HMS Bounty: Search for missing captain continues (+video)
HMS Bounty Capt. Robin Walbridge was wearing a survival suit and the waters off North Carolina are warm. The US Coast Guard continues to search for Walbridge, three days after the sinking of the Bounty.
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Walbridge was a teacher, not only for the visitors to the Bounty, but for his crew, too. They were 11 men and five women, ranging in age from 20 to 66, and many of them weren't experienced on the sea. In a 2010 interview, the captain told a radio station that was how he liked it.Skip to next paragraph
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"We take people and we actually put them to work, just like a regular crew member. They will do everything the normal crew does, whether it is steering the boat, setting sails, hauling lines," he told radio station KFAI in Duluth, Minnesota.
Claudene Christian, 42, the crew member who died, was a rookie sailor, but she had a marketing background — and a name and a lineage familiar to anyone who knew the story of the original HMS Bounty, whose crew famously took over the ship from its commander, Lt. William Bligh, in April 1789. The uprising was led by Fletcher Christian, and the story was told in the 1962 Marlon Brando film "Mutiny on the Bounty." It was also featured in one of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies.
Claudene Christian said in August she was Fletcher Christian's great-great-great-great-great granddaughter.
"I was at the helm the first week and said, 'Captain, are you sure you're comfortable having a Christian at the helm? I wasn't sure if he got my joke," Christian told The Chronicle Herald of Halifax, Nova Scotia, when the Bounty visited for a tall ships festival.
The crew was tight-knit. One of the more experienced sailors, 66-year-old Doug Faunt, wrote on his blog in May that they seemed to be learning fast and getting along well.
"We had a new crew, most with no experience on BOUNTY, and we're a bit short-handed," Faunt wrote. "The crew has shaken down well."
The Coast Guard did not make the 14 survivors available to reporters, and the group collectively decided not to talk out of respect and sympathy for Christian and Walbridge, said Kimberly Hewitt of Baltimore, whose sister Jessica Hewitt was on board.
Dalesio reported from Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Associated Press writers Bruce Smith in Charleston, South Carolina; Jeannie Nuss in Little Rock, Arkansas.; Greg Schreier in Atlanta, and Jeffrey Collins in Columbia, South Carolina, contributed to this report.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.