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Captain Robin Walbridge at the helm of the HMS Bounty
Captain Robin Walbridge at the helm of the HMS Bounty

HMS Bounty in Ogdensburg

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The sailing ship used in three Hollywood films has dropped anchor in the North Country. The HMS Bounty is docked in Ogdensburg on the St. Lawrence River this weekend while on its way to the Great Lakes United Tall Ships Challenge. It was built in 1960 for the remake of the movie "Mutiny on the Bounty", starring Marlon Brando and was used more recently in one of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" films with Johnny Depp. Tours of the ship are available throughout the weekend. Todd Moe spoke with Captain Robin Walbridge on the main deck of the Bounty on a blustery afternoon. Walbridge says his 180-foot ship is a "good replica" of an 18th century British sailing ship, but larger than the original.

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Reported by

Todd Moe
Morning Host and Producer
Captain Walbridge leads reporter Todd Moe into the aft of the ship. "You can see all of the rigging, all the lines," Walbridge says. "There's probably about 175 different lines on the boat."  

During the tour, Walbridge explains the functions of different parts of the ship. As birds cry overhead and the sailboat creaks, Walbridge leads Moe to the helm.

"The helm is the steering wheel of the ship. This is actually where you drive the boat." A lot of non-sailors, says Walbridge, enquire why the helm is located at the back of the ship. "You gotta remember that this is a sailing ship. You don't just pick a course and set sail. If the wind's against you, you try and use the wind to your advantage. By standing in the back of the boat you can look forward and see all of the sails and tell if they're drawing correctly, if they're sailing correctly. You can see the big picture."

 Walbridge has sailed the HMS Bounty all over the world, docking in such locations as the Galapagos, Holland, and British Columbia. Next year, they hope to venture to St. Petersburg, Russia.

Sailing the St. Lawrence, however, holds a special place for Waldridge. "This is actually my favorite trip," he said. "I love the St. Lawrence, I love comin' up through here, I love the Thousand Islands, I love this whole area.  I don't care if you're out in the Pacific, the Atlantic, one wave looks like the other. When you come up the river you never know what's around the corner.  It makes the trip more interesting."

Waldridge and his crew generally try and sail the ship exactly the way it was sailed 200 years ago, employing such techniques as celestial navigation and dead reckoning. When the weather sours, however, they have the comforts of modern technology at hand. "We really have the best of both worlds," he said.

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