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Sailing on Saturday with WM Nixon
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…
The Kelly family’s J/109 Storm (Howth YC and Rush SC) firmly in control for overall victory at the recent Kip Regatta in Scotland
The vibrant J/109 class in the Greater Dublin area starts its “One Design” season today with the two day Eastern Championship at the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire. The class as a One-Design then goes through a busy…
The award-winning National Yacht Club makes the best use of every square inch of space for boat facilities in its secluded and hospitable corner of Dun Laoghaire Harbour. Photo: Beau Outteridge
The sailing community in Ireland is a tribe. And our many and various clubhouses are its temples writes W M Nixon. You get a real sense of this of this at the annual presentation of the Mitsubishi Motors “Sailing Cub…
Conor Fogerty breezing along in the latter stage of the OSTAR as though he hasn’t a care in the world. He’s finally getting into warmer water, the old shorts are out, he’s in his bare feet, and Bam! is going like a train with her familiar twin-tail wake zooming back to the horizon.
For most participants, sailing is a team effort – we sail as part of a crew in a reasonably sociable mutually-supportive environment. Yet increasingly the best-known sailors are those who compete solo. While we’re naturally interested in the great sailing…
The Ron Holland-designed Club Shamrock Emircedes, a 30-footer which originated in Cork in the mid-1970s. Peter Ryan and his father-in-law Michael Horgan campaigned her actively for nearly two decades until she was finally sold in 2004. In their ownership she was a veteran of many ISORA annual programmes, in addition to the Round Ireland and Dun Laoghaire to Dingle races as well as regular participation in Dublin Bay
“Peter Ryan of ISORA”. That’s all you have to say to anyone who knows anything of the Byzantine workings of the sailing scene in and around Ireland, and they’ll immediately know not only know exactly who you mean, but will…
The Great Granite Pond as this weekend’s youth sailing venue. If we see Dun Laoghaire Harbour as a natural feature of Dublin Bay, rather than as some enormous artificial construct from which income should be extracted through every possible source, then its continued existence as a National Heritage site and relatively uncommercialised recreational amenity for the general good might make more sense
With 190 sailors from 25 clubs nationwide, the first ever Northern Ireland–hosted Youth Pathway Nationals 2017 at Ballyholme last year had a debut which was little short of sensational. The momentum has been maintained into 2018 for a real talent-spotting…
The repaired IMOCA Souffle du Nord re-appears on Auckland Harbour with an extended name, but the humming bird continues to fly
Lone sailor Enda O Coineen will soon – barring any cruel last-minute setbacks - complete his current personal Odyssey to finish his very individualistic version of the Vendee Globe Round the World course writes W M Nixon. He’s slightly ahead…
Dublin Bay Sailing Club’s latest 48-page yearbook is the visible face of a significant part of Irish sailing’s organisational infrastructure
It’s big, it’s unique, and it’s the focal point of recreational interaction with the sea for one of the more affluent areas of population in Europe writes W M Nixon. But anyone visiting Dun Laoghaire Harbour for the first time,…
Starting young. Thumbs up from Billy Coyne (aged 12) aboard Lula Belle at the start of the breezy Volvo Dun Laoghaire-Dingle Race 2017
It’s highly likely that a trial Olympic offshore racing event will be run in tandem with the 2020 Sailing Olympiad in Tokyo in 2020, and one proposal which seems to have traction is that a boat similar to the Figaro…
A joy to sail. Bantry Boats revelling in open sea conditions off the Morbihan in France during 2014’s Atlantic Challenge
Most sailing folk in Ireland will have some level of awareness of the Bantry Boat. Even those who live most determinedly in the present, and look unswervingly to the future, will be vaguely aware that thanks to some fortuitous turns…
Conor Fogerty of Howth’s Class 3 winner Bam! pacing with the higher-rated J/122 Liquid as they approach the final turn of the RORC Caribbean 600 at the deserted island of Redonda on Thursday evening
With winter still clinging like a hyper-cold limpet in northern latitudes, the prospect of balmy breezes and warm seas in the tenth annual RORC Caribbean 600 in late February seemed like the perfect prospect for escape and sport writes W…
Maire Breathnach at the helm of the Swan 44 King of Hearts off Cape Horn in 2004 during the circuit of South America, when she was first awarded the Irish Cruising Club’s Faulkner Cup
Irish cruising under sail and power is being celebrated and developed this weekend. Last night’s AGM of the Irish Cruising Club in the National YC in Dun Laoghaire saw this 1929-founded organisation moving its many activities forward on all fronts…
Role reversal. A year ago, when Olympic Medallist Annalise Murphy became Volvo Sailor of the Year 2016, monthly award winner Conor Fogerty got together with her for a quick snap. Now, she is on the high seas, racing the Hong Kong to New Zealand leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. And Conor Fogerty is now Volvo Sailor of the Year 2017
As he commented at last night’s annual Volvo Sailing Awards ceremony, our Sailing on Saturday columnist reckons that anyone who thinks they really understand every aspect of the Irish sailing and boating scene obviously isn’t a part of it. It’s…
Pata Negra, a Marc Lombard-designed IRC 46. This interesting boat has been chartered by Howth’s Michael Wright for the RORC Caribbean 600 in two weeks’ time
The annual RORC Caribbean 600 in late February is now a pillar event of the international offshore racing programme, despite the fact that it was only first sailed – and on a rather experimental basis at that – as recently…

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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