As captain of the HMS Bounty, William Bligh demonstrated an obsession with paltry matters. Too hastily provoked, he antagonized officers and crew with frequent and uncontrolled outbursts. With tempers already flaring and resentment simmering, a trivial matter of coconuts stolen from the ship’s store provoked a true mutiny. On April 28, 1789, Fletcher Christian and his sympathizers took over the ship, casting Bligh and 18 of his loyal supporters adrift in the Bounty’s 23’ launch.
In a remarkable feat of seamanship, Bligh navigated the dangerously overcrowded boat on a 47-day voyage to the Dutch colony of Timor, equipped only with a sextant and a pocket watch. He recorded the distance as 3,618 nautical miles. While struggling to survive, he kept a log and produced highly accurate charts and surveys of the seas and the terrain, such as the Fijian Islands and the north-east coast of Australia.
The Bounty’s launch was typical of boats issued to Royal Navy ships of the period. Historically accurate and highly detailed, Model Shipways’ HMS Bounty’s Launch kit is based on original plans from the Nautical Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England. It features true plank-on-frame construction with laser cut wooden components, laser engraved rabbet and bearding lines. Beautiful cherry wood is provided for the frames and deck beams. Hull and quarterdeck planking, floorboards and mould stiffeners are flexible basswood. The fitting package replicates authentic gear, including ten oars, eight lathe turned wooden barrels, wooden chest, cast metal anchor, brass gudgeons and pintles, plus cotton sails and cordage. Five sheets of plans and illustrated instruction manual assure trouble-free assembly.