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Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, FL (AP) — The wife of the captain of a ship that sank off the North Carolina coast is awaiting news on her husband, who is missing at sea after the Bounty was overcome by Hurricane Sandy.

Claudia McCann told The Associated Press on Tuesday that her husband, Robin Walbridge, is an experienced sailor who has been in many storms.

The Coast Guard is searching for the 63-year-old Walbridge after finding his crew. Fourteen crew members were in good condition, but one woman had died. The Bounty took on water and the crew abandoned ship Monday morning in the rough waters.

McCann says she last heard from her husband on Saturday in an email, when he assured her that he and the crew were prepared for the voyage.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comment on this Story

  • Beentheredonethat

    I’m a licensed one. Here goes…all the peeps only look at the final result, which was certainly a disaster, but your lack of understanding of the dozens of decisions which were made well in advance of these two events coming together (HMS Bounty vs. Hurricane Sandy) illustrates nothing but your command of the simple. So, an investigator is going to ask dozens of questions like:

    When did Bounty get underway? Date/Time. When did Sandy form? Date/time. Where? When did the Captain know about it? What weather information was available to him? Where could he have run to avoid the storm? How fast could the Bounty make? (Speed. Time. Distance. HMS Bounty and storm.) What kind of experience had he had on the Bounty with similar storms? What are the licensing requirements for the operation of the tall ship? What was the failure (mechanical) that allowed the ship to come DIW and what force allowed free communication with the ocean (flooding seawater). Once at sea, what were his options for a lee? Speed. Time. Distance. Could he have made it. Did the Bounty have adequate communications with shore, and lifesaving equipment. What actions did the Captain take once he knew he was in peril?

    I’ve run like a scalded dog from hurricanes in the GOM, Caribbean, and Atlantic. Until you’ve done it, experienced it, prepared for it, and survived it, you are just a pup. If your lucky, you have 5 days to prepare for one…but you can be out in middle of the ocean and literally get overtaken. It’s not like pulling off at the nearest rest stop.

    Until you can answer these questions, and a dozen more definitively, you’re just a knucklehead.

  • guesty

    Since the ship was about 90 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, exactly how would they have gotten into the Hudson River in time?

  • Guestaphonic

    I’m an armchair captain, so excuse me for stating the obvious: The captain could have anchored in the Hudson. Hundreds of boats and ships are anchored there at this moment and rode out the storm perfectyl well.

    I have seen photos of the boats and ships anchored on the Hudson off Manhatten on the New York Post.

  • A

    You are totally right!!!!

  • Guest461

    So here we are again with another commanding opinion from an armchair Captain that never made completion of Sunfish sailing school.

    There were two souls lost in this incident! How about putting out a little compassion and respect by keeping your simple-minded opinions to yourself!

  • Guest1948

    What a tragic loss of a beautiful vessle. I see no reason for this ship to have been at sea under hurricane conditions when ports were nearby. Total incompetence on the part of the captain.

  • owings64

    That was his name. It’s a good idea to know the name of a person, especially one missing at sea and presumed dead, if you’re going to reduce their entire career and life to an inaccurate sentence or two.

    Although I didn’t know him as well as others, the Captain I met and interviewed in 2010 would not have endangered the crew or the vessel he loved so much. As a matter of fact I think Captain Walbridge would have taken any measure to ensure the opposite.

    Your sentiments about the loss of the ship not withstanding, I hope you take something away from this exchange that will help you reconsider before pushing the, “post” button in the future.

  • Beentheredonethat

    …but you are wrong. There are many perfectly legitimate reasons for a ship to leave port when a storm is coming. Did you see the storm surge in New York Harbor last night? Do you know what would happen to a ship tied alongside a pier that suddenly finds itself floating 8-11′ higher than normal?

    You can debate weather routing and storm avoidance…you can talk about the vessel seeking a lee or shelter behind a landmass. (In this case, none of those options may have been available.)

    Do you know that the Coast Guard orders ships to leave port when storm conditions are imminent? I can tell you exactly why that is. I can tell you exactly why the fleet leaves Norfolk and Little Creek when a storm threatens. But since you are the arbiter of competence, I’ll leave it to you to figure out.

    Lubbers and sand peeps may speculate about things they know nothing about, but they do so at their own peril.

  • Guest666

    Had the crew tied the ship up in port and evacuated, the vessel might have been destroyed, but the crew would all still be alive. Which is more important to you?

  • Pollux12

    Well said. Those who have never been to sea should not second guess the decisions of a seasoned captain.

  • Dude1

    The boat/ship may have been better off out to see but you head away from the storm not into it. Just watch deadly catch, they head back to port or on the back of an island to avoid the storms. Same length ships/boat as 128 ft. Bounty but better built. You cannot compare the Atlantic fleet to a 128ft. boat. An 1000 ft. aircraft carrier makes this boat look like a dingy. There a reason they don’t build boats like they did 400 years ago unless they are replica’s made for a museum on the water. In the Navy he would have been court martial for this. Dereliction of duty, endangerment of property and personel, etc.
    If he does make it through this he should be brought up on charges for the woman that did die. My condolences to her and her family.

  • GuestMichele

    Mrs. McCann,
    Our sincere prayers that your husband will be found alive at sea. Please ignore the bad comments being made, some people just have no compassion. Right or wrong for the trip at the time, he did his job and put his crew before himself when it happened.


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