Back in 1789, Captain Bligh and his inner circle were cast adrift in a rowing boat with a week’s worth of food by mutineers on their ship, eventually travelling 3,500 miles over the ocean and bringing their attackers to justice.
But can a modern crew with equivalent backgrounds manage just as well – or will their own in-fighting lead to a second clash on the high seas?
Nine men are re-creating the hardships of the Mutiny on the Bounty for a Channel 4 documentary this Monday 6 March – meet the captain, the cameraman and the doctor below.
Role: boat captain
You served with the Special Boat Service – how tough was this by comparison?
Mentally speaking it was the hardest thing
I have ever done. I’m used to physical hardship, lack of sleep and food, danger and discomfort but here I was responsible for the welfare of eight other men and that weighed very heavily on me. There was real and ever-present risk out there at sea.
But a support boat was never far away…
That was part of the programme’s health and safety protocol and there’s nothing we could do about that. But I told the men that if they were to complete this journey we had to have the mindset that we were on our own. They knew that if any of them had called for the support boat, they’d be off. Besides, there were times when the weather was so extreme it wouldn’t have been of any use. If our boat had gone over we’d have been in the water for days waiting for the storm to subside so the boat could come in and pick us up.
So there were no nights of fine dining on the support vessel?
Absolutely not. I wouldn’t have done this
if it hadn’t been as authentic as possible. People can see if you’re faking and people can see when you’re suffering – and we suffered. It was important that we suffered.
How much did you suffer?
I knew how hard it was going to be so I put on an extra ten kilogrammes to my normal 85kg weight before setting off. I lost all of that and 11kg of my own natural body weight – so 21kgs in total. I think that indicates how tough it was.