with a 15 HP Yamaha that makes for an incredibly tempting target... In a world where the disparity of wealth only continues to grow, what the hell are some of these cruisers out there today thinking?

In places where security might be a concern, and there's a good chance you are being observed, simply making a 'show' of your concern with security could go a long way towards dissuading an observer from believing you might be an easy target... Even a little thing like always lifting your dinghy clear of the water when not in use, might be enough to plant the seed in a bad guy's mind that you might be one who takes security VERY seriously... so much of this stuff is so simple to do, good cockpit/deck lighting at night, for instance... If I'm alone in a remote spot, I might routinely light up the surroundings with a 2 million candlepower searchlight, that alone might make someone seeing me as a potential target think, "Whoa..."

And, of course, always flying my slightly oversized American flag proudly... Just because, well, everyone knows what any red-blooded American just might be packing... :-)

This attack is a sad and shocking occurrence, that appears to have taken the randomness and senselessness of such incidents to a new height... No matter how harshly the local authorities might deal with this one, I'm afraid this sort of thing will only continue to be of great concern to cruisers, going forward...
Again, there's a very simple solution, an easy means of avoiding such trouble...
All it requires, is the modification of the geographical parameters of what one considers to constitute "PARADISE"... :-)
If you start to take places like Union Island in the Grenadines off the list of reasonably "safe" cruising destinations, then you bloody well better never leave your front porch!
All this idiotic talk of choosing your destinations based on noonsite or some other "cruiser's" information service would never have prevented this incident. I've been going to Union since 1979 and this is the first time I can recollect ANY real problems there. Sure there are the boatboy/mooring hustlers there, as everywhere in the Antilles today, but Union is a tiny community of 2000 wonderfully friendly West Indians who pretty much make their living from the yachts that visit the island. Last time I was there, our friend Tim, offered us his washer at home to do our laundry, and he lives in Ashton, the town nearest the Frigate Island anchorage.
The panic is becoming evident on this site and it is mostly based on a random incident perpetrated by a monster. There is no rehabilitation for a monster like this, this is a broken individual, completely irreparable; he should be put down like the rabid dog he is.
But to take Union Island, or any of the Grenadines off your cruising or vacation itinerary is silly. St. Vincent has never been a pleasant place to visit, so leaving it off ours, not because it may be dangerous, but because I didn't find anything I liked about the place 30 years ago, let alone on a quick stop last year, is no hardship. It is easily bypassed sailing north or south with Bequia only 8 miles farther and a better destination, anyway.
I have sailed to places like the Sudan, Morocco and Saudi Arabia and been welcomed by the locals with open arms. Not a problem (unless you want to count being chased down the street by a foraging goat, when I strayed too close to "his" garbage pile), at all.
There was an incident last year where a bus load of cruise ship passengers was held up at gun point on a tour. Should St. Lucia also be considered too dangerous to visit because of that? An American tourist girl of 18 went missing in Aruba some years back; stay away, there too?
But the reality is that each and every time you get in your car to go to work or shopping, that trip in a motor vehicle is much more dangerous than any anchorage in the Caribbean.
It angers me to no end that these places I love are having these problems, but what parent thought sending their kid to school at Sandy Hook elementary one morning, would be the last they would see of them?
We need to keep all this in perspective and not fly off the deep end, here. It is getting more dangerous to cruise everywhere, but the world is becoming more dangerous everywhere as well. This incident happened at dinner time, not the middle of the night, so unless you want to live your life behind bars as you cruise, nobody would have even had those lovely security bars (pictured several times on this thread) in place, at that time of the evening!
This is a horrible incident and of course our hearts go out to Tina and Mark of Rainbow, but again, it is an isolated incident of horrific violence way beyond the petty theft usually associated with crimes against yachts.
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  #55  
Old 10-06-2013
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

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Originally Posted by chrisncate View Post
I meant you, not James Baldwin...
JB "put it forth." I just repeated the idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisncate View Post
... you're going about as far as I am, cruising wise (which is nowhere).

As stated above, it appears I've cruised about as many places as you have or will ...
Nope. Nice try though.



Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisncate View Post
...Relax and calm down, you're going to pop a vein. We all realize you are an activist putting forth a political agenda, have at it. I'll reserve any thoughts on you personally for the PWRG
I'm about as relaxed as can be; watching "Signing Time" with my five-year-old, eating a bagel and schmear, drinking coffee, and contemplating putting some of the finishing touches on the reading/play loft I built for said 5-y-o in her room (aka, making the loft somewhat 5-y-o-proof).

Oh, and I'm not the one who starts calling his fellow Sailnetters JrHS names in thread after thread after thread.
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Last edited by SlowButSteady; 10-06-2013 at 12:28 PM.
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  #56  
Old 10-06-2013
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

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Originally Posted by miatapaul View Post

How likely is it that bear spray would be confiscated? It seems like it would not violate laws since it is labeled for use against wildlife, but I am not sure.
As mentioned in earlier posts, I carried Fox pepper spray for years (in several sizes -- one for personal carry while in dodgy places ashore, one with a long range stream spray for incidents on deck, and two "grenade" types which I planned to push into the cockpit through a small hatch after we had locked ourselves inside the boat). I also carried a Taser for use inside the boat if someone got in and was armed with anything other than a gun.

My strategy on clearing customs was to answer the question, "Do you have any firearms aboard?" with an honest "No". That's as far as it went in 99% of the places I've visited.

I was boarded in Chaguramas Bay, Trinidad by the Trini Coast Guard. They asked if I had any "weapons" aboard, which is subtly different from asking about "firearms". I replied, "What do you mean by weapons". Their reply was "like knives", to which I replied, "Yes, I have quite a few in the galley". Then they said, "What else?" and I told them about the pepper spray and Taser. They asked to see these items and after inspecting them, they let me keep them and went on their way.

In the Caribbean I don't think the local authorities care much about anything but firearms. That's what they ask about either verbally or as a question on a form you're filling out.

More recently on entering Canada and later the EU I was asked about having "weapons on board". I said I had no firearms, but the customs gal pushed back and referred to "weapons" again. I told her about the Taser and Pepper Spray as I was sure she'd find the Pepper Spray as it was in a drawer at the nav. station. I was informed that these were prohibited items and they would be seized and held until my departure. In Canada that was no big deal as I had entered and was leaving from St. Johns. The day of departure the customs people brought the items back and I signed some papers and that was that. In Ireland, I was told they would follow the same procedure, but that I would have to leave the EU from the same place I had entered. That was impractical and so I just gave the Taser and Pepperspray (now almost ten year old) to the customs guys and said they could keep them.
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Old 10-06-2013
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

Thank you to everyone making this a thread about PRACTICAL advise rather than a weapons debate. I appreciate that everyone has different takes on security and getting different points of view on what to avoid, or where, practical defense (as above) etc is helpful.

Fighting over the rest just belongs in the "sewer" where it goes on every day anyway.
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

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Originally Posted by killarney_sailor View Post
This discussion seems unfortunately typical of most of these guns/weapons threads. You have two groups, one saying what they do do, ie actual cruisers and the other saying what they would do ie those with no real experience doing real cruising. The opinions should not be given equal weight for obvious reasons.
Bingo. It stinks because I find myself just avoiding these conversations but I am curious what people like Jon, Faster, Aaron, yourself, Mark, Capta etc have to say.

I think there is a balance to be found amongst all their advise that makes great sense. Something like, avoid some places, be less obvious about your wealth in places without it, be a courteous guest, and most importantly be aware of your surroundings (this one works everywhere really). Have I missed anything?
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

EDITED: Not to join the fray. Just follow the laws and be a courteous guest please.

Last edited by AlaskaMC; 10-06-2013 at 01:44 PM.
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Old 10-06-2013
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

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Originally Posted by AlaskaMC View Post
Have I missed anything?
Yep:
1) Work together.
We have another situation here, much different, with a local trying for work on boats and he manipulates his way onto boats (how???) and then shows his dick to the women whilst the male owner is on board!!!!

Anyway, every time this dude comes into the anchorage, like this morning, the VHF goes off and we all plot the guys wanderings. Then when he has left we go give warnings to anyone he's visited.

2) In another anchorage 2 months ago a dude swims out from his hut on the shore and takes a few small things, after reporting to Police we set up a Neighbourhood Watch type thing (not vigilante group) and get volunteers who have one hour each at night (I always got the sh!tty slots ) to cruise the area along the beach shining torches around the water and past the hut.

In neither case have we needed to beat the crap out of the guys, not kill, shoot or maim them. But by working together with the free and legal stuff and the Police we have made it very obvious that one dick flash or one theft and we know exactly who it is and the police will be there pronto.


Who wants to enjoy their retirement with a few killings notched in their belt? Its just not reasonable, or sane, when there's (generally) non-lethal ways to do it.

Or worse: Spending your remaining years in a 3rd world hell hole jail because the local jury wouldnt believe your 'self defense' plea. or because some kid came up to offer you lobster and you blew his brains to kingdom come?

As someone noted, the people cruising mainly have a different attitude to those that don't. And ex-army infanty who really train on guns know they arn't worth the consequences.


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