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Sailing on Saturday with WM Nixon
A race and a place imbued with history – the Rock is astern in 2015’s Rolex Fastnet Race with the classic Stormy Weather (overall winner in 1935) leading from fellow-classic Dorade (overall winner in 1931 and again in 1933).
It was announced this week that the 2019 RORC Rolex Fastnet Race from Cowes will have a change of its original date, with its start moved back from Sunday, August 18th all the way to Saturday, August 3rd. W M…
The Supreme Master – Bruce Kirby designed the hugely popular Laser 48 years ago.
Lasers Masters do not grow old as those who stay ashore or go into keelboats grow old. On the contrary, they’re Tir na nOg afloat. It’s the Land of the Ever-Young out on the sea. And the prospect of the…
The fleet nicely stitched up at the start. Jonny Swan’s Harmony (foreground) and Dave Cullen’s Checkmate XV (blue bow) nicely clear in a Half Ton Classics start in Belgium. The final overall result was Checkmate first and Harmony second
A properly managed race-winning cruiser-racer talks to us. And we, in turn, think in terms of “a well-presented boat” writes W M Nixon. But there’s much more to it than stylish presentation. It’s not enough just to look good. Everything…
The home place……clear evening at Greystones Harbour with the Sugarloaf Mountain silhouetted against the last of the sunset. This weekend sees the two-day Taste of Greystones Regatta in the continuing celebration of Greystones Sailing Club’s Golden Jubilee Year
When 2018’s rain-free heat-wave of zephyrs and calms was at its peak in July, old salts of every age and gender naturally and inevitably observed in their sagacious way that it would all end with a bang. They reckoned that…
Hanging in there……Ireland’s community-minded International GP 14 Class meet for their three-day Irish Nationals at Sligo today. Skerries SC and GP14 Ireland will be hosting the Worlds at Skerries in 2020
With 178 Optimists racing in the Irish Nationals at Kinsale, and Ireland’s GP14 dinghies in fine form after the massive Worlds in England as they gather for their own Nationals in Sligo this weekend through to Monday, there’s much to…
John Maybury’s J/109 Joker II will be looking to take her fourth ICRA National title in a row in Galway next week after an extraordinary month in July when she achieved success in the Round Ireland and Beaufort Cup skippered by Commandant Barry Byrne
With three-times-in-a-row class champion Joker 2 (John Maybury, Royal Irish YC) set to defend her title for an unprecedented fourth time, the Irish Cruiser Racing Association Nationals in Galway next week will be making history at least twice over in…
West Cork sailing at its best – Paul O'Higgins' JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI in action at Calves Week
West Cork, Ireland's own Lotus Land, should be designated a licensed substance writes W M Nixon. A licensed substance with a proper scientific code, to be administered only by highly-trained professionals. People in white coats. In a clinical setting. For…
May 7th, 1915. The sailing fishing boat Wanderer from the Isle of Man is first on the scene after the Transatlantic liner Lusitania is torpedoed ten miles off the Old Head of Kinsale by a German submarine as an act of war. The first survivors have already been hauled on board Wanderer, while others struggle towards their rescuer in the water or on lifeboats
In the midst of high summer, with life slowed by the all-pervading heat, it is almost impossible to contemplate the sheer horror of total conflict as experienced in the industrialised attacks of the Great War of 1914-18 writes W M…
2020 is the Royal Cork YC Tricentenary and1720 was when it first happened. The 1720 Sportsboats racing in towards Cork Harbour with the growing sea breeze are a timely reminder of this globally significant date in just two years’ time
If you set out to explain to a stranger to sailing everything that has been going on afloat and ashore at Volvo Cork Week 2018 (and we refer only to the official events), then you’d find yourself warbling away until…
Commandant Barry Byrne helms the J/109 Joker II around a sunlit Fastnet Rock on Sunday July 1st during the recent Volvo Round Ireland Race, with the sky beyond giving hints of the strong headwinds to be met off Ireland’s west coast. He will be racing round the Fastnet again next week in the same boat, defending the Beaufort Cup in Volvo Cork Week
Time was when “A Soldier’s Wind” was a slightly patronising term used to describe exceptionally favourable conditions for smooth voyaging in the great days of sail, with a beam reach in a good Force 4 being held up as the…
Going for it. Baraka GP may have looked every inch a winner as she settled down after the start going past Wicklow Head, but she experienced many reversals of fortune before moving into the overall lead for the final 180 miles
The Volvo Round Ireland Race from Wicklow back in 2016 was something of a unicorn event writes W M Nixon. George David’s majestic Rambler 88 took mono-hull line honours, the new mono-hull course record, and the overall IRC win -…
Chris Power Smith’s optimized J/122 Aurelia (RStGYC) is one of many contenders in with a good chance in the 20th staging of the biennial Volvo Round Ireland Race, which starts today off Wicklow at 2.0pm
It was the dogged determination of Wicklow Sailing Club 38 years ago that brought about the beginnings of an event which has since become an internationally-recognised cornerstone in the complex structure of the Irish sailing programme writes W M Nixon.…
The spirit of Dublin Bay – the J/109 Powder Monkey sailed by current DBSC Commodore (and former NYC Commodore) Chris Moore. The J/109s will have some of the closest racing in today’s National Yacht Club Regatta
The Annual Regatta of any yacht or sailing club is the ultimate expression of the club’s identity. The ideal is a very special mixture of the best of sailing sport afloat followed by hospitality and conviviality ashore, with it all…
International designer Ron Holland in his studio in Vancouver
Like many New Zealanders, the young Ron Holland was mad keen about boats and sailing. And like several eventually distinguished fellow-countrymen, he has found his life path through a successful career in the international yacht design industry, right up to…
The man and his boat. Gregor McGuckin with his Biscay 36 Hanley Energy Endurance this week in a sun-soaked Dun Laoghaire, where the harsh realities of the Great Southern Ocean seemed very remote
There is a monumental singularity of achievement in Robin Knox-Johnston’s non-stop solo voyage around the world in the 32ft Suhaili fifty years ago. While there may have been others taking on the Golden Globe Challenge set by The Sunday Times…
The harbour on the other side of the hill……..for many of the visiting boats taking part in the Wave at Howth, this is a mysterious and secret place north of Dublin Bay, hidden on the far side of a hilly peninsula inhabited by a strange tribe.
It may only be the start of June, but Howth Yacht Club already has an extra-special year going in 2018, and all the signs are that it will continue to get better. W M Nixon takes the pulse of a…

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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