Home Boating Safety Anatomy of the Bounty Sinking

Anatomy of the Bounty Sinking

by Kurt Hoehne

The USCG has issue its Investigation Into The Circumstances Surrounding the Sinking of the Tall Ship Bounty. The tall ship HMS Bounty sank during Hurricane Sandy in 2012 taking the life of Claudene Christian and, presumably, Captain Robin Walbridge.

This is timely for me, as I’ve written about a piece about what can be learned from the Bounty and two other high-profile rescue missions in the July issue of Northwest Yachting. Writing the piece was engrossing. Even now, reading about the Bounty is kind of like watching a horrendous accident in the works: It’s hard to take one’s eyes off it.

Click any photo to enlarge gallery.

Bounty sinking.
Infrared image of Bounty sinking.
The wide open, non bulkheaded "Tween Deck"
The Bounty's decaying port quarter.
The midships cross section.
Decay in Bounty's framing.
The profile view.

The Coast Guard report lays out clearly the negligence on many fronts that led to this disaster. Foremost among them was the decision to take to sea in the face of Sandy. Among the other contributing factors:

• In effect, when it came to offshore capability the Bounty was being certified and inspected as a pleasure craft and not more stringently as a training or commercial vessel.
• The bilge pumps were not working properly from the before the time they left the dock.
• The vessel itself had structural issues due to deferred maintenance.
• Captain Walbridge’s delayed call for help and unwillingness to abandon ship sooner.
What the report does not cover is the heroism of the Coast Guard’s own rescue team. It is only because of the amazing capabilities and personnel of the USCG that the entire crew did not perish.
Anybody interested in tall ship sailing, operation or construction will find the full report worthwhile reading.
Look for my story on the Bounty, the Kaufman family who were rescued from Rebel Heart and the unsuccessful Cheeki Rafiki rescue mission in the July issue of Northwest Yachting.

You may also like

Leave a Comment