02 October 2013

How To Mutiny In 10 Easy Steps

Image Source - Graphics Fairy

Scott is the skipper of our little boat which makes me the crew. There are a lot of important tasks and duties that the crew needs to be able to carry out effectively and one of them is to mutiny. This is an extremely important skill that every sailor needs to know how to do. We’ve all been in those situations where the skipper of your boat is being really annoying and getting on everyone’s nerves.

Those days when the skipper seems way too concerned with your inability to tie “bunny knots” and tries to keep telling you they are called "bowline knots" and not “bunny knots” and then he gets really cranky when he can’t untie your “Ellen Special” knots which you use instead of the “bunny knots” because they're much easier to tie but not so easy to untie. I mean really, knots are supposed to stay tied. But for some reason this makes the skipper a bit testy. I blame the fact that he drinks too much coffee.

Or those days when the skipper gets all irritated because you forget (again as he likes to point out) to untie the fenders from the boat while you're motoring out into the harbor and they fall into the water. And it is really his fault because he complained that your "Ellen Special" knots couldn’t be untied so you tied the fenders on with knots that come untied easily. Like when you’re motoring out and they untie themselves. On their own. 

Or those days when he asks you to bring him some coffee but the boat is all tippy so you bang your legs against everything and you get some really giant and very unattractive bruises everywhere. Really, your skipper drinks way too much coffee already. Does he really need more when you’re out on the water?

Those are the days when being able to effectively mutiny really comes in handy. Up until now, I’ve held off with the whole mutiny thing because:

  • I didn’t learn it in my sailing course. It seems like a really important skill. The instructor must have run out of time otherwise I’m sure it would have been covered.
  • I don’t know how to sail or operate the VHF radio. Skipper Scott has been really lucky so far. The only reason he hasn’t “accidentally” fallen overboard is because I don’t know how to sail or operate the radio.

But this is all going to change. It is important to keep learning new things when it comes to sailing, so I’ve been studying up on the whole mutiny thing. And here is what I’ve learned which I want to share with you because I imagine your skipper really gets on your nerves sometimes too.

How to Mutiny in Ten Easy Steps

1 - Make sure you know what the correct definition of "mutiny" is. Some people mistakenly think it is a "conspiracy" or "rebellion" against a superior officer to overthrow them. It isn't. It is a way to teach your skipper a lesson not to be mean to the crew. Besides your skipper isn't really superior. A smart crew just lets him think he is so that he feels important and does all the hard jobs like hoist the anchor.

2 - Understand all of the different ways to mutiny. Here are some examples:
You can go with the tried and true method of pushing your skipper overboard and then motoring away as fast as you can. Make sure your skipper can swim first. Otherwise, it is just plain mean.

Or one day when you're out hiking on a pretty island, you could say "Hey, look over there! Is that the Loch Ness monster?" And then quickly run back to the dinghy, row back to the boat and get out of the anchorage. This is what we call "marooning" your skipper. Don't feel too bad about this one because Nessie can keep him company.

Or you could lock the skipper in one of the cabins. This won't work for us because we don't have any cabins or locks, but for those of you with bigger boats this may be the way to go.

Or when your skipper is in the dinghy and waiting for you to get in, you can just untie the tender (assuming it isn't tied on with an "Ellen Special" knot) and let him drift away. If your skipper can't swim, this might be just the ticket. It is all about being prepared so that you can use the right method depending upon the situation.

3 - Get some help. It is much easier to mutiny if you have some co-conspirators. I'm the only crew member on our boat and I think it would be much easier to mutiny if I had some help. One person to lure the skipper into a false sense of security and one person to helm the boat in order to make a speedy get away. If you want to help, just lurk around on X Pier at Westhaven Marina down towards the boat haul-out area. That's where we keep our dinghy. I'll distract Scott and you can hide out below when he isn't looking. Then we can "surprise" him. It will be fun.

4 - Make up a story to tell your skipper's friends and family when they call looking for him. It is important to be prepared with a convincing story otherwise they might become suspicious and call the police. I'm going to go with something along the lines of: "He is in the bathroom and says to take a message."

5 - Have an alibi ready. Eventually, the skipper's friends and family are going to catch on that no one can spend that much time in the bathroom and they'll call the police. Make sure you know what you're going to tell them. Maybe something like, "It couldn't have been me, I was in the bathroom."

6 - Take notes and photos during the mutiny. You do have a blog to update and it is important to document these things.

7 - Re-read steps 4 and 5. Do not take notes or photos and do not update your blog. Otherwise, they might use this as evidence to hold you without bail.

8 - Watch some inspirational movies about successful mutinies. "Mutiny on the Bounty" springs to mind. Make sure your skipper is in the bathroom when you watch them otherwise he might become suspicious.

9 - Get the appropriate clothes for a mutiny. Mutinies should be fun and they are a great opportunity to wear costumes. Maybe go with a pirate theme.

10 - Learn how to sail and use the VHF radio. Otherwise, your mutiny may be short-lived.

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  1. or you could just start making really crappy coffee and he'll start preparing it himself

  2. Oh, I do make really crappy coffee but he still drinks it. He is really defiant that way.

  3. Thanks for the laughs - although . . . we are between boats at the moment, but the yacht was mine, I was Captain Bligh and hubby and the girls were the crew . . . so I can't support stranding the skipper. I am a new follower and I bumped you up at Blog Nation :)

  4. Oh my gosh, this is the funniest thing I have read in AGES! Thank you so much, both for writing it and for giving me some ideas. Question- do any of those stranding tips work when you live on land?

    1. Thanks for feedback! I bet you could adapt them for use on land. Give it a go and let me know if it works. But don't try it on your parents though :-)

    2. Fabulous post....I forwarded it to my captain, he laughed, but with a grimace on his face. Think he got the message? I thought I was the only person that tied "bunny knots", only on our boat, he calls them the Manitoba Good Luck knot. What the hell is he talking about?!?! ;)

    3. Thanks Heather! "Manitoba Good Luck" knots? Don't get it either. So much more fun to say "bunny knots"!

  5. This is great! Jason and I have had the exact same "discussion" about knots. I'm a big fan of the Ellen Special ;)

    1. Knots are possibly my biggest nemesis onboard. If only there was a way to make knots out of velcro. Seems like an ingenious idea - easy to fasten and easy to unfasten. Hmmm...maybe I should get my R&D team looking into this. It may be the next big revolution in boating :-)

  6. Love it! Ha haa!
    I also get upset with the crew when they don't bring the fenders in. Not because of the knots - but we have a saying that sailing around with your fenders out is like going around with your skirt tucked in your knickers... doesn't do any harm, but just doesn't look that great... I will be a bit more tactful with my crew from now on in case they read your post!

    1. Thanks Viki! I don't think you need to worry though - I can't imagine any crew ever mutinying on your boat :-)

  7. What a fantastic blog and so well written. Did you give my wife lessons. Her "Ellen" knots did the same as yours and we had a neat line of 5 fenders behind us going into a French port. Loved it.

    1. Your wife sounds fabulous! Anyone who can tie an Ellen knot and have a parade of fenders behind their boat sounds like a winner to me! And thanks for the really nice feedback - much appreciated :-)

  8. Mutiny? Hmmm . . . now that's an idea that could grow on me! ;)

    1. Just the occasional threat of mutiny helps to keep the skipper in line :-)

  9. Great post! Love this!!

    Sail Away Girl


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