Remembering Colin Mudie
Born in Edinburgh in 1926, Colin studied engineering at Southampton University before serving his design apprenticeship at The British Power Boat Company in Southampton. He secured work with Yacht designers Laurent Giles and Partners in Lymington, later setting up his own firm.
A lifetime adventurer, Colin successfully completed a 1952 Atlantic crossing with Patrick Ellam in a19 foot yacht Sopranino without radio or engine. In 1958 he attempted to cross the Atlantic again, this time in the hydrogen balloon ‘Small World’, accompanied by his wife Rosemary, Bushy Eiloart and his son, Tim. After 94 hours aloft the balloon crash landed and the remaining gondola (that was designed by Colin as a boat) sailed 1500 miles to Barbados, arriving two weeks later.
Throughout his career, Colin was awarded numerous international design commissions and accolades. In 1971 he won the Lloyd’s Register Award for best design and construction for Royalist, a 23 metre sail training brig for the British Sea Cadet Corps. In 1993 he won an award from the British Design Council for the 43 metre barque STS Lord Nelson, designed to enable accessible use for all abilities including wheel chair users.
Colin was commissioned to work on Young Endeavour (1987), in the lead up to the bicentenary marking the arrival of the First Fleet in Sydney. He subsequently designed a number of tall ships for Navies around the world, including Young Endeavour’s sister ship KLD Tunas Samudera (1989), operated by the Malaysian Navy, as well as INS Tarangini (1997) and INS Sudarshini (2011), both for the Indian Navy. Colin also designed many expedition and exploration craft, power boats, sailing yachts, workboats, pilot boats and dinghies.
Colin’s appointment as a Royal Designer for Industry in 1995 was a testament to his skills and contribution to international design. He was also a fellow of the Royal Institute of Naval Architects, the Royal Institute of Navigation and the Royal Society of Arts. He forged a reputation as an adventurer and long-time supporter of sail training, and possessed an unwavering dedication to Tall Ships around the world.
It was an event of much significance for the Young Endeavour Youth Scheme and the embarked Royal Australian Navy staff and youth crew when Colin, his wife Rosemary and son Max embarked Young Endeavour in Southampton when the ship returned to England in 2015 – the ship’s first visit since setting sail in 1987.
The passing of Colin is marked with sadness, however he is remembered with great fondness, and leaves a lasting legacy for sail training. His work lives on in the Tall Ships he designed, and in the thousands of youth who have benefited from the programs they deliver around the world.
Fair winds and following seas, Colin Mudie.