All of the crew members were wearing orange survival suits with strobe lights designed to keep them afloat, warm and easy to find.
Coast Guard ships continue to search a 1,300-mile area around the site of the shipwreck for Waldridge, 63. On Tuesday, the Coast Guard reported the water temperature was 77 degrees with 15-foot waves and 42-mph winds.
Even with a survival suit, "it's very problematic" to stay in position in heavy winds and rough seas, Parker said.
The Bounty set sail Thursday, as Hurricane Sandy pummeled Cuba with an uncertain path after that.
Nevertheless, people have posted pointed questions on the Bounty's Facebook page suggesting Waldridge shouldn't have been sailing through such a violent storm.
Hansen noted that the captain took the ship "way out east," trying to steer around Sandy.
"He knows the ship, he's been captain of her for over 20 years and nobody knows her better," Hansen said. "I totally trusted his judgment."
Waldridge is a good-natured, mild-mannered captain who has a special bond with the Bounty, according to Susan Robertson, who has known him since 2001.
"Other than his wife, he acts like it's his first love," said Robertson, who works at The Pier in St. Petersburg, where the Bounty is often docked.
The ship's crew, she said "are like members of your own family."
"I hope they find him," she said.