CHICAGO, Tuesday, October 30, 2012. It is hard to believe that the storied ship, the HMS Bounty was taken down for the count by Sandy’s wrath yesterday in the hurricane-ravaged waters off the North Carolina coast. Of the 16 crew members aboard, 14 were rescued, 42-year-old crew member Claudene Christian’s body was recovered from the water while the ship’s Captain Robin Walbridge, 63, is still missing. A sad ending for one of the most famous ships in the world that brought joy to so many.
The ship that has sailed the world offering dockside tours to fans, was no stranger to Chicago having been here twice in the past decade for the Tall Ships Festival in 2003 and 2010, respectively. The 180′ full-rigged vessel, was built for the 1962 movie, Mutiny on the Bounty, with Marlon Brando. It was an exact replica of the original HMS Bounty that was part of the mutiny that took place in Tahiti in 1789 on board the British transport vessel. Those of us who toured the HMS Bounty when it came to Chicago have wonderful memories of the ship and the friendly crew.
A Hollywood star, itself, the HMS Bounty was a favorite with children for its connection to such popular films as Treasure Island, Sponge Bob Square Pants, and Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man’s Chest as well as documentaries. In addition to its star power, the ship was used to teach sailing, teamwork and leadership classes for the general public. Perhaps most importantly it offered both children and adults a window to the past–a peek into a romanticized time in maritime history.
Our thoughts go out to all people suffering the rages of Hurricane Sandy. We hope, in time, things will return to a more even keel. And to the millions who were touched by this grand ship, from a distance, close-up and on film…it’s time to batten down the hatches…and keep her in your special memories.