Some very ugly news from the W’Indies. Latitude 38 has just published a grim first-person account by bluewater cruiser Mike Harker, who was recently assaulted aboard his Hunter 49 Wanderlust 3 while anchored at St. Martin. Mike, who was grievously injured in a hand-gliding accident two decades ago and was told he would never walk again, has long been a poster-boy for Hunter Marine and has been an active cruiser for several years. Any who have met him while hanging around Hunter’s booth at the big national sailboat shows will, I am sure, remember him as an exceedingly gregarious and unpretentious fellow. According to his Latitude account, which you can read here, he was woken in his berth at 4 a.m. by two thugs who swam out to his boat. They threatened him with a harpoon, beat him senseless, and plundered the boat.
Also last week there was a fatal attack against a cruising boat on the south coast of Panama. Reportedly the 70-foot sailing vessel Altares was boarded by five pirates near Bajo Pipon and the skipper, “Bo” Olsen, a Danish national, was shot and killed. His son, an American named Zach Olsen, suffered a gunshot wound, and a Panamanian woman, Sugey Rodriquez, was beaten in the face. A few more details are available here and here.
I’ve found no information on how the pirates boarded the vessel in the Panamanian incident. But Mike’s story sure makes you think twice about the virtues of having a sugar-scoop transom on your boat.
We here at WaveTrain wish him a rapid recovery and look forward to buying him a beer at the fall shows.
BoaterMouth link: here