A couple were viciously attacked while at anchor during their Caribbean charter


I was sent a horrifying email last week that illustrates that violent attacks – acts of piracy – continue in parts of the Caribbean.

Steve and Katherine Jones were chartering from Martinique over Christmas and stopped in the anchorage at Chateaubelair on St Vincent, traditionally a hopping-off point before the bumpy passage north to St Lucia.

The photo above shows the boat in the anchorage at sunset, hours before the attack. She was secured except for the front cabin hatch, which was open. Steve says : ‘At 00.30 we were boarded and viciously attacked by 3 armed men, 2 with machetes and one with a hand gun.

‘The men attacked me with some considerable force – leaving 6 minor cuts, 3 lacerations on my back and 2 head wounds that required stitching. After an initial struggle I was held with a knife to my neck in the front cabin while my wife was taken into the main cabin by the other 2 men.

‘They threatened dozens of times to kill us and rape my wife and demanded money and also a watch and mobile phone. They took approx $1000 in various currencies and Nokia phone but left a laptop, binoculars and cameras, etc, which were all in open view.’

This terrifying incident illustrates that some areas of the Caribbean are still a problem. Chateaubelair, in particular, has a terrible reputation and I am really surprised that the charter company didn’t warn their customers off this anchorage in their cruise briefing. They should have done.

It’s not alone as a place to avoid. I’ll have more on this story and a full report on Caribbean ‘hot spots’ in the April issue of Yachting World, but if you have any comments, tips or experiences, let me know.