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Sailing on Saturday with WM Nixon
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…
Rob McConnell’s A35 Fool’s Gold from Dunmore East is a former overall champion of the Scottish Series, and expected to do well in this year’s edition currently under way in Tarbert, Loch Fyne
W M Nixon
Despite some interruptions from either too much or too little wind, the regular club sailing programme for 2017 is now fully under way, and this weekend is additionally so well filled with major regional and national events that you could…
Two contrasting images reflecting the wide-ranging activities of Wicklow Sailing Club. Above, the Volvo 70 Monster Project, line honours winner in the 2014 Round Ireland Race while under charter to WSC member David Ryan, comes roaring in to the start at a real rate of knots while (below) life returns to normal with the weekly summer’s evening race for local cruisers.
W M Nixon
Irish sailing’s informal inter-club competition has named a “Club of the Year” annually since 1979, and since 1986 the title’s steadfast sponsorship support from Mitsubishi Motors has made it an integral part of the national sailing scene. Yet it has…
Stephen Tudor’s defending ISORA Champion, the J/109 Sgrech from Pwllheli, in her glorious home waters. Today she’s racing in the Holyhead-Dun Laoghaire race, in which Progressive ECHO is being tested against IRC to see if more cruising-oriented boats can be encouraged into ISORA Racing
W M Nixon
After the accelerating build-up to Olympic Medal success throughout the summer of 2016, there was hope in some sections of the Irish sailing community that the mood of 2017 might be different in pace. Tokyo 2020 still seemed very far…
The stressed face of the lone skipper. This is Tom Dolan at the briefing in Pornichet before his first major single-handed race in 2015, in which he would sail a borrowed and far-from-new Pogo 650 Mark 2. Two days before the start, he had discovered a fractured spreader bracket on the mast. To fix it, he had to take down the mast, drive to La Rochelle for a replacement bracket, fit it, and then re-step the mast on the night before the race. That final stage was completed with the help of ten fellow-skippers, typical of the camaraderie of the Mini 650 class
W M Nixon
The world of sailing has so many sectors of interest that it’s challenging keeping track of the general picture. But even when you’ve achieved that basic level of comprehension, you then discover that each sector has so many sub-sectors that…
Les Bateaux Irlandais...Howth 17s will be representing Irish sailing in graphic style at next month’s enormous international gathering of character boats at the Morbihan Festival in southern Brittany
W M Nixon
Three weeks hence from this morning, on Saturday May 19th, an unlikely convoy of vehicles with a very special collection of unique vintage boats and people will emerge in Cherbourg from Irish Ferries’ ship just in from Rosslare writes W…
Gemma McDowell & Emma Gallagher (Malahide) lead the 420s from Geoff Power & James McCann and Kate Lyttle & Niamh Henry (RSTGYC) racing on Belfast Lough from Ballyholme YC. After two days, Power of Dunmore East holds the lead
W M Nixon
Its full title is the Irish Sailing Association Youth Pathway Nationals and Optimist Trials. It is a designation with a great air of seriousness about it, contrasting markedly with current public debate about providing more fun sailing, while making regattas…
The Juniors of the National Yacht Club celebrate Annalise Murphy’s Olympic achievements. When the Junior Training programe at the National YC was inaugurated 50 years ago, the extensive boat platform on which this is all happening didn’t exist
W M Nixon
A very special Golden Jubilee coming up in May provides links to an Irish Olympic Sailing Silver Medal, the Fireball World Championship, and the America’s Cup. W M Nixon finds the widest connections go even further than that to include…
Michael Cotter’s handsome 78ft Reichel-Pugh designed Whisper comes roaring out of Dublin Bay, on her way to establishing the course record for the Dun Laoghaire-Dingle Race in 2009
W M Nixon
Time was when the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race was promoted as a handy way to position your little old cruiser in West Kerry to be nicely placed to make her way in gentle hops back to her home port…

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