Monday, 11 June 2012

Released Pirate Couple Chandlers Putting to Sea Again

English cruising couple Paul and Rachel Chandler, having been released by their Somali pirate captors, are heading to sea again in their 38ft. Rival, Lynn Rival.

The cruising lifestyle is so deep in their blood that they are now going to continue and complete their circumnavigation that was cut short in 2009 when they were captured and interred by Somali Pirates. Obviously, they are taking a different route this time around which will cut out the northern Indian Ocean.

They currently have their vessel moored near the yacht club in Dartmouth, Devon, whilst they carry out most of the refit themselves.

The following report outlines their plans for setting sail once again:  

'Back to the water: Paul and Rachel Chandler will attempt to sail around the world again next year, it was revealed today

Wrecked: The boat suffered severe damage in the year while Paul and Rachel Chandler were in captivity and it is likely to be next year before they have finished repairing it

Paul and Rachel watch as their boat is hauled out of the water in Britain. It is now undergoing a refit which they are largely carrying out themselves. 

Overseas again: The couple plan to sail the Lynn Rival, pictured here in 2009, across the Atlantic and will avoid the Indian Ocean, it was revealed today

For more than a year, the lives of Paul and Rachel Chandler were hanging in the balance as they were held hostage by Somali pirates who had snatched them from their boat.

They endured hunger, brutality and death threats.

But the couple appear to have put their terrifying ordeal behind them and are planning to set sail again.

They have been busy repairing Lynn Rival, the yacht they were sailing when they were kidnapped in 2009, and are preparing for an Atlantic voyage.
The refit could be finished by early next year and the Chandlers are understood to be keen to set off in the springtime – some 18 months after they were released.

Mr Chandler’s sister, Jill Marchment, yesterday confirmed the plans.
She said: ‘They are definitely going to go to sea next year – depending on how much time they can spend restoring the boat.

'They are doing it all themselves. They are going to go west. They wouldn’t be stupid enough to go east again.

'That way they will only have hurricanes to worry about.’

Retired civil engineer Mr Chandler and his wife, now aged 60 and 57 respectively, had left their home in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, and were near the Seychelles when they were kidnapped from their 38ft yacht on October 23, 2009.

Describing their story later to the Daily Mail, they recalled their terror as the gun-toting pirates stormed their yacht, their anger that a nearby Royal Navy ship failed to intervene and their brutal treatment at the hands of their captors.

They revealed how their family paid £280,000, only for the pirates to refuse to let them go, and how they were told they were going to be killed days before they were finally freed.

They were released on November 14, 2010 – after 388 days – when a ransom of £625,000 was paid.
Lynn Rival going back into the water
They were reunited with the Lynn Rival at a boat yard at Buckler’s Hard, near Lymington, Hampshire.

In a book recounting their ordeal, Mrs Chandler wrote: ‘This is where the insurers have brought her for restoration.

'Paul checks her out with his engineer’s eye. As I go down the steps and glance around, there’s a tiny, chilling sense they haven’t quite gone: Scrabble tiles on the floor, grease and rice spilled all over the galley.

'I know I’m not fit enough yet but I can’t wait to start clearing up!

'It will take a lot of work to exorcise the ghosts but I’m happy that she will be ours again.’

Mr Chandler has posted pictures online repairing the decking on the vessel and fitting new teak strips - the wooden cladding which appears on top.

The hull is being repainted, the mast restored and the interior refurbished after more than a year of pirate occupation.

The vessel is currently in Dartmouth, Devon, while the repairs are carried out.

Paul working on the outboard motor
Penny Beech, 54, who runs Sailspar, a specialist store in Great Bromely, Essex,, 57, revealed the Chandlers spent £3,075 on specialist reefing gears which were sent to them via courier in June.

Rope is routed through the gear for the two sails on the front of their yacht.

The shop owner told MailOnline: 'They got the boat back and are are doing a refit down at Darmouth. I got an email back in February this year from Mr Chandler inquiring about our reefing gears.

'When I spoke to them I asked "Are you going sailing again?" and they are. I don't think they will be going near the area where they were kidnapped - they are going across the South Atlantic this time.

'They are carrying out a refit which I think they hope to complete early next year.

'Their yacht is needing extensive repairs as it was badly damaged - I believe it was returned to them by the Navy.

'As there is a lot to do it is likely to be the spring before they are in a position to launch.'

She added that after the initial inquiry they placed an order in June once they had settled with their insurance company.

Mrs Beech added that she believes she served the couple a few years ago - but cannot remember for certain.

'It's an inspiring story and it's so brave of them to go back out again,' she added.'

Images courtesy Paul and Rachel Chandler

With dedication like that to carry on and complete their 'adventure of a lifetime' sailing dream, we can only wish them fair winds and calm seas.

You can read much more about the cruising life in my ebook 'Sailing Adventures in Paradise' downloadable from my website

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