Wednesday, May 28, 2014

HMS 'Bounty'

One of the best known sailing ships in British and South Pacific history. The length was 90 ft 10 inches (27.69 metres), beam 24 ft 4 in (7.42 metres) and depth of hold 11 ft 4 in (3.45 metres). In total the ship had 44 officers and men.

On 24 December 1787, the Bounty set sail for Cape Horn with a crew of 44 men under the command of Captain Bligh. His orders were to call at the Island of Tahiti, load as many breadfruit trees as could be carried and then transport them to the West Indies where they were to be cultivated in large plantations as a supply of food for the slaves.

On arriving at Tahiti, after a 10 month voyage, Captain Bligh discovered that he would have to wait six months before the young breadfruit trees were ready for digging up and transporting. He therefore had no choice but to spend this length of time on the island. But life there proved to be so idyllic that at the end of the six months the crew did anything but welcome his order to start loading and return on board ship.

On the morning of 18 April 1789, during the return voyage, the infamous mutiny took place. Captain Bligh and 18 loyal members of crew were cast adrift with 150 pounds of biscuits, 20 pounds of salted meat and 120 litres of water. They were also given a compass, sextant and the Bounty's logbook.

With only these victuals and equipment Captain Bligh reached the Island of Timor after 42 days and 3400 nautical miles. Later Bligh was made a vice-admiral and colonial governor.

The mutinous crew of the Bounty found a safe hiding place on Pitcairn Island and there they unloaded the cargo before setting fire to the ship.

One of our authors, Vic Young, has an ancestry going back to a crew member. More photos of this model are on this webpage.

No comments: