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Sailing on Saturday with WM Nixon
Enjoying each race as it comes – Annalise Murphy’s approach to the Olympic challenge has proved successful
W M Nixon
With yesterday’s fourth day of sailing for the Women’s Laser Radials at the Rio Olympics bedevilled by light breezes after unusually strong winds earlier in the week, pressure is intensified on Annalise Murphy, who has electrified everyone at home with…
Blast from the past. It’s August 1980, and the magic Half Tonner Swuzzlebubble (Bruce Lyster, RStGYC) is trickling towards the finish of the ISORA Pwllheli-Howth race which she won overall to confirm her as ISORA Champion 1980. She also won ISORA Week 1980, and her class in Cowes Week 1980. Crew on board are (left to right) Bruce Lyster, Robert Dix on helm, Michael Rowan, Drewry Pearson (white hat), and Des Cummins
W M Nixon
With the confirmation that Kinsale Yacht Club will be hosting the Half Ton Classic Worlds from August 14th to 18th 2017, Irish interest will intensify further in a class which already attracts much favourable attention. W M Nixon tells us…
A spectacular setting. However, sailing conditions in Rio de Janeiro show how far we have moved from the abandoned Olympic ideal of a sailing venue where the winds blows true, free from undue influence by steep coastlines and tall buildings nearby. In Rio, most of the sailing areas are admittedly in the more open waters beyond the Sugarloaf, but in this case “more open” is only a very relative term – the winds can be all over the place
W M Nixon
Ireland’s six sailing Olympians have reached their selections for the 2016 Games at different times. Some have been secure with their places for many months, while others have been confirmed more recently, with the final place being filled on May…
Finn Lynch racing in Croatia. In May in Mexico in a last gasp chance he took the Irish Mens Olympic place in the Laser class.
W M Nixon
The rise of Finn Lynch into the top ranks of Irish adult dinghy sailing has been meteoric. It was as recently as May 18th in Mexico that he secured the right to become our Olympic Men’s Laser representative in Rio,…
A good start. “WHEN the Admiral will have the whole Fleet to Chace, he will hoist Dutch colours under his Flag, and fire a Gun from each Quarter; if a single boat, he will hoist a Pendant, and fire as many guns from the side as the Boat is distanced from him. WHEN he would have the Chace given over, he will hawl in his Flag and fire a Gun……” While the original Sailing Orders for an early race by the Water Club of the Harbour of Cork in the 1700s might not have worked for this fleet of a hundred at the start of the Harbour Race in Volvo Cork Week 2016, the spirit of the great pioneers of sailing was being properly celebrated
W M Nixon
Afloat.ie’s W M Nixon won’t divulge when he first sailed into Cork Harbour, but he claims to have taken part in an early version of Cork Week as long ago as 1970. And he also claims that, at the Week…
The spirit of Volvo Cork Week as expressed in 2014. Francois Giroud’s Open 750 Bois Dresses II from France revelling in great sailing off Cork Harbour
W M Nixon
Awareness of Cork Harbour’s long and colourful history of sailing has become so widespread and generally acknowledged that there’s a risk that the Irish and global sailing community will take it all for granted. Equally, the wonderful natural harbour of…
The jib topsail blossoms to drive Dickie Gomes’ Ainmara on her way as she sails fast to collect the “Best in Show” award at the RUYC’s 150th Anniversary Sail-past, fifty years after she took part in the same Club’s Centenary Regatta in 1966 with the same crew on board
W M Nixon
Afloat.ie’s W M Nixon grabbed only a few hours sleep after his almost continuous coverage of the Volvo Round Ireland Race 2016 before haring off to Bangor in County Down to sail in the RUYC 150th Anniversary Regatta on Saturday…
The coolest stage for an awards ceremony…..George David’s Rambler 88 comes astern close in off the Wicklow pierheads immediately after finishing in a new record time to claim mono-hull line honours, the mono-hull round Ireland open record, the Volvo Round Ireland Race mono-hull record, and – eventually – 1st Overall IRC in the Volvo Round Ireland Race 2016. Just stepped aboard amongst Rambler’s rugged crew are Theo Phelan and David Ryan of Wicklow SC with a jeroboam of Astoria. After this informal yet effective ceremony, when Rambler 88 sailed north back to Dun Laoghaire she took a group of Wicklow schoolchildren with her for the sail of a lifetime
W M Nixon
At 704 miles long, with a course along coastlines of almost infinite variety, the Round Ireland Race was always a complex event for post-race analysis even when fleets amounted to only three dozen or so. But for 2016 in the…
The mighty one. Rambler 88 and her formidable owner-skipper George David are at the core of a remarkable team. He reckons that the Round Ireland course record set by Mike Slade’s 100ft Leopard is well within Rambler 88’s potential as the weather for todays racing, and in the day or two ahead, continues to take better shape for speed. And barring accidents or breakages, the record should in any case be very comfortably bested by the three MOD trimarans.
W M Nixon
Today sees the start off the Wicklow Pierheads of largest and most varied fleet in the 36-year history of the biennial Round Ireland Race from, which in its 19th edition takes on board sponsors Volvo Car Ireland for the first…
Off to a flying start. Tim & Richard Goodbody’s first major campaign with their new J/109 White Mischief saw them in top form in yesterday’s first two races of the ICRA Nats at Howth in Class 1, in which eleven J/109s are competing.
W M Nixon
If you’d brought a party of strangers to sailing out in a spectator boat to view yesterday’s first day of the three-day Irish Cruiser Racing Association’s National Championship, they could have been forgiven wondering why it all attracts such interest.…
ICRA Nats with racing at its best. In the foreground is the vintage Mills 36 Raptor (ex Aztec) campaigned by Dennis Hewitt & partners of RIYC, and entered for next week’s ICRA Championship in Howth
W M Nixon
To say that Irish sailing’s programme in June 2016 is crowded is a massive understatement. It’s a month which needs at least two extra weekends. Yet with only four available, sailors have to make hard choices, both as to where…
HMS Caroline in Belfast docks, September 2015. She is now nearing the completion of a restoration by Blu-Marine of Belfast in a project led by Staff Captain John Rees OBE
W M Nixon
Next Tuesday, May 31st, marks the Centenary of the outbreak of the Battle of Jutland off the northern coast of Denmark, the greatest sea battle of World War I (1914-18). In terms of the fire-power of the 250 vessels in…
The vision of sailing as it can be in high summer. Dave Cullen’s blue-hulled Checkmate XV starts to show towards the front of the fleet in the 2015 Half Ton World Classics, which she went on to win. But the story behind the pitch-perfect tune of these top racing machines can usually be found in workshops far from sea and sun.
W M Nixon
The attraction of boats and the sea as a year-round fascination is something which by-passes many people. And even in summer – particularly if it’s a typical Irish summer – you’d sometimes be hard put to explain the appeal of…
Current Blue Water Medallists Tom and Vicky Jackson aboard their much-travelled S&S 40ft sloop Sunstone. Built by McGruer’s in Scotland in 1963 and originally called Deb, Sunstone was for many years known as Dai Mouse III when she was a regular contender with the ISORA fleet in the Irish Sea
W M Nixon
We take it for granted, and it’s always there - whether we like it or not. The good old Irish Sea. But could it be that there’s a new and growing awareness of just how much the Irish Sea can…
The big boys’ game….Antix in fine form in the RORC Easter Challenge 2016. But it was during this event that it became clear the newest generation of the Fast40+ class marked an up-grade in performance, and the amateur crew on the now-veteran Antix will have to focus their efforts with total attention if they’re to be at the races at all.
W M Nixon
It has been confirmed by the Irish Cruiser-Racing Association (ICRA) that it’s extremely unlikely that Ireland will be mounting a defence in July 2016 of the RORC Commodore’s Cup, which we so convincingly won in 2014 with the team of Catapult,…
The magic book. The Princess Royal receiving the special copy of Lord Dufferin’s Letters from High Latitudes from Myles Lindsay, Vice Commodore, at the recent reception in the Royal Ulster YC
W M Nixon
Maybe it’s time and more to see sailing and its story – and particularly the complex history of Irish sailing north and south – in a new light. This year, the historical sailing focus is on Northern Ireland, where the…

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