Three years after their kidnap in the Indian Ocean, Paul and Rachel Chandler are well on their way to realising their dream of continuing their sail across the oceans of the world. Last month, their freshly restored 38ft yacht Lynn Rival slipped out of Dartmouth harbour into the Channel and steered southwards for the coast of Europe.
Paul and Rachel - now in Portugal
They haven't travelled too far yet. Currently their renovated boat, the Lynn Rival, is moored in Lagos in Portugal, where they are completing repairs and maintenance, before heading south and then west across the Atlantic.
‘It’s not easy for other people to understand why we do what we do,’ Paul told the Daily Mail this week. ‘I know we have our detractors, people who think we are crazy to go back to the open sea. Maybe we are a bit selfish.’
‘It’s all very loosely planned,’ Paul said, fingering a navigation chart, ‘We could alter our course at any time. This is the way we want to live and we won’t let the fear that something terrible could happen again stop us.’
They are phlegmatic about the past, willing, for example, to dismiss their former captors as ‘silly young men’, and they seem unruffled at the prospect of setting to sea again.
‘We were unfit from more than a year of getting no exercise,’ says Rachel. A diet of goat’s liver, rice and spaghetti had left them malnourished, too. ‘Our leg muscles were pitifully thin and I had virtually no bum. So we hit the gym every day to tone up. Because we always knew that we would never actually feel normal again until we resumed cruising.
‘It felt weird being able to go into a shop and buy something as mundane as a pair of shoes,’ she continues. ‘Walking in a shopping centre with all those people felt overwhelming; as was sleeping in a normal bed, using a flush toilet.’
For a while they wore hats as a disguise. ‘We missed our anonymity. One of the reasons we love being out at sea is that you can go for days without seeing people or anything man-made.’
Maybe seeking back the privacy that they lost as a result of the kidnap is another reason why they are so keen to set to sea again.
‘I don’t think it will happen again,' says Rachel, 'Statistically, lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place.’