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Old 11-27-2012
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Re: HMS Bounty in trouble...

I haven't been on this thread for a while but I figured I'd help toward the millenium mark.
I have my own questions about that tv interview Captain Walbridge gave. At the time I dismissed it a pretty much a publicity piece to be taken with a large helping of salt. But does anyone know (not rumor but fact) whether Walbridge actually did any of the things he talked about -- chasing hurricanes, running under bare poles in a 70 kt wind, etc. I mean true hurricane-force winds and seas, not a near gale with some gusts of 50 kts. Watching the interview I had a feeling he had not, but I really don't know. I have to confess that some 50 years ago, through an act of supreme stupidity by myself and three other young men, I was caught in a similar situation to that of the Bounty in more or less the same area. We were lucky to survive. I just can't imagine anyone who has gone through a hurricane in a small boat talking as blithely about it as Walbridge did in that interview.
If Walbridge did have the experiences he claimed then what he did was really reprehensible but if he did not he may have been as little aware of what he was getting into as his crew. Sure, he sailed the Bounty for a long time but not like the original was sailed.
A Royal Navy officer at that time begain his career in his young teens as a midshipman. Gradually he would work his way up if he were good enough to post captain and maybe admiral. By the time he reached that rank he would have constantly been at sea (except during refits) for years, in all kinds of sailing ships, in all kinds of weather. He would have known from years of experience how a ship would handle in any conditions including hirricane force winds. There is probably no one alive today who had that kind of experience with wooden sailing ships.
This is all speculation of course but it might explain though not excuse what happened if the captain decided -- Well the Bounty had gone through a gale (40kts) without much trouble, she should be able to get through this without really knoqing what 'this' was. Again, this all speculation.
Another question, does anyone know whether the Bounty's topmasts were taken down before she sailed? Hard to tell from the pictures.
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