Tall ship, replica of Bounty docked in Annapolis for tours
By ANDREA F. SIEGEL and The Baltimore Sun
Jun 14, 2012 | 4:08 PM
It sure doesn't look like the other vessels docked in Annapolis.
The Bounty, a wooden movie-star ship with its tallest mast at 115 feet, is in town for a long weekend of tours that ends Sunday.
The visit, like the Star-Spangled Sailabration in Baltimore this weekend, commemorates the War of 1812. The original Bounty's storied mutiny occurred in 1789, and both the war and mutiny hark back to the era when sailing ships ruled the seas.
This ship was built for the 1962 movie "Mutiny on the Bounty," starring Marlon Brando as Fletcher Christian, leader of the historical mutiny in Tahiti against Capt. William Bligh. Since then, it has changed owners a few times (it is now owned by a private corporation that uses the ship for educational programs) and been rehabbed. It is recognizable to younger filmgoers as the ship attacked by the squidlike Kraken in the 2006 Johnny Depp movie "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest."
"I thought it was the ship from the movie," said Alan Peel, 43, of Takoma Park, who was in Annapolis last week with his family and among those at City Dock staring at the ship. He was referring to 1962's "Mutiny."
"I thought I recognized it," said his daughter, Naomi, 15. She was referring to "Pirates."
(The ship has had lesser-known roles in other movies, among them the 1990 "Treasure Island," starring Charlton Heston and Christian Bale, and 2004's "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.")
The ship holds different meanings for different people, whether about pirates, history or movies, said its captain, Robin Walbridge.
Like other tall-ship replicas, the Bounty is a link to history, Walbridge said. Pirates, though probably overly romanticized — and a common fantasy of many a child — were part of that history.
So was square-rig sailing, navigation by compass and months of hard work, living on stored provisions — all of which the crew does now, though the food is more nutritious and isn't crawling with maggots.
"This is the kind of ship that founded this country," Walbridge said.
The ship, with three masts, 18 sails and 10 miles of rope, is not an exact replica of the original Bounty. Though built from the plans of the original, it is one-third larger, to accommodate filming and modern amenities.
The original warship would have had 250 people on board and supplies for four months, Walbridge said. He's got a crew of about 22 and can carry supplies for up to nine months.
"You have to really enjoy a lot of hard work, adventure and possibly being out of your comfort zone some of the time," said bosun Laura Groves, 27, of Tallahassee, Fla., during a break from hollering orders at crew members perched more than 30 feet above her.
Annapolis officials said they, along with the Sailing Hall of Fame and Watermark Cruises, wanted a tall ship to mark the war's bicentennial, and the Bounty had two big pluses. It didn't charge for the Annapolis visit (although there is a charge for tours; the city will receive half of the 10 percent admissions tax). And it could get into the shallow waters of the harbor. The city waived docking fees.
Tours aren't guided, but crew members will answer any questions from visitors. Among the usual ones, said lead deckhand Pony O'Hara, 28, of Norfolk, who previously worked on the Lady Maryland and Pride of Baltimore II: Do you know Johnny Depp? (No.) Does this boat actually sail? (Yes.) What's the fuzzy stuff? (It's called baggywrinkle, which is placed on the twin stays of the lower mast to prevent chafing of the sails.)