Crew begin Bligh's Pacific voyage (BBC News)

SN NewsCaster
20th April 2010, 10:10
Four men set sail in the South Pacific to recreate the epic 7,000 km (4,350 mile) voyage of Captain William Bligh.

More from BBC News... (http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/news/int/search/news%2Bsport/ship/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/8631607.stm)

Binnacle
20th April 2010, 10:54
Quote -
"Like Bligh, they will not be using any modern-day navigational systems such as charts, compass or lights."

Methinks Nick Bryant has got it wrong, without a compass the voyage may take longer than seven weeks.

Binnacle
20th April 2010, 11:10
This could be the boat ?
http://woodenboat.com/boat/?tag=captain-bligh

Hugh Ferguson
20th April 2010, 11:49
Seeing this thread has got me to search all of my book-shelves for literature relating to this forever fascinating subject. It took off for me when my neighbour kindly offered to lend me a facsimile copy of the log Bligh compiled during his many months in the Bounty.
The log filled two massive volumes and took me a whole year to get through!

This interest had a follow on effect and I have since collected any book relating to the Bounty that I have ever seen advertised-and there have been many. I was also able to contact one of Bligh's descendants (a Maurice Bligh) who has spent his life trying to correct so many of the misconceptions surrounding this saga of the seas.

One of the books (a paper-back) was published in 2000 and its title is, rather strangely , Captain Bligh's Portable Nightmare, by John Toohey; an excellent 214 pages about his 4,162 mile passage in the Bounty's long-boat.

Another, and the most recent, is a masterpiece of painstaking research by an American authoress, Caroline Alexander, entitled The Bounty, The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty, (she is also the author of the best seller, Endurance). This is near 500 pages of the saga from beginning to end with a gripping finale of the capture of the surviving mutineers by HMS Pandora and the execution (hanged at the main yard-arm of HMS Brunswick).
(Another was published in 1973, a hard-back entitled, Pitcairn, Children of the Bounty, by Ian M. Ball who took his family to live on Pitcairn for the best part of a year whilst he compiled a history of the descendants of the likes of Christian and Young).

This, immensely detailed, record of events right down to a vivid account of the executions of John Milward, Thomas Burkett and Thomas Ellison aboard HMS Brunswick on Monday the 29th Oct.1790? (The captains of the various ships in Portsmouth had drawn lots as to whose ship the executions would take place in).

It's a great pity that Bligh's character has been so misrepresented in a couple of lousy films that, in peoples' minds, he will always be seen as a brute of a man, when in fact he was one of the most outstanding seaman that the nation ever begot.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
20th April 2010, 17:32
The chronometer issued to Bligh - Larcum Kendall's no 2, known as "K2", if I recall correctly, led an interesting life of its own.

Kendall had said that he could copy Harrison's H4 at a lower cost, which he did by omitting the remontoire (a device which ensures that the power delivered to the drive train is constant over time by using a subsidiary spring which is rewound frequently (every seven and a half seconds, in Harrison's masterpiece, "H4") by the mainspring. Consequently K2 was significantly less accurate than "H4" (the chronometer made by Harrison himself which won the Longitude Prize) and equally less accurate than K1, the perfectly accurate, and expensive, copy of H4, made by Kendall and issued to Cook.

Bligh got K2. But having sailed with Cook he was very familiar with maintaining a chronometer (it did in fact stop during the call at Tahiti but since the longitude was known Bligh could and did recover GMT and he restarted the watch; he checked the rate for some days before sailing and it had settled into a new rate.

"K3" by the way was another el cheapo copy (a mere 200) without the remontoire and was issued to Matthew Flinders.

Anyway, the point of all this is that Christian, having kept the chronometer, found that Pitcairn's longitude as charted was incorrect, so he and his merry men (and women, who may have been less merry, as they seem to have been kidnapped) were safe from discovery by RN ships navigating by chronometer.

K2 was exchanged by the last surviving mutineer for some other odds and ends when an American whaler rediscovered Pitcairn and after several further adventures K2 got back to Britain and is now in the National Maritime Museum with its siblings.

Found a good account of K2's later adventures on the web, here:

http://www.winthrop.dk/chrono.html

Incidentally the NM also holds one of the three chronometers issued to Sir John Franklin for his expedition to the NW Passage. Since Franklin and his ships vanished without trace, the survival of the chronometer is a little odd, espescially as it has been disguised as a carriage clock. Someone must have nicked it... but de mortuis nil nisi bonum!

Lancastrian
20th April 2010, 19:11
For the benefit of non classical scholars - The Latin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin) phrase de (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/de#Latin) mortuis (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/mortuus#Latin) nil (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/nil#Latin) nisi (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/nisi#Latin) bonum (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/bonus#Latin) dicendum (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/dico#Latin) est (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/sum#Latin) is usually shortened to de mortuis nil nisi bonum or sometimes just nil nisi bonum. It is variously translated as "Speak no ill of the dead," "Of the dead, speak no evil," or, more literally, "Let nothing be said of the dead but what is good."

Billieboy
20th April 2010, 19:37
Andrew, it makes one ponder what, exactly, caused Bligh not to wind his chronometer, at noon, on Sundays!

Hugh Ferguson
20th April 2010, 20:51
Chronometers that I knew were wound daily. Bligh was detained ashore due weather and consequently due to his missing the daily wind, the chronometer stopped. But what a history that trusty watch had!

Andrew Craig-Bennett
20th April 2010, 22:14
Hugh, I agree - the survival of this rare and delicate instrument is one of the astonishing parts of the story.

Not having a chronometer or, presumably, the almanac, which Christian would have hung onto, Bligh was compelled to use latitude sailing to make the Dutch East Indies, since he had neither of the longitude methods - chronometer or lunar distances - available to him.

Thats another Story
20th April 2010, 22:29
i read the acount of LT.BLIGH the made captain of HMS BOUNTY some years ago he seemed to be all for his crew good food fresh fruit ect. and yet hollywood turned him into the bad guy? it could be he was abit soft on his crew for that time. john.

NoR
20th April 2010, 22:49
The boat looks like a Montague Whaler. Should be up to the job, strong, flexible rig easy to balance, centre board for fast runs down wind and bloody uncomfortable

Klaatu83
20th April 2010, 23:53
i read the acount of LT.BLIGH the made captain of HMS BOUNTY some years ago he seemed to be all for his crew good food fresh fruit ect. and yet hollywood turned him into the bad guy? it could be he was abit soft on his crew for that time. john.

I came across a copy of that same book about ten years ago. The story most people know (made into at least three movies) is based on Nordhoff and Hall's 20th century "Bounty Trilogy", which in turn was based upon stories circulated after the fact by some of Christian's influential friends, including William Wordsworth. Bligh, who after all, was actually THERE, wrote his own account of the events after his return to Britain. It is quite different from the best-selling Nordhoff and Hall version. In the late 18th century Bligh's book was widely read and he himself was regarded as a great naval hero. It's rather a shame that Nordhoff and Hall's Trilogy has become so widely read and accepted while Bligh's own book has been relegated to such obscurity.

Incidentally, Bligh, like many seamen, felt a sentimental attachment for the boat that had served himself and his men so well during their epic voyage. He wanted to bring the launch back to England with him. However, his men were in such dire need of food and medical assistance that he sold the launch to raise money for their welfare.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
21st April 2010, 00:18
It's the wrong boat, of course.

Bligh did not have any sort of whaler, nor the longboat. He used the launch; the largest and heaviest boat carried by an 18th century ship and normally used for boating out anchors, watering ship, etc. The drawings of the Bounty's launch exist and have been reproduced a few times.

kauvaka
21st April 2010, 01:08
An article with photos of the farewell of the boat from Nuku'alofa can be found at matangitonga.to The book mentioned by Hugh, Captain Bligh's Portable Nightmare is an excellent and entertaining read, it includes a copy of the draught from which the launch, as mentioned by Andrew, was built.

trotterdotpom
21st April 2010, 03:22
Captain Bligh was involved in another mutiny, the NSW Rum Rebellion, after being appointed as Governor of NSW. There is no doubt that the Colony was rife with corruption, but there are indications that Bligh was a bit of a bossy-boots and, it appears, not averse to laying out a little largesse to his own friends and supporters. The outcome of the "mutiny" was a bit of a fizzer - in the long run they all got away with it.

Captain Bligh's descendent, Anna Bligh, is now Premier of Queensland and likely to suffer her own mutiny if she doesn't curb her plans to flog off all the public assets of the State.

John T.

Lancastrian
21st April 2010, 08:08
If its a whaler, someone has chopped 2 feet off, and its seems to lack a mainsail.

NoR
21st April 2010, 08:30
Here is the boat from binnacle's link, it is clearly a whaler and not the boat in question just something that Diagio already sponsor.

There is something called 'Bounty Boat' but I've not been able to find a complete picture of her online.

Hugh Ferguson
21st April 2010, 11:49
Since chronometers have received a mention on this thread I thought a photo of Harrison's No.1, from which Larcum Kendall's K2 evolved, would be of interest.

TCC
3rd March 2013, 21:32
I came across a copy of that same book about ten years ago. The story most people know (made into at least three movies) is based on Nordhoff and Hall's 20th century "Bounty Trilogy", which in turn was based upon stories circulated after the fact by some of Christian's influential friends, including William Wordsworth. Bligh, who after all, was actually THERE, wrote his own account of the events after his return to Britain. It is quite different from the best-selling Nordhoff and Hall version. In the late 18th century Bligh's book was widely read and he himself was regarded as a great naval hero. It's rather a shame that Nordhoff and Hall's Trilogy has become so widely read and accepted while Bligh's own book has been relegated to such obscurity

If you read the accounts of the other crew members, Bligh's halo was not only tarnished, it was slightly crooked. Examples:

- In the boat when he was issuing the allowance, he was witnessed to 'drop' small pieces of bread. When the 'meal' was over, he'd surrepticiously pick it up (and no doubt it would be ate without his jaws moving.)

- When they reached port, the crew were told to buy their own provisions. This they did and laid in stock of hogs, coconuts and yams. These Bligh confiscated (stole?). It was the preceding days incident of the coconuts, and their later confiscation (theft?), that sparked the mutiny.

- He was a bit duplicitous and sly in his ways. I'm sure there were many minor instances that didn't make it down on paper. He told the natives Cook was still alive as he wanted to retain their favour and he forbade his crew to mention his earlier death... even though the natives had been told of this by an earlier ship. He was a slim customer

- His definition of edible food was a lot more liberal than those who had to eat it. But this may have been said of a lot of RN Captains.

I'm sure if you asked those who were subordinate to Bligh, they'd say "it wasn't what he did so much, it was more the way he did it". He took a fiddler on strength with the idea of giving the crew exercise each day dancing to music. No doubt the crew thought that hour of exertion and sweat as nothing but additional 'work'.

Yes, an able mariner and seaman but he seems not destined to appear in the top 10 of the 'Great Leaders of Men' chart.