CUSTOMER SPOTLIGHT: BRIAN RUTTER
One Beneteau Owners Dream Come True
When retirement came for Brian Rutter all he wanted to do was sail, all year long. This meant summers in Toronto and winters in the Caribbean - a dream come true for many sailors. When it came close to time when he was looking at retiring, Brian decided to pull the trigger and see his life long dream of wintering in the Caribbean come true. Not a huge winter sports guy, this made sense for the next chapter of his life. He shares his journey to year round sailing, owning a Beneteau 36.7 plus a Beneteau 44.7, and helping grow the local sailing scene on the lake.
How did you go about picking a boat and figuring out where to keep it? What's involved in that?
I've always been used to sailing a relatively good performing boat, so I didn't want to buy the typical clunker. I wanted to do the trip south, so I bought the boat from RCR in Buffalo. We bought it in the winter, so sort of February, four years ago now. So then started to get familiar with the boat and then left in September. We sailed it from Buffalo down to Norfolk, Virginia through the Oswego canal. Then the coast down to Norfolk. We left it there for about two weeks until the end of hurricane season. On November 1st, we went straight from Norfolk to the BVIs, which was a 1,500 mile passage. It was a 'get to know yourself' voyage; it was a beast the whole way in about 25-knots of breeze.
Tell us about how you pick where you'll go every winter.
We spent the first winter down there in the BVIs and then hauled out there. We launched it the following January and went to Antigua. Following that, we spent our time in Grenada.
What's been your favorite Caribbean event so far?
You know, they all are quite different. The BVIs is the easiest in that there's lots of places to go. Antigua is really neat and has more superyachts racing. We've done basically the whole chain of events now because we've been to most of the islands. The boat's in Puerto Rico right now as we sailed it North from Grenada. We'd like to do the Bahamas at some point. We'll likely tackle that in another year or so, but we're going to do the St. Thomas and the BVI's this year.
It's always blowing down there in the trades. 15 knots is a normal day!
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What's different about living aboard your race boat in the Caribbean?
It's a little bit unsettling at first because it blows 24-hours a day. So the boat is dancing around on the anchor constantly. You hear the wind humming through the rigging all the time.
Tell us about your involvement as fleet captain at Mimico Cruising Club & how you maintain your large start line for weeknight racing.
It's a huge time commitment that while I was working, it wasn't possible so when I stopped working, it was sort of time to pay back. When you do have the time that you can put into it, it's rewarding to give it back. , I wouldn't want to say by accident or anything, but it just kept growing and growing in the Spinnaker fleet with a relatively narrow performance range. So most of the boats are not that far apart from each other. It just sort of snowballed is that we had a fair number of people who came from other clubs to see what kind of a start line we have. They quit their club and join ours. I think this year we had 18 teams registered in the Spinnaker division. I think the least we ever had was maybe 14.
What would be your best advice for people who are thinking about getting into racing and for other clubs that are trying to figure out how to grow their racing?
Just do whatever you can to make it fun. Larger starts make it fun with more boats on the line. I think it's better than dividing up the fleet into a whole bunch of divisions , where some divisions will only start with five boats. Even if they're separate divisions for scoring, start them together. We try to make it a lot of fun coming back to the club afterwards to share a beer and wait for results, which brings everyone together too.
How do you attribute or do you even attribute your inventory to part of your success on the water?
I guess I've been a big fan of the North product. I think you could see from my records from a long time ago and just they seem to fit what I want. There's no question the sails have been getting better and better. Not only from a shape performance standpoint but with the new 3Di product, things last much longer. I guess for the 36.7 this will be my third mainsail from North. The first 3DL sort of had a couple of seasons on it. I think that was about five or six years and just way superior to the first one. The main that I have right now, there's nothing wrong with the shape or anything, even thought its 3DL. The strings are fine, it's just the mylar is disappearing. The shape holding ability with all of North's products is terrific.
Brian has a new 3Di RAW mainsail for the upcoming 2020 season.