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Pirates Capture Cruising Yacht

Somali pirates are reporting that they captured a British cruising couple in the Indian Ocean yesterday. Paul and Rachel Chandler, 58 and 55 respectively, left the Seychelles October 22 bound for Tanzania aboard their Rival 38 Lynn Rival. A spokesperson for the pirates claims the Chandlers are in good health and are on their way to Somalia, where ransom will presumably be asked. Family members say the Chandlers are retirees on a limited income and have little means to pay any ransom.

Monsoon season has just ended in the area, which means calm weather for pirate activity. Authorities have issued warnings about pirates, and several attacks have been reported in the last few weeks, so it’s unclear why the Chandlers chose to leave when they did. Even the pirates say they were surprised to find the couple out during peak piracy season.

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The start of the 16th annual Baja Ha-Ha received a surprising — but welcome — amount of local media attention this week, including reports by NBC San Diego and the San Diego News Network, as well as the cover of the San Diego Union-Tribune.