Wednesday, November 21, 2012

One Ham Killed, Another Rescued, in Sinking of HMS Bounty

One of the first casualties of Superstorm Sandy was the tall ship HMS Bounty, a replica of the British sailing vessel made famous when a band of crew members mutinied on a 1789 voyage to the South Pacific. Fourteen of the 16 crew members were rescued safely. However, the captain - Robin Walbridge, KD4OHZ - was never found and is presumed to have gone down with the ship. The second casualty was Claudene Christian, a descendent of mutineer Fletcher Christian.

A second ham on the crew, Ship's Electrician Doug Faunt, N6TQS, was rescued. He told the ARRL Letter that the ship's crew used various methods, including HF amateur radio, to try to get help but met with little success. Finally, they were able to use Winlink to e-mail a distress message to the Coast Guard. Faunt told the Letter that "ham radio got me into my position on the Bounty, and ham radio got me out alive!"

There was also a closer-than-comfortable link between the Bounty and the CQ "family." Former CQ Youth Editor Brittany Decker, KB1OGL, crewed aboard the ship last summer. Her father, Paul Decker, KG7HF, told CQ she had considered staying on through the fall but, thankfully, decided to head off to college instead.