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Revival of a Class
Article By: Ian Wells
I am a newcomer to the Mutineer fleet. I have owned a Mutineer for a year and half and sail it with my family on our local Long Pond - 1/2 mile by a hundred yards. Even though I sailed competitively a lot when I was younger (in 505s, Fireballs, Daysailors, International 14s, GP14s, FJs, Yflyers, 420s etc) I had not given much thought to racing in my Mutineer, until Gib came along and "encouraged" my son, Todd, and I, to travel to the National championships. When I sailed regattas 30+ years ago, they were tremendous fun but solo affairs - I'd see a few friends, make a few friends. Mutineer racing is nothing like that.
Friendly Mutineer sailors ourselves are reviving the class made up of
boats that had been dispersed to cottages, lakes and ponds across the
country - and we are doing it by using the Internet. Todd and I had not
been members of the Mutt group until just before the regatta.
Let me tell you our story. Firstly, this regatta was too far away to trail
our boat, so we flew in. We had no boat until Gib put out a request on the yahoo group list - was there anyone who would consider lending a boat to an experience sailor? . Gordon quickly, generously, replied. Gordon is a novice sailor who had put in serious amount of work upgrading his newly purchased Mutt into sailing trim. He would be willing to have someone to try out his boat and tune it up. He would learn from the experience and get face to face assistance. But we had no way to get to the regatta from Washington DC and another request went out Friday night for carpooling. Tim replied - since he was also flying in, he volunteered to pick us up and drive us down to the regatta. It turns out a navigator was handy to have in the final few miles of back lanes to the yacht club!
So Sunday evening we met up with Gordon and spent the next 24 hours working on his boat, adding telltales, barberhaulers, windvane, tightening this and that. All 8 mutineers were lined up on shore and it took me a while to figure out why everyone was so friendly to people they had just met - and of course most people (except Todd and I ) had NOT just met. Everyone knew each other from the Yahoo Mutt group. Everyone (except me) had good ideas for setting up everything on these boats. So tools went back and forth, as did ideas, suggestions, and of course, beer.
When I perused the Mutt group list, after I got back, I was amazed to see what I had been missing. When someone came up with a way to set up better jib furling or fixing a rudder, detailed photos appeared on the web page. Everyone was told of common things that break, and advised to fix them while upgrading the boat. When our mainsheet block pulled out on Tuesday, the procedure to fix it was quickly told to us. No exploration or guessing what to do. The group knew.
Racing was fun and competitive. I am no end impressed with the friendliness and competitiveness of Mutt sailors. Its wonderful to race under a first class Race Committee, with 8 Mutts on the line, on the Chesapeake with daily, warm weather, sea breezes and a 30 mile fetch. Long Pond this is not!
Todd and I were pleased to hold onto third place by the end of the week, and our boat got faster during the week because of tuning assistance from fellow Mutineer sailors - the ones who had been reading the Mutt group postings (if only we had been reading all along!).
So the mutt group list has enabled Mutt sailors to find each other. The
mutt list has created a community that 15 years ago could not have existed because these boats have been mainly dispersed to cottages and backyards and lakes and ponds, one by one.
The Mutt list also has enabled each of the boats to be similarly upgraded and tuned with the result that the boat speeds were very similar - a key ingredient for great racing since the racing becomes a matter of skipper and crew skill, not a matter of who purchased a gadget or knew a weak point before everyone else.
But mainly the Mutt list has created a widening community of people - one I'm pleased to have found - a community with a common love of improving and racing our boat, the Mutineer.
This is the Mutineer Revival.