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Sailing on Saturday with WM Nixon
The Children of Danu – since this photo of Ruari and Lilian was taken as they departed from the Fastnet last June, they and their parents have been in some mighty mountain ranges, crossed oceans, navigated up jungle rivers in the tropics, and sailed to treasure islands.
Last June, in what was meant to be the mid-summer period, Ireland was experiencing notably unseasonal weather with winds in the northerly sector which were cold - as anyone who took part in the biennial Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race will…
A town and its harbour. From a height, Dun Laoghaire and its harbour may look to be dynamically inter-twined. But at sea level, things can be very different.
Dun Laoghaire is undoubtedly a harbour which merits study. So much so, in fact, that as of this week, the qualifications for detailed study of the magnificent artificial harbour and the remarkable town beside it have been quantified - to…
J/109s in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta in Dublin Bay. Racing in Irish and nearby waters keeps the budget manageable, but aspirations to international competition and Olympic participation immediately activate a built-in travel cost before any further expenditure is taken into account
It is still possible to sail in Irish waters in your own cruiser-racer without involving enormous expense. You just have to be prepared to do it in a boat of economical size which is far from being the newest available.…
Cork Harbour – “Where it All Began”. One of the finest natural harbours in the world, it provided a unique set of circumstances in 1720 to bring the world’s senior yacht club into existence, a pioneering organisation which has influenced the develpment of recreational sailing ever since. Crosshaven – home of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, is centre left
The Royal Cork Yacht Club is the new Mitsubishi Motors Sailing Club of the Year, both in honour of its Tricentenary in 2020, and in celebration of a busy and successful season in 2019. The hospitable club faces this unprecedented…
Where did the original Mayflower’s Transatlantic voyage really begin? This is Mystic Seaport’s replica Mayflower II, and with the 400th Anniversary of the original’s voyage to America coming up in 2020, the people of Harwich on England’s East Coast claim that their links to the original Mayflower are much stronger than those of Plymouth in Devon.
Some sailing events capture the popular imagination, while others – for some reason – simply pass by relatively unheeded. Either way, there’s no doubting that the 628-mile Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race is in the former category, with its crazy Christmas-time start…
Hot favourite in a heatwave: Matt Allen’s Botin TP 52 Ichi Ban 2 – with Gordon Maguire (on helm here) as sailing master - is reckoned to be the banker for next Thursday’s 75th Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race.
In Australia, the unprecedented heatwave is so totally engulfing the continent that respected observers of maritime weather patterns such as Matt Allen, owner/skipper of the very special Botin-designed TP52 development Ichi Ban 2, reckon that we’ll have to be a…
HYC Breakthrough, the First 40 which is the Howth entry for the 75th Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race of 630 miles in twelve days’ time
Back in 1991 when the world seemed a much simpler place, a three-crew Irish team - using shrewdly-selected offshore racing boats chartered in Australia - took part in the then-popular International Southern Cross Series, which was built around a programme…
“The light of other days…..” The Dublin Bay 21 Naneen sails for the first time in 33 years in the otherworldly illumination of December sunshine on the Shannon Estuary. Photo: Kate Griffiths
Sunshine in December imparts a surreal look to everything it illuminates with its vivid low-angled delineation. And for anyone who happened to be on the Shannon Estuary between Kilrush and Scattery Island on Monday afternoon this week, the sense of…
The modern Dragon class racing the 2019 Grand Prix at Cannes – an extraordinary transformation for a boat designed 90 years ago to be a weekend cruiser and club racer in the Swedish islands around Gothenburg.
The International Dragon Class and Kinsale seem to have been made for each other. When the Dragon Gold Cup is staged at the glossy south coast port next September, there will undoubtedly be a natural harmony to the event. With…
The 40th anniversary Round Ireland Race from Wicklow on June 20th will be an “alternative highlight” of the 2020 season, with fresh sponsorship from SSE Renewables. The 2018 winner, Baraka GP (a Ker 43), is seen here sweeping past Wicklow Head shortly after the start. The middle third of the race saw conditions go against her, and at one stage off the north coast of Mayo she was lying 23rd overall. But in the later stages, skipper Niall Dowling (RIYC) and navigator Ian Moore called the tactics to such good effect that Baraka took line honours and won overall. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O’Brien
Nobody seems yet to have nominated the already very special 2020 as The Year of the Sailing Club, or more accurately as The Year of the Irish Sailing Club. So here in Afloat.ie we’re just going to do that very…
Flying the flag for Ireland, asymmetric style. The US and UK in downwind dicing with Ireland, represented by Royal Cork YC and skippered by Anthony O’Leary, in the New York YC 20-team international series in September at Newport, RI. Ireland finished third overall in a series raced in the new Melges IC 37s, designed by Mark Mills of Wicklow
The Irish sailing and boating season seems to get longer and more complex with every passing year, yet the vast majority of us would like it all to happen on days of floating summery perfection, with the ideal weight of…
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…

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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