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Update: Piracy Report in Africa 

piracy at seaThis is a follow-up on our article "To carry guns on boats, or not?". gCaptain recently reported that the EU has pledge a substantial amount of money towards strenghtening security along the maritime routes, specifically around the horn of Africa which according to them, will help boost trade and growth in the region.

Cruisers will obviously benefit from heightened security and it might encourage more cruisers to do the passage up or down the Red Sea! Read the full article here: gCaptain 

View the IMB Piracy & Armed Robbery Map.

Hurricane Preparedness

hurricane ivanThe Hurricane season is upon us again. The season officially started on June 1 and will end on November 30th. In advance of every hurricane season, several forecasts of hurricane activity are issued by national meteorological services, scientific agencies, and noted hurricane experts. According to professor William Gray, the Atlantic basin can expect 18 named storms, 9 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes, much like 2012. (See a list of the hurricane names for 2013 here). This is a reminder to all of us in tropical areas not to be complacent!

We happened to land in the Caribbean in 1996, which was the frontend of an extremely active few years of hurricane activity and we have learned a few valuable lessons in the process! After crossing the Atlantic from the Cape Verde islands off the west coast of Africa, about 18 days at sea, we arrived in the Caribbean on December 26th, 1996 in Antigua where we checked in. The island was still reeling from the aftermath of hurricane Luis but we did not quite understand the scope of he damage untill we moved on to Sint Maarten after the New Year. We saw first-hand the devastation a hurricane can inflict. 

Read more: Hurricane Preparedness

Piracy Issues: To Carry Guns On Yachts, Or not?

pirate alley map pirates in africaThis headline, "Piracy in Africa down, but not out!..." in an article in the Cruising Outpost Newsletter grabbed my attention. With the gun debate so hot on the news right now, I thought it a good time to discuss carrying guns on boats.

Our Experience with Piracy In The Red Sea

Piracy in the Red Sea (one of the hotspots) is still a problem. It has been a peril, long before we sailed up the Red Sea in 1993. Yachtsmen remain an easy target for attacks as they are considered low risk to "pirates" and are now perceived to be able to attract high ransoms as hostages. Most attacks on pleasure craft, however, are opportunistic piracy by fisherman and they are usually not heavily armed...not that it is any less threatening. But yachtsman can usually deal with this kind of pirate by travelling with one or more "buddy boats", maintaining radio silence, and not using navigation lights while in a high risk area.

Our trip up the Red Sea took us through the gulf of Aden to Djibuti, Yemen, Eritrea, Sudan and Egypt and in spite of the conflicts, civil wars, and piracy, we had a good trip. We never felt threatened when on shore. But we had some concerns on the stretch around the horn of Africa off Somalia into the Gulf of Aden. There's a 100-mile long danger zone where Somali and Yemeni pirates prey on passing ships and yachts (as illustrated in this picture from yachtpals). We wanted to get through this as quickly as possible.

Read more: Piracy Issues: To Carry Guns On Yachts, Or not?

Can A Reluctant Partner Be Convinced To Go Cruising?

Sailing School Over several years of doing live-aboard seaschool training, we've encountered countless couples conflicted about their new chosen adventure. The husband is usually eager and rearing to go while the wife readily confesses that she is doing this only because she reluctantly promised her husband to at least give sailing a try. "But don't expect me to like it!" is often the response from the fairer sex. This begs the question: Why are the spouses often so negative about this adventure?

I found that the ladies came on board feeling a little intimidated and somewhat inadequate. They fear the big rig and sails or steering a "big ship" and having to go offshore overnight. They are intimidated by the "complicated systems" and do not feel confident that they will be able to handle the boat by themselves if need be. Ladies are usually unsure about cruising on a catamaran because they lack education. Often times their only experience of sailing is discomfort and hanging-on-for-dear-life type sailing.

Read more: How To Convince A Reluctant Partner To Go Cruising

Boat Denaming Ceremony

Christening catamaran ZuriWe have had several requests for copies of John Vigor's Boat Denaming Ceremony. John Vigor is a boating writer and resident of Bellingham, Washington. Below is an excerpt for the denaming ceremony from his book  "How to Rename Your Boat...and 19 Other Useful Ceremonies, Superstitions, Prayers, Rituals, and Curses"

 

<Christening ceremony of our first catamaran named Zuri

Here is an alternative, longer and more complete boat de-naming and re-naming ceremony.

Read more: Boat Denaming Ceremony

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