Dartmouth kidnap couple set out to sail the world
Rachel and Paul Chandler smiled broadly as they set sail to restart their interrupted tour around the world – aboard the same boat from which they were kidnapped.
The British couple were held captive by Somali pirates for 388 days after being seized at gunpoint on their beloved yacht, the Lynn Rival, in October 2009.
They were held in a bushland 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.
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The Chandlers, who have homes in Dartmouth, Devon, and Tunbridge Wells, Kent, have spent the last two years returning the Lynn Rival to good condition.
They set sail from Noss Marina in Dartmouth at 2pm on Saturday and appeared in high spirits – waving and smiling at passers-by.
It is believed that the Chandlers will steer clear of the Seychelles, where they were captured by the pirates but they are still planning to sail the high seas as part of their global adventure.
Photographer Andy Kyle, who snapped the couple leaving the marina for his website www.theviewfromthedartmouthoffice.co.uk, said they seemed “ecstatic”.
He said: “This is recommencing their world tour after being abducted inside the Seychelles archipelago.
“It is on the Lynn Rival, the same boat they were taken from.
“They feel really at home on the boat and I would imagine they are ecstatic to be back on it and heading out on their trip.
“They have spent the last 18 months restoring the Lynn Rival back to its former glory and looked very happy as they left.
“There were no crowds, I don’t think anyone really noticed. They just slipped out almost without telling anyone.”
It is believed that Mr Chandler, a retired civil engineer and Mrs Chandler, who do not have children, are first heading to Spain – potentially after visiting another port in the South West.
They have been staying in Dartmouth since returning from Somalia, and were reunited with the Lynn Rival in November 2010.
Mr Chandler’s father Alfred, who died aged 99 during their time in captivity after suffering from ill health, lived in the town for many years.