Yachting Monthly’s man is up with the mudlarks

Normally only seen on the East Coast, this rare Mud Wader is a breed often spotted by yachtsmen in Leigh-on-Sea, Paglesham or Maldon, in Essex. But on Wednesday, he was seen tip-toeing through the mud in his underpants at Newtown Creek, on the Isle of Wight, having run out of tide to float back to his habitat, anchored several hundred metres away.

 Dick Durham the mudlark

The ‘mudlark’ was an unexpected part of a Yachting Monthly special assignment this week to celebrate our soon-to-be published 1,250th issue (September), which goes in sale on August 26th. News editor Dick Durham (pictured) and editor Paul Gelder went aboard Nightfall, Maurice Griffiths’ beautifully restored 31ft gaff-cutter, at the invitation of her owner, marine artist Martyn Mackrill. The yacht is 100 years old this year and we will be publishing an article on ‘What’s changed in 100 years of yachting?’ (and 104 years of Yachting Monthly) in September’s issue. Maurice, of course, was YM’s editor for 40 years from 1927-1966.

After rowing ashore, against a Spring ebb, for a hearty lunch at the New Inn, Shalfleet, the trio returned to Nightfall and, ignoring the rule of 12ths, set off again for a walk ashore to Newtown’s old Town Hall. When they returned, the dinghy was stranded on the mudflats. And that’s when the mud-slinging began!

As a champion of shoal-draught cruising, Maurice would, I’m sure, have sympathised with the magic of the mud, as opposed to the swatchways!