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The Maritime log #23 - Coast Guard rescue of Bounty crew to be discussed in West Newbury on Oct. 10

October 8, 2018

The Maritime Log by Dyke Hendrickson

Coast Guard rescue of Bounty crew to be discussed in West Newbury on Oct. 10

by Dyke Hendrickson
Custom House Maritime Museum Outreach Historian

October marks the last month of the tall ship Bounty.

In October 2012, the vessel was refurbished in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, and it sailed for Florida for the winter.

But Superstorm Sandy, later Hurricane Sandy, sent the Bounty to the bottom of the sea. The ship is shown here in a Coast Guard photo after the crew abandoned ship.

Bounty sinks

The result was the loss of the privately owned vessel, and the start of one of the most dangerous Coast Guard rescues ever.

The Bounty, which had lost power and its ability to navigate, started going down off the hurricane-swept coast of North Carolina on Oct. 29.

Crew members summoned the Coast Guard after the captain was reluctant to do so.

Using helicopters and rescue swimmers, the Coast Guard rescued 14 of 16 who had been on board.

Captain Robin Walbridge and crew member Claudine Christian did not survive.

She was a descendant of Capt. Fletcher Christian, known in history as the captain of the Bounty in the late 18th century. Her body was taken aboard but she could not be revived.

Walbridge, who had been captain of the vessel for almost 20 years, was never found.

The Bounty, built in 1960 for the movie, “Mutiny on the Bounty” starring Marlon Brando, had visited Newburyport and other North Shore communities on numerous occasions.

In hearings following the debacle, Walbridge was criticized for disregarding weather reports from the National Weather Service. Also, he was faulted for trying to sail east through the storm rather than seeking shelter in Virginia or North Carolina harbors.

I will be speaking about the rescue (this week) on Wednesday, Oct. 10 in connection with my 35-slide presentation on the history of the Coast Guard.

I will be at the West Newbury Library Wednesday beginning at 6:15 p.m.

The event is free.

If your organization would like me to speak at an event, please get in touch.  I can be reached at dhendrickson@thechmm.org.

Thanks. Dyke Hendrickson

Dyke Hendrickson, Outreach Historian, The Maritime Log

The Maritime Log by Dyke Hendrickson

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