Gale in Pacific

The 25ft Bounty Boat, which is recreating Captain Bligh’s open boat voyage has survived a knockdown in gale force conditions while sailing through through Fijian waters.

With winds of thirty-five knots from the southeast and 5 – 6 metre waves regularly crashing over the side of the 25-foot long, 7-foot wide open boat, conditions are testing the skill and endurance of Don McIntyre and his crew.

The Talisker Bounty Boat was filled with water after suffering the knock down, and all hands were on deck to bail out as quickly as possible. Expedition leader, Don McIntyre, even dislocated his little toe during the commotion. As the waves continue to break into the cockpit, the crew have the relentless  but vital task of bailing out water every 5 to 10 minutes.

The adventurers endured rough conditions last night also. With no modern navigational equipment onboard, they are relying on the light of the moon, but have been hampered by total cloud cover the past few days. Consequently the boat has sailed perilously close to submerged reefs, with the only warnings being the sound of breaking surf close-by. Last night there were two close calls, but the Talisker Bounty Boat managed to surf at 15 – 20 knots between the reefs of the Fijian islands.

Despite these challenging conditions, the bulkhead remains watertight, and McIntyre states that morale on board is high, even chipper.

Don McIntyre described the experience, “The seas are bigger than they should be, but we will continue on! The Talisker Bounty Boat is a great vessel and she is handling the conditions really well. Pulling together as a crew to face these kinds of conditions is bringing us closer to one another, and closer to understanding Bligh”.

From here, the crew will head north and attempt to anchor in a safe and sheltered position, however if they are unable to find one, they will persist through Bligh’s passage.

It has been seven days since the launch of the Talisker Bounty Boat, which began with a short stop on the volcanic island of Tofua where Bligh first made land-fall 221 years ago. The crew descended a sheer cliff to make a daring visit to ‘Bligh’s Cave’ where Bligh originally sheltered to gather supplies with 18 of his crew.

In the early stages of the expedition the crew have been writing a daily blog and have been boosted by a letter of good luck and encouragement from ‘The First Sea Lord’, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope who has described the expedition as ‘a remarkable venture’.

Don McIntyre and the crew are attempting to raise money for the Sheffield Institute Foundation. For the location of the Talisker Bounty Boat and to follow the crew’s blog visit