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Canadian cruiser reports pirate attack

DEC. 15 -- When Canadian doctor Steve McVicar, another doctor and his wife, set off on a two-week cruise in the Caribbean last month, the last thing McVicar expected was to have a shotgun pressed to the back of his head.

“It’s just a horrible feeling that your life is so frail, hanging by a thread,” the 50-year-old orthopedic surgeon says in a news report.

While off Venezuela, McVicar and his companions — aboard McVicar’s 43-foot steel-hulled ketch, Alioth — were watching a movie when pirates attacked them. “All of a sudden, five armed men came on board and one put a shotgun right to my head,” McVicar says in the report. “The others had pistols and a machete, and they ended up tying us up and proceeded to loot the boat.”

While bound and lying face down in the cockpit, McVicar’s thoughts focused on his own shotgun on his bunk in the aft cabin. “You think, if I only had my gun up on deck, I could have loaded it, which I usually do, but what if I fired,” he says in the report. “What if they had a machine gun and fired back? You’d wind up having a firefight.”

Before making off with McVicar’s satellite phone, VHF, various electronics, clothing and $10,000, the thieves took the female passenger below deck and sexually assaulted her, the report says. Nearly 10 minutes after the pirates took off, McVicar and his companions freed themselves and returned to shore to get help.

— Jason Fell