Search is on for the whereabouts of the Bonhomme Richard





Everyone's heard of the battle of Flamborough Head, where The Bonhomme Richard, captained by John Paul Jones, slugged it out by moonlight with the British frigate, Serapis. But does anyone remember what happened to the Richard? A few ARRT navy buffs will recall that it sank the next day -- but exactly where? That's what an expedition launched from the Avery Point campus of the University of Connecticut is trying to find out. The day before he left for England, the organizer of the hunt, Captain John "Jack" Ringelberg, USN Ret, pondered a map on his computer. Off Flamborough Head, the North Sea is 200 feet deep. Over the map was a grid of overlapping rectangles plotted from first hand reports and estimates of where the Richard might have drifted before she sank. "We're looking at 50 square miles," Captain Ringelberg said. "My hope is to end up with one to three high probability targets." It won't be easy. The search can only be conducted during July and August. At any other time of the year "you're going to get beaten to death," he said. The North Sea is rough water. The hope is to locate Richard using magnetometers that can detect her metal cannon. There's also competition. Among others, writer Clive Cussler, whose novels feature sunken ships, has been looking for Jones's ship for years. In his Navy days, Captain Ringelberg headed an experimental diving team. If he finds any signals, he plans to go down for a look next summer. "It would be a greater discovery than The Titanic," he says.


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