Taken at sea: What really happened to the Chandlers | The IndependentB ecause crime is by its nature random, there can be no such thing as a typical victim — and yet we are all familiar with the modern media narrative that makes so many victims sound the same. It almost feels as if we could write the script of their experience ourselves, for rage and guilt, trauma and depression, and above all, wounded blame, are the emotional legacies we have come to expect. Yet nearly a year on from their ordeal, Paul and Rachel Chandler chart their own quiet course, declining tabloid cliches in favour of singularly thoughtful reflection. In October the Chandlers set sail from the Seychelles for Tanzania. Ninety miles offshore, their small yacht was boarded by armed Somali pirates, who held them hostage on land for more than a year, demanding a ransom of many million dollars. The British government stood by its policy of refusing to pay, and there was some criticism of the couple after early media reports described their course as close to the notoriously dangerous Somali coast.
Paul and Rachel Chandler: 'We're so lucky to be home'
Paul and Rachel Chandler are still smiling. But now, in front of the ITN cameras, those voices are relaxed, their faces softened, and their bony frames beginning to fill out. Snatched at gunpoint last October from their beloved yacht, Lynn Rival, in the Indian Ocean by a gang of 10 men, the Tunbridge Wells couple were briefly transferred to a container ship, also held by pirates, before being taken to the scrublands of Somalia. It was there that their torment began, as they waited for rescue or for a ransom to be paid. Laser cannons to defend ships from pirates. The Chandlers: So how did you cope with being kidnapped by pirates?
In December , Somali pirates with AKs and rocket- propelled grenades interrupted the ocean idyll of a retired British couple on their dream boat. Paul and Rachel Chandler were taken from their foot yacht to the bush of Somalia. Unfortunately for the pirates, their prey were less wealthy than expected, and more pugnacious. In their minutely detailed account, the Chandlers do disappointingly little to provide context for their misadventure. Why are there so many Somali pirates, and what is their civil war about, anyway? The Chandlers spend more than a year in captivity, but expend little time understanding their captors, even in retrospect.
On 23 October , British couple Paul and Rachel Chandler were kidnapped from their sailing boat in the archipelago of the Seychelles. Their yacht, Lynn Rival , was recovered six days later by naval forces, abandoned off the central Somali coast. After the attack, Paul and Rachel were taken first onto a previously hijacked merchant ship and then to Somalia, where they were held for over a year, enduring threats and intimidation while their captors tried to extort millions of dollars from their family.
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It wasn't really a pretty night," Rachel Chandler recalls. Small, sloshing waves were coming from the southeast, and a trickle of wind blew from the southwest. There was no moon, and the stars were shrouded by clouds. The wind was pushing them farther north than they'd planned. With no ships or land in sight, the Chandlers' foot sailing boat, the Lynn Rival, bobbed along all alone. Rachel, who is 57, was on watch while her husband, Paul, was asleep below deck. It was about 2.
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