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“Lessons of the BOUNTY” — Andy nails it

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher since 4/12/2005, and now excited to have Ben Stein as a very able colleague. Panbo is going to the next level in 2018 and beyond.

9 Responses

  1. I sent Capt. Chase a link to this entry and am happy to report that he has no complaints except that I was “too kind.” I think we can respectfully disagree on that 😉
    I also learned that Sea Stories was written as a Christmas present for his daughter but when he came to Blurb’s “Make available to the public” check box he thought “what the hell, why not?” Lucky daughter, lucky us.
    Andy will be speaking about the Bounty at the International Sail Training Conference next week in Denmark
    http://www.sailtraininginternational.org/events/annual-conference/annual-conference-2013/
    and at a similar conference in San Diego next February:
    http://www.sailtraining.org/events/conference/Conference2014.php

  2. The Tampa Bay Times recently published a huge and very well reported series on the Bounty disaster:
    http://www.tampabay.com/specials/2013/reports/bounty/index3.shtml
    I just read Part II and frankly I’m even angrier at Captain Wallbridge since learning that he’d called the Coast Guard to the same dangerous spot for help once before and then claimed that the Bounty’s leaking was normal.
    Do we really have to see a C-130 or a Jayhawk lost with all hands in one of these operations to understand what risks the USCG takes? Let’s all support the Foundation that makes their lives easier:
    http://www.coastguardfoundation.org/about

  3. Michael says:

    “Bridge Resource Management” is an _excellent_ book! I grabbed a copy when it first came out and read it very carefully. Even our 2-person bridge on Barbara has profited greatly from it, and I can’t imagine anyone going to sea who would not.

  4. I’m not generally a fan of Sailing Anarachy journalism but sometimes the prevailing tone seems to work:
    http://sailinganarchy.com/2013/11/11/somebodys-guilty-2/
    That’s also where I learned about Gregory Freeman’s new book The Gathering Wind: Hurricane Sandy, the Sailing Ship Bounty, and a Courageous Rescue at Sea
    http://goo.gl/CfY2En
    I’m already well into it via Kindle and I’m finding good reporting that does not duplicate the massive Tampa Bay Times coverage or Andy Chase’s WoodenBoat essay. Maybe I’m a little obsessed but their are so many fascinating aspects to this story.

  5. Marc Dacey says:

    Some of the factors at play in the Bounty sinking reminded me of the first Pride of Baltimore loss; others made me think that we may need to reevaluate how we measure risk. If anyone’s interested, I wrote on this referencing Mario Vittone’s excellent reportage for gCaptain back in February.
    http://alchemy2009.blogspot.ca/2013/02/more-risky-business.html
    I think modern cruising can use a spot of learning on the topic of risk management…one should assume that the big red button might not work, and that Plan B should perhaps be Plan A.

  6. Thanks, Marc. I thoroughly agree about Mario Vittone’s excellent reportage:
    http://mariovittone.com/writing/bounty/
    But I think that there’s less similar about the Bounty and the Pride sinkings than meets the eye.
    I’m well into the excellent Gregory Freeman book mentioned in a comment above and it makes very clear how important the scheduled St. Petersburg engagement was to the Bounty’s captain. It’s hard not to conclude that the hope of new sponsors led him to terrible decision making.
    Freeman also documents the Coast Guard side of the event in much more detail than I’ve seen elsewhere, and that involved astounding bravery combined with careful risk analysis.

  7. Marc Dacey says:

    I think I was getting at the idea of taking a wooden replica into a storm with a relatively junior crew was where the similarities happened, Ben. Clearly, some of the motivations differed. While they have to be certifiably seaworthy, modern replica boats (or full, near-replica rebuilds like Bluenose)were designed in a world where the skill and the money were available to maintain items such as wooden ships that were implicitly expected to be “used up” and rather quickly, too.
    The amounts of money and workmanship necessary to keep “toothpicks in formation” functional used to require naval-levels of industry and cash. Today’s “tall ships”, particularly the traditional wooden ones, are no different, and to ignore the limitations of the materials in the face of bad weather or scheduling is a pure gamble. The sea bottoms are covered with wooden ship and sailor corpses as it used to be a distressingly common fate. Because it is now less common for ships to go under doesn’t mean it can be avoided when the ship in question replicates 200-year-old technology, plus a few EPIRBs and pumps.

  8. The National Transportation Safety Board has spoken on the HMS Bounty sinking:
    https://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/reports/2014/MAB1403.pdf
    Conclusion?
    “The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the sinking of tall ship Bounty was the captain’s reckless decision to sail the vessel into the well-forecasted path of Hurricane Sandy, which subjected the aging vessel and the inexperienced crew to conditions from which the vessel could not recover. Contributing to the sinking was the lack of effective safety oversight by the vessel organization.”
    PS. Marc, the Pride of Baltimore did not sail into a hurricane, or even a gale. Big difference.

  9. Another noteworthy Regina Maris alumni is Ken Balcomb, a whale researcher who was the ship’s chief scientist most of the time I sailed on her. He too was at the reunion but to really understand one amazing thing he got involved in since I had to get into a remarkable new book called War of the Whales. I haven’t finished it yet and am strongly hoping to learn that the recreational sonar I like to use doesn’t bother cetaceans like what the Navy has been messing with. This is gripping non fiction for most anyone interested in marine science, officially publishes tomorrow:
    http://smile.amazon.com/War-Whales-A-True-Story/dp/1451645015

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