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On Monday morning, October 29, the tall ship HMS Bounty was in the embrace of Hurricane Sandy 90 miles off Hatteras, NC and taking on water. Doug Faunt, N6TQS, survivor and ship's electrician, told the ARRL that the Bounty crew tried various methods to call for help, including a satellite phone, “... we got nothing when tried calling out on HF. We tried calling the Maritime Mobile Net, but nothing was out there. We had Winlink on the ship that we used for e-mail and accessing the Internet to post to blogs and to Facebook, and we finally found an e-mail address for the Coast Guard. As a last-ditch effort, we used Winlink to e-mail the Coast Guard for help. Within an hour, we heard a C-130 plane, and later, a helicopter overhead.” According to Faunt, it was Captain Robin Walbridge, KD4OHZ, as master of the ship, who sent out the distress messages.
The US Coast Guard has suspended its search for Robin Walbridge, 63, the missing captain of the replica tall ship.
The messages have been removed from the Winlink system and turned over to US Coast Guard authorities for their investigation.
Faunt posted this message to a ham RTTY group about two weeks after the rescue.
UPDATE: The Winlink messages leading to the rescue have been made available for viewing by the public, along with the final USCG report, on the USCG web site.
The dramatic Coast Guard rescue of 14 crew from liferafts can be seen in the video below.
If you use Winlink or correspond regularly with someone who does, please make a donation to ARSFI. By giving $25 each year you will do your part to keep this important system running. Donations are tax-deductible by US federal taxpayers. A donation is always the best way to say "thank you" to Winlink volunteers!
Where Winlink Volunteers Made a Difference
Lives and property saved. Damage mitigated. It's why Winlink volunteers do what they do.
The Winlink radio email system and software are built, maintained and supported entirely by volunteers.
Victor D. Poor, W5SSM (SK)
Rick Muething, KN6KB
Lee Inman, K0QED
Phil Sherrod, W4PHS
Steve Waterman, K4CJX
Tom Lafleur, KA6IQA
Lor Kutchins, W3QA
Neil Hughes, VE1YZ
Don Trotter, VE1DTR
Phil Sutherland, VK6KPS
Scott Miller, K6SKM
Kevin Hedgepeth, NB7O
Tom Whiteside, N5TW
Don Moore, KM0R
Mike Burton, XE2/N6KZB
Volunteers attend daily to Winlink web site, e-mail groups, tutorial groups, nets, user registrations, access rights, RMS servers, catalog and bulletin updates, and much more. The WDT also receives generous technical input and contributions from interested software authors and system developers. We would like to recognize the following outstanding contributors for their dependable, invaluable and prominent services and superior work products. Thank you!
Don Felgenhauer, K7BFL
David W. Barrow III, N9UNR
Bud Thompson, N0IA
John Wiseman, G8BPQ
Ron Knaggs, N1GYX
Rick Frost, K4REF
Bill Kuechler, N9ACQ
The 2015-16 Platinum Club Gateway Sysops on-air in 2000, on-air today!
Martin Spreng, HB9AK
Grady Williams, K6IXA
Eric Simmons, KB6YNO
California Yacht Club Radio Amateur Group, K6CYC, and Eric Oistad, KF6DZT
Jerry Curry, KL7EDK
Joel Michello, KQ4ET
Bud Thompson, N0IA
Rudi Wendrinsky, OE4RYC (SK) Operated RMS OE4XBU
John Burke, W7BO
San Diego Yacht Club Amateur Radio Group, W6IM, and Rod McLennan, W6MWB