At anchor in Moorea
|Sea Trials in the Hauraki Gulf,
HMAV Bounty is a faithful replica of the 18th century ship, built for the 1984 movie “Bounty” starring Mel Gibson(as Fletcher Christian) and Anthony Hopkins (as Captain
Bligh) at a cost of over $4,00,000. The original Bounty, scene of the now infamous mutiny near Tahiti in 1789, was burned at Pitcairn Island. The new HMAV Bounty was
launched on December 16, 1978 by Whangerei Engineering and Construction Limited in Whangerei, New Zealand.
HMAV Bounty is built out of steel, clad with a variety of timbers-New Zealand Tanekaha for the decks, Kauri for the ships boats, Purpleheart, Elm and Ash rigging fittings and
blocks, with a 1 1/2 ton cutwater at the stem, hewn out of solid Australian Blue Gum and New Zealand Matai. In an effort to simulate the original Bounty's copper sheathing,
metal beading has been welded onto the hull giving the appearance of copper panels when painted with a copper tinted bottom paint. Laid end to end Bounty’s halyards, sheets,
braces, bunts, down hauls, clews and vangs would stretch over a phenomenal 11.5 miles.
In strict accordance with their 18th century sail plan. Bounty spreads 10,000 sq. ft of authentic Scottish flax canvas sails. The spritsail nestled under her 35 foot long bowsprit,
and the loose footed driver, the gaff rigged fore and aft sail on the mizzen mast, have both been retained. The new Bounty's 120 foot main, 114 foot fore, and 75 foot mizzen
mast, yards and gaff was fashioned from over 700 cubic feet of seasoned Douglas fir timber. To simulate motion when shooting sequences at quiet anchorages, Bounty
possesses two sets of tanks on either side of her hull and in her bow and stern. The controlled passage of water between these tanks by several large capacity pumps produces
an artificial heel or roll. Above decks all is 18th Century – Bligh would feel right at home scanning her decks and gazing upon her rigging. Below decks is a different story.
Everything is modern, with showers, air conditioning, washing machine and dryer, etc. All the “below decks” filming was done in the studio.
While the Bounty is a compromise between practicality and authenticity, the practicality bit is cunningly tucked away out of sight. Inside her hull are twin 450 horsepower
eight-cylinder Kelvin turbocharged diesel engines for increased maneuverability and getting to film locations on schedule, and an electric windlass to handle the anchors and a
water desalination system that supplies freshwater. The metal hull from the water line up is disguised with two layers of 1 1/2 inch thick teak planks, each 8 inches wide. The
first layer of planks is bolted on with stainless steel bolts stud-welded to the hull, and a second layer is fastened with bronze screws. Then the planks are caulked in the
traditional manner using oakum and cotton. The New Zealand Tanekaha deck is also traditionally caulked and then payed with pitch.
The Kelvin diesels exhaust systems are fitted with special scrubbers to absorb carbon, leaving only hot and hopefully invisible gases to be exhausted. A sophisticated valve
system enables the exhaust from both engines to be discharged at the water line on which ever side of Bounty is not being filmed. The two electric capstan/windlass motors
concealed below decks, are there for safety-to speed up letting go and recovering anchors, raising and lowering the ships boats, and helping to send aloft other gear. But above
decks, authenticity is the keynote, and Bounty’s anchors can also be handled by a replica of the 17 foot long hand powered palled timber windlass. This windlass is eight sided
and tapered toward the ends with several dozen square holes to take the hand spikes used to turn it just does was done 200 years ago. Being a special-purpose vessel built
for the film industry, below decks there are 2 - 90KW, generators, with more than enough power to supply an entire film company and all the vessel's needs.
|Launching 16 December 1978
Sea trials early 1979
|Yes, it is a steel hull
beneath that timber
|Scottish Flax canvas sails
|Over 600 English ash blocks
|Mizzen shroud carried away off
|Crossing the Line
18 July 1986
133° 37.00´ W
I signed aboard the Bounty in March of 1984, after having been a sail
instructor for 10 months. Before that I worked in the family business
and managed one of my dad's 5 bikini factories in Southern California.
I guess it was the bikini factory experience that enabled me to sign
aboard as an A.B, sailmaker. I had done sail repairs at the sailing school
I was an instructor at, but Bounty's heavy flax canvas sails really put my
hands to the test.
When I first signed aboard Bounty in February 1984, the only other
American was a fellow named Chris Jannini aka “Tarbrush”. The other
members of the permanent crew at that time were Peter Kane, Tony
Crowder, and Peter Robertson with us all under the direction of Cmdr.
Joseph “Mac” McGuire. Mac McGuire was a senior ship and engineer
surveyor for Lloyds Register of Shipping and had been with the Bounty
since he was seconded to Whangerei Engineering and Construction
Limited for the 'Bounty' project.
Little did I know that my life would change and that from sailing for 3
years aboard Bounty would be the beginning of a wake from her to
Balclutha, Moshulu, Glenlee, Lady Washington, Hawaiian Chieftain,
Wavertree and many other beautiful sailing ships and yachts. I will
always remain grateful to Cmdr. Mac McGuire and my Bounty brothers.
Videos - please click on text or photo to view
|My first day aboard as
crew February 1984.
HMAV Bounty or Bounty was first conceived by Sir David Lean for a trilogy of films on the Bounty saga. She was
built by Whangarei Engineering Company's shipyard in Whangarei, New Zealand, rigged by Harry Spencer of Cowes,
with Scottish flax canvas sails by Ratsey & Lapthorn also of Cowes, Isle of Wight and mostly crewed by Spirit of
Adventure hands. She is a faithful replica of the 18th century ship, built for the 1984 movie “The Bounty” starring
Mel Gibson (as Fletcher Christian) and Anthony Hopkins (as Captain Bligh) at a cost of over $4,00,000. She is still
afloat at this time in Hong Kong.
Anyone interested in the "other" HMS Bounty, built for the Marlon Brando version of Mutiny on the Bounty that sank
in Hurricane Sandy, with the regrettable loss of life, is referred to the article in Wooden Boat magazine by Captain
Andy Chase by clicking here.
|* This is not the HMS Bounty that sank during Hurricane Sandy *
|A photo montage of my life aboard HMAV Bounty
First job...tarring the rig
|For two weeks we were used in a film by
François Leterrier who directed several
of the Emmanuelle adult movies. Now
that's a three beer story...
Underway from Tahiti to Fiji and then on to Australia...
A Vespa tour around Moorea
starting on location of Captain
Receiving direction for my scene with Bob Hope
during his winter in Tahiti TV special.
|At anchor off Musée Gauguin in the town of
Papaeari, on Tahiti’s south coast
|Arrival in Pape'ete, Tahiti with a lot of
varnishing and painting to do.
|At anchor off Matavai Bay where Captain
Cook first made landfall in Tahiti.
|Bounty was hired to appear as all three of Captain Cook's vessels used
during his career. The film was a four part mini-series. We spent almost six
months filming in Tahiti and Australia. Click here to view the final episode
Filming the Captain Cook mini-series
Filming the Captain Cook mini-series
Charging towards Australia via Fiji.
Filming the Captain Cook mini-series
Sail repair while filming Captain Cook mini-series
Arrival Tahiti / Moorea
|The natural Scottish flax canvas sails
required drying out after every rain
First task for any new crew member is to "learn the ropes" Here is Bounty's pin rail diagram
A gentle breeze
HMAV Bounty alongside Darling
Harbor, Sydnet, Australia with barque
James Craig astern. Photo by John C.
|Singing "Leave Her, Johnny Leave Her" after three years
sailing aboard her. Late December 1986 Sydney, Australia
1985- Long Beach, California with Peter Robertson (left) and Peter "PK" Kane (center) and I.
|30 years later with Peter "PK" Kane and I holding my print copy of a beautiful watercolor by
Roger Morris at my home in Galveston, Texas. Roger sailed as Chief Mate and later as
Captain of Bounty during filming of the movie "The Bounty" and on her voyage from New
Zealand to Long Beach, California for the premiere of the film in 1984. Here is his web page
Sextant practice off Tonga.
A lazy Sunday
There seemed to always be music and Sea Shanties
aboard Bounty. Here Mathias is fiddling around off
My favorite place to read off watch
|On the way to Vancouver, British Columbia
and 1986 World Expo.
Shipyard in Vancouver, British Columbia.
|I am reeving off new Crow's Feet
on the mizzen tops and stay.
Matavai Bay, Tahiti at anchor.
Part of the cast for the Bob Hope TV special "Tropical
Comedy from Tahiti- Jonathan Winters, Miss America
Susan Akin, Bob Hope, & Morgan Brittany.
Always waiting around during filming...
Setting up to film Captain Cook's first arrival in Tahiti
|The first of several flogging scenes. I used my rope working skills
in making the Cat O'Nine Tails that was used...except it had felt
tails so as not to be to hard on the actor.
|Underway again towards Australia
after 5 months in Tahiti
|Sail repair aloft- patching a staysail.