Shipwright John Mullins, a Brightlingsea One Design dinghy sailor and builder, passed away in the Stronvar Rest Home on December 18 after battling dementia since 2007.
John was born and grew up in Brightlingsea and boats and the sea were in his blood. His apprenticeship at the Aldous yard and work with Cyril White cemented his skills as a shipwright. He was a keen racing sailor in classes such as the BOD and Flying Dutchman.
John’s experience in boatbuilding was extensive. He was involved with Jaguar Yachts – designing its 21 – and the Robber Quarter Tonner. He worked on aluminium yachts at Woodbridge and at Petticrows in Burnham-on-Crouch – where he lived for many years – he oversaw the development of the Dragon and did much of the work on the wooden decked versions.
The BOD always held a place in John’s heart. From building C31 "Blue Peter" in 1962 through to his legacy in providing the moulds for the glass-fibre version which has seen seven new boats added to the fleet. Sadly, he was unable to finish the first new boat, C50, which was to have been his, but it's now sailing under Sue Bouckley’s care.
John was one of the finest shipwrights and his standards were second to none. His designs and drawings are works of art, and I know many who were envious of his beautiful lettering on drawings. I feel very privileged to have known, worked sailed with him. Whether in my BOD for the 65th Anniversary or racing at Burnham Week with him in “Monarch”, his beautiful varnished racing yacht which he designed and built himself, I always learned something from being with him.
Picture shows John working on the mould for the glass-fibre BOD. By Sue Pelling.