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Sailing on Saturday with WM Nixon
The magic atmosphere of classic boat-building - the Dublin Bay 24 Zephyra under re-construction at the Apprenticeshop in Maine, USA.
Dublin Bay has an unrivalled continuous history of One-Design sailing and racing writes W M Nixon. It runs in a golden thread all the way back to 1887, when Ben Middleton launched his little class of Water Wag dinghies to…
In balance. The newly-honoured “Sailors of the Year 2018” Sean Waddilove and Robert Dickson achieving optimal windward performance with their Gold Medal-winning International Olympic 49er
There is no other event quite like the annual Afloat.ie Volvo Irish Sailing Awards writes W M Nixon. Ireland is small enough for most of the key people in sailing ashore and afloat to know each other personally. So it…
The heart of it all. The Corby 25 Fusion (Richard Colwell & Ronan Cobbe) in a club evening race at Howth
When time is spent with Richard Colwell, who was elected as the new Commodore of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association in November, you’re quickly reminded of the saying: “If you want anything done, and done well, then ask a busy…
Smoothly away. The Defence Forces’ crew in the J/109 Joker II going well at the start of the Volvo Round Ireland Race 2018 at Wicklow. But in order to be there, they’d to use military principles to fit their preparations into a very tight time-frame. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O’Brien
It was while crossing the Atlantic on the Sail Training Brigantine Asgard II during a celestial navigation module of his Naval Service education in 1999 that Barry Byrne had something of an epiphany writes W M Nixon. He’d been introduced…
Onwards and upwards….the new Ship of Dreams for offshore racing hopefuls is making its debut at Dusseldorf Boat Show. A CGI of the new Pogo Classe Mini Proto Foiler, which will provide a potential access point for Mini-Transat, Figaro Solo, Class 40 and IMOCA 60 enthusiasts
In the Great Halls of Dusseldorf, where the colossal annual Boat Show opens today with its Golden Jubilee providing multiple opportunities for appropriate Wagnerian accompaniment for hyper-glossy boats on the grand scale, a specialised level of interest will focus on…
Howth YC’s Conor Fogerty with his Sunfast 36000 Bam! starts the final 47-mile beat of the breezy RORC Caribbean 600 in February 2018, on his way to winning his class (for the second time) just a fortnight after he’d been declared Ireland’s “Sailor of the Year” in Dublin
Howth Yacht Club has become the latest winner of the Mitsubishi Motors “Sailing Club of the Year” Award primarily on the strength of its sailing successes through 2018 - major successes which began in February and continued until well into…
Wild Oats X1 approaching the finish in the heart of Hobart harbour to take line honours in the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race 2018. Thanks to her speed, though the actual wind is from aft of the beam, she seems to be on a close reach
Hobart in Tasmania is a characterful port with a certain style to it, picturesquely located in handsome scenery on the estuary of the River Derwent writes W M Nixon. It’s home to a goodly fleet of sailcraft and motorboats of…
Ballivor go breach!!! Jim Cooney’s Supermaxi Comanche will be hoping for vigorous winds in next week’s Rolex-Sydney-Hobart Race. He maintains close links with his ancestral homelands in County Meath, and his crew will include renowned bowman Justin Slattery of Wexford and Kinsale
What would Christmas be like without sailing? Such a state of deprivation just doesn’t bear thinking about writes W M Nixon. But thanks to the wonders of modern communication - which at other times can be too much of a…
For the casual spectator, this is the kind of sailing that attracts attention – Alex Thomson’s IMOCA 60 Hugo Boss at full chat on the foils.
The sailing community’s notable diversity is dependent on how you’re trying to analyse it writes W M Nixon. For many, it’s the community aspect, the shared love of boats and sailing and interacting with sea or lake, which is the…
Winter? What winter? Veteran skipper George Sisk’s rejuvenated Farr 42 WOW in sparkling form in the Turkey Shoot Series in Dublin Bay
Maybe it’s the fact that the days start to get longer again in only a fortnight, but there’s mood of rising optimism in Irish sailing these days writes W M Nixon. There’s an almost measurable buzz in the air which…
Could it be one of the Blaskets? Or maybe a southern island of the Outer Hebrides? Not so. This is the Big One – Cape Horn on a good day. It was 94 years ago this Sunday that Conor O’Brien of Limerick achieved the remarkable “first” of crossing the Southern Ocean directly from New Zealand and rounding Cape Horn with his 42ft Baltimore-built ketch Saoirse
On most coastlines in the world, you’ll invariably hear of some challenging nearby headland being referred to as “the local Cape Horn” writes W M Nixon No other promontory worldwide has the same global image. It tells us much about…
After a few days with the Ilen in Limerick’s Ted Russell Dock, you get used to the ever-present yet always-changing metallic mini-mountains
Down Limerick way, somebody is probably already putting together an appropriate song about how the historic sail trading ketch Ilen was saved from the scrapyard through a heroic decade-long restoration programme by Limerick’s Ilen Project, only to spend her first…
Ireland’s Tom Dolan in his Figaro 2 Smurfit Kappa, turning to windward along the north coast of Spain during the Portosin-St Gilles leg of the 2018 Solitaire URGO Figaro – he was first rookie in this stage. Although the versatile Figaro 2 is being replaced by the foiling Figaro 3 for the Golden Jubilee Figaro Series next year, the introduction of a new offshore racing event in the 2024 Olympics could give the Figaro 2 a fresh lease of life
A woman. A man. Three days and two nights together at sea. Racing in a cramped 30ft boat. Under 24-hour surveillance. It sounds like the latest pitch for a Reality TV show. Arguably, it is. But it’s also the new…
Never happier than when at sea - Donal Lynch in 1998, aboard the Swan 55 Rambler.
Donal Lynch’s remarkable life was a series of successful and interconnecting phases writes W M Nixon. His engaging presence is now gone from among us at the age of 81, and he is very much missed. Yet so much of…
Beaufort Cup racing in Volvo Cork Week. Commandant Barry Byrne’s success with racing John Maybury’s J/109 Joker 2 in this series, and in the Round Ireland Race earlier in July, was one of 2018’s many remarkable achievements
As we begin to contemplate a 24th year for the Afloat.ie/Irish Sailing “Sailors of the Month” assessments in 2019, it’s time and more for a look back to the people and the achievements which defined our top performers in and…
Summer sailing as it should be….Jump Juice from Cork in the lead at the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, which will be the biggest event in Irish waters in 2019
“For everything to stay the same, everything must change….” It’s an enduring and profound thought from the classic Italian novel The Leopard. And it applies to Irish sailing at least much as it does to most other aspects of Irish…

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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