Final Days of Bounty

This timeline marks the final days of the sailing vessel Bounty according to the testimony of the surviving crew.

All times are approximate. The events in this timeline were drawn from the public hearings conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard and NTSB in February of 2013.;xNLx;;xNLx;Notes are provided for consideration and discussion and are the opinion of the author alone.

2012-10-25 09:00:00

Problem with bilge pumps reported

Pumps (electric bilge) were not charging hose for deck wash as normal. The pressure was low, even directly from the sea intake. Sanders checked and decided it was because bilges were dry. (Not consistent with problem during washdown as pumps drew from sea valve.) Walbridge was told of the problem by Barksdale and Prokosh - Walbridge thought they were fine. Walbridge knows his ship's dewatering capabilities are suspect to several members of his crew, several of the ship’s officers also know there may be a problem. While some thought the pumps were fine, there was no maintenance done in New London. The pumps weren't internally inspected for damage to the impellers, and the backup hydraulic pumps were not tested. The ship’s backup gasoline-powered dewatering pump was not tested.

2012-10-25 10:00:00

Day Sail with Navy

Navy crew from submarine take a day sail with Bounty crew and following the sail the Bounty crew visits the sub base for a tour.

2012-10-25 17:00:00

Crew returns to Bounty

Crew returns to Bounty from sub tour with Navy.

2012-10-25 17:20:00

First Mate Disagrees with plan to sail

In a side meeting on the dock, Svendsen discusses with Walbridge that expected winds on track are up to 60 knots and 25 foot seas. Walbridge told him the ship could handle it. Svendsen disagreed with Walbridge and offered several options other than sailing. Walbridge was "not receptive."

2012-10-25 17:21:00

Walbridge: "It's Time To Go"

Walbridge tells his Mate, "It's time to go."

2012-10-25 17:27:00

Captain Walbridge holds crew meeting

Captain Walbridge holds a meeting with all crew by the capstan. He said that he intended to sail for Saint Petersburg, FL, and that if anyone wanted to leave, they could. Despite his objections, John Svendsen never voiced his differing opinion to the crew. When asked why not, Svendsen said, “Out of respect for the chain of command.”

2012-10-25 17:30:00

Bounty Leaves New London

Bounty leaves New London, CT - with a crew of 16.

2012-10-26 09:00:00

Royal Down

Groves brings royal yard down to deck / lashed everything down - continued sea stowing - rigged jack lines. Crew continues sea stowing.

2012-10-26 12:00:00

Generator shifting in mounts

Port generator moving in its mounts - nuts back off bolts - shut down port and started the starboard generator. (Time not known - Barksdale's testimony.)

2012-10-26 16:00:00

Bounty heading southeast - towards Sandy

Still heading south and east - fair weather. (Groves testifies that the vessel was heading directly towards the projected path.)

2012-10-26 23:15:00

Hewitt Reports Bilges "Normal"

Deckhand Jessica Hewitt testified that the bilges were normal when she made her rounds late Friday night.

2012-10-27 08:00:00

Sea Conditions Begin to deteriorate

Groves testifies that seas were at 8-10 feet, wind 20 kts during the morning watch on Saturday.

2012-10-27 12:00:00

Engineer injured

Chris Barksdale - Bounty's new engineer - takes a fall on the main deck and injures his hand. It is unclear whether his injury was reported to anyone.

2012-10-27 14:56:00

Walbridge decides to cross Sandy's Path

Svendsen testifies that on Saturday at 11:00, Walbridge ordered that they abandon SE track for west to cross Sandy's path. But the AIS track showed the turn sometime just after 2:56 PM

2012-10-27 16:00:00

Bounty starts flooding

Drew Salapatek - one of only six aboard who have been on Bounty for more than a single season - testified that the bilges required constant pumping and the water was "not emptying as fast as normal." On any other vessel in the world this is called "flooding," and it was a solid indication that they were in trouble. Salapatek reported that the water was up to the keelson - the inner-most top portion of the keel. (approximately 15-17" of water)

2012-10-27 17:29:43

Walbridge orders hydraulic bilge pumps on

Walbridge orders hydraulic bilge pumps turned on. Groves testifies that Walbridge himself was in the engine room working on bilge system with Drew Salapatek. They were cleaning corroded fittings on the hydraulic lines.

2012-10-27 19:00:00

Sea Conditions Worsen

Seas at 15 plus - winds from 20 to a gale (30-40 knots) according to Laura Groves.

2012-10-27 20:00:00

Bounty Clearly Flooding - Crew Aware

Bounty is clearly flooding on Saturday night. Groves sees Walbridge working bilge pumps and offers to relieve him, "We clearly needed someone there [on bilges] all the time." "Bilges higher than they should be." Groves pumps bilges for a couple of hours. Doug Faunt - the volunteer deckhand/electrician in his fifth season on Bounty - feels all hands who ran bilge pumps were having problems with electrical pumps.

2012-10-27 23:30:00

All officers aware of ship's distress

Matt Sanders tells his 12 - 4 watch that things were really serious and the bilges needed to be pumped all the time.

2012-10-28 04:00:00

Attacked by the Bilge Water

Jessica Hewitt testified that the crew was, "Getting attacked by the bilge water," as it rode up ceiling planks from rocking.

2012-10-28 07:00:00

Sea Conditions Deteriorate

Groves reports 25 foot seas with 50 kts of wind.

2012-10-28 08:00:00

Bounty still flooding

Bilges still require constant pumping and the water is rising. Faunt testifies that he had to use both electrical pumps to get a prime - even from raw water feed. Was also using the portable hydraulic pump. It could not be moved to the port side of keelson. Walbridge helped in trying to move pump to port side. It would not move because modifications to the engine room after the initial install of the hydraulic pumps had pinned the movable lines to the bulkhead.

2012-10-28 09:00:00

Electrical Problems in Galley

Jessica Black - the cook who boarded in New London - testifies that smoke came out of the new stove installed in New London. Walbridge was there and secured the breaker.

2012-10-28 10:30:00

Walbridge Injured

Walbridge took what was described by Barksdale as a "huge fall" in the great cabin. "How he got up, I don't know," and that "he was hurting."

2012-10-28 11:00:00

Fuel in day tank low

Hewitt testifies that on Claudene Christian's round of the engine room, she logged the port day tank as "low."

2012-10-28 11:30:00

Port Engine and Generator Run Out of Fuel

Svendsen testifies that at 11:30, the port engine and generator drop offline.

2012-10-28 12:00:00

More Trouble in Main Space

Sanders takes watch and was told that only starboard engine and generator were running: was told that port engine had shut down due to broken sight gauge on day tank. The injectors on port generator clogged and Barksdale reports that Walbridge is trying to fix the generator. At the same time, Faunt reports that the water was at the top of the keelson, twice what was normal on Bounty.

2012-10-28 12:30:00

Confusion About Sight Gauge and Day Tank

Hewitt noticed fuel low in port day tank - told Sanders they were running low on fuel in tanks with only 2" left - "felt like he was irritated with me" - he told her to tell the engineer. Hewitt told Barksdale that day tank was reading 2 inches. Barksdale: "Someone must have broken it and not told me."

2012-10-28 13:00:00

Galley Table Pulled from Hinges

Galley table pulled from its hinges on the ceiling planks (Groves).

2012-10-28 14:00:00

Bounty Suffering Damage from Storm

At 2 pm on Sunday, Bounty was taking a real beating. The fore course ripped in half - a team went aloft to furl the torn sail. At about the same time, Barksdale reported to Walbridge that water was entering engine room from the waterline on port side engine planking. Walbridge didn't comment. Doug Faunt was now disabling the ship's high-water alarm as it was constantly going off. (Svendsen said this happened later.)

2012-10-28 15:15:00

Starboard generator begins to fail

Starboard generator fluctuating power; Walbridge orders all non-vital electrical systems off. Barksdale states "surging fairly heavily."

2012-10-28 15:45:00

Fire in the Galley / Walbridge Falls Again?

Electrical fire on switch to oven. Black states, "Sparks shot out of microwave…smoke.." Another electrical arc from extension cord. Walbridge falls in great cabin - injured. Hewitt believes she was there asleep after her watch in great cabin for this fall. May be a second fall for Walbridge. Svendsen testified that he was in the great cabin when Walbridge fell.

2012-10-28 15:50:00

Mate Asks Captain to Call The Coast Guard

Svendsen advises captain, "We should call the Coast Guard." Walbridge declines - decides to heave to.

2012-10-28 15:59:00

Wave breaks through great cabin windows

(Groves' testimony) Took a wave from stern - heard water coming in (laz) - water came in through great cabin windows. Could hear water in back of laz (stern) - reported to Dan Cleveland.

2012-10-28 16:00:00

"Losing The Battle"

Cleveland takes watch - Walbridge orders the young third mate to put vessel hove to on a port tack; "We are losing the battle with the bilge."

2012-10-28 16:01:00

Engineering Work Continues

Matt Sanders says that at this point the water was still below the sole boards, but just. He and Barksdale had to shut down the starboard generator to change the racor filters. The fluctuations were believed to be caused by possible contaminated fuel or clogged filters.

2012-10-28 16:30:00

Hydraulic Pump Failing

2nd Mate noticed suction clogged and had to take pump apart to clear impeller and rebuild portable hydraulic. Barksdale testified Walbridge and he were helping.

2012-10-28 16:50:00

Pumps Clogged Again

Sanders has to again rebuild the hydraulic pump to get it operating.

2012-10-28 17:00:00

Using Cookware for Damage Control

Adam Prokosch retrieves colander from cook to scoop debris from bilge in engine space.

2012-10-28 17:29:43

Spanker Gaff Broken

Groves goes on deck, notices spanker gaff was broken - reports below to Walbridge that it was broken.

2012-10-28 17:29:43


Svendsen has discussion with Walbridge - told him "We are in distress."

2012-10-28 17:29:43

2nd Mate Working Bilges

2nd Mate - off watch - working the bilge pumps constantly.

2012-10-28 17:30:00

Fore Course Blows out of its furl

Fore course blew out of its furl: Salapatek, Prokosch, Scornavacchi went to deal with it - did not get it back in. (15-20 minute attempt.)

2012-10-28 18:29:43

90 Knots - Still Going Aloft

All on deck to deal with broken spanker gaff - Cleveland had just registered 90 kts on anemometer. 30 foot seas. Crew crawling on deck. Rest of crew handling lines as Dan Cleveland went aloft. Captain not on deck. Joshua Scornavacchi is pulled into the air while line handling and it takes at least four other crew members to pull him down.

2012-10-28 18:30:00

Prokosch Seriously Injured

Prokosch falls onto aft cabin bulkhead as he retrieved other colander from galley. "Fell 10-15 across tweens and hit his head on the arms chest." (Black) Black informs Svendsen. Breaks vertebrae, 3 ribs, and shoulder. Asked John Svendsen to assess his injuries - "Make sure I'm not paralyzed."

2012-10-28 18:50:00

Small Boat Breaks Free

Small boat (inflatable) breaks free and is pinned against rigging.

2012-10-28 19:15:00

Damage Control in Great Cabin

Groves helped Warner shore up great cabin windows - damage control to prevent further shipping of seas.

2012-10-28 19:30:00

Radios Failed

Faunt tries HF and INMARSAT and neither worked. He testifies that they were not checked before leaving New London.

2012-10-28 20:00:00

All Goes Dark

Starboard generator dies / ship without power / no dewatering ability. Anna Sprague testifies that at this point they are told to make preparations to abandon ship. Sprague collected life jackets and emergency supplies for possible abandon ship (her recollection is 20:00 hrs). At the same time, others are trying to get the ship's final backup bilge pump (a gasoline-powered trash pump that has not been used, tested, or trained on in 18 months) to work. They can't.

2012-10-28 20:30:00

First Contact With Shore

Bounty uses SAT phone to contact home office - ask to relay situation to Coast Guard. Was not considered a MAYDAY but rather a notification of their situation.

Final Days of Bounty

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