Category Archives: Bounty

NTSB Release Bounty Report

The US NTSB released its report into the Sinking of the Bounty. The Bounty was Built in Lunenburg for the 1962 MGM Movie. You can find all our coverage of the Sinking Here (Above: Bounty from tall ships 2009  Below: from Tallships 2012, 2 months before her sinking)

From the Release:
A captain’s “reckless decision to sail into the well-forecasted path of Hurricane Sandy” was the probable cause of the sinking of a ship off the North Carolina coast in October 2012, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a report released today. The captain and one crewmember died in the accident. Three other crewmembers were seriously injured.

On the evening of October 25, 2012, a day after a closely watched developing storm had reached hurricane strength, the 108-foot-long tall wooden ship, the Bounty, set sail from New London, Conn., for St. Petersburg, Fla., into the forecasted path of Superstorm Sandy. The 52-year-old vessel, a replica of the original 18th Century British Admiralty ship of the same name, was built for MGM Studios for the 1962 movie, “Mutiny on the Bounty.”

Prior to setting off from New London, some of the crewmembers had expressed their concerns to the captain that sailing into a severe storm could put all of them and the ship at risk. The captain assured the crew that the Bounty could handle the rough seas and that the voyage would be a success. Just a month earlier, in an interview with a Maine TV station, the captain said that the Bounty “chased hurricanes,” and by getting close to the eye of the storm, sailors could use hurricane winds to their advantage.

The 16-page report details how a mostly inexperienced crew – some injured from falls, others seasick and fatigued from the constant thrashing of 30-foot seas – struggled for many hours to keep the ships engines running and bilge pumps operating so the seawater filling the vessel would not overtake it.
In the early morning hours of October 29, 2012, about 110 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C., the Bounty heeled sharply to the starboard side after taking on more than 10 feet of water in the final hours of a three and a half day voyage that the NTSB said, “should never have been attempted.”
Despite hurricane winds gusting upwards of 100 mph, the U.S. Coast Guard was able to rescue all but two of the Bounty’s 16 crewmembers by hoisting them from the sea into three Jayhawk helicopters in the midst of the storm. The body of one crewmember was found, still in a protective immersion suit, about 10 hours after rescue operations had commenced. The captain was presumed lost at sea; his body was never recovered.

“Although this wooden ship was modeled after an 18th century vessel, the Captain had access to 21st century hurricane modeling tools that predicted the path and severity of Hurricane Sandy,” said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman. “The Bounty’s crew was put into an extraordinarily hazardous situation through decisions that by any measure didn’t prioritize safety.”

Prior to setting to sea, the Bounty had been in a Maine shipyard for maintenance and repairs, most of which was accomplished by a crew with little experience in such specialized work. One of their tasks was to caulk and reseam a wooden hull, which had known areas of rot, with compounds supplied by the captain, including a silicone sealant marketed for household use.

The entity that owned and operated the ship, HMS Bounty Organization, LLC, did nothing to dissuade the captain from sailing into known severe weather conditions. The NTSB said that such a lack of effective safety oversight by the vessel organization contributed to the sinking.

The entire report is available at

Bounty Hearings

THE USCG is holding hearings today into the sinking of the Bounty. Our coverage of the Bounty Sinking can be found in our first post and Second Post.

The Chronical Hearld has the following stories:
Horrific last moments for Bounty victims
Christian family seeks truth

And will be Live Blogging via  Bounty captain’s competency at issue in Coast Guard hearing
Updates Below are based on that live blogging, and may be incomplete. G-Captain has a reporter at the hearings, and I will provide links to thier summary as well.

 UpdatesTestimony Day 1:
Chief Mate Testimony indicates that the Ships Stability Letter was not Followed/Accurate,and that bilges required regular pumping- once or twice every 4 hours. Modifications were made to the ship moving fuel tanks, and structure Aft during September/October refit, as well as replacing some above waterline planks. She also carried addtional lead balast aft.

On the 28th, making 10 knots, twice normal speed. sail damaged by wind, and is fureled. around 4pm, port fuel tank glass breaks, spilling fuel, port engine and generator go down. pumps running continuously, dirt and dust is accumulating in filters. Lack or port generator lead t ofuel starvation of starboard engine.

water was coming in between planks above waterline port side by main and mizzen masts, above engine and tank rooms. Imersion suits were put on when water was between decks. The ship rolled, and most were thrown off. Seas were 28feet, wind 40knots at time of capsizing.

G-Captain has a good summary of the days testimony.

Day 2
Today will feature a woman from the bounty office, as well as a representive of the shipyard who did work on the bounty before she sailed.

The bounties director of shoreside operations basically testified that. The ship was not a passenger vessel and only crew sailed aboard her. Bounty was surveyed in 2012 for the insurance company. The bounty had o written procedures, and most details of the ships operation were left up to the captain.

After a cg inspector who inspected the tank work testified. He declined to perform a full hull inspection as one was not required until 2015.

Next up was the director of Tallships America. He testified that walridge was competent, but he would not have sailed in those conditions.

Finallay a project manager from boothbay harbour shipyard testified. He stated and provided photos showing significant deterioration of hull frames and wet rotten and mouldy wood. O repairs were made and additional work would be done the next year. He advised walbridge not to sail in heavy weather. The bad areas were only 6 years old indicating a poorly executed repair at the booth bay yard.

Day 2 coverage via gCaptain

Day 3
The first witness of the day was an expert in measuring ships. he covered the issue of the Vessels tonnage certificate. Basically the rules for measuring the volume within the ship. with the staircase removed, the ship was over 300tons, and would require a load line certificate, which would require her to undergo a more stringant examination, and require all defcencies to be repaired. with the stair in place, the bounty was 266tons, and was clear.

 Day 3 also brought the testimony of the former Bothbay shipyard manager. He testified that there was damage, however he had seen much worse, and felt the repairs were sufficient. Having worked with woodenships fro the previous 40 years, he had been involved with the 2001 reft where thebellow waterline planking was replaced with oak, and the 2007 refit, where the above waterline planking was replaced with fir.

The Last witness of the Day was the bountys marine surveyor, and Naval architect. he testified that he designed the pump system, and survyed it, he was also friends with captain wallbridge, and they spoke frequently. He felt he was not in a conflict of interest. He was requested to perform a survey for the insurance company. He spent a day onboard, and did a cursory inspection, and testified he would need to do more, but it is unclear if he ever communicated this with anyone.

Day 3 Coverage at gCaptain

Tall Ship Bounty In Trouble

For cleanliness, this post will continue where yesterdays left off.
To Recap, The Bounty ran into trouble Sunday night, Monday morning the crew took to life rafts, and the Bounty Sank. 14 of 16 were resuced by the Coast Guard. Claudene Christian Was found later in the day, and died yesterday evening. The Captain Robin Walbridge is still missing.

 USCG Released Photos of Bounty.
 Photos by U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Tim Kuklewski.

Update 1111ADTVIA Gcaptain A Search Update:

The crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Elm, a 225-foot buoy tender homeported in Atlantic Beach, N.C., arrived on scene at approximately 7:15 p.m. Monday and began searching for Walbridge.

The crews aboard the HC-130 Hercules aircraft and the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., secured their searches for the night at approximately 7:30 p.m. Monday.

A crew aboard an HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., began a four-hour search at 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, and a Hercules aircrew from Air Station Clearwater began a morning search at approximately 7:15 a.m.

 The Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin, a 378-foot high-endurance cutter homeported in Charleston, S.C., is en route.

 The Coast Guard’s is searching an area approximately 1,350 square nautical miles.The water temperature is 77 degrees, air temperature is 67 degrees, seas are 15 feet, and the winds are 42 mph.

UPDATE 1127ADT HMS Bounty Facebook Page:

We are mourn the loss of Bounty’s crewmember Claudene Christian and Pray for the continued efforts to rescue our Beloved Captain, Robin Walbridge.

A RELIEF FUND has been established by past crew members for donations to the families of Claudene Christian and Captain Robin Walbridge, along with the 14 surviving members of the crew, who lost everything in the tragic loss of the HMS Bounty.

Much Appeciated Donations can be sent to via PayPal

UPDATE 1130ADT: website is down – Probably exceeded their bandwith from their WEBHost.
Note On Captains Qualifications:
Captain Walbridge holds a Master 1600 Ton License and has been involved with square rigged ships since 1993. A USCG 1600 Ton Certificate requires the following experiance 1440 days with 720 days on vessels over 100 gross tons and 720 days as master, mate or equivalent while holding license with 360 days as licensed master, mate or equivalent on vessels over 100 gross tons.


TODAY Show interviewed the Rescuers Coast guard Lieutenant Commander Steve Bonn, Lieutenant Jenny Fields and Petty Officer Daniel Todd discuss the daring rescue mission.


UPDATE 31/10 0900ADT – No New updates. USCG Continued Searching last night.

Also, Tall Ships America ( Released a Statement Yesterday:

30 October 2012
To the Membership of Tall Ships America:
Certainly everyone in the sailing ship community will have heard that HMS BOUNTY has been lost off Cape Hatteras.  Of the sixteen persons reportedly aboard at the time, we understand that one individual has perished, and that fourteen others were rescued, thanks to the exemplary courage and skill of Coast Guard search and rescue personnel.  It appears that the vessel’s master, Robin Walbridge, is missing, and the search continues.

We are certain that everyone in the in the community sends their thoughts, prayers, and best wishes to the family of the individual who perished, to the rescued members of the ship’s company and their families, and to the brave Coast Guard team who carry our hopes for Captain Walbridge.
There is currently much speculation about the loss of the vessel.  We believe that further speculation is not helpful, especially in view of the respect that is due to the individuals whose lives are directly affected by these tragic events.  Tall Ships America does not have any factual information to add, but notes that there will surely be an official inquiry that will assemble much more complete information than is available to anyone now.   We are confident that our membership, if called upon, will cooperate with that inquiry in the full spirit of professionalism upon which the sail training movement depends.

For now, we appeal to our members to lend their thoughts and support to the people of BOUNTY and their families, to join us in thanking the Coast Guard rescue team for their heroism on behalf of our colleagues, and to sustain hopes for Captain Walbridge’s safe return.

Michael J. Rauworth, Chairman Bert Rogers, Executive Director

UPDATE 0927ADT: VIA Chronicle Herald
USCG confirms Search for Captain is Ongoing. One of the rafts flipped, dumping 3 in the water. One was able to stay with the raft and be rescued, the Captain and Christian were seperated.

Update NOV 1: USCG Release – Search Continues

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The Coast Guard continues its search Thursday for the missing captain of the HMS Bounty approximately 200 miles southeast of Hatteras, N.C.
Missing is Robin Walbridge, 63.
The crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin, a 378-foot high-endurance cutter homeported in Charleston, S.C., along with an HC-130 Hercules crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., continue to search for Walbridge.
“As of now, our intent is to continue searching for the missing person,” said Capt. Doug Cameron, the chief of incident response for the Coast Guard 5th District. “This is still an active search, not a recovery effort. Factors such as fitness of the member, weather conditions, survival equipment and the results from previous searches are taken into consideration to determine how long the Coast Guard will search.”
The Coast Guard is searching an area approximately 1,200 square nautical miles.
The water temperature is 79 degrees, air temperature is 62 degrees, seas are 4 feet, and the winds are 30 mph.

(Image bellow Shows USCG Search Area)

The search for Capt Walbridge of HMSBounty has been suspeneded pending further information.

USCG Release:

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The Coast Guard suspended its search Thursday for the missing captain of the HMS Bounty 200 miles southeast of Hatteras, N.C.
Missing is Robin Walbridge, 63.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Walbridge and Christian families,” said Capt. Doug Cameron, the chief of incident response for the Coast Guard 5th District. ”Suspending a search and rescue case is one of the hardest decisions we have to make.”
  The following Coast Guard assets assisted in the search:

  • HC-130 Hercules aircrews from Elizabeth City, N.C. and Clearwater, Fla.
  • MH-60 Jayhawk crews from Air Station Elizabeth City
  • Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry crews from Miami, Fla.
  • Crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Elm, a 225-foot buoy tender homeported in Atlantic Beach, N.C.
  • Crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin, a 378-foot high-endurance cutter homeported in Charleston, S.C.

Coast Guard crews searched more than 90 hours, covering approximately 12,000 overlapping square nautical miles in the Atlantic Ocean since the Bounty’s crew abandoned ship Monday morning.

UPDATE Nov 2: 0845

Chronicle Herald Article “Bounty Captain Talked about chasing Huricanes” Includes a Video of the Interview. In It, Lightner then asked him if he’d ever run into stormy seas.
“We chase hurricanes,” Walbridge answered. “You try and get up as close to the eye of it as you can, and you stay down in the southeast quadrant. And when it stops, you stop.”
“You don’t want to get in front of it, you want to stay behind it, but you’ll also get a good ride out of a hurricane.”

UPDATE NOV 2: 0947 ADTUS Coast Guard to conduct investigation into HMS Bounty sinking

USCG Release:

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – Rear Adm. Steven Ratti, the Coast Guard 5th District commander, ordered a district formal investigation Thursday to determine the cause of the sinking of the Tall Ship Bounty, a three-masted sailing ship, 90 miles southeast of Hatteras, N.C., Monday, which resulted in the death of one crewmember, and one crewmember who remains missing.
A district formal investigation consists of a Coast Guard investigating officer who will receive evidence and testimony using formal rules and procedures and is convened when the information to be derived has considerable regional significance, or may indicate vessel class problems or areas of technical importance.
The district formal investigation will probe every aspect of the accident and will determine as closely as possible:

  1. the cause of the accident;
  2. whether there is evidence that any failure of material or equipment was involved or contributed to the casualty;
  3. whether there is evidence that any act of misconduct, inattention to duty, negligence, or willful violation of the law on the part of any licensed or certificated person contributed to the casualty;
  4. whether there is evidence that any Coast Guard or other government agency personnel caused or contributed to the casualty; and
  5. whether the accident should be further investigated by a Marine Board of Investigation.

The Investigating Officer, Cmdr. Kevin M. Carroll, is the chief of the Coast Guard 5th District Marine Inspections and Investigations Branch and will be assisted by investigating officers from Coast Guard Sector North Carolina in Wilmington, N.C.
Coast Guard investigations of marine casualties and accidents are for the purpose of taking appropriate measures for promoting safety of life and property and are not intended to fix civil or criminal responsibility.
A district formal investigation often takes several months to properly complete.

UPDATE: Nov 5 0852AST

Gcaptains Maritime Monday feature today is dedicted to the Bounty


National Geographic video of her first voyage in 1960

UPDATE 06/11 1243AST – ABC’s Good Morning America Interview with Rescued Crew.

Tall Ship Bounty In Trouble

CNN is repoting that the Tall ship Bounty, Built in Lunenburg in 1960 as a replica of the HMS Bounty, is without power and Adrift 160NM East of the Eye of Hurricane Sandy. She is apparently taking on water.

winds on scene are reported to be 30 knots, seas 18ft. A USCG C-130 Aircraft is on Scene. There are also unconfirmed reports that Bounty has been Abandoned, and the crew of 17 have taken to life rafts.

Sugested Reading is Bounty’s Facebook Page at Scroll Down, and you will see a running log of their progress riding out the storm, including predictions of where they would be visavie the Sandy

Updates as More is known.


“We received a distress call for Bounty at 1830 Sunday evening that the Ship lost power and the pumps were unable to keep up with the dewatering. At that time we immediately contacted the USCG for assistance. A C130 was sent to there position approximately 90 miles SE of Cape Hatteras. At 0430 today the Captain ordered all hands to abandon ship. There are 17 Crew on board and at this moment all crew are accounted for and are in Life rafts.
The first USCG helicopter has reached the ship and is in the process of rescuing them.
Bounty is currently still floating upright and intact.
We will keep everyone informed as info becomes available”

FROM USCG: The Coast Guard has received word that the crew of the HMS Bounty has abandoned ship approximately 90 miles southeast of Hatteras N.C., Monday.
The 17 person crew donned cold water survival suits and lifejackets before launching in two 25-man lifeboats with canopies.
The Coast Guard continues to monitor the situation and assess the weather conditions to determine the soonest Coast Guard aircraft or surface assets can be on scene to conduct effective rescue operations.

UPDATE: as of 0850ADT 14/17 crew hoisted to Safety.

UPDATE: 0922ADT – Reports Are now that HMS Bounty has Sunk 

UPDATE:1019ADTUSCG Ship Sunk 0845 – 14 crew rescued, 2 missing
Update from NBC Station WITN-TV:
The HMS Bounty, a 180-foot, three-mast tall ship, was last marked about 90 miles southeast of Hatteras.
The ship has sunk, according to the Coast Guard at 8:45 a.m. Monday.
Just before 8 a.m., the Facebook page for the HMS Bounty says 14 of the 16 people who had to abandon their ship have been hoisted to safety.
There have been conflicting reports on how many people were onboard. The manifest reportedly listed 16 people, and that’s the number the Coast Guard has.”

USCG Release:

Coast Guard rescues 14, continues searching for 2 from HMS Bounty

CORRECTION: It was previously reported to be a 17-person crew. The crew size is 16.

The Coast Guard rescued 14 people from life rafts in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 90 miles southeast of Hatteras N.C., Monday, and two people remain missing.
Watchstanders dispatched crews aboard two MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., to rescue the crew.
The first Jayhawk crew arrived on scene at approximately 6:30 a.m. and hoisted five people into the aircraft, and a second helicopter arrived and rescued nine people.
The 14 people are being flown to Air Station Elizabeth City where they will be met by awaiting emergency medical services personnel.
The C-130 Hercules aircraft remains on scene and is searching for the two missing crewmembers and a third Jayhawk crew is en route to assist search and rescue efforts.
The 16 people donned cold water survival suits and life jackets before launching in two 25-man lifeboats with canopies.
UPDATE 1040 ADT. VIA Chronicle Herald

Two people are missing and 14 are being airlifted to safety after hurricane Sandy forced the crew of HMS Bounty to abandon ship off the eastern coast of the United States this morning.
“We’re still searching for two more persons, as the manifest outlined 16,” Petty Officer 1st Cullen Rafferty said from the U.S. Coast Guard command centre in Portsmouth, Va.
“Once we get to the air station, we’re going to be able to get some more details from the survivors so we’ll know exactly who we’re looking for an in what manner they became missing.”
At 10:15 a.m., paramedics were at the air station in Elizabeth City, N.C. awaiting the arrival of the survivors to check them out. But none were complaining of any medical condition, Rafferty said.

Update:1118ADT – CH Has comments from Dan Moreland Captain, Picton Castle

Update 1307ADT – Speculation from former Crew in the GCaptain Forum 

Update: 1341ADT – Claudia McCann says her husband, Captain Robin Walbridge, is one of two crew members missing from HMS Bounty. Claudene Christian, who spoke with CBC earlier, confirms her daughter is the 2nd crew member missingy(Via twitter @CBCNS)

UPDATE 1445ADT – Discuussion of the Voyage at the Wooden Boat Forum, Covered the trip Prior to incident with posts about the voyage being Ballsy, and fine, as long as nothing goes wrong.

One of the Missing:!/claudene.christian?fref=ts
ViA JackTar – A Crewmwnember Doug Faunt’s Facebook post: “”The ship sank beneath us, but we swam free and
mostly got into two rafts. I’m at the USCG station Elizabeth City NC. There
are two unaccounted for at present.”

Addtional USCG Commentary:

The 14 people were flown to Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., where they were met by awaiting emergency medical services personnel at approximately 10:15 a.m. with no life threatening injuries.
Crews aboard a C-130 Hercules and an MH-60 Jayhawk are searching for the two missing crewmembers. Crews aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Elm and the Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin are en route to assist with the search.
The vessel is reportedly sunk, but the mast is still visible.

Crews aboard a C-130 Hercules and an MH-60 Jayhawk are searching for the two missing crewmembers. Crews aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Elm and the Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin are en route to assist with the search

 Update 1830ADT gcaptin reports surviors and MissingThe following is a list of those who were rescued, and those who are still missing:
Rescued were:

Daniel Cleveland, 25
John Svendsen, 41
Matthew Sanders, 37
Adam Prokosh, 27
Douglas Faunt, 66
John Jones, 29
Drew Salapatek, 29
Joshua Scornavacchi, 25
Anna Sprague, 20
Mark Warner, 33
Christopher Barksdale, 56
Laura Groves, 28
Jessica Hewitt, 25
Jessica Black, 34
Missing are:

Robin Walbridge, 63
Claudene Christian, 42

From the CH:

The ship was “trying to steer clear” of Hurricane Sandy as it approached, Tracie Simonin, director of HMS Bounty Organization LLC said in a telephone interview from New York on Monday morning.

But the Bounty started to take on water, she said.

“One of our pumps was not working properly, we just could not dewater it fast enough — water, normal sewage water that a boat of this entity takes on — and once the pumps stopped working, the generator stopped working, they just could not keep up.”

Simonin contacted the coast guard. The rescue service in Portsmouth later received a distress signal from the Bounty and its emergency beacon indicated its location.

Update 1951ADT:
Claudene Christian has been found deceased. She is a direct descendant of Fletcher Christian the lead mutineer on the Bligh’s bounty

UPDATE: 2143ADT: conflicting reports that Claudene Christian is in serious condtion in Hospital, or dead. Unsure which is current.

 UPDATE 2145ADT She is confirmed to have died just before 2330ADT

This Post is Continued Here – With Updates from Oct 30th

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