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Sailing on Saturday with WM Nixon
The 68ft Nimmo, built by Dan Mill in Galway in a four year project eight years ago, is a reminder that there’s a lot more to sailing in the west than the traditional craft of the Irish Atlantic seaboard
There is really no reasonable comparison between Ireland’s eastern and western seaboards writes W M Nixon. The east coast is quite densely populated, and while it has some areas of impressive scenery, in general it lacks the majestic inlets and…
Jack O’Keeffe leads a race of Drascombes around the Fastnet Rock
With some visionary thinking by Cathy MacAleavey in her capacity as chief of the sub-committee organising the Classics, Traditional and Old Gaffers section of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta & Harbour Bicentenary Festival from June 6th to 9th, the scope…
Pictured (L-R) last night at the Volvo Sailing Awards at the RDS, Dublin were Youth Sailor of the Year Nominee Aoife Hopkins, Winner Ewan MacMahon, Sailor of the Year Annalise Murphy,  Youth Sailor of the Year Nominee Sophie Crosbie and Youth Sailor of the Year Nominee Nicole Hemeryck. Scroll down for photo gallery
Although it was no surprise when Annalise Murphy was enthusiastically acclaimed as the Volvo Sailor of the Year 2016 last night in Dublin, the ceremonies around her “coronation” were a reminder that our boat sports and amateur sailors are great…
Hal Sisk aboard the newly-restored 1894-built Peggy Bawn in Dublin Bay in 2005, with the square-rigger Jeanie Johnston in the background. Peggy Bawn will be one of the stars of the Classics & Traditional section in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017, celebrating the Bicentenary of the harbour. Photo: W M Nixon
There could well be as many opinions as to what constitutes a true classic or traditional boat as there are owners of these often highly individual craft. As part of the celebration of the Bicentenary of Dun Laoghaire Harbour –…
Alex Thomson – who spent five years of his childhood in Crosshaven – at full speed in Hugo Boss. He is expected to finish the Vendee Globe next Wednesday night/Thursday morning in Les Sables d’Olonne, and is challenging Banque Populaire VIII for the lead despite losing the starboard foil – seen activated in this photo – at an early stage of the race.
Enda O’Coineen may have exited the Vendee Globe in dramatic fashion on New Year’s Day when, as he drolly put it, Kilcullen Voyager stopped stone dead as she zapped into the back of a Southern Ocean wave, but his enormous…
Making the international stage. The start of the Volvo Round Ireland Race 2016 as seen from a typical Wicklow hilltop, with George David’s mighty Rambler 88 dominating the line–up
Wicklow Sailing Club are best-known as the big-hearted little organisation which keeps the iconic Volvo Round Ireland Race show on the road with such style that it is now one of Europe’s premier events, with a stellar international entry list…
(Top) Bonito as she was in Strangford Lough in 1884 and (above) Bonito as she was in Dun Laoghaire for many years under Roy Starkey’s ownership
The traditional timing of the London International Boat Show as soon as possible after New Year’s Day may have been shifted about in recent years as the changing dynamics of the European marine industry and the sheer dominance through size…
Battered but unbowed. Enda O Coineen has a rough and ready dry-off in the cramped cabin of Kilcullen Voyager.
The 72nd Rolex-Sydney-Hobart gets under way on Monday. The Australian ocean classic is rightly regarded as a tough event. Yet in terms of the sailing challenges its poses, it seems to pale into insignificance when set against the Everest of…
The timelessness of it all…..it may be completely artificial, with an almost entirely built waterfront, but for most of us Dun Laoghaire Harbour seems a natural part of the environment
Afloat.ie’s W M Nixon is usually quick off the mark about firing in historical references on just about any sailing topic. With the Christmas season upon us, we asked him for a report from Dun Laoghaire in 2050, and to…
Getting them introduced to sailing – junior wannabee sailors aboard SailCork’s First 36.7 Holy Grounder
After decades of expansion, many participant sports which are at the heart of our way of life have in recent years seen the numbers actively involved becoming static at best, and in many cases contracting. This is particularly the case…
Conor O’Brien’s Saoirse as she was in the 1950s under Eric Ruck’s ownership. This eccentric-looking 42ft ketch achieved daily mileages in the Southern Ocean which showed she was something very special
The process towards re-creating Conor O’Brien’s famous Baltimore–built 42ft ketch Saoirse, in which he gained his place in international sailing’s Hall of Fame with the first circuit of the world by a small vessel south of the great capes in…
Something to celebrate. Dun Laoghaire Harbour’s glory days and the Bicentenary of the harbour will be honoured with a large Classics Section in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta from July 6th-9th. This photo is believed to be from 1900, and it shows the Viceroy Lord Dudley crossing the in-harbour finish line in his new Dublin Bay 25 Fodhla close ahead of other DBSC 25s, and in company with the first of the new-style Water Wags.
The notion that the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017 from July 6th to 9th should include a significant Classics and Old Gaffers element to mark the Bicentenary of this great harbour surfaced only relatively recently. Yet this week a high-powered…
How international can you get? Lineup of several nations in the KBC Laser Worlds at Dun Laoghaire, where Ewan MacMahon won the Silver Medal.
Irish sailing may have gone very public and centre stage in the national consciousness in August 2016, when our Olympic squad performed with distinction. But all round the coast and on the lakes, and at major venues overseas, sailing events…
The “Suburban Seafest”. Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta from 6th to 9th July 2017 will be providing racing in the bay for 30 classes.
The only non-elitist thing about the Olympic Games is the fact that all countries – however large or small – are treated equally. A small country like Ireland is entitled to exactly the same number of places in competition as…
The moment when a nation held its breath. Annalise Murphy in her Laser Radial approaches the finish line to clinch the Silver Medal in the Olympic Games at Rio, Tuesday August 16th 2016
It’s indicative of the pace of Irish sailing in 2016 that for anyone taking an overview, it takes a bit of an effort to remember what the weather was like for much of our spring, summer and autumn. Admittedly, here…
The restored Dublin Bay 24 Periwinkle, currently based in southern Brittany, would be a star turn in the Classic Yachts section in next year’s Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta if she could be persuaded to return for the celebration of the Bicentenary of Dun Laoghaire Harbour in 2017.
It could be argued that Dun Laoghaire Harbour has never been completely finished writes W M Nixon. To varying degrees, it has always been Work in Progress. Construction started in 1817, yet it was maybe all of twenty or even…

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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