RESCUE OF THE BOUNTY
“…the authors offer a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of the captain, crediting his compassionate manner and the respect and loyalty he inspired. Finally, they devote a thrilling portion of their narrative to the courageous Coast Guard rescue and swimmers who headed straight into Hurricane Sandy.
A taut recounting of a needless maritime tragedy.”
New book examines sinking of tall ship Bounty
By John Ruddy
When the tall ship Bounty sank in Superstorm Sandy in October 2012 after sailing from New London, there was shock and grief for the two lives lost, but also a perplexing question.
How could it have happened?
But “Rescue of the Bounty” also attempts to answer that haunting question. The result is a tale that succeeds both as a high-seas adventure and as a psychological portrait of Bounty’s ill-fated captain, Robin Walbridge, whose body was never found.
Schooner Bounty’s sinking is latest tale of maritime disaster for Mass. author
On Oct. 25, 2012, the three-masted schooner Bounty, a replica of the famous HMS Bounty of “Mutiny” fame, was docked in New London.
Ship captain Robin Walbridge gathered his 15-person crew and announced the ship would sail to a planned winter berth in St. Petersburg, Fla., despite the looming threat of a hurricane targeting the East Coast.
Anyone who wanted to leave the ship, he said, could do so with no hard feelings. There was no mutiny on this Bounty, the replica ship built for the 1962 film “Mutiny on the Bounty.” Everyone stayed.
The book describes Walbridge as quiet, but headstrong and determined. He had managed to sail successfully in hurricanes before, and had confidence in his abilities.
Campbell called Walbridge “an intelligent, driven man who was, in the end, trapped by his own success, almost universally unquestioned, and, perhaps as a result, unaccustomed to being challenged.”
Tougias called Walbridge “a fascinating character,” but he has tremendous admiration for the pilots and rescue swimmers of the Coast Guard, who saved 14 of the 16 people on board the Bounty.
Book review (nonfiction): Rescue of the Bounty
Death and destruction as a historic vessel meets its end
Tougias and Campbell build tension slowly and methodically in “Rescue of the Bounty,” taking time to explore Walbridge’s back story as a means to understanding why he chose the course he took when faced with Sandy.
It’s a sound strategy that pays off when they reach the storm itself. Then, the book becomes a white-knuckled, tragic adventure experienced by recognizable and sympathetic figures.