"when I asked the commodore on the phone "
Yeah, one would hope the Commodore of a YC would be clued in, but the final word in these matters comes from a Protest Committee, not the Commodore, and their opinions may vary.
I have seen most of a fleet round the wrong mark entirely (there were two marks with the same buoy number, but the racing instructions seemed clear enough to us) and I have also seen most of a fleet round a mark on the wrong side (again, the instructions were clear but it wasn't the "logical" rounding) and in both cases, the PC and the Commodore said "That's true, but since most of the fleet got it wrong, we won't penalize it." Which instead of course radically penalized the folks who bothered to get it right.
Bottom line, the rules don't rule, unless it goes to a USSA appeals procedure.
As to "mutiny", I thought only crew could mutiny. And crew is not defined as "anyone on board" it is usually defined as paid, dragooned, or conscripted bodies under some obligation or compulsion to serve the captain. Captain can't bring charges of "mutiny" against his unpaid guests, now can he? Or did I miss the W4 and 1099 forms here?
Well Rockdog was the one saying he was going to contact the California labor board, so he seemed to think he was an employee. His travel expenses were supposed to be paid, I am sure that would be considered compensation. By the way it sounds like RD is familiar with the labor board.
Bottom line is that no one on board was prepared for the trip. The captain was unprepared, and does seem to have a record of poor people skills as the crew that bailed out proves. The crew was obviously unprepared, though they seem to think they were, but being that it was RD's first time flying a spinnaker shows he was not experienced enough for this kind of race (being a down wind haul) and Jake had never been offshore. They had plenty of warning before they left that they should have bailed out. Certainly they noticed that the captain was at the least unorganized, one would think they would have checked on water as they all have responsibility for safety. Did they check to see if there were life vests and a life raft? Any threat of real danger was only perceived and obviously hyperbole, as they could have gotten water at any point if really needed by various methods (Coast Guard, shipping vessels and fellow yachtsmen) and it was not like they had lost electronics or anything. For me it would have been that there was no practice or advance meetings. Heck you do that for beer can racing, offshore come one. The crew was willing to not follow the rules from the get go. (long before the invented danger of running out of water they were using the auto pilot) It is obvious that RD and Jake had there own interests in mind, wanting to get experience offshore on someone ease's dime, not being part of a racing team from the start.
So we have a story of invented danger, with poor leadership and poor seamanship on all accounts. Sounds to me like someone wanted a reality show, why else have a camera crew there at take off and arrival? That really puzzles me, why have a camera crew? Perhaps a friend to take a few snapshots and a hug when you get back, but a camera crew? Seems someone had something brewing from the get go, wanted to be the next Jersey Shore or something.