A marine rigging company is playing an important part in helping a couple kidnapped by pirates back afloat.

Rachel and Paul Chandler suffered a 388-day ordeal at the hands of Somali pirates after being captured in the Indian Ocean in 2009.

During their time in captivity, their yacht, Lynn Rival, was stripped of some of its hi-tech rigging gear – originally supplied by Great Bromley-based Sail-spar.

Now the company is helping the Chandlers make their yacht shipshape again, by supplying fresh devices for winding sails on their booms.

The Kent couple were freed last November in exchange for a reported £600,000 ransom, raised by the Somali community in the UK.

The couple are now planning to set sail again, headed for the Atlantic, with help from Sailspar, based at the Old Marconi Works, in Hilliards Road.

Penny Beech, 54, who runs the business with husband David, 57, and stepdaughter Clarrie Haigh, said: “I spoke to them and they were incredibly nice. It’s an inspiring story.

“It’s so brave of them to go back out again.

“We were just happy to help and we did gave them a good price.

“It’s an honour they wanted our equipment on their boat again, because it stood them well.

“They are obviously incredibly keen sailors. It’s something which gets in your blood. They must just love it.”

Ms Haigh, who designs the company’s website, said the family had followed the Chandlers’ story very closely during their captivity.

She added: “After what they went through, they still have the courage and the character to get sailing again and get Lynn Rival, their gorgeous yacht, back to her previous glory.

“We are proud to supply them their reefing gears and want to do whatever we can to help them get their lives back on track after that terrible year.”