- Published on Tuesday, 30 October 2012 16:01
- Written by Carlo Caraluzzo
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The beautiful tall ship left her berth in New London, Connecticut, for St. Petersburg, Florida, on October 25, in spite of extensive warnings about the rapidly approaching monster storm. Sandy has already claimed 60 lives in the Caribbean and meteorologists has already predicted that the storm would grow in speed, size and power during the next several days and, when it reached the mid-latitudes, it would encounter the leading edges of an Arctic cold front, combining into what is widely known as a “perfect storm”. The Government has been sending out warnings and evacuation instructions since before the Bounty left its dock. Even the Bounty`s FaceBook page recognized the dangers.
Bob Hanson told CNN that he though that they could sail around the fringes of the storm, despite its diameter of nearly 1,000 miles, and apparently he considered getting the ship to public display in St. Petersburg more important. The vessel began taking on water near Chesapeake Bay but Hanson said that his reaction upon being told that she had taken on several feet of water that she was a large boat and a little water would not hurt. Not long later they ship lost both electrical power and engines, making the bilge pumps worthless and she soon foundered in 18 foot seas.
The United States Coast Guard (USCG), despite reduced capacities due to the storm, reacted swiftly from the USCG air station at Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Most of the 16 crew members made it to the ships but three were washed off the deck, including the ships long time Captain, Robin Walbridge, who remains missing. The Captain and one other crew member are still missing and, although they are both well dressed in bright survival suits, designed to keep them warm and dry, according to Coast Guard Vice Admiral Robert Parker, responding to a question by CNN, visibility would be very low in the frenzied ocean and if they wait until after the storm they could easily be carried by the waves for many miles.
The Staff at Blue Ocean Yachting send their prayers to the families of the still missing crew members.