by Yachting WA
Muddies from along the Swan river are gearing up for their annual Easter championship. Named for the local conspicuous bird of small to medium size which plays around the coastal strip and inland waterways of Australia, the Mudlark sailing dinghy was designed in 1960 by Maylands sailor, the late Wally Gaunt to enable his grandchildren to safely enjoy the Swan River and beaches along the coast.
Mudlarks - Photo: P Kovesci
Since the humble beginnings when the Gaunt and Moore kids launched their little Muddies in the reeds below the family home in Maylands, the popularity of the Mudlark has endured.
Designed specifically for the Western Australian conditions, the boat’s strongest point is its self-bailing deck enabling young sailors to easily and safely get underway from a capsize without fighting the weight of water and tedious bailing.
Easter weekend sees the annual Mudlark State Championships attracting youngsters of all competencies from clubs around WA. Mounts Bay Sailing Club will host this year’s event and has a number of fun on and off-water attractions planned for the sailors and their family members. All sailors from all clubs are welcome, particularly the newer sailors who have only started sailing their Muddies this season – everyone will gain not only experience but a social perspective too. Anyone wanting further information on the regatta may contact David Nock on 0439 095 758.
The introduction of new classes to the local sailing scene definitely dints the following of the existing junior classes, but the Mudlark Class is a survivor, as many parents are well able to see its strong benefits and easily recognise the immeasurable pleasure it can provide their children.
The Mudlark is an inexpensive entry level boat with good re-sale value and is small and light enough to easily fit onto a car roof rack, trailer or utility. The one person dinghy only 2.1metres long, has an uncomplicated rigging with a self draining deck, well suited to sailors from 6 to 12 years old and is ideal for learning to sail. David Mann, WAIS Assistant Head Coach and 49er Champion Steven Thomas launched their sailing careers in Mudlarks along with many other well known sailors.
Mudlark fleets are currently sail at Mounts Bay Sailing Club, Perth Dinghy Sailing Club, Shelley Sailing Club and Mandurah Offshore Fishing & Sailing Club For further information contact Jan Thomas 0401 673 877 www.mudlarksailing.org.au