Not that it changes much,
Re: Changing course to SW. While most, including the second mate/navigator, seemed not to know why, one person stated that the reason was that when the storm didn't turn as the captain expected, he decided to go SW to get under the protection of the shore below Cape Hatteras, where the winds would be less but favorable for the trip south. This is consistent with how he handled the other two hurricanes.
Re: Debunking looking to sail into hurricanes, while most claimed never to have heard of it, one person, the AB I believe, said that he had heard words that tended to support that saying. And that he personally was looking forward to gaining experience in hurricane type weather. He aspires to be a captain, but when he was asked, if you were the captain, what would you have done, he said he would have moved up river and stayed at a pier.
I don't recall the exact words, so if you like, correct them since you seem to have pretty well have most of it recorded.
The situations were different I thnk. The CG Commander asked him about the statement the Captain made" I like to follow hurricanes" . In the other two instances where the third mate testified they followed a hurricane which had already gone by rather than go across the face of Sandy as they did and into the Graveyard of the Atlantic- Hatteras and the Gulf Stream. In the other instance by slowing down they could get away from the sea state and winds so there was a measure of control. Sandy they were into it facing it coming at them.
He described in the last instance in the Gulf the were behind the hurricane which was moving N and then NE and they were following it far back in the SW quadrant when they gained so much speed (11 knots he said) and the hurricane slowed to 4 knots that they started getting into it too much so they slowed the Bounty by heaving too for two days
You are right no one seems to really now why he changed course to SW from E when had they continued they would have been ok. They all seem pretty inept about the navigational aspects and left it up to Walbridge and asked no questions. I find that very odd as they said he was a teacher and never minded explaining thing to them.
This also goes to the total inexperience of the crew. This was striking in all their testimony from the novice teaching the novice how to caulk, to no one knowing how to operate the pumps, to having an engineer with no real experience on marine engines, and the list goes on. The questioners were obviusly stunned in their answers to the most basic questions I observed.