Robin Walbridge, 63, is the captain of the 180-foot, three-masted schooner HMS Bounty, a replica built from the plans of the original 18th century wooden ship in Nova Scotia to use in filming “Mutiny on the Bounty” with Marlon Brando in 1962. It later also appeared in a version of Treasure Island and “Pirates of the
The Bounty, which has since acted as a training vessel and museum, is owned by
In a press conference Monday, Tracie Simonin, director of the HMS Bounty Organization, said the ship tried to stay clear of
The vessel left
"This will be a tough voyage for Bounty," read a posting on the ship's Facebook page showing satellite images of the storm.
She began to sink at around 6:30 p.m. Sunday, about 90 miles southeast of
Crew members were outfitted in “survival suits.” Capt. Jerry Weber of
Fourteen members of the crew successfully launched in lifeboats but Walbridge and two female sailors were swept overboard by a wave. One woman managed to reach a lifeboat. The second woman, Claudene Christian, 42, was recovered from the water late Monday but rescuers were unable to revive her. She has been called the first North American casualty of
All 14 crew members initially evacuated were airlifted by the Coast Guard on Monday morning amid what one rescue swimmer described as 30-foot waves.
Walbridge is still missing and the subject of an ongoing Coast Guard search.
Kristen Anderson of
“He was a big boon to the community, and helped a number of local captains become qualified to take on charter passengers,” she said. “He was the captain who trained the captain of the USS Constitution,” referring to the refurbished schooner originally launched in 1797 that is the oldest commissioned US Navy vessel.
She said he was also pivotal in the rescue and renovation of the Bounty. “He was completely and totally devoted to the Bounty,” Capt. Randy Mims said. “It was by his efforts the ship stayed maintained. He was one of the best square rigger sailors left in the world and that is a dying art.”
“The Stone heeled over a little bit and went to work like a good horse. Later, when we were out on the bay, one of the wives said to her husband, ‘Why don’t you get rid of that boat you’ve got and get something like this?’
“Robin was a sailor,” said