Into the Storm – The Final Days and Decisions on Bounty

Bounty - July 8th, 2008 - Port Angeles, Washington

Drivers always slow down and rubberneck at car accidents, don't they?  Like me, you may have caught yourself complaining about the practice and wondering "Why are people so morbid that they have to slow down and look?"  That's what we all say, at least until we get close enough to see, and though we might strain our eyes to avoid looking like we are looking, we drive just a … [Read more...]

Recap: Chief Mate Testifies – Bounty Hearings – Day 1

HMS Bounty Sinking USCG Photo

  With bruising and cuts to his face, broken bones in his hands, chest trauma, a twisted knee, and a dislocated shoulder, John Svendsen swam toward a strobe light.  The tall ship Bounty had just sunk underneath him. It was early in the morning of October 29th, last year.   He was likely the last person to see the ship's captain, Robin Walbridge, … [Read more...]

The Whole Truth – Bounty Hearings – Day 8

Bounty Hearings

What happened to Bounty on the morning of October 29th, 2012? Finding out what went wrong and why, when things happened or didn't, and who said what to whom - it's almost impossible. Details have come to light and we've learned things, but most of them - all of them really - came from testimony. It's been eight days of questions and answers, a high stakes game of he said, she … [Read more...]

The 17th Passenger – Bounty Hearings – Day 7

Anna Sprague - the youngest member of Bounty's crew - testifies on Day 7 of the hearings.

At the start of each day of the hearings, Commander Kevin Carroll does the same thing: he reads a statement.  He tells all in attendance, "The purpose of the investigation is to determine the cause of the casualty and the responsibility therefore to the fullest extent possible; and to obtain information for the purpose of preventing or reducing the effects of similar casualties … [Read more...]

The Cost of Waiting – Bounty Hearings – Day 6

121030-G-ZZ999-003-Arrival of Rescued Survivors from the Bounty

Tangled in rigging, he was dragged under the water again.  This time he wasn't coming up. With no chance to get a breath and struggling to free himself, he started to inhale water. Joshua Scornavacchi, one of Bounty's young deckhands, was drowning. "I started to lose muscle control...and I kept taking on water and then I got really upset because I had promised my mom and my … [Read more...]

Sins of Omission – Bounty Hearings – Day 5


Sometimes bad things happen. We do something that we shouldn't and that leads to tragedy. Do the right thing at the wrong time or the wrong thing anytime and you can get yourself into real trouble out there. Add masts and yards to the equation and the ways to screw up increase with every square foot of sail you put aloft.  No one can argue that there aren't plenty of errors to … [Read more...]

The Illusion of Experience – Bounty Hearings – Day 4

Daniel Cleveland

Tall ship sailors are so easy to like. When you meet them, within minutes, you know you are meeting someone who is doing exactly what they love. They are not at work, they are at home when aboard their boats, and I've never met one who even hinted at wanting to be anything else but a tall ship sailor. The jobs are hard, the hours are ridiculous, and the pay is awful if there is … [Read more...]