TALL SHIP BOUNTY

Built in 1960 in Lunenburg, Novia Scotia, the 180-foot, three-masted ship Tall Ship Bounty was originally commissioned by the film studio Metro-Goldwyn Mayer for the 1962 film Mutiny on the Bounty starring Marlon Brando. She was constructed as a replica of the infamous HMS Bounty which sailed to Tahiti on a botanical mission in 1787 under Captain William Bligh and was commandeered during a mutiny led by Fletcher Christian.

 
 
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The construction of the Tall Ship Bounty was based on the 1784 designs for the original ship kept in the British Admiralty archives. More than 200 workers spent over eight months building the wooden ship in the traditional manner at the Smith and Rhuland shipyard. To accommodate the production crew and large film cameras necessary for the movie, the ship’s length and width were increased to a third larger than the original ship.

With a crew of Lunenberg fisherman and film staff, the Tall Ship Bounty launched in 1960 and sailed to Tahiti for filming. After filming, the ship was berthed in St. Petersburg, Florida as a tourist attraction, until the mid-1980s when she began film work again. The Tall Ship Bounty appeared in numerous films and television shows, including Yellowbeard, Treasure Island, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

In 2001, the ship was sold to the HMS Bounty Foundation and underwent several major restorations. She was used for charters, excursions, and sail-training, and sailed around the United States, Caribbean, Mexico, and Europe.

She sank off the coast of North Carolina during Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2012. The Coast Guard rescued 14 crewmembers from life rafts during the storm. Captain Robin Walbridge and crewmember Claudene Christian were both lost in the wreck.

 


BOUNTY CABIN NOISE

The sound of creaking timbers I recorded below deck on Tall Ship Bounty in August 2009, while we sailed through rough seas off the coast of Ireland. 

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FURTHER READING

Falling Overboard” by Robin Beth Schaer, Paris Review
Sandy Claims Bounty Off North Carolina” by Mark Morgenstein, CNN
Sunk: The Incredible Truth About a Ship That Never Should Have Sailed” by Kathryn Miles, Outside Magazine
The Last Voyage of the Bounty” by Michael Kruse, Tampa Bay Times

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DETAILS

Length: 180 feet (sparred), 120 feet (on deck)
Beam: 31.6 feet
Height: 111 feet
Draft: 13 feet
Depth: 21.3 feet
Sail plan: Full-rigged ship