This May, the Opening of the Bay by the Duxbury Bay Maritime School will be graced by the HMS Bounty, the 180-foot tall ship made for the 1962 movie “Mutiny on the Bounty. This May, the Opening of the Bay by the Duxbury Bay Maritime School will be graced by the HMS Bounty, the 180-foot tall ship made for the 1962 movie “Mutiny on the Bounty.”

On Memorial Day weekend, the Bounty will sail into Duxbury harbor on a high tide to begin a weekend-long celebration that includes educational events, ship tours, a family day and an evening party, entitled “A Swashbucklers Soiree.”

DBMS director Ned Lawson and event organizer Kim Cully presented Opening of the Bay plans to selectmen Monday night.{sidebar id=4}

The HMS Bounty was commissioned in 1960 by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio for the film, “Mutiny on the Bounty,” starring Trevor Howard as Captain Bligh and Marlon Brando as Fletcher Christian. It was built using plans for the original 1787 ship found in the British Naval Maritime Museum.

The original British ship was a 250-ton, square-rigged converted coal carrier commanded by 33-year-old Lt. William Bligh. Sent to Tahiti to collect breadfruit trees for transplantation to British West Indies sugar cane and indigo plantations as a cheap source of food for the workers, the ship was detained there for five months. On the return trip to England, Jr. Master Mate Fletcher Christian led a successful mutiny against Bligh and took command of the Bounty. Of the 44 men on board, 31 remained loyal to Bligh. Bligh and 18 of the loyal crewmembers were put adrift in the ship’s long boat. Using only a sextant and pocket watch, Bligh and his men navigated 3,600 miles in 41 days and reached the island of Timor. The mutineers returned to Tahiti and then escaped to settle on Pitcairn Island, an isolated island in the South Pacific that was misplaced on British charts. They were not discovered for 18 years.

The replica of the Bounty is 180 feet long including bowsprit, and is 30 feet wide. It draws 13 feet of water and weighs 412 tons. There is more than 10,000 square feet of canvas for its 18 sails.

Sailing such a large ship into Duxbury bay to tie up at the town pier and Maritime school docks presents a challenge. Ships this big usually dock at wharves or bulkheads, said Duxbury Harbormaster Don Beers.

“My main concern is that our facilities are safe,” Beers told selectmen. “This is a challenge and a challenge creates liability for your harbormaster.”{sidebar id=4}

The challenge lies in keeping the big ship safely at the docks. There is 40 feet between docks, and the ship is 30 feet wide. Depending upon the wind direction and the tides, it could be difficult to keep the Bounty at its berth and it could cause stress on the float system. Lawson said two stern anchors may be attached to the Bounty.

Six years ago, the 179-foot HMS Rose came to the first Opening of the Bay to mark the opening of the Maritime School, which offers course in sailing, racing, basic boating, navigation and seashore ecology. At that time, Duxbury had been dredged two years before and had new floats and new gear, said Beers. Since then, the ships that have come to Duxbury have been smaller and the bay has been silting up again. Beers said he had hoped he would not see a ship as big as the HMS Rose in town again because of the stress it puts on the town’s facilities.

“I’m not happy about it, but I think that the Opening of the Bay is important to our town,” he said. “Is this worth the risk? I believe so, but I’d like to see this boat tied off between two floats, not one.”

“I don’t think there will be a problem,” said Lawson.

Selectmen supported the plan and voted in favor of a one-day liquor license for the Saturday evening party, but they were reluctant to waive the town fees required for the Maritime School’s weekend events because of the town’s fiscal difficulties. In the past, selectmen have waived fees for the non-profit organization. In response, Lawson withdrew his request for the waiver.