Bounty captain claimed he chased hurricanes

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Submitted: Sat, 11/03/2012 - 12:34am
Updated: Sat, 11/03/2012 - 4:50pm

(WWAY) — As we told you Thursday night at 11, the Coast Guard has called off the search for missing HMS Bounty Captain Robin Walbridge.

Now, a formal inquiry into the sinking of the tall ship during hurricane Sandy is underway. A TV interview with Walbridge may also shed some light on what happened. In the August 12 interview in Maine, Walbridge said there is no such thing as bad weather.

“We run into stormy seas. We chase hurricanes.” Walbridge told a reporter for a Community TV station in Maine. The reporter then asked Walbridge, what it is like to chase hurricanes.

“You try to get up as close to the eye as you can, and you stay down in the south east quadrant and when it stops you stop, you don’t want to get in front of it. You’ll get a good ride out of the hurricane.” Walbridge replied.

The HMS Bounty left Maine October 22 for Florida. In 18-foot waves and 45 mile per hour winds, Walbridge reportedly ordered the crew to abandon ship early Monday off North Carolina.

42-year-old crew member Claudene Christian died. Fourteen Crew members were rescued

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8 Comments on "Bounty captain claimed he chased hurricanes"

2015 years 8 months ago

I am no sailor of any kind, but it doesn’t take one to know that you are right. It is so easy for people to judge something when they have no facts in the case. Regardless of the captain’s propensity for “chasing hurricanes”, we do not know what caused this ship to sink. I haven’t followed the story that closely, but I don’t recall information being released even about how long they struggled before the captain ordered the crew to abandon ship. It is possible that what happened had absolutely nothing to do with the hurricane. We should wait until the facts are in before we crucify this man.

2015 years 8 months ago

You say you worked on ships for 35 years and you failed to mention anything about pilots who guide ships to ports.

2015 years 8 months ago

I have been working on ships for 35 years and watched parts of the video.

Regardless of what the Headlined Excerpt says about chasing hurricanes (probably taken out of context), this man was competent.

Listen to the list of ports and oceans this ship has sailed in and the only way you get there is by sailing thousands of miles through unpredictable waters and clearly this sea Captain has done so dozens of times.

A typical person would say that crossing oceans is dangerous however it is when you get close to land that the biggest dangers exist e.g. running aground, collisions in heavy traffic. The most stressful part of any voyage is arriving to an unknown port and having to navigate safely from the sea to the port.

While it is debatable whether the ship should have set sail from port into the storm, we aren’t in his shoes nor have all the details of what brought about the sinking of the vessel which obviously didn’t roll over, break apart or do the things that one would expect being caused from a big storm perhaps being driven by too much sail aloft. It only takes a hull leak that exceeds the pumping capacity of the installed machinery and on a wooden hull vessel, there are most always leaks.

A failure of electrical equipment perhaps by human error e.g. leaving a porthole, vent open or not checking the oil or fuel, could have led to a blackout and inability to pump bilges. This can happen in dead calm flat water as easily as in a storm.

2015 years 8 months ago

All true. His comments about hurricanes may be technically correct, if you come up behind them and follow in their wake as they head north and west you might indeed get a nice, and still safe, ride.

What worried me was not his statements, rather the bravado of his nonchalant delivery. The sea is nobody’s servant. This sailor knows that all too well, having been on a ship that nearly ran aground due to the captain’s bravado, taking a risk when there was no need. I will not forget the sight of the rocks just off our starboard side lit up suddenly by the wheelhouse searchlight.

Let the crew laugh at the sea, but the captain dare not.

2015 years 8 months ago

I guess Mother Nature showed him who is really in charge.

2015 years 8 months ago

But there are no bold old sailors.

His comments about sailing into hurricanes is around 10:40

1SG America
2015 years 8 months ago

With the story above, if he would have survived he should have been charged with Murder. I think this was a little much for the Captain, easy to stand on dry land and tell TALL TALES about chasing storms. But we see from this, that he was responsible for the death of one of his crew due to him wanting to chase storms..

2015 years 8 months ago

Everytime that woman elected to step onto a sea going vessel SHE put her life on the line, her decision. Besides , thats the way she was suppose to go…..nothing anyone could have done to prevent it or to stop it.