Paul and Rachel Chandler, kidnapped by Somali pirates and held for over a year in appalling conditions while the pirates negotiated for a ransom, have set sail again. An additional triumph for them is that, as their yacht was retrieved by the British Navy after their kidnapping and returned to Britain, they have even set sail aboard the same boat.
Chandlers - Rachel waves as they set off - photo by http://www.theviewfromthedartmouthoffice.co.uk
The British couple were held captive for 388 days after being seized at gunpoint on their yacht, the Lynn Rival, in October 2009. They were held in a bush land prison by a gang of pirates until 13 months later, when their family raised a £625,000 ransom for their release.
Their 38ft boat was found drifting in the ocean by the Royal Navy ship the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Wave Knight, who brought it back to Britain.
The Chandlers, from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, have spent the last two years returning the Lynn Rival to good condition in order to recommence their long range sailing.
They set sail from Noss Marina in the pretty seaside town of Dartmouth, Devon, at 2pm on Saturday this week and appeared in high spirits - waving and smiling at passers-by.
Photographer Andy Kyle, who snapped the couple leaving the marina for his www.theviewfromthedartmouthoffice.co.uk!website, told The Telegraph they seemed 'ecstatic'.
Recently Chandlers told of their support for their latest attempt from friends and family who raised more than half a million pounds in ransom money.
‘They want us to get our lives back, and life for us at the moment is travelling and sailing’, said Mrs Chandler. ‘I think they are relaxed about it, I don’t think they would be very positive if we were to be captured again, but we had bad luck, we were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the chances of it happening again are incredibly small.’
Paul Chandler added at the time, ‘They were very worried that would be permanently scarred by what had happened to us, and I think it was reassuring to them that, having found out that we had our boat back, that the Navy had brought our boat back for us, for them to know that we did actually want to restore it, and get back to cruising to get our lives back again, was reassuring to them.’
It is believed that the Chandlers, who do not have children, are first heading to Spain - potentially after visiting another port in the South West. They will then head across the Atlantic for the Caribbean, after the gales cease, probably in November/December. In their new attempt to complete a circumnavigation, they will stay well away from the part of the Indian Ocean where they were kidnapped.
They have been staying in Dartmouth, Devon, since returning from Somalia, and were reunited with the Lynn Rival in November 2010. Paul's father Alfred, 99, who died during their time in captivity after suffering from ill health, had a house in the town.