The Coast Guard was optimistic Robin Walbridge, 63, could still be alive in his blazing red survival suit 90 miles off the North Carolina coast. The captain went overboard early Monday when the HMS Bounty rolled over in 18-foot waves as Hurricane Sandy made its way toward the East Coast.
The Coast Guard rescued 14 crew members of the tall ship. Crew member Claudene Christian, 42, was unresponsive when she was pulled out of the water. She later died at the hospital. The rest of the crew was in good condition.
The crew had to abandon ship when the vessel started taking on water early Monday morning. The ship's owner said the captain was aware of the storm.
"I don't really question his judgment. He knows the ship. He's been captain of her for over 20 years, and nobody knows her better than him, and I totally trusted his judgment," said Hms Bounty owner Robert Hansen.
The replica 18th-century sailing vessel was originally built for the 1962 film "Mutiny on the Bounty and it was featured in several other films, including one of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.