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Four men to set sail in re-creation of Captain Bligh's mutiny on the Bounty voyage

April 27, 2010 |  7:27 am

People gather on a dock to bid farewell to the four-man crew as they set sail in their 25-foot open deck boat, attempting to re-enact the 4,400-mile voyage of Captain William Bligh of the HMS Bounty after he was cast adrift by mutineers in 1789.

The mutiny on the Bounty has been memorialized in novels, movies (one of which won an Academy Award for best picture of 1935) and other media. Occurring aboard the British Royal Navy ship HMS Bounty on April 28, 1789,  commanding officer William Bligh and a crew of 18 were cast adrift on a small boat by mutineers.

Now, 221 years later, a four-man crew plans to set sail on a 25-foot, open-deck vessel, trying to re-create the 4,400-mile epic voyage from Tonga to West Timor.

Led by Australian adventurer Don McIntyre, the Bounty Boat Expedition will be setting out Wednesday. Joining him will be fellow Australian David Bryce, Hong Kong businessman David Wilkinson and 18-year-old Chris Wilde, a student from Great Britain, who hope to complete the journey in 40 days.

Like Bligh, they will not be using any modern-day navigational systems, instead relying on original 18th century octant, sextant and pocket watches, plus nautical tables, a boat compass, telescope and rope knot meter. They will have no modern charts, watches, nautical almanacs or compass lights on-board.

The provisions will also be similar to those which Bligh and his companions had -- hardtack, beef (instead of pork), water, rum and wine. Though they will also pack nuts, raisins and museli bars, the crew hopes to be able to gather a supply of fruit, vegetables and coconuts in Tonga as well as catch fish and supplement their drinking water with rain water.

A big difference, however, is the size of the boat being used on this modern expedition. Though a couple of feet longer, it's only about half the volume size of Bligh's vessel, presenting a greater risk of capsizing.

One look at the vessel, pictured above, brings the realization of what an adventure just everyday living will be during the weeks ahead for these swashbucklers. Best of luck to all aboard -- hopefully McIntyre won't have a mutiny on his hands.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: People gather on a dock to watch the four-man crew in their 25-foot open-deck boat, in which they will attempt to reenact the 4,400-mile voyage of Capt. William Bligh of the HMS Bounty after he was cast adrift by mutineers in 1789. Credit: Linny Folau / Associated Press

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