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Sailing on Saturday with WM Nixon
Cliffhanger….the Volvo 65s Turn the Tide on Plastic and Team Vestas in a tacking duel at The Needles lighthouse during the first race of the new fleet, a sprint round the Isle of Wight in the middle of Cowes Week 2017. Annalise Murphy will contest the Volvo Ocean Race on Turn the Tide, and Damian Foxall and James O’Mahoney are with Team Vestas
W M Nixon
In the days when sailing was a seasonal sport, a few main pillar events dominated the international programme. The Sailing Olympics. The America’s Cup. The Fastnet Race. The Dragon Gold Cup. The Sydney-Hobart Race. The Whitbread Round the World Race.…
Irish Lights’ 2,600 ton ship Granuaile is one of the most truly functional vessels in Ireland
W M Nixon
The functioning of the Commissioners of Irish Lights is within a matrix in partnership with the Northern Lighthouse Board in Scotland and the Isle of Man, and Trinity House in England and Wales. They co-operate actively through a grouping known…
Making history. David & Sally MacFarlane sailing the 107-year-old Moosmie on their way to winning the first Water Wag race with a fleet of more than thirty boats, with Dun Laoghaire Harbour’s wonderful stonework looking its classic best
W M Nixon
The rapidly-developing partnership between solo offshore veteran Alex Thomson and proven star of fully-crewed boats Nin O’Leary of Cork has been the focus of much attention this week as they visit Cork and Dun Laoghaire. Thomson’s eye-catching IMOCA 60 Hugo…
While there were hundreds of boats in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017, the Welsh-based Myfanwy, built 1897, and restored by owner Rob Mason (at helm), deservedly attract special attention
W M Nixon
In his poem Sailing to Byzantium (1928), William Butler Yeats immortalised the vision of Ireland as “no country for old men”. Expressed so well, the idea took hold and has been re-used internationally in novels and films, even if in Ireland…
Hugo Boss doing what she does best – zooming offwind on the foils
W M Nixon
There have been several Irish offshore racing sailors who have been making national and world headlines for some years now, but in recent weeks and months the wave of new enthusiasm for the big ticket events has surged to fresh…
The start of something big. The Irish National Sailing School’s J/109 Jedi (IRL 8088, skipper Kenneth Rumball) gets away with a close start on Sunday in the Rolex Fastnet Race 2017. She finished first in Class 3B
W M Nixon
The final results of the Rolex Fastnet Race 2017 show that Kenneth Rumball with the Irish National Sailing School’s J/109 Jedi has won in IRC 3B, where third place has been taken by ISORA’s J/109 Mojito. And RORC Commodore Michael…
(Top) That eternal Fastnet mystique – George David’s Rambler 90 and Mike Slade Leopard 100 leading on the water and closing in the on the rock in the Rolex Fastnet Race 2007……. yet in that race ten years ago, ((above) the overall winner was to emerge from further back in the fleet, in the form of Ger O’Rourke’s Cookson 50 Chieftain from Kilrush – seen here beating down the Solent shortly after the start
W M Nixon
In August 2007, a lone Irish boat swept quickly towards the finish of the Fastnet Race at Plymouth. Groups of larger craft had finished ahead of her, and soon a rush of other boats would follow in her wake. But…
Tom Dolan’s IRL 910 making a good start at Douarnenez in the mini-Fastnet in which he placed third, with his mainsail carrying the Smurfit Kappa logo for the first time
W M Nixon
The great solo sailing challenges of world sailing are acquiring added stature as sailing is enmeshed in ever-more-advanced technologies. With fully-crewed vessels, interest in the people involved as individuals seems to decline in an inverse ratio to the rising graph…
Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017. The town’s potential to host such events of international standard is made possible by the quiet yet efficient presence of Dun Laoghaire Marina
W M Nixon
With the success of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017 now universally acknowledged in highlighting the developing role of Dun Laoghaire Harbour as a major waterborne recreational centre, it is timely to remember the vital contribution made to the contemporary scene…
The serious helmsman. Jack Roy and his daughter Jill racing their Squib class Kanaloa, no 130. One of the oldest boats racing in the Dublin Bay class, they worked together to restore her from a near-derelict condition
W M Nixon
The role of President of what is now Irish Sailing is central to our activities afloat. The diverse boating community that the President both serves and represents is affected by the variable socio–economic circumstances in which our sport - in…
The photo that says a thousand words. Periwinkle and Myfanwy approach Dun Laoghaire harbour towards the finish of the first race on the Kingstown 200 series. To celebrate the 200th Anniversary of Kingstown Harbour, this year’s Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017 includes a significant fleet of Classic and Traditional vessels, racing for the Kingstown 200 Trophy. And the fleet is varied in the extreme.  Towards the end of their first race on Thursday - which concluded with an in-harbour finish close off the National YC where the classics are berthed - the leader on the water as expected was the superbly-restored Dublin Bay 24 Periwinkle (David Espey & Chris Craig), an Alfred Mylne design of late 1930s vintage.  But the final leg to the harbour mouth was a long reach in a pleasant sou’easter from the middle of Dublin Bay, and the Welsh visitor Myfanwy, a 36ft cutter designed by Alexander Richardson of Liverpool in 1897 (he also designed John Jameson’s legendary Irex in 1884) was going like a train. Owner Rob Mason recently restored her himself from virtual dereliction. He has given her a fine suit of sails to match her generous spread of canvas, and with a keen crew, Myfanwy was very much a contender, though Periwinkle did stave her off at the very end.  However, it has given us what could well be the photo that symbolises the Kingstown 200 within Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 200. The splendid granite East Pier now looks as though it is a natural part of the environment – you could well imagine it in place when Dublin Bay itself was formed. The crisp, clean and generously-sized tricolour flying proudly tells us there has been a change of management, but one that increasingly respects all that we have inherited from the past. And coming in past the pierhead are two handsome yachts which speak eloquently of our rich sailing history and heritage, as the Dublin Bay 24s were a major and very successful class in the bay from 1947 to 2004, while Myfanwy is a direct link back to a period when John Jameson of Dublin Bay with his mighty Irex was the most successful yacht owner of his era. Photo: David O’Brien/Afloat.ie
W M Nixon
The difference between an un-sailable calm and a light breeze which is just good enough to provide decent racing is enormous when you’re trying to get a very large regatta off to a successful start. So although the fleet racing…
Mediterranean sailing at its best. With a suit of sails made by UK McWilliam, including one of Des McWilliam’s very special spinnakers, the Judel Vrolik IMS 48 Cristabelle is making hay off Alicante
W M Nixon
Yesterday’s report on Afloat.ie of the major changes shaping up in the ownership structure of the UK/McWilliam Sailmakers business in Crosshaven clearly rings a bell with many in the sailing community at home and abroad. The remarkable response has reinforced…
Tectonic shift? Fingal islet of Rockabill nears the Fastnet Rock?? Leading the Dun Laoghaire-Dingle Race approaching the Fastnet Rock, the JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI’s crew are ahead on the water and on handicap, but ace helm Mark Pettit (left) doesn’t at all approve of frivolity. However, photographer Will Byrne managed to get a smile out of (left to right) Ian O’Meara, Rees Kavanagh, Conor O’Higgins, Peter Wilson, Ian Heffernan and heavily disguised owner-skipper Paul O’Higgins
W M Nixon
The 275-mile Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race overall win was still open to challenge until the leader on the water, Paul O’Higgins’ JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI, had cleared the Fastnet Rock. However, with every mile sailed thereafter, it looked…
A beautiful sight for the sea-battered mariner. Hospitable Kinsale and its marina opens to view as you sail in past the forts
W M Nixon
The people of Ireland – sailors and farmers alike - are gasping for a bit of real summer. But with Met Eireann predicting that next week will be favourable for hay-making, there’s a dilemma for grassland farmers who like a…
Destination Dingle. Central to the attraction of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race which starts next Wednesday is the natural differences and contrasts between the two ports, despite which they maintain the most cordial of relations
W M Nixon
It started in 1993 as a gentler (it was hoped) biennial alternative to the Round Ireland Race, with the 275-mile Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race being the brainchild of Martin Crotty and Peter Cullen of the National Yacht Club writes…
One of Howth YC’s club-owned J/80s coming through the sound inside Ireland’s Eye. The HYC-owned flotilla is well booked for the current season, and five fully-crewed Howth club-owned J/80s will be taking part in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta in July. Photo: Emmet Dalton
W M Nixon
Sailing is a vehicle sport. No matter how well we may succeed in spreading the cost of buying and running a boat through group ownership and other schemes, inevitably it has an inbuilt level of expenditure which other sports that…

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