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Sailing on Saturday with WM Nixon
The Rolex Men’s Sailor of the Year 2019, 15-year-old Marco Gradoni of Italy, on his way to winning his third Optimist Worlds in a row at Antigua in July
What’s with today’s teenagers? Time was when your average teen aspired to sleep for 24 hours every day. The reason they slept for 24 hours every day was there were only 24 hours in the day. Move the dial-up to…
(Top) The yachts of the Water Club of the Harbour of Cork on fleet manoeuvres in 1738, as painted by Peter Monamy. Founded in 1720 with just 25 members, the club’s early programme at sea was to follow Sailing Orders with signals by flags from the Admiral’s yacht. But by the 1760s, the occasional race was being held, and by the 1780s racing was a more regular part of the programme Reproduced by courtesy RCYC and (above) Royal Cork 1720 Sportsboats at speed. The Water Club had become the Royal Cork YC by 1831, and having been unique at its foundation in 1720, it had now become part of a much broader development of sailing in both its cruising and racing forms. By the 1970s-1990s, Crosshaven had become a remarkable nucleus for advanced ideas, and the Royal Cork 1720 Sportsboats of 1994 became international trend-setters Photo: Bob Bateman
You thought 2019 was quite the busy sailing year in Ireland? Believe me folks, after writing last Saturday’s marathon review of one very special season, we went through the weekend in a state of mental meltdown which wasn’t helped by…
Summertime on Dublin Bay. In a season of very mixed weather, the biennial Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta managed its usual trick of finding a useful little bit of precious summer.
With two World Championships on the agenda, and Ireland’s biggest sailing event – the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta - making its biennial appearance at mid-season, 2019’s sailing programme couldn’t be anything other than interesting as it also included the increasingly…
The veteran IMOCA 60 4myplanet which Mayo’s Joan Mulloy will be co-skippering with Alexia Barrier in next weekend’s 12,000 mile Transat Jacques Vabre from Le Havre to Bahia in Brazil
Solo sailor Joan Mulloy of Mayo has teamed up as co-skipper with France’s Alexia Barrier on the latter’s veteran IMOCA 60 4Myplanet to become the only all-female crew in the 30-strong IMOCA 60 Class in the 12,000 mile Transat Jacques…
The SB20 has been in Ireland since 2003, but with an increasingly strong class organisation now headed by John Malone of Lough Ree YC, its position is stronger than ever with two overall wins in a row recorded in the annual All-Ireland Helmsmans Championship. Healthy class organisations are essential for the general good of Irish sailing
Here in the Sailing on Saturday verbiage production complex in a hidden bunker under a nameless hill off an un-named coast of Ireland, all this maundering-on about a gloomy future for sailing in general and Irish sailing, in particular, passes…
Olympian Cathy MacAleavey (left) with her daughter Claudine racing their Dublin Bay Water Wag on the Shannon. Cathy will be the only woman helm in this weekend’s All-Ireland Sailing Championship at Dun Laoghaire, crewed by her husband Con Murphy
Only in Ireland could it be like this. We hear that of many things in this curious island of ours. But the varying sailing, location and personal backgrounds of the sixteen helmspersons competing in this weekend’s All-Ireland Helmsmans Championship at…
Peter Kennedy (left) with the Trophy of Trophies, the salver which dates back to 1947, with his crew Stephen Kane after winning the All-Ireland at Lough Ree in October 2018. It was raced in SB20s, in which Kennedy is Irish champion. But though this year’s series will be staged in Flying Fifteens at the National YC in a week’s time, defender Kennedy may have inherited form here, as his parents Terence & Bridget Kennedy of Strangford Lough YC were British F/F  Champions in 1962
The Champion of our Sailing Champions? Ireland first ran with the idea 72 years ago. And while other countries have since come up with their own versions with varying levels of success which have sometimes reduced annually until fading away,…
Dreams of long ago are re-born with relevance for today. The revived Dublin Bay 21 Class being re-created in Kilrush Boatyard will give an accessible introduction to classic wooden boat sailing in Dun Laoghaire in a way that is in tune with the modern trend towards non-ownership
In 1828, when the recently re-named and still only semi-finished harbour of Kingstown on Dublin Bay staged its first regatta, it certainly gave an indication of the transformed place’s potential for waterborne sport. Yet it was not until 1831 that…
A place at ease with itself, despite the inevitable problems of running a busy harbour. Howth at noon on an early September day, with the yacht club beyond and the trawler Eblana – owned by John Lynch and his son Peter – taking aboard her nets after her annual August refit has left her looking very well indeed
Howth Yacht Club has a fresh buzz to it these days, an electrical charge which - if they could somehow package, market and sell it at its true value - would surely provide a handy addition to club revenues. But…
The Dun Laoghaire sea/land interface as seen from seaward as it might be with the new National Watersports Campus installed in the Municipal Watersport Centre at the inner end of the Carlisle Pier
Mark Twain used to say that you should never get into a row with anyone who buys ink by the barrel. But last weekend The Irish Times, our national Paper of Record, ran a Weekend Review feature about the problematical…
There are two diametrically opposed ways of looking at this photo of the Dublin Bay 25s starting a race a very long time ago through the entrance of Dun Laoghaire Harbour. You either loathe it as being a way of beginning a race which puts too much emphasis on luck. Or you can love it as being a celebration of wayward sailing skills which rely on local knowledge and sheer cunning.
Our header photo this week may not be the greatest in terms of clarity and technical brilliance, let alone jaw-dropping drama writes W M Nixon. But it tells us much about our peculiar sport of racing under sail, that two…
Dreamworld. The fabulous location of Greystones and its marina needs an aerial view to be fully appreciated
The problem with Greystones is that it faces the sea writes W M Nixon. Or at the very least, there isn’t a part of the north Wicklow town in which you aren’t very aware that the sea is nearby. The…
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…

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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