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2018 Mutineer National Championship
October 2-6, 2018
Muttley and the 2018 US Mutineer National Championship (MNC)

Hosted by Fleet 2 at Grapevine Sailing Club (GSC) near Dallas, Texas.

This story includes

Hard and well fought tactical battles Inline image

Challenging wind conditions

Competitive Scots

Man overboard

Boom break and a wire fence

Rookie crew

This was the hardest and most eventful 4 days I can remember, physically demanding and highly competitive which reminded me of sailing in my youth except I hurt more these days.


Muttley is a 1983 Wellcraft Mutineer with pedigree. In her last campaign she came 2nd to the Blue Heeler in the 2014 Mutineer Nationals. I bought her at the end of the 2016 season after attending a guest skipper day with the hope of getting our 8 year old son interested in sailing. I had not raced regularly or competitively since racing Optimists in Zimbabwe and England in my youth, crewing for my dad in GP 14s and a season racing Lasers.

The 2018 Nationals were coming back to Texas and I was keen to start preparations. My crew, Shaun and I developed as ateam during the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Shaun was engaged to marry and his wedding day fell the same week as the MNC. Although I was disappointed, we enjoyed fine-tuning various boat modifications and tweaking procedures for his replacement.

Greg Reed introduced me to Dustin, a recent college graduate who had just started his first full time job and new to Sailing. Although Dustin obviously lacked experience, his enthusiasm was infectious and we started training together.
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We did well in the GSC Mutineer Fall 4 week series. We knew the competition coming from out of state was going to be extremely tough including one of the Mutineer racing legends, Gib Charles with Blue Heeler. We did however have the home advantage.

The beauty of one design racing is the hull and setups are similar and simple, the only exception is the interior and controls which have been substantially improved in the newer Nichols boats (produced since 2008).

We had listed all the problems we had experienced in the fall series and their mitigations. This included having some basic tools, clips, shackles, rope and tape on-board with us at all times..

October 3rd 2018: Arrival, Registration and Practice

Boats from 4 States had registered from Milwaukee (WI); Tampa (FL) and north of Boulder (CO)

Muttley weighed in at 465lbs, above the minimum requirement of 410lbs and average across all the boats. Looking over the other boat generations from 1970s through 2000s was remarkable. We learned a few tips and tricks from the other competitors, one of which I integrated on Muttley thanks to Matt Dalton and Super Chicken. My crew adapted to the new spinnaker pole location on the mast very quickly.

There were practice races in the afternoon in very blusterous conditions: gusting 18 to 23 knots. I raced the first with Randy McMillan from Osprey as both our crews were unavailable. Muttley performed well and it provided us some useful insight to our competitors.

I made one notable error when I tacked late, lee side, to the fast approaching Mutant on starboard sailed by a Scottish couple (aka the Scots) as we headed towards the upwind mark. They had to take avoiding action my mistake. This set the scene for many more close encounters with what became our closest rivals in the races to come.

October 4th 2018: 1st Race Day: 4 Races: Finished [1-1-3-2]: Wind 8-15kts

On arrival, I was welcomed at my boat by the Scots keen to show me 2 brightly colored Red PORT stickers they had placed neatly on BOTH sides of my cockpit. This competition was going to fun! Inline image

On the way out, within 20 minutes of the first start, we realized the spinnaker was rigged incorrectly and we scrambled to fix it -fly it-dowse it -just before the start. We were now ready.

We had some great racing, neck and neck with Mutant, Kraken, Blue Heeler, Super Chicken and Disaster Recovery.

October 5th 2018: 2nd Race Day: 6 Races: Finished [1-2-1-4-2-1]: Wind 10-15 kts -gusting 18-21kts

Dawn broke with an incredible sunrise. Today was going to be a good one no mistakes! Racing got off to a great start, but unfortunate for the Scots. They were fully hiked out as they raced us to the finish line in Race 7 when their jib halyard broke and de-masted. On-board video footage caught the moment. They fortunately managed to get it fixed before the next race. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKAOHHezBEU

We had a scary moment as we approached the upwind buoy in gusty conditions. With the Mutant right behind us, my crews toe strap separated and he fell back into the lake. Whats wrong with this picture I asked myself as I reached behind his life vest and hauled him back into the boat. We continued.. The Scots cheered noting that their description of the event was me throwing my crew out in front of them! Dustin was winded but it could have been much worse.

Then the moment of insane confusion as the Scots put it - an embarrassing penalty at the downwind gate. Having chosen the left-hand buoy to round, and with the muddle of unfurling the jib, dowsing our spinnaker and lowering the centerboard with several boats around us, I had inadvertently drifted to the right-hand buoy and called water on the Scots. Inline image
A reply came back that I simply did not understand until I saw both gate buoys on my port side and realized what Id done. Several boats had got through, a few colorful words were said as we both reversed ourselves. I had totally missed the downwind gate, took the Scots with me and this wasnt team racing. I did my penalty turns -enough said.

In a following upwind battle, the tiller extension separated from the rudder which impacted my ability to hike out. We finished the race and used tape to re-attach it. It separated again during the following race. I re-attached it again with more tape during a downwind spinnaker run. I remember Gib Charless expression as he passed us Is that duct tape in your hand; Running repairs I replied.

October 6th 2018: 3rd Race Day: 5 Races: Finished [4-3-DNF-DNS-2]: Wind 8-15 kts - gusting 18kts

We arrived pre-dawn, quietly confident but cognizant we could lose this championship if we were not on our game. We were met by the rather out of breath crew from Mutant who had run up to Muttley jokingly looking for their hacksaw or was it?

We appreciated some well wishes from various quarters of the GSC community which was nice and increased the level of expectation and pressure. We could afford to be more conservative as long as we finished near our closest competitors namely the Scots in Mutant and the Floridian in Kraken. However, we did not know how many races would be run that day or what the aggregate scores would be after them.

A moment of fright came as we sailed out to the start line. A rivet had started to pull out from the bracket supporting one of the two boom mounted pulleys. The wind was increasing and it was getting progressively worse. It was too late to go back. We laced some rope and shackles between the 2 pulleys such that when the one let go, it would be caught by the other and not tangle with the lower cockpit mounted pulley system. The pulley broke away in the 2nd race and the second pulley caught it. The impact to my mainsheet adjustments was minimal. We thought we would be OK for the rest of the day.

Just after the start of the 3rd race - the boom broke in half. I turned to my crew in disbelief sorry buddy - gaffer tape is not going to fix this one. Inline image

There were a few hours of racing left.. We drifted downwind. A safety boat came to our aid and pulled us upwind to a point we could sail back to the club on the jib. We were not about to give up, beached the boat, climbed a fence, borrowed a boom, re-rigged the boat and raced back out to the start line not knowing how many races we had missed - arriving just in time for the last race of the championship.

I think we surprised a few folks by our return.Inline image

We knew we had to be aggressive and finished 2nd after another hard fought tactical battle with Mutant who just pipped us to the finish line.

We congratulated the Scots, not only for the race win but for what we believed was their championship. We thought we had missed 2 races. With the DNF due the boom break and a maximum of 2 throw outs prescribed in the Sailing Instructions, we were out of contention. We were exhausted and disappointed. We had put our all into the competition and it just didnt work out thats racing.

Fantastic racing. We had exceptional battles throughout, constantly trading places upwind/downwind with the many other boats during the competition. Flying the spinnaker was a challenging necessity to be up at the front. There had been multiple capsizings, close calls and rescues.

It was later that we became aware that only 5 races had been run. We finished 3, so we had only missed 1. With that DNS and a DNF thrown, we realized we had done enough. Wow, what an emotional roller coaster. We could not believe it it took a while to sink in.

Thanks and appreciation goes out to:

Greg Reed: his leadership supporting MNC and keeping Fleet 2 together at GSC.

Volunteers who made the competition a monumental success.

Out of state participants who had travelled so far.

My Rookie crew for his enthusiasm and perseverance.

My family for their loving support.

Schurr sails who provided a jib after a last minute request.

The borrowed boom which saved our championship.

Yalls friendship, skill and competitiveness made for a most memorable 4 days. You are the real National Champions of the 2018 MNC Texas Shootout!

Muttley (Duane Hebdige & Dustin Chen)

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1. Video : Mutant de-masting starring Doug and Rosemary McKnight (the Scots)


2. Pictures : curtesy of George Mcdonald and Bob Scott



3. Results

Check Us Out On YOUTUBE

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Make plans and join us October 2-6 for the 2018 Mutineer National Championship
Top 10 reasons to join the Mutineers at MNC 2018 Texas Shootout

10. Great opportunity to wear your cowboy attire.

9. Meet a gang of friendly sailors who are more than willing to share their knowledge and experience.

8. Have your Mutineer inspected by an expert in maintenance and repair he shares many great safety and performance upgrades with each boat owner.

7. Enjoy the legendary hospitality that Texans and the Grapevine Sailing Club offers.

6. Reinforce your knowledge of the Racing Rules of Sailing with the opportunity to ask questions.

5. Sail on the same course with some of the legends of the Mutineer Class. Even if you are entered in the Silver Fleet, you will be able to measure you skills on the water against these legends.

4. Learn a ton about your Mutineer, sailing and racing in a friendly, supportive environment.

3. Enjoy a Texas BBQ (brisket was served last time that melted in our mouths) prepared by the top Texas BBQ Connoisseur in Texas.

2. Meet like minded sailors with the emphasis on having fun (keep in mind the alternative may be working - yikes!)

1. Everything is BIG in Texas and that includes the BIG TIME you will enjoy at MNC 2018.

Jerry Thompson
MCA, #7004
Would you like to know more about Mutineer Racing?

Just not sure if you're ready for a national event?

Every year new sailors come to the Nationals for the first time wondering if they should, questioning themselves based on what they feel is their lack of experience. Every one of them has indicated they were so glad they did because they learned so much, had a great time meeting new friends who also enjoy sailing, and found there were others with their exact same ability to have fun competing against.

All racers with any level of skill are welcome.
The Mutineer Nationals is a place for learning.
The Silver Fleet is made up of new racing sailors.
Join us at the Nationals for our Annual boat walk around.
We stop at every boat while the owner shares his upgrades and racing tips. Learn from Gold Fleet Champions. Plan to attend today.
By: Kathy Koerber & Greg Reed
Currently with more than 10 boats participating weekly and 15 boats total, Fleet 2 continues to grow from its humble beginning to one of the largest and most active groups in the Muttineer Class Association. Fleet 2 evolved out of the 2011 Mutineer Nationals, which were hosted by the Grapevine Sailing Club (GSC) and led by Rey Garza and Chad Harris. At the time GSC had no idea what a Mutineer 15 was but the 2011 Vice Commodore thought it would be good for the club to sponsor national event. After getting a chance to sail as crew in the 2011 National Championship, a few GSC members caught the Mutineer fever and decided to build a fleet in Grapevine Texas. Ray Garza who was one of the original founders of the current MCA and Chad Harris, GSCs first Mutineer owner, worked together helping the new enthusiastic group to locate and build a fleet one boat at a time.
Convincing people to go out and invest in these little water bullets was not always an easy task. Race a Mutineer? What the heck is a Mutineer? This was heard more than once by those who were not involved in the 2011 Mutineer Nationals held in Grapevine. But for those who did participate, the response was more than enthusiastic.
First there was a local, state, and nationwide search for boats available to purchase. Then there was the organization of the group and the first meetings. Everyone with and interest worked hard to convince people to get involved even if they didnt yet have a Mutineer. Many of our members over time have realized that boat ownership can be expensive. If you want to race a Keel Boat at GSC, you will invest from around $7000 on the low end to maybe $20, 000 to hundreds of thousands on the high side just to be competitive in local club races. That doesnt even include the cost of keeping a boat in a slip or the maintenance and up keep for the boat annually. All of a sudden new recruits came to understand that a Mutineer can be purchased from as little as free to $1000 all day long. With another $1000 to $2500 and a little elbow grease you can own a competitive race boat with new sails and hardware. Not only that a Mutineer 15 is a driveway boat, so you can store it in your front yard.
With keen foresight, and with lots of help from the National Association, in 2012, Mutineer Fleet 2 worked to arrange a well-attended spring seminar in Grapevine. Ernie French, a multiple Mutineer Champion, agreed to come down from Nebraska and provide the first 6 fleet members with exceptional instruction on all aspects of rigging and racing Mutineers. The seminar Ernie provided was the beginning of a fantastic weekend where all who participated, brand new or experienced, came away with new knowledge and enthusiasm. The seminar included class-time instruction going over sailing and racing techniques, on-the-beach instruction and review of boat rigging, and on-the-water sailing and racing practice. Of course there was also the fantastic cook-out and pool party with everyone sitting around and chatting about the days lessons and plans for the future.
Through the summer and fall, Fleet 2 continued to meet almost every Sunday afternoon at the swamp GSCs small boat launch area, to rig, sail, and race. Typically you could see four to six Mutineer masts rising up from the shoreline every weekend. Canopies were raised; chairs and coolers set up, and then the boats would head out for the afternoon fun. After the races everyone would come back in and spend the rest of the afternoon and evening relaxing in the shade and talking about the days sail. Usually other friends from Grapevine Sailing Club would stop by and so the group would grow in numbers with everyone chatting and watching the sun go down. On more than one occasion, the grill would come out and everyone pitched in for some great brats, dogs, BBQ chicken, and sides. These weekly Sunday gatherings became the highlight of the summer and fall.
With winter shortly around the corner, our attention turned to a road trip. Fleet 2 mustered five boats to make the 200+ mile trek to Lake Canyon Yacht Club to participate in the 44th Annual Wurstfest Regatta I for board boats and centerboards. Most brought tents and camped right at the yacht club and a great time was had by all. The evening party was great and some of us had the added bonus of meeting Rey Garza and sharing a few (OK maybe more than a few) German beers. Even though the wind was almost a no show for most of the races, we all learned a lot from the experience. Lake Canyon Yacht Club puts on a fantastic regatta and we all look forward to returning again another year.
Through the winter thoughts turned to having a respectable Fleet 2 presences at the 2013 Mutineer Nationals in Nebraska. There was a lot of work to do to get boats ready, sails updated, and plans made but everyone started looking forward to meeting other Mutineer sailors and making new friends.
Fleet 2 has become a close-knit group of Mutineer 15 sailors each ready to help out each other as we buy, repair and rig, learn to sail, and compete with these little boats. Many are husband and wife teams but there are others as well and we cover all age groups.
Fleet 2 continues to grow and from small beginnings, it has become a leading force in the resurrection the Mutineer sailing. GSC and Fleet 2 is now preparing for our 3rd sponsored Mutineer National Championship since 2011. We are totally excited about another opportunity to bring new Mutineer racers to Texas. We hope our enthusiasm will catch fire with all who attend.
If youre reading this and theres a chance that you would like to help build a fleet in your own backyard, then make plans now to attend the 2018 National Championship. There will be founders from Fleet 15 Colorado, Fleet 18 Florida, as well as Fleet 2 Grapevine, Texas. Make your plans now to join the fun.
Whether you're looking for a way to build your local fleet or even start a new Mutineer fleet in your own backyard, here is an idea that works.

Drive by the marina on almost any Sunday and you will find Mutineer Sailors gathering to launch there Lively Little Sailing Machines. Through the summer and fall, Mutineer Fleet 2 continues to meet almost every Sunday afternoon at the swamp to rig, sail, and race. Little by little the Mutineer Fleet here at Grapevine Sailing Club has grown 15 plus boats to become the single largest adult fleet in GSCs current racing program.
On Sunday June 17, the Mutineer Fleet completed its 4th Annual Mutineer Guest Skipper Day. Each year our Mutineer owners reach out to skippers and potential skippers wanting to sail and possible race Mutineers. Its a chance to see if a Mutineer 15 might be a boat that could fit your future sailing goals.
This year the Mutineer owners trusted their boats to a record 16 guest skippers who registered to attended the event. Eight boats and owners were available to guide the guests and help them learn a little about Mutineers. We split the group into two groups of eight. Each boat went out with the guest skipper driving and sailed for about an hour. Bouys were set for a short mostly windward leeward course in the harbor between the swamp and the first finger. While the first group sailed the second group gathered under the shelter on the first finger to watch the boats and guest skippers sail. Some times the boats were with in a few feet of the shelter so spectators were really a part of the action. After an hour of sailing the first eight boats completed their first race and the excitement began to build.
When the race was completed the Mutineer owners pulled alongside of the first finger docks and the second guest group boarded and went out to sail and practice driving for about and hour. Then we held the second race around the bouys. The first four finishers from each group were assigned boats and we set up for the third and final race for the Trophies.
1st Place - Mark Gilbert, 2nd Place - David Kemp 3rd Place - Alec Johns
It was a fun and exciting event and from comments and emails received after the event everyone really enjoyed the day. Not only that we have received inquiries from four guest skippers who are interested in locating a boat of their own.
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