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W M Nixon
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…
 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…

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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