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Sailing on Saturday with WM Nixon
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…
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…
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…

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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