Watch: Mutiny on Channel 4
If you can’t wait for our exhibition Captain Bligh: Myth, Man and Mutiny to open on 17 March, a new Channel 4 programme starts this Monday 6 March 2017 following a team of nine men led by SAS: Who Dares Wins frontman, Anthony Middleton as they recreate Captain Bligh’s epic voyage of survival.
Trailer: Mutiny | starts Monday 6 March | Channel 4
The mission: recreate one of the world’s greatest open boat voyages of British history
Using traditional navigation equipment and surviving off the same meagre rations as Bligh, the team were cast adrift 35 miles to the south of Tofua near the Kingdom of Tonga in a replica 23ft open keel-less boat. Their mission, to survive and safely navigate across 4000 miles of open ocean to Kupang, Timor and recreate one of the world’s greatest open boat voyages of British history.
A never ending struggle on the high seas
British yachtsman, Conrad Humphreys who has circumnavigated the world three times, including the notorious Vendée Globe in 2004-5, was selected as the professional skipper of Bounty’s End and prepared the boat and crew for the 60 day Voyage. A veteran of the Southern Ocean, Conrad found himself facing his greatest challenge yet – a never-ending struggle on the high seas where extreme hunger, fatigue, illness, conflict and stormy seas threatened to engulf their tiny boat and end their hopes of reaching Timor safely, over 4000 miles away.
230 years ago, British navy ship HMS Bounty was sailing from Tahiti to the West Indies. During its 17 month voyage a poisonous rift developed between its crew and its tough young captain – William Bligh. In the middle of the South Pacific, rebellion broke out. It would go down in history as the Mutiny on the Bounty.
Captain Bligh and a handful of loyal men were forced into a tiny open boat and left to die. Instead they managed to navigate 4000 miles to safety, through some of the world’s most remote and unforgiving seas. It remains one of the greatest survival feats in British history.
Recreating on of the greatest survival feats in British history
Now for the first time, 9 men are setting out to make the same gruelling journey in a replica 23ft wooden boat, with the same rations, facing the same conditions – to measure themselves against history.
For company, they will have Bligh’s own words – in the form of a detailed Journal he kept which remarkably survived the voyage. The Journal will help them uncover the secrets of survival and to get a closer understanding of Bligh’s epic feat.
The men bring skills that mirror those of Bligh’s crew. Amongst them are a carpenter, a doctor, and several specialist sailors. Anthony Middleton, of SAS: Who Dares Wins is stepping into Captain Bligh’s shoes as leader of the expedition. Like Bligh’s men they will battle brutal storms and treacherous reefs. They will brave the furnace of Northern Australia’s shark infested waters, and the challenge of landing on remote tropical islands to hunt for vital supplies. The crew will be constantly challenged by raging seas, hunger, and the confined space of the boat.
There an old nautical saying, “When ships were made of wood, men were made of steel”.
But can today’s men measure up to the extraordinary achievements of their predecessors?
Island’s visited on the voyage
Restoration Island (Australia)
Sunday Island (Australia)
Albany Island (Australia)
The exhibition brings this gruelling journey to life through a faithful reproduction of the Bounty launch and with original relics from the voyage – Bligh’s coconut bowl, bullet-weight (used for measuring the meagre rations), horn beaker and the magnifying glass he used to light cooking fires once they reached the Great Barrier Reef, all on loan from The National Maritime Museum Greenwich.