Please select your home edition
Edition
Pantaenius AUS Smooth 728x90

Latest Caribbean murder of cruising sailor is tip of an iceberg

by Nancy Knudsen on 21 Jan 2014
Roger and Margaret (both right) in happier days SW
It's time that cruising rallies and Caribbean publicists stopped being so quiet about the violent crime in the Caribbean. The latest murder of an innocent British cruising sailor is only the last in a long line of violent attacks in various parts of the Caribbean. When four sailors were killed in the Indian Ocean a couple of years ago by Somali pirates it was mainstream world news, but many murders occur in the Caribbean without much fuss by anyone outside of the local area.

The Caribbean island of St Lucia, where the latest murder took place is an island of about 180,000 people. It is the arrival point for many Atlantic Rallies and is generally considered safer than areas such as the Central American coastline or the waters of Venezuela.

However, it has been struggling to stem a rise in violent crime in recent years, which authorities blame on drug trafficking. Police reported 34 killings last year, the lowest number in four years.

While Sail-World Cruising does not see its brief as covering all the crimes against cruisers, it has only too often had to report on violent attacks on sailors, some of them fatal. (See Sail-World story and story, just as examples.)

This week Roger Pratt, aged 62, died after attackers boarded his boat while it was moored near the town of Vieux Fort to the south of the Island. He was found floating in the water by his wife after the attack. It was reported after the attack that 'they thought St Lucia would be safe because it was where leading rallies arrived.'

Mr and Mrs Pratt, a semi-retired British couple, had taken 23 days to make the 3,000 mile Atlantic crossing from Lanzarote to Martinique in their 41ft steel, centre-cockpit cutter, Magnetic Attraction.

The attack happened as they lay off Vieux Fort awaiting customs clearance. An armed gang came aboard and Mr Pratt was reportedly stabbed to death as he went to protect his wife. Mrs Pratt was treated in hospital for minor injuries. Three people have been held by police.

Mr Pratt and his wife, from Moreton Morrell in Warwickshire, ran Okra Associates, a financial consultancy firm based at Harance House, Rumer Hill Road, in Cannock. They were on a long-planned round-the-world holiday, and the couple celebrated Margaret’s 60th birthday just days before the tragedy.

The Pratts, who were both highly-experienced sailors, set off on their global journey from Lowestoft in July last year, keeping family and friends back home updated on their progress through an online blog, which has now been taken offline.

For information about security in the Caribbean, intending sailors would be wise to consult the http://www.safetyandsecuritynet.com/Caribbean_Safety_and_Security_Net, who have reported several recent (2013) attacks on cruising sailors.

About the Safety and Security Net:

The Caribbean Safety and Security Net’s primary mission is the collection and dissemination of accurate information relating to crimes against yachts in the Caribbean, enabling cruisers to make intelligent decisions about how and where they cruise. This is accomplished in two primary ways
The daily HF radio voice net, 8104 USB at 0815 AST. The daily voice net receives and transmits incident reports and general safety and security related news items as well as communicating boat watches, reporting hazards to navigation (both natural and manmade) and provides other information by request.

The resources and information available on this website. The CSSN website includes not only all of the current and historic information on reported incidents (use the Island Reports button to search for/sort the database), but also information and links to a variety of other resources related to safety and security for cruisers.
Take a few minutes and explore our current site. We received nearly 300 responses to our 2013 User Survey and the CSSN team is hard at work making changes as a result – bookmark this page and check back often.
RS Sailing 660x82 AUSBIA 2017 Brisbane 660x82 SailingZhik AkzoNobelb 660x82

Related Articles

Pulling G’s with Beneteau – Pt I
In a car, just the one G will have you straining at your seatbelt. In a car, just the one G will have you straining at your seatbelt. Over nine (+ve) in an aircraft, and without a G-suit, you will be unconscious. So at three G’s, and pulling no punches with them either, we not only enjoyed our opportunity to sit with Gianguido Girotti (G3), we got to learn a lot as well!
Posted on 23 Aug
2017 J/111 World Championship - Preview
Every team’s journey to a starting line is a tale of organization, crew alignment, vessel preparation and practice Every team’s journey to a starting line is a tale of organization, crew alignment, vessel preparation and practice. Add in international travel, and the complexity snowballs. Then, weave in the pressures and prestige of a World Championship— in this case the 2017 J/111 World Championships (August 23-27, 2017), hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, California — and situation compounds.
Posted on 21 Aug
Twenty-eighth blog from Jon Sanders - He's made it to Noumea
Noumea' New Caledonia a long Island kinda lies south-east to north west. 30 N Miles wide and 220 miles long 'Noumea' New Caledonia a long Island - kinda lies south-east to north west. 30 N Miles wide and 220 miles long, sort of. Plenty of reef. The fringing reef well out with several well posted passages into the Lagoon. Once inside the lagoon one cannot steer a course direct to Noumea, or one would come to a grinding halt. 'Crunch' (Coral reef and Islets). Never the less a small boat paradise....
Posted on 17 Aug
New rules to better protect and enable access to the Whitsundays
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Chairman Russell Reichelt said it was vital to protect the area’s values The updates to the Whitsunday Plan of Management — an area-specific plan that manages use in this highly visited region in addition to Reef-wide zoning — follows extensive consultation.
Posted on 10 Aug
Keep the water out with Zhik’s new Superthermal Hydrobase
The lower arm and leg of the new Superthermal Hydrobase is made from a water-repellent, stretch woven fabric We’ve all done it - and fished a rope out of the water, pushed the rudder down or stepped down the slipway one foot too far and gained that unwanted wet sleeve or leg.
Posted on 9 Aug
Satori is for sale
This 50ft McConaghy built performance cruiser is effectively a mini Wally. This 50ft McConaghy built performance cruiser is effectively a mini Wally. In-boom furling, self-tacking and hydraulic driven everything through push button controls that really work. You just need to trim your nails before sailing! It really is a boat that you can sail on your own, but nice to have company to show it off!
Posted on 9 Aug
Brisbane Boat Show – 18 days to go
The Brisbane Boat Show opens in less than three weeks, capturing all the Queensland boating lifestyle has to offer. There will be a huge clearance of fishing tackle and show only deals. If you love boats, fishing and water sports you don’t want to miss the Brisbane Boat Show.
Posted on 7 Aug
Knots are great, but beware of limitations
Paul Dyer, technical manager at Marlow Ropes, tests the effects of knots and splices on rope strength. Paul Dyer, technical manager at Marlow Ropes, tests the effects of knots and splices on rope strength. There's a knot for every application and for many applications there is no better solution than a knot. Nonetheless it is important to be aware of the limitations of knots.
Posted on 3 Aug
Twenty-seventh blog from Jon Sanders - More South Pacific trade winds
In my last blog I mentioned running before the trade winds. All the way from South America to Australia. In my last blog I mentioned running before the trade winds. All the way from South America to Australia. i.e. Sailing between the equator and the Tropic of Capricorn. I cleared Tahiti and headed for New Caledonia. (A sizeable French elongated Island) all in the trade wind belt. And after Noumea 'New Caledonia' to Bundaberg, where rum is made in Australia.
Posted on 31 Jul
Twenty-sixth blog from Jon Sanders - The South Pacific trade winds
First one has to get into them from Panama. Then you have them. First one has to get into them from Panama. Then you have them. Some years your sails might flop along in a light wind. But it is there.
Posted on 27 Jul