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Hurricane Sandy claims tall ship Bounty

Bounty in 2010. (Photo: AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)

(Updated Oct. 30, 2012)

The beautiful tall ship Bounty is gone, sunk off Cape Hatteras by Hurricane Sandy. Her crew of 16 was forced to abandon ship in the middle of the night last night, and two of them were swept into the sea while trying to board the life rafts. The Coast Guard has rescued those in the rafts and continues its search for the two missing crew members. It’s difficult to imagine aircraft flying at all in such conditions, much less finding two people bobbing somewhere in the turbulent seas. But we can hope.

Meantime, HMS Bounty Organization, the ship’s owner, could not be reached for comment. Some have questioned why such a ship was sailing at all, rather than taking shelter in the nearest port.

Bounty, a replica of the 1784 original, was built for the 1962 film Mutiny on the Bounty. She was also used in the 2006 film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. She’ll be missed by those of us who love sailing and the tall ships.

Incidentally, I’m not sure if she should correctly be referred to as HMS Bounty or simply Bounty, as she was not actually a ship of the Royal Navy.

(More photos here.)

Update: The missing crew members were Claudene Christian and ship captain Robin Walbridge. Christian was unresponsive when pulled from the water and was later pronounced dead at a North Carolina hospital. Walbridge has not been found. The Christian Science Monitor has a detailed story of Bounty’s repairs and final voyage.

Coast Guard video of the rescue:


  1. Actually the safest place for a boat (with a large enough and well trained/seasoned crew) is in the ocean during a storm – but they should have started out much much earlier and hugged the coast and probably could have crept past the storm while it was mostly out at sea. …sailing directly into a hurricane isn’t wise.
    (Much worse to stay in port up against land when a hurricane is coming at you…might as well just sink it in the slip and hope to raise it later after the storm – with a smaller boat you need to know where the hurricane “holes” are and move quickly where boaters go to weather a storm on the water – but a ship this size probably didn’t have that option)
    At least they had those heavy orange survival suits.
    Great loss. It was supposed to go to Florida then sail to Galveston for the winter – Our tall ship Elissa is in dry dock so there was a perfect slip waiting for Bounty


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