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Sailing on Saturday with WM Nixon
“Which way would you lordship like the castle to face this year?” Over the centuries, Howth Castle (left) has faced in different directions
You need to be several different people at once in order to thrive in Howth sailing. A classic case in point is former HYC Commodore Brian Turvey. His current highest-profile role - ahead of other deeply committed personal involvements -…
The ketch Ilen adds something exotic to the already complex London skyline
These past few days have been purest serendipity for historic Irish boatbuilders. Just two days after the 1926-vintage West Cork-built Limerick ketch Ilen was celebrated beside the River Thames in London on Wednesday, the 1937 Tyrrell of Arklow 43ft ketch…
The accelerating season of 2022 – the first “proper” sailing season for three years – has revealed even greater enthusiasm for Ireland’s classic classes, arousing hopes that even the Dublin Bay 24s might be brought back to life as a class. One of the highlights of their later years was the Dun Laoghaire Woodenboat Regatta of 1997, with the mood captured aboard the leading DB24 Harmony (Johnston brothers, left & right), with Dr Barbara O’Hanlon, widow of former owner Dr Rory O’Hanlon, in the hatchway, while the late Cass Smullen trims the sheets, and Tim Pearson supervises the Universe from the afterdeck.
We hear so much about the “New Normal” in everyday life ashore that it’s becoming difficult to remember what the Old Normal was like, as employers resort to bribery (“Special Bonuses” if you insist) to entice WFH employees back into…
Gentle start to a great voyage – Saoirse getting under way in Dun Laoghaire on June 20th 1923
Barry Keane and Tony Doherty of Mountaineering Ireland have formally proposed that commemorative postage stamps be issued to celebrate the up-coming Centenary of Conor O’Brien’s pioneering voyage round the world south of the Great Capes with his Irish-built 42ft ketch…
The start of a stellar career. Peter Beamish (RStGYC) racing his new Mills 31 Aztec to success in the 1996 Lambay Race at Howth
With at least four Mark Mills-designed Cape 31s making their Irish class debut at the Wave Regatta in Howth from June 3rd to 5th, we will see one very important wheel come full circle. For it was a 31ft Mark…
Joe Woodward in 2004 with the William Van der Hagen 1738 painting of the Water Club sailing in Cork Harbour, which made for one of his most historic auctions.
Joe Woodward of Cork, who has died aged 90, was the very personification of the spirit of Cork city and harbour as a place where the good things in life are there to be enjoyed, and enjoyed in style. This…
Volvo Cork Week in full cry – as normality returns, this is the sort of sailing Ireland does best
The past two years would have been difficult enough for Irish sailing as we navigated our way - usually with reasonable success – towards keeping our sport as active as possible through various manifestations of the pandemic regulations. But in…
Barcelona waterfront
The revelation that the mighty Spanish sailing resort and port city of Barcelona has been secretly putting together a powerful hosting bid for the 2024 America’s Cup in the heart of vibrant Catalonia has been bruising news down Cork Harbour…
Seasoned campaigners: The First 310 More Mischief (Grzegorz Kalinecki, Dun Laoghaire, left) and the J/122 Aurelia (Chris Power Smith, RStGYC, right) are Numbers 1 and 3 in the growing entry list for the SSE Renewables Round Ireland race from Wicklow on June 18th 2022
For most of us, the pandemic has been a matter of two years in limbo. And it maybe isn’t over yet, even if everyone is behaving as though we’re well into the end game. But for gallant little Wicklow Sailing…
“Keep calm and carry on….” Shannon One Design Senior Statesman Alan Algeo – a former Lough Ree YC Commodore – looking notably serene in the midst of a developing situation
While the sailing programme during the past two years has managed to be played out afloat in a truncated form whenever changing regulations permitted, anything which involved a significant shoreside element of socialising was either cancelled completely, or else moth-balled…
Catch the sun while you can….Royal Cork evening racing finally permitted in first restriction easing in July 2020
One minute it’s winter, and a socially-constrained pandemic-plagued winter at that. And next thing you know, it’s summer, freedom is declared, and our clubs are switching into instant overdrive as sailors go crazy trying to compensate for two years of…
Lively city, dead port – as seen from the top of the Empire State Building, the QE 2 was the only ship moving in New York as she headed seaward past empty berths
The debate about the future form of Dublin Port moved up a gear or two in mid-February with the revelation of the existence of the Docklands Business Forum, and its enthusiasm for moving the working docks elsewhere. With 200 or…
The steel-built gaff cutter Annabel-J (55ft hull length, 64ft LOA) serves as an occasional Editorial Office for the ICC, and was awarded the Fingal Cup for special cruising in 2021
“The Freedom of the Seas” is a grand hifalutin notion altogether, particularly when you try to explain the special joys of cruising to a sailing enthusiast who can only measure pleasure afloat through successful racing results. But as the exchanges…
When the going was good…,Sean Waddilove and Rob Dickson right in the frame on Day 4 of the Tokyo Olympic Regatta
Sailing needs the Olympics much more than the Olympics need sailing. And in Ireland in particular, sailing’s inferior position in this uneven relationship is exacerbated by the national obsession with sport in all its forms, and the often cringe-inducing neediness…
New “Sailor of the Year” Eve McMahon finding her way at speed through the spray of Lake Garda in July, en route to the World Title
Eve McMahon of Howth Yacht Club, the Golden Girl of the international ILCA Classes, is Afloat.ie “Irish Sailor of the Year” for 2021, deservedly following an honoured track set over many years by Ireland’s legends in the sport. Such elevation…
Harold Cudmore seen recently in legendary sailor Willie Jameson’s place in Portmarnock, in phone conversation with longtime sparring partner Malcolm McKeag in Lymington
The bundle of energy once known as Hurricane Harold came whirling by Dublin the other day. His daughter was having a pandemic-delayed graduation at Trinity, and Harold Cudmore’s womenfolk had fitted him into a smart suit for the occasion. It…

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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