Somali Pirates in the News

The airwaves have been quite full with the news of Somali Pirates these past few years. So it’s no wonder that whenever I give a talk about our world circumnavigation on a 43-foot catamaran, one of the first questions asked is about pirates. How did it feel sailing through Pirate Alley from Oman to Aden?  We formed a CONVOY of five sailboats, but even then, it was scary.  Some pirates shoot first, then take over the sailboat, especially if it is a nice one like Pacific Bliss that can be used as one of their “mother” ships.

This is from my website blog of March 10, 2007 @ 13º37 N, 48º21 E, with 200 miles to go to Aden, Yemen @

“Out here, I have the sense that the entire world out here is on red alert. It is in the air. Yet nothing is happening in our little world. And we don’t WANT something to happen. The guys on the commercial ships, the captains of our sailing convoys, and most certainly the troops on the coalition ship patrolling the area are all hyperactive; I sense all of this bottled-up energy floating around, with no place to go. There’s no way to release it. Laps around Pacific Bliss? Not such a good idea when we’re moving along. Push-ups or calisthenics? Too hot, and water for showers is limited. If there were a good wind, we’d be adjusting sails, automatically swaying to the motion—good isometric exercise. But under the hot sun on a flat sea? Nothing. There is no way to relieve the tension.”

November 14, 2010: The Chandlers are Finally Freed!

For the past 388 days, Paul and Rachel Chandler have been held captive when their sailboat was hijacked by Somali Pirates in the Indian Ocean. Relatives in Britain disclosed that one of the main hurdles they faced in their efforts to secure the Chandlers’ release was the refusal of some pirates to accept that they were not millionaires.  Ransom negotiations broke down several times during the Kent couple’s 388-day ordeal because pirate leaders refused to believe that more money could not be raised.

“Throughout the protracted discussions…it has been a difficult task for the family to get across the message that these were two retired people on a sailing trip on a small private yacht,” the couple’s relatives said in a statement. “[They are] not part of a major commercial enterprise involving tens of millions of pounds of assets. Thankfully, common sense finally prevailed and a solution was obtained for their release.”

Reportedly, Mr. and Mrs. Chandler had ploughed their lifesavings into their 38ft yacht, Lynn Rival, and had even sold their house in Tunbridge Wells, U.K. to fund their retirement on the ocean.

Yemini Fishermen Approach Pacific Bliss