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Old 11-04-2012, 07:21 PM   #1
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Bounty question

(Seoul, S Korea) I am NOT looking to restart the Bounty discussion, I simply have a basic question that I have not seen addressed in the little bit of material I've read on the subject. So if someone knows the answer I'd like to hear it and then this thread can be closed if deemed necessary.

And that is, what was the cause of the water ingress that the pumps were keeping up with? Did the hull have an ongoing issue with seam leaks, did the action of the waves wrack the hull and open up seams, or was it simply water that was coming aboard from the swells, waves, and spray and running down into the hull?

Have any of the survivors commented on this yet?

Thanks,
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Old 11-04-2012, 07:55 PM   #2
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:05 PM   #3
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Rain?
That's possible, too, I suppose, if the boat was caught in a torrential downpour that lasted a long time. But I get the impression that the ingress was pretty severe since once the generator running the pumps quit the situation became serious pretty fast. Which seems to imply a bigger leak than rain on the deck.

Also, I'm curious if the boat had a manual pump system. We've all read accounts of ships in the pre-electric pump days having to man the pumps continuously to keep abreast of the water coming in. And we've seen photos and movies of the big, multi-man rocking-arm pumps that seemed to move a fair amount of water if you had the manpower to keep them going and replacement leather seals to keep them pumping effectively.

I don't recall the Lady Washington having one or more pumps like this--- they would have been accurate to the original ship I assume--- but maybe she does and I just didn't notice them. I don't recall seeing anything like this on the Bluenose II when we went out on it the other year, but again, I may not have noticed it. (The Bluenose II was just re-launched after a total rebuild, by the way, so my wife and I are hoping for another sail on her in the next couple of years.)

So I wonder if the advent of diesel auxiliary power and generators on replica ships like the Bounty has eliminated the installation of effective manual pump systems?
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:07 PM   #4
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(Seoul, S Korea) I am NOT looking to restart the Bounty discussion, I simply have a basic question that I have not seen addressed in the little bit of material I've read on the subject. So if someone knows the answer I'd like to hear it and then this thread can be closed if deemed necessary.

And that is, what was the cause of the water ingress that the pumps were keeping up with? Did the hull have an ongoing issue with seam leaks, did the action of the waves wrack the hull and open up seams, or was it simply water that was coming aboard from the swells, waves, and spray and running down into the hull?

Have any of the survivors commented on this yet?

Thanks,
Where as I can not say with any certainty what exactly was causing all of the ingress of water, I do know a few things about her being lost, and I think is was a combination of things, as it usually is. One, the ship had recently finished a two year trip around the globe, meaning she took bunkers from all over world. Having been in that position before, I know full well that not all the fuels we burn are the same. Also, she was a square rigged ship, which means that running into a head wind is pretty much impossible, which is why she was running her main engines with no sails up. I believe that most of the water was from the sea state and the rain. She did not have any water tight bulkheads either. From what I have heard from friends of the crew, the fuel filter on one of the generators became plugged and stopped the engine. The generators run the pumps I believe. It took about an hour to restart it which could have meant the difference between taking on water and flooding. Then the second generator went down, and before they could get it restarted, they lost one of the main engines. Then the second main, then she broached, and she sucumbed to the sea. Having sailed through Igor in 2010, and Isaac this past August, I can say with experience that a captain and crew can do it all perfectly, and still not reach safe harbor.
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:17 PM   #5
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Thanks, Anthony, for that reply. From your description it sounds like the final nail in the coffin was the failure of both main engines and thus the ability to control the boat as opposed to it simply filling up with water as a result of the generator/pump problems.

Do you happen to know if the Bounty was equipped with any kind of effective manual pump system per my second post?
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:30 PM   #6
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Thanks, Anthony, for that reply. From your description it sounds like the final nail in the coffin was the failure of both main engines and thus the ability to control the boat as opposed to it simply filling up with water as a result of the generator/pump problems.

Do you happen to know if the Bounty was equipped with any kind of effective manual pump system per my second post?
I do not know if she was equipped with manual pumps. I would imagine so simply because she was a little older and I have seen many boat owners buy manual pumps "just in case." Thanks for having the grace to not speak poorly of the deceased. I have read so many negative posts bashing the captain. These people are the minority, but still, I don't like to see it happen in our community.
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:34 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Marin View Post
(Seoul, S Korea) I am NOT looking to restart the Bounty discussion, I simply have a basic question that I have not seen addressed in the little bit of material I've read on the subject. So if someone knows the answer I'd like to hear it and then this thread can be closed if deemed necessary.

And that is, what was the cause of the water ingress that the pumps were keeping up with? Did the hull have an ongoing issue with seam leaks, did the action of the waves wrack the hull and open up seams, or was it simply water that was coming aboard from the swells, waves, and spray and running down into the hull?

Have any of the survivors commented on this yet?

Thanks,
That's a good question, Marin. All wooden vessels of that size leak simply because of the difficulty of keeping the seams caulked but in the old days you had a large crew so you had plenty of hands to man the pumps. I just finished an account of Magellan's trip, and in stormy weather the pumps were manned 24-7 just to keep them afloat because as the vessel was pounded by waves, the seams would open and ten gallons of sea water would squirt in with each wave. Given that this Bounty was a semi-replica of the original Bounty built for a movie my guess is that the boat wasn't built to the same scantlings of the original, which as noted on the previous thread, had to withstand cannon fire without breaking up like a matchstick boat. One indication that this Bounty may have been built not to be a robust vessel capable of enduring what the sea can dish up, but rather as a movie prop is its modest displacement of 400 or so tons on a 180' length. Compare that to a 200' 3 masted vessel made of steel, which should be lighter than a wooden vessel of about the same size yet the steel boat weighs over 740 tons. http://www.yachtworld.com/core/listi..._id=14984&url= Another benchmark would be the USS Constitution, which was 207' feet long but weighed 2,200 tons - 5 times what the replica Bounty weighed. One final metric that supports the point - the vessel was built in 1960 and cost about $5 million in today's money. Think about it. A 180' 3 masted wooden boat with sails, rigging, etc. for about the cost of a modern production vessel half that size. Hard to imagine they built her for anything other than staying afloat for the duration of filming, not chasing hurricanes 50 years later.

The thinner the planking, ribs and backbone, the more flexible the hull will be, which in a wooden boat of that size is not a good thing. Lacking a crew to man pumps, once the power goes out, the vessel goes down as the seams open and close, letting in water that ultimately sinks the boat. The final report on this tragedy will make for interesting, if sad reading.
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:55 PM   #8
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As Gordon Lightfoot so aptly put...

"The captain wired in he had water comin' in
And the good ship and crew was in peril.
And later that night when his lights went outta sight
Came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Does any one know where the love of God goes

When the waves turn the minutes to hours?
The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay
If they'd put fifteen more miles behind her."


When the minutes turn to hours and the water is rising no matter what the pumps are doing....the mind turns to mush in many a man/women.

I have flown out to many a boat and ready to deploy a pump at the peril of life and limb...but at the last minute realized the boat wasn't REALLY sinking...it was just taking on water due to the situation the crew had put the vessel in ...but upon arrival of the helo and the preparations to take the pump...the vessel had changed enough of the situation that the water ingress now was manageable.

Also....many a captain has though he was sinking only to find out his water tank leaked.

My point is that many a ship was lost because the captain or crew thought the boat was sinking out of control when in reality it is just a moment in time....those magic moments that seem to be lasting for hours as Gordon sang about the Edmund Fitzgerald.
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Old 11-04-2012, 09:25 PM   #9
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My point is that many a ship was lost because the captain or crew thought the boat was sinking out of control when in reality it is just a moment in time....those magic moments that seem to be lasting for hours as Gordon sang about the Edmund Fitzgerald.
Fastnet Force 10 is a pretty good book on the phenomenon of sailors reaching the point where all they want is to GET OFF THE BOAT, no matter how dumb that proves to be in hindsight. Most of the vessels abandoned by their crews during the Fastnet storm survived the ordeal, while many of the crews did not. But from the pictures I have seen The Bounty was going down, so getting off was the only option. We can just be thankful that so many made it off and were rescued.
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Old 11-04-2012, 09:43 PM   #10
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... Given that this Bounty was a semi-replica of the original Bounty built for a movie my guess is that the boat wasn't built to the same scantlings of the original, which as noted on the previous thread, had to withstand cannon fire without breaking up like a matchstick boat.
The Bounty wasn't built as a warship but rather as a collier with a different name. The Royal Navy purchased it three years after construction. After conversion for the breadfruit expedition, she was equipped with four 4-pounder cannons and ten swivel guns. Essentially, she was an armed merchant ship.
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Old 11-04-2012, 09:49 PM   #11
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Fastnet Force 10 is a pretty good book on the phenomenon of sailors reaching the point where all they want is to GET OFF THE BOAT, no matter how dumb that proves to be in hindsight. Most of the vessels abandoned by their crews during the Fastnet storm survived the ordeal, while many of the crews did not. But from the pictures I have seen The Bounty was going down, so getting off was the only option. We can just be thankful that so many made it off and were rescued.
But the question was "when did they give up?" long before or just before the point of no return.

The pictures you saw are meaningless...what transpired for hours or minutes is the real question and having been through the training and debriefs of accidents, the truth may never be fully known.
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Old 11-04-2012, 09:57 PM   #12
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The Bounty wasn't built as a warship but rather as a collier with a different name. The Royal Navy purchased it three years after construction. After conversion for the breadfruit expedition, she was equipped with four 4-pounder cannons and ten swivel guns. Essentially, she was an armed merchant ship.
Not sure you understand how these vessels were built, whether for war or plying the trade between India and Europe. This vessel is a merchant ship that is 23' shorter than the Bounty, but weighs 2 3/4 times more: East Indiaman Amsterdam . The reason why they built them so stoutly is so they wouldn't sink while carrying cargo in nasty weather. The Bounty is an ultra-light by comparison, indicating to me that she wasn't built to be treated as a real ship, but as a movie prop that had no business chasing hurricanes.
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Old 11-04-2012, 10:25 PM   #13
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But the question was "when did they give up?" long before or just before the point of no return.

The pictures you saw are meaningless...what transpired for hours or minutes is the real question and having been through the training and debriefs of accidents, the truth may never be fully known.
Meaningless? Really?

At the time of the distress call ( 9 pm ), the vessel was reportedly taking on 2 feet of water an hour and lost power a few hours later. The crew took to life rafts at around 5 am, and were rescued around 6:30 am. The point of no return was when they left the harbor in a movie prop with funky bilge pumps. Incidentally, the rescue took place, according to the Coast Guard, in 40 knot winds and 18 foot seas, which presumably means the vessel started to sink in winds and wave conditions that are hardly a walk in the park, but not exactly the perfect storm either.
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:39 AM   #14
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Again passing no judgement, just trying to learn what ship-related factors might have contributed to the sequence of events that led up to the sinking.... If the vessel was taking on two feet of water an hour, could this have contributed to the shutdown of the engines? Or do people think it was a fuel related shutdown as Anthony suggested might have been the case.

And while it may have been mentioned and I missed it, what kind of engines were they?

Also what kind of generator(s) did the Bounty II have?

I suppose a web search might turn up this information but I'm lazy.

Thanks.

Oh, one other thing for our Australian cohorts. About four or five years ago I directed a video project about RNP (a GPS-based navigation system for aircraft). One of the airlines we visited and shot with was Qantas. In Sydney we stayed at a hotel in The Rocks right under the Sydney harbor bridge. At that time there was a black-hulled square-rigger moored along the waterfront near the hotel which I believe was a replica of the Bounty. This same ship had been there a few years earlier when we were there for a project with what was then called Virgin Blue.

Is this the same vessel we're talking about here?
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:24 AM   #15
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Oh, one other thing for our Australian cohorts. About four or five years ago I directed a video project about RNP (a GPS-based navigation system for aircraft). One of the airlines we visited and shot with was Qantas. In Sydney we stayed at a hotel in The Rocks right under the Sydney harbor bridge. At that time there was a black-hulled square-rigger moored along the waterfront near the hotel which I believe was a replica of the Bounty. This same ship had been there a few years earlier when we were there for a project with what was then called Virgin Blue.

Is this the same vessel we're talking about here?
I think there are 2 fully rigged ships in the Sydney Heritage Fleet.
One is the timber replica of The Endeavour used by Captain Cook to "discover" Australia.I think it was built in Perth WA,for the Australian Bi Centenary in 1988, others may remember more. The hull has all the elegance of a brick with the corners ground off. We inspected it recently,it appears heavily and faithfully built, though it has an "iron topsail" (big diesel). I`m struggling here,but don`t think the hull is black. It has successfully experienced some weather and I don`t believe it has any "movie prop" provenance.
The other is the 1874 barque James Craig, its iron (except for some steel plate replacements) hull, painted black, looks like a racing greyhound of the seas, a most elegant vessel. It was found as a rusting sunken hulk in Tasmania,our most southern and island state, brought to Sydney and fully restored over many years. It was closed for inspection the day we saw Endeavour at the Wooden Boat Show.
Both vessels are in regular use. I have read reports of longer voyages of Endeavour. Photos of the James Craig in full sail are impressive.Both are usually in Darling Harbour which is a little further from the Rocks hotel area.
There is one other ship, the much smaller Sydney Swan (ex Svanen) which arrived from Scandinavia 20 plus years back, stayed and does day cruises.It is kept more in the area you identify.The Endeavour may have been there at one time too.
Marin,I think you saw the James Craig.You could try searching the vessel names.
Anyone else able to help? BruceK
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:38 AM   #16
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Hmmm?
This is the original HM Bethia (Bounty) as she was called prior to purchase, refitting and commissioning by the Royal Navy (below).

The tonnage is listed (220) as "tons burthen" which is an archaic method of estimating cargo carrying capacity and not the weight.

Has anyone seen a reliable equivalent tonnage measurement of the replica Bounty? I know the replica was about 20' longer, but I've seen tonnage estimates in some of these posts that are almost twice that of the original Bounty? How about the plans for the replica Bounty?

(Great Britain)
Name: Bethia (17841787)
Bounty (1787)
Builder: Blaydes shipyard, Kingston-upon-Hull, United Kingdom
Cost: 1950
Acquired: 26 May 1787
Commissioned: 16 August 1787
Fate: Burned, 23 January 1790
General characteristics
Class & type: Armed Vessel
Tons burthen: 220 26⁄94
Length: 90 ft 10 in (27.69 m)
Beam: 24 ft 4 in (7.42 m)
Depth of hold: 11 ft 4 in (3.45 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Full rigged ship
Complement: 44 officers and men
Armament: 4 4-pounder guns
10 swivel guns
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Old 11-05-2012, 04:12 AM   #17
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I'm thinking it was the Sydney Swan. The James Craig is is considerably larger than what I remember. Is Darling Harbor the inner harbor behind the bridge? We did take a ferry back there and I vaguely recall a big square rigger back in there.
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Old 11-05-2012, 04:43 AM   #18
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One indication that this Bounty may have been built not to be a robust vessel capable of enduring what the sea can dish up, but rather as a movie prop is its modest displacement of 400 or so tons on a 180' length.
There is a difference between displacement and tonnage.

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Old 11-05-2012, 06:46 AM   #19
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Meaningless? Really?

At the time of the distress call ( 9 pm ), the vessel was reportedly taking on 2 feet of water an hour and lost power a few hours later. The crew took to life rafts at around 5 am, and were rescued around 6:30 am. The point of no return was when they left the harbor in a movie prop with funky bilge pumps. Incidentally, the rescue took place, according to the Coast Guard, in 40 knot winds and 18 foot seas, which presumably means the vessel started to sink in winds and wave conditions that are hardly a walk in the park, but not exactly the perfect storm either.
Yes really..unless you know what each crew member was doing for hours...and how the chain of command was handling it...you don't know when "they gave up" or became ineffective.

I have been on Coast Guard Icebreakers and Cutters where the crew was so seasick less that 40 percent could muster some days. Not sure how they may have responded in a true emergency such as fire or sinking...but it was an eye opener and most certainly things were happening that shouldn't have and the command wasn't aware of potential problems building...

So yes...a picture of a sinking boat and a few un-detailed reports hardly paints ANY picture of what was truly going on...though I will give you the truly experienced mariner can see in the mind's eye what was happening

To me the important discussion item is this happens at sea during storms (major incapacitation, fatigue, seasickness, equipment failure, etc etc and the jumbled mess accelerates deteriorating situations and certainly make small issues harder to overcome when they need to be.

So maybe like you I don't know why other than bravado made this captain sail and while I don't know why it sank in in this storm, I maybe like you have a pretty good guess.
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Old 11-05-2012, 08:51 AM   #20
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