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W M Nixon
Skellig Michael, with the Little Skellig and the coast of Kerry beyond. The patch of white water in the foreground indicates the location of The Washerwoman Rock, and it has been demonstrated that it is possible to sail – indeed, to race – between it and the Skellig itself.
It is ironic that the internationally-recognised abbreviated sail number identification on Irish racing boats should be IRL writes W M Nixon. For in global tech-speak, IRL is the acronym of “In Real Life”. If the rather intriguing way of existence…
Stately workhorses of the west – the Galway Hookers showcase their highly individual style at the Cruinniu na mBad at Kinvara this weekend in a three day festival
After a week of thinking maybe too much about modern and ultra-modern boats contesting the Fastnet Race and Calves Week at Schull, it’s a comforting relaxation to settle gently into contemplation of this weekend’s annual Crunniu na mBad (The Gathering…
The 48ft American sloop Carina (Rives Potts) rounding the Fastnet Rock in 2011, when she won her class. A successful veteran of the 1979 Fastnet Race, Carina made her debut in the 1969 race, and today she starts in her Golden Jubilee Fastnet Race
The maritime pageantry which is the sequenced start of the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race gets underway in time-honoured fashion at 12.30 hrs off Cowes today. And in the almost ludicrously varied 390-plus fleet, there are some sailing machines which are…
The Fastnet Rock as it can be………
This weekend forty years ago, I was the chirpy co-skipper of the smallest boat in the Cruise-in-Company fleet as we closed in on Glengarriff in far West Cork for the Golden Jubilee party of the Irish Cruising Club in the…
 They’re on their way – the Galway-Lorient fleet in Hughtown on St Mary’s in the Isles of Scilly on Wednesday, with Cormac Mac Donncha’s J/35 Lean Machine on left. This evening (Saturday) they’ll be formally received in the Breton port of Lorient, which is twinned with Galway.
Even the most experienced amateur sailors will always feel a certain nervousness mingling with the anticipation in starting a cruise writes W M Nixon. This is particularly so when the cruise will take them out of sight of land, and…
A long way from the original very basic idea of an “Asylum Harbour” with just one breakwater at Dun Laoghaire. Richard Brydges Beechey’s painting of the Royal St George YC Regatta in Kingstown Royal Harbour in 1874 captures the essence of a Golden Era. Although most of the course was in the bay and out to the Kish, even the largest yachts were expected to round a markboats in the harbour close off the Clubhouse, and the finish was in the harbour
When the Earl of Kildare - subsequently the Duke of Leinster – commissioned the building of his fine new townhouse in 1745 in what was then the unfashionable south side of Dublin, he can scarcely have imagined that nearly three…
It’s a Race Ready venue– Dublin Bay and Dun Laoghaire Harbour provide world class sailing right on the capital city’s doorstep
The Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta has something for everyone at all levels of sailing writes W M Nixon. It’s an event which attracts sailors who have reached the highest levels of international competition ranging through Olympic Medalists and America’s Cup…
The Sovereign's Cup Winner 2019 - Eleuthera (Frank Whelan) from Greystones Sailing Club had a clean sweep in Class Zero to lift the overall trophy in Kinsale
Staging a major sailing event which best reflects the spirit of your beloved home port is not a challenge for the faint-hearted writes W M Nixon. When we consider the multiple factors involved in the completion of the complex four-day…
The up-graded 1993 steel-built Bruce Roberts-designed ketch Danu with which a noted Galway Bay sailing family have started a 14-month Atlantic Circuit Cruise
Midsummer’s Weekend, and Irish sailing pauses for breath in this most hectic of sailing seasons writes W M Nixon. There are other events going on during these next two days, but let’s hope the most relaxed and non-competitive tone is…
An unlikely pairing…..Paul O’Higgins’ JPK 1080 Rockabill VI and Mick Cotter’s Southern Wind 94 Windfall get cleanly and swiftly away together from the start of the 270-mile Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race 2019 on Wednesday evening. Windfall took line honours while defending champion Rockabill VI was the IRC Overall Winner for the second time. It was a credit to the IRC system that the maxi Windfall was 8th overall on handicap in a varied fleet of 41 boats
The final stage of the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race, the 15 miles from Skellig Michael to the finish line on the north shore of Dingle Bay at the ampitheatre-like entrance to Dingle Harbour, may seem like an easy jaunt…
Paul O’Higgin’s defending champion, the JPK 1080 Rockabill VI, will be hoping for firm breezes for next Wednesday’s 280-mile National YC Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race
Will the Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race next Wednesday find itself sailing with mostly fair winds asks W M Nixon. Will the presence of lows to the west of them, and other lows to the southeast, provide a line…
Racing the Scottish Series on Loch Fyne under the hills and mountains can be tricky. Approaching the mark in the hot RC35 Class, leading boat Chimaera (Andrew Craig RIYC) gets a sudden wind shift, yet still manages to carry her deflated finery round the turn. But right up her transom Something Else (John & Brian Hall NYC) and Hijacker (Stuart Cranston & J Buchanan, Down Cr C) are now hard on the wind - such as it is
The Clyde Cruising Club’s Scottish Series has long been a happy hunting ground for Irish boats and crews writes W M Nixon. We remember with particular fondness the great days of the Royal Cork YC’s Corby 36 Antix, with which…
The restored Ilen of Limerick sails into Dublin Bay for the first time in 21 years for visits to Poolbeg, Dun Laoghaire and Howth. This weekend, she’s back in her birthplace of Baltimore
Three million euro - every bit of €3 million writes W M Nixon. That’s what the late Theo Rye, internationally-recognised expert on the restoring and re-building of classic and traditional craft, reckoned that breathing new life into Ireland’s historic 56ft…
Mick Cotter’s SouthWind 94 Windfall is the largest boat entered for next month’s Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race run by the National YC, and he’ll be looking to topple the course record he established with the 78ft Whisper in 2009.
You’ll seldom if ever hear anyone who has actually done the biennial Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race dismissing it in an offhand way as some sort of Round Ireland Lite writes W M Nixon. It may only be 280…
Timeless good looks, yet practical in every way. It takes a real effort to accept that the Laser is notching the Golden Jubilee this year
At a time when we’re constantly being warned in public life that we have to mark the current “Era of Centenaries” in a sensitive manner, it’s probably insensitive to respond by pointing out that the Irish sailing community is having…
A unique club in a unique setting – when Howth Yacht Club moved into its new premises at mid-harbour early in 1987, it became that year’s Mitsubishi Motors “Sailing Club of the Year”.
Environmental awareness and sailing success to top international level were dynamically intertwined at this week’s official presentation of the Mitsubishi Motors “Sailing Club of the Year 2019” award to Howth Yacht Club writes W M Nixon The announcement that Howth…

William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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