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Mayor Foster Remembers 'The Bounty'

In the weekly "Foster's Forecast", Mayor Bill Foster honors the sunken HMS Bounty.

Hurricane Sandy sunk a former St. Pete landmark, the HMS Bounty, which was on its way to St. Petersburg last week. Fourteen people were rescued but a two other people, including the ship's captain, died in the accident. 

This weekend, Mayor Bill Foster addressed the tragedy in his weekly message to the public. 

"Its masts framed the city's waterfront. Its anchor rooted the HMS Bounty as a St. Petersburg fixture for more than five decades. Since its was built in 1962, the Bounty was a popular attraction and a constant reminder of St. Petersburg's unique nautical heritage. Today, sadly, the Bounty is gone, taken by Hurricane Sandy's fury, and with it a crew member, while Captain Robin Walbridge remains lost at sea. Fourteen other crew members were heroically rescued to safety by the United States Coast Guard. 

Captain Walbridge loved St. Petersburg and made his home here. He was sailing the Bounty home one last time for its last winter stay at The Pier before its scheduled closing. Claudene Christian lost her life doing what she loved most - sailing the square rigged vessel that was built as a replica of a Royal Navy merchant vessel in the 1700s. Ironically, news reports indicate that Claudene was the great-great-great-great-great grandaughter of sailing master Fletcher Christian, who led the mutiny against the ship's captain Lt. William Bligh in 1789, inspiring the classic Hollywood movie, Mutiny on the Bounty. The Bounty appeared in other Hollywood pictures, includingSponge Bob and Pirates of the Caribbean.  

While looking through some old files, I came across pictures of the Bounty parked alongside the Million Dollar Pier, and also in the Vinoy basin before a pre-renovated Vinoy Park Hotel. Although its masts will no longer grace our waterfront, its memories and the legacy it has left behind in teaching "teamwork, leadership and seamanship" will endure. Our thoughts are with the families of Captain Walbridge, Claudene Christian and the surviving crew members." 

cherylwithac November 05, 2012 at 03:26 PM
It's a shame that people put their lives and the Bounty at risk in Hurricane Sandy just so it would get to St. Petersburg for its scheduled showing in mid-November. It's an utterly sad and meaningless loss in the effort just to meet a photo-op schedule in St. Petersburg.
Jim November 06, 2012 at 09:19 PM
One thing you forget is that was his job to move the boat from place to place to generate income. No different then nascar or indy car drivers putting their lives at risk to drive around in circles. It all seams risky, but that's what makes life interesting. Hind site is always 20/20 and we can all say now he should have stayed put. If you know anything about hurricanes you would know he was a pretty safe distance from the eye wall where most of the wind is. If he would have stayed in port and the ship bashed to pieces I don't think it would have been rebuilt. The sea is not like a rowing pond were it's nice and calm most of the time. In fact it's just the opposite and the captain and crew accepted that.

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