Danmark, Capitan Miranda, Niagara, HMS Bounty
by David Johnson
The full-rigged Danmark, from Copenhagen, serves as a six-month cruising maritime school for 80 young sailors of the Danish navy. Graduates are qualified to serve as a ship's officer, engineer, electrician, or other role. Built in 1933, the ship was assigned to the U.S. during World War II, where she was used to train 5,000 Coast Guard cadets. During the summer of 2000, the Danmark is sailing the entire East Coast from Miami to Nova Scotia.
The legacy of the majestic old clipper ships lives on in the design of the Capitan Miranda from Montevideo, Uruguay. Built in Spain in 1930 as a cargo ship, the Capitan Miranda was later used by the Uruguayan navy to conduct hydrographic surveys. With a length of 205 feet and steel hull, the staysail schooner has been a training ship since 1978.
"We have met the enemy and they are ours," Oliver Hazard Perry proclaimed to his commander after defeating the British at the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. Spoken from the deck of brig Niagara, Perry's words are probably the most famous in U.S. naval history. Although the Niagara was scuttled after the War of 1812, the ship was salvaged and rebuilt in 1913. The ship deteriorated by the 1980s and was permanently docked. However, a new 198-foot Niagara was built in 1988 using portions of the original brig. Her homeport is Erie, PA.
While most ships are commissioned by governments, the H.M.S. Bounty is a Hollywood star, built for the 1962 movie, Mutiny on the Bounty starring Marlon Brando and Trevor Howard. Based on the 1932 novel by James Norman Hall and Charles Bernard Nordhoff, the film tells the tale of the Bounty, which set sail in 1787 from the Society Islands, in the South Pacific, with a cargo of breadfruit trees for the West Indies. Led by first mate Fletcher Christian, the crew mutinied against the cruel captain, William Bligh. He and 18 others were set adrift in a tiny boat.
Amazingly, they reached Timor and eventually made it back to England. Some of the mutineers were tried and three were hanged from the yardarm of the Brunswick before the entire royal fleet of England. Other mutineers married Tahitian women and eventually settled in Pitcairn Island, off the coast of New Zealand, where their descendants live today.
The 169-foot long full-rigged ship is operated by the Tall Ship Bounty Foundation and sails between St. Petersburg, Florida, and Fall River, Massachusetts.
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