Chrysler released the Buccaneer 18 sailboat in 1971. Because of its success, Chrysler approached the Buccaneer designers Rod Macalpine-Downie and Dick Gibbs to design a “smaller, less expensive Buccaneer” that would appeal to families as well as potential racers.
1971 – Chrysler Boat Corporation (CBC) introduces the Mutineer, Model 283. Released in August 1971, they had a model year of 1972 which is a standard practice in the marine industry. The original Mutineers sported a mahogany rudderhead and tube-on-tube jib furling.
Early Mutineer with mahogany rudderhead.
Roy Bacon, Chrysler Sales Manager, at the helm of an early Mutineer with the mahogany rudderhead.
The mahogany rudderhead was soon changed to the cast aluminum rudderhead. The original model had a large opening in the bulkhead to access the entire forward hull space with a removable fiberglass cover, jib tracks on the gunwale, a centerboard trunk cap that was riveted onto the lower half of the fiberglass trunk, with 2 narrow trim pieces of teak on top. The earliest marketing photos (sail #17 in a 1971/1972 Chrysler ad) shows the Mutineer with a fabric or vinyl flap ostensibly covering the launching snout in front of the jib tack, and photos in the 1972/1973 ads show the boat sailing with a spinnaker.
Early 1971 ad.
The Chrysler ad from 6/73 lists as options: “Spinnaker with gear; foredeck launcher tube; boom vang; hiking straps; cockpit cover; seat cushions; motor bracket; jib barber haulers; Chrysler trailer.” The early photos from 1971 and 1972 also show a motor mount on the port side of the transom.
Early Chrysler spinnaker snout kit.
The earliest known hull ID number is: 283400041. Compared to later hull ID numbers this appears to indicate that 283 was the original model, with 40 identifying the Mutineer in the Chrysler line-up, and 0041 indicating the 41st Mutineer built. Model 284 was released by Chrysler in 1979 or 1980 model year.
1977 - Chrysler published a brochure that contained the following: “ OPTIONS: Spinnaker with full gear. Olympic-type foredeck spinnaker launcher. Boom vang. Boat cover. Outboard bracket. Jib barber haulers. Hiking straps. Waterline stripe. Chrysler S-700 trailer. “ 1977 is the first mention of a lime hull which we believe is the first year the lime hull color was offered as an alternative to the original yellow.
1979 – Chrysler introduced the Champion Edition, Model 284. We believe Chrysler incorporated important upgrades in 1979 as a result of a storm that hit the 1977 Championship of Champions held in Annapolis, Maryland, during the first race. Buccaneers were the one-design boat chosen that year. Chrylser incorporated the changes into both the Buccaneer and Mutineer and called them both Champion Editions. Click here to read first hand accounts and articles covering the Championship of Champions regatta. The Champion Edition, which was the only edition offered, had the the following new features: Harken blocks, Inboard jib sheeting (jib tracks on a molded bevel on the inner edge of the seat), Wide teak centerboard console, Deck mounted forestay, Elvstrom self-bailer, Performance roller-furling jib system (wire-luff jib with Schaefer furling hardware), Waterline striping, Reinforced rudder, Reinforced centerboard; and a new Performance Harken spinnaker launcher optional.
1979 Champion Edition ad.
Other major changes for 1979 include the aluminum bridge under the CB cap to transfer the mainsheet load to the hull was the fix to the CB cap being pulled out and the sealed cuddy was to prevent the inner hull from flooding.
Apparently Chrysler decided to address performance and convenience issues at the same time. This explains converting the jib to a wire luff, replacing the two round bailers with a single Elvestrom bailer, adding the wide teak CB cap, moving the jib sheet blocks inboard, and moving the bow U-bolts from the top of the forepeak to the cutwater.
Chrysler changed the construction system for the foredeck from a solid fiberglass layup with some ribs to a sandwich consisting of fiberglass skins on the top and bottom and a core of corrugated cardboard. On the Mutineer a teak vertical mast support post was installed to transfer the downward load from the mast to the hull. Chrysler got this part very right. The teak post is located within the new sealed cuddy with the bottom of the cuddy directly below the teak post connected via a gusset to the front of the inner CB trunk, which is an integral part of the hull. While Chrysler got the aft portion of the foredeck support right, it screwed up the bow portion of the foredeck. While the pre-1979 boats had the load from the rig transferred directly to the cutwater via the forestay, the new boats had the furling drum attached to the top of the foredeck with no support underneath. This caused the foredeck to flex upward as load was applied to the rig. This made it difficult or impossible to properly tension the rig and if the skipper managed to get proper tension, it stressed the foredeck of the boat, possibly causing de-lamination of the fiberglass skins from the corrugated cardboard core of the foredeck.
Chrysler also changed the hardware for the 1979 model. The pre-1979 boats had a single Fico fiddle block for the mainsheet block on the top of the CB. The 1979 model had two Harken single blocks on the top of the CB cap. Other blocks changed to Harken were the jib sheet blocks, spinnaker sheet blocks, and spinnaker halyard blocks.
1979 Chrysler Mutineer with sealed cuddy, teak console and inboard jib sheeting.
1979 Chrysler Mutineer with aluminum bridge. The aluminum bridge was added by Chrysler to strenghten the attachment point of the mainsheet block. The bridge transferred the pulling forces from the centerboard cover to the centerboard trunk.
Location of the rivits in the centerboad trunk to which the aluminum bridge was secured.
SOLD "AS IS" - Why was that added to the serial number plate in 1979?
Charles Bell's 1979 Mutineer has an open cuddy and none of the 1979 Championship Edition upgrades. The serial number shows Model 283. The HIN indicates a production date of August 1979 - A indicates August in the Model Year Format of the HIN. Notice the serial number plate states "SOLD "AS IS" STRUCTURAL WARRANTY ONLY" Why did Chrysler include this disclaimer? Did Chrysler know the open cuddy was subject to swamping and possible sinking?
Scott's 1979 HIN indicates it was built in May 1980 and is Model 284.
The "cooler holder" added to model 284.
Scott Queen's 1979 shows it is a model 284 and was built in May - model year 1979 but actually built in May 1980. This boat has all of the Championship Edition upgrades. Notice that the cockpit has the cooler holder built in that we had thought was a Wellcraft addition.
Realizing that Chrysler would go out of business if it did not receive a significant amount of money to turn the company around, Lee Iacocca approached the United States Congress on September 7, 1979 and asked for US$1.5 billion in loan guarantees. Congress reluctantly passed the "Chrysler Corporation Loan Guarantee Act of 1979". In 1980 Chrysler was forced to divest their Boat Division which was sold to Texas Marine International (TMI), formed by ex-Chrysler executives and operated out of the same Plano, Texas manufacturing facility.
1980 –Texas Marine International (VVV) – A new name for the same management group using the same factory in Plano, Texas. TMI produced Mutineer Model 285. The TMI Mutineers were basically Chrysler Mutineers produced in the same factory. The lines between Chrysler Mutineers and TMI Mutineers are certainly blurred.
A 1980 TMI Mutineer with the TMI Hull Identification Number (HIN) plate removed reveals a Chrysler HIN molded into the hull. Also notice the model number on the Chrysler Boat Corporation plate, Model 285, which indicates a TMI produced Mutineer.
1981 TMI Mutineer HIN. I wonder what is under the tag? Notice that the top tag has Chrysler Boat Corporation cut off. And it doesn't seem as if the serial number is complete.
Chrysler also manufactured Mutineers in 1980. The photo is of a 1980 Chrysler Mutineer as indicated by the sail logo. 1980 was definitely a time of transition for the Mutineer. Notice the hull and sail colors. Chrysler was in the process of updating the color schemes when sold to TMI.
Another 1980 Chrysler. Notice the spars are black - very hot to the touch on a sunny day.
Interesting photograph of a 1981 TMI Mutineer with a hand scribed HIN. Perhaps TMI ran out of HIN plates and were reluctant to order more as negotiations to sell out to Wellcraft proceeded.
1981 TMI cockpit decal.
1981 TMI transom decal.
HIN from Randy Polson's TMI Mutineer indicates it was built in December 1980 and it is also hand scribed.
TMI soon failed in the bad economic times at the beginning of the 1980s. Texas Marine’s sail assets and some of its power interests were sold to Wellcraft; the remaining sailboat assets were split among six companies.
1982 – Wellcraft Boat Company (WEL), Sarasota, Florida purchases the molds and rights to build the Mutineer (and Buccaneer) from Texas Marine International. Wellcraft changes the name of the Mutineer to the Starwind 15 (and the Buccaneer to the Starwind 18). Co-designer Dick Gibbs became personally involved to stop the name change.
1982 Wellcraft Starwind Mutineer 15 - lots of names! Wellcraft introduced a new blue hull option along with blue accented sails. Still, the boat pictured above is essentially the same a a TMI Mutineer and was built at the Plano, Texas plant.
The 1982 Wellcraft boats were essentially the same as the TMI boats. Wellcraft was initially working with stock that had been carried over from TMI (and Chrysler). However, at some point during 1982 Wellcraft switched to Kenyon spars, using Kenyon model 2331 for the mast and model B for the boom. In addition, Wellcraft replaced the sliding gooseneck wth the fixed gooseneck pictured below.
1982 Wellcraft Mutineer with Kenyon spars
Greg's 1982 Wellcraft with Chrysler/TMI hull deck joint and rudderhead.
We believe Greg Larson's 1982 Wellcraft was built at the Plano, Texas plant. Evidence of this is the rub rail and deck joint. Chrysler and then TMI had special machines that stapled the deck mold to the hull mold and then installed an aluminum rub rail. Also the mold still has the single large, centered cuddy. The rudder assemby and I-gudgeon are pure Chrysler/TMI. This is solid evidence that when Wellcraft bought the molds they built Mutineers in Plano, perhaps until TMI parts were exhausted.
1982 Wellcraft HIN - looks as if they made their own standard. Note 15MUT.
Sandy's 1984 Wellcraft. The HIN is still non-standard but shows proof that Wellcraft tried to change the name of the Mutineer 15 to Starwind 15 - WELB384 30583-S15-1984. S15 indicates
In 1982 Wellcraft also produced the Starwind Champion's model in addition to the standard model. The 1982 Starwind brochure states "The Starwind Champion's Mutineer 15 and Buccaneer 18 are the racing models of the Starwind line. Constructed for the rigors of competitive sailing with the finest racing hardware including Harken Hexaratchet blocks, low-windage spars with internal halyards, boom vang, twin Elvstrom bailers, custom-built computer-designed sails and much more".
1982 Starwind Champion's model. The rudderhead on this example is the aluminum plate design with wood tiller. You can see the other hardware upgrades as well. But the hull remained the same with a centerboard cover and Chrysler/TMI deck/hull joint and rubrail. We believe this Mutineer was built at the Plano, Texas plant.
1983 - Wellcraft made significant changes to the cockpit mold for the 1983 model. They changed the single large cuddy to two small sealed cuddys, one on each side of the mast step. They created a reinforced and recessed mast step well, but initially put a metal and wood plate over the top of it (probably to use up the masts that were in stock and had been cut to the correct length for the original deck step system, and would have been 6 inches too short for the recessed step). One of the most significant changes they made was changing the hull deck joint to the Shoe Box style, the gunwale lip of the deck mold is rolled over the gunwale lip of the hull mold, replacing the pinched and stapled gunwale joint with the aluminum trim used through 1982. The 1983 boats also had a beefed-up rudder head made of aluminum plate instead of the brittle cast aluminum “spider web” rudderheads. The laminated wooden tiller was also introduced. The bevel for the jib track mount was removed from the seat and put on the inner edge of the gunwale (where the gunwale and seat back meet) for the 3rd different location of the jib lead tracks. Spash guards were added to the deck mold to which wood spash guards were attached.
1983 Wellcraft Mutineer. Notice the two port and starboard enclosed cuddies, the gunwale lip and the pintles on the transom. Also notice the wood splash guards Wellcraft introduced on the foredeck. These strips of wood were screwed to the deck.
Another 1983 Wellcraft with happy crew.
The 1983 Wellcraft also introduced a different mount for the centerboard pivot, a stainless rod that was set into the centerboard trunk mold at the time of manufacture, no longer using the pivot plates that were screwed into the hull from underneath. The centerboard trunk itself was now an integral part of the cockpit mold without a removable top. On the 1983 Mutineers that were equipped with the spinnaker snout, the sock was moved to run under the starboard seat instead of down the centerboard trunk.
1983 Wellcraft Mutineer showing how to stow a cooler full of your favorite beverages. You can also see the lowered, reinforced mast step, splash guards and twin cuddies.
1983 Wellcraft pivot pin.
1984 - Wellcraft started using a longer mast (22’ 6”).
1984 – Gloucester Yachts (GYI) purchased the molds and rights to build the Mutineer. Dick Gibbs as designer and production inspector wasn't pleased with the working relationship with Wellcraft compared to the close relationship he had with Chrysler Marine and TMI. He also sensed that Wellcraft was unhappy that the small sailboat boom they had intended to capitalize on ended right as they got into the market. Dick approached his long time friend, Harry Sindle, to see if he would be interested in producing the Mutineer and Buccaneer, Harry agreed and Gloucester bought the rights and molds from Wellcraft. At the time Dick was supplying sails to Harry who was a manager at Gloucester Yachts.
The Gloucester models we have record of were built in 1985 and 1986, although we have a price sheet from Gloucester offering the Mutineer in August of 1984. Gloucester made a few more changes to the deck/cockpit mold. Probably the most significant improvement was to enlarge the openings in the bulkhead which led to a larger storage area under the foredeck. Gloucester added another divider from deck to floor halfway between the bulkhead and the bow so that this large storage area didn’t open to the hull space. While Gloucester offered a spinnaker and rigging as an option, they didn’t offer a spinnaker launching snout. The Gloucester Mutineers were the first to use the top hangers for the centerboard. They stopped using a track for the jib leads and instead used a single bullseye and cleat mounted on the inner edge of the gunwale. Gloucester continued to use the recessed mast step, and switched to Dwyer spars: Dwyer DM-4 for the mast 22’ 6”. Greg Reed's Gloucester HIN is GYI5000BE485. We believe this is the first Mutineer built by Gloucester Yachts based on the serial number 5000. This boat was built in April 1985.
First Gloucester model with chainplates inboard of the hull/deck joint.
The chainplates on Greg's Mutineer are inboard of the hull/deck joint. The chainplates were secured not with bolts, but rather by fiberglassing them into the hull. We speculate the bottom of the chainplates have some sort of hook for additional grip.
This picture shows the chainplate fiberglassed into the hull.
Cockpit ridge between centerboard trunk rear raised area (cooler storage).
Greg's early Gloucester had a ridge in the cockpit between the centerboard trunk and cooler holder. Perhaps the ridge facilitated the draining of the inner hull to the transom. A self-bailer was not installed on this model. Ricardo's Gloucester HIN is GYI6027PC585 indicating the 6000 model built in May 1985. The chainplates were moved back to the deck/hull joint and a bailer was installed behind the centerboard trunk.
Chainplates moved back to the hull/deck joint (wrong bolts used?).
Cockpit ridge shortend to allow room for a self-bailer.
A 1985 Gloucester showing the enclosed cuddy. The spinnaker snout was added.
Another shot of the 1985 Gloucester. Notice the square directly behind the centerboard trunk. This is the location of the single Holt Allen bailer that came from the factory. It was removed and Elvstrom self-bailers were installed on both sides of the centerboard trunk. Gloucester also used a Harkin #58 fiddle block with becket and cam cleat for the main sheet. Under any load it was difficult to secure or release the mainsheet while sitting on a gunwale. It has been replaced with a Harkin #205 cam base which swivels without twisting the mainsheet.
Gloucester used 3/32" shrouds as opposed to the 1/8" shrouds used by all prior builders. The Mutineer Class Association's Racing Rules require 1/8" shrouds. Nickels Boat Works returned to the 1/8" shrouds.
1986 – Cardinal Yachts (OTO) advertises the Mutineer. The ad is identical to the Gloucester Yachts ad except for the change of the company name. Harry Sindle was a manager of Gloucester Yachts and bought them out to start Cardinal Yachts. How many Cardinal Mutineers were actually built? Brad Sindle, Harry’s son, has a memory of 10 Mutineers built under the Cardinal name. However, a Cardinal Mutineer has not been documented. If any Mutineers were built under the Cardinal Yachts name they were probably identical to the Gloucester Yachts Mutineers.
Mutineer deck mold, Cardinal Yachts 2003.
Mutineer deck mold, Cardinal Yachts 2003.
Mutineer hull mold with hull left in the mold, Cardinal Yachts 2003.
2008 to 2016 – Nickels Boat Works (NBI) began the production of the Mutineer after a 22 year span without one being built. Nickels made several changes. They rebuilt the deck/cockpit mold again, this time making an integral spinnaker launching snout. They also built a fiberglass tunnel under the center of the foredeck for the spinnaker chute which made the spinnaker launching system completely water tight so no water could get into the hull space, and which stiffened the foredeck. Spinnaker, launching snout and full spinnaker rigging was now standard on every Mutineer for the first time. They switched to their own proprietary spars with internal mainsail and spinnaker halyards and topping lift. They went back to a track for the jib leads, mounting it on the existing bevel where the seat back meets the gunwale. They switched to a closed cell foam core fiberglass layup, and used a vinylester gelcoat. They added a wide fiberglass cap on top of the centerboard trunk. They switched to an aluminum tube tiller instead of the laminated wood. They changed the grade of the floor of the cockpit to make the area just behind the centerboard trunk the lowest spot and put a single cockpit bailer there. They strengthened the rudder and centerboard blades through a new construction process.
The first Nickels Mutineer, sail #8001, built with white deck and white hull, was displayed at the Strictly Sail boat show in Chicago January 31-February 3, 2008. It was sold to a family in the Midwest. The base price for a 2008 Nickels Mutineer was $9995 complete with main, jib, spinnaker and trailer. The second Nickels Mutineer was custom built for Gib Charles of Colorado in April 2008. As of February 2013 Nickels has sold 20 Mutineers.
The much improved 2008 Nickels Mutineer.
The Nickels' trailer supports the hull much better than previous trailer bunk design.
Enclosed cuddy, notice the fiberglass spinnaker tunnel. No more water between the hull and the cockpit liner.
Intergrated spinnaker snout and tunnel.
Pintles returned to the rudderhead.
2016 to Present - WindRider International LLC purchased Nickels Boat Works in early 2016. Robert Sanberg, COO, is commited to providing the best quality boats and service possible. The following pictures are of the first Mutineer being produced by Windrider. This Mutineer, 8024, was purchased by Dave Tonkin of the Tampa Sailing Squadron in early 2017.
The Deck Mold - To this point it has been Gelcoated 18-20 mills in thickness and allowed to kick off. Handlay has been applied around those areas that are easy for voids to appear. The whole outside edge of the deck and down into the trunk. A layer of chop strand has been chopped and rolled out carefully. Next will come a closed-cell foam for strength as well as flotation, chop will again be applied and allowed to cure overnight before taking it out of the mold.
The deck that is now off the deck mold and edge ground and sanded. Spinnaker chute box is being shaped to fit and will soon be glassed in for perfect water tight fit.
This particular boat has a two tone hull. White bottom and grey sides.
The green paper will come off once the bottom is dry.
The grey has been sprayed to complete the gelcoat process. This will cure and handlay will be applied around the top edge and around the centerboard slot (no leaky seams).
Hull handlay and chopped.
Next comes the corematt. This stiffens the hull without the print through and weight of other core materials.
The snout and spinnaker tube being mated and bonded.
Finished hull being pulled out of the mold.
Hull & Deck have been glued together with fiberglass strips and bonding material. This is then clamped for good adhesion and cured overnight.
The process of rigging the boat has started. Holes are burred out and the cap is being fitted.
Raw rudder and centerboard straight from the molds.
Rudder and centerboard have been shaped, sanded and a final spray applied. These will now be sanded down to 1000 grit and buffed to a shine.
Hull and deck are then cut to the finished edge. Boat is turned upside down and edge completed and the slot strip installed.
Hull outfitted with rigging and cap installed. Ready for lines and water.
|Summary of Changes
1971 - Chrysler
Base price $1,700
Mahogany rudderhead replaced with cast aluminum
Base price $2,080
Base price $2,045
Lime hull color introduced
Base price $2,415
Harken blocks replace Fico blocks
Inboard jib sheeting
Wide, teak centerboard console
Wire luff roller furling
Reinforced rudder and centerboard
Aluminum bridge to reinforce centerboard trunk cover and mainsheet block
Bow u-bolt moved from deck to cutwater
Teak mast support post
Cooler holder, aft cockpit
Colorful sails and hulls
1980 - TMI
No major changes
1982 - Wellcraft
Kenyon spars introduced
Fixed goosneck in place of the sliding gooseneck
Champion's model introduced which included:
Low windage spars with internal haryards
Harken hardware to include spinnaker blocks and 5:1 boom vang
Telescoping hiking stick
Spinnaker snout, pole, halyard and uphaul/downhaul
Two large Elvstrom bailers
Individual hiking straps for the skipper and crew
Harken magic box jib tensioner
Centerboard trunk becomes integral to mold eliminating the centerboard trunk cover
Centerboard pivot pin replaced pivot plates
Single large cuddy changed to two small cuddies
Recessed and reinforced mast step
Gunwale redesigned, deck lip rolled over hull lip, Shoe Box Hull Deck Joint
Chainplates redesigned, moved to gunwale lip
Aluminum plate rudderhead replaced the cast aluminum rudderhead
Pintles moved from rudderhead to transom and gudgeons moved from transom to rudderhead
Splash guards added to deck mold to which wood splash guards were attached
Bevel for jib track moved from seats to gunwales
Spinnaker sock moved from centerboard trunk to under starboard seat
Mast length increased to 22' 6"
1985 - Gloucester
Base price $2,995
Cuddy enlarged with two openings
Dwyer spars replaced Kenyon spars
Sliding goosenech intrduced
Top mounted centerboard hangers replaced the centerboard bolt
3/32" shrouds replaced 1/8" shrouds
No spinnaker snout
Chainplates moved inboard and glassed into the hull - 5000 model
No self-bailer - 5000 model
Chainplates moved back to gunwale lip - 6000 model
Single Holt Allen self-bailer located behind centerboard trunk - 6000 model
1986 - Cardinal
If any Mutineers were built under the Cardinal brand we expect no changes from Gloucester Mutineers
2008 to 2016 - Nickels Boat Works
Base price $9,995
Intergral spinnaker snout and spinnaker tunnel
Single self-bailer behind centerboard trunk
Wide fiberglass cap mounted upon the centerboard trunk
Strenghtend the centerboard and rudder
Aluminum tube tiller replaced the laminated wood tiller
Closed cell foam core fiberglass layup
Pintles returned to rudderhead and gudgeons returned to transom
Improved hiking straps
Interior floor has been reworked to ensure greater footing
2016 to Present - Windrider