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Sailing on Saturday with WM Nixon
The jib topsail blossoms to drive Dickie Gomes’ Ainmara on her way as she sails fast to collect the “Best in Show” award at the RUYC’s 150th Anniversary Sail-past, fifty years after she took part in the same Club’s Centenary Regatta in 1966 with the same crew on board
Afloat.ie’s W M Nixon grabbed only a few hours sleep after his almost continuous coverage of the Volvo Round Ireland Race 2016 before haring off to Bangor in County Down to sail in the RUYC 150th Anniversary Regatta on Saturday…
The coolest stage for an awards ceremony…..George David’s Rambler 88 comes astern close in off the Wicklow pierheads immediately after finishing in a new record time to claim mono-hull line honours, the mono-hull round Ireland open record, the Volvo Round Ireland Race mono-hull record, and – eventually – 1st Overall IRC in the Volvo Round Ireland Race 2016. Just stepped aboard amongst Rambler’s rugged crew are Theo Phelan and David Ryan of Wicklow SC with a jeroboam of Astoria. After this informal yet effective ceremony, when Rambler 88 sailed north back to Dun Laoghaire she took a group of Wicklow schoolchildren with her for the sail of a lifetime
At 704 miles long, with a course along coastlines of almost infinite variety, the Round Ireland Race was always a complex event for post-race analysis even when fleets amounted to only three dozen or so. But for 2016 in the…
The mighty one. Rambler 88 and her formidable owner-skipper George David are at the core of a remarkable team. He reckons that the Round Ireland course record set by Mike Slade’s 100ft Leopard is well within Rambler 88’s potential as the weather for todays racing, and in the day or two ahead, continues to take better shape for speed. And barring accidents or breakages, the record should in any case be very comfortably bested by the three MOD trimarans.
Today sees the start off the Wicklow Pierheads of largest and most varied fleet in the 36-year history of the biennial Round Ireland Race from, which in its 19th edition takes on board sponsors Volvo Car Ireland for the first…
Off to a flying start. Tim & Richard Goodbody’s first major campaign with their new J/109 White Mischief saw them in top form in yesterday’s first two races of the ICRA Nats at Howth in Class 1, in which eleven J/109s are competing.
If you’d brought a party of strangers to sailing out in a spectator boat to view yesterday’s first day of the three-day Irish Cruiser Racing Association’s National Championship, they could have been forgiven wondering why it all attracts such interest.…
ICRA Nats with racing at its best. In the foreground is the vintage Mills 36 Raptor (ex Aztec) campaigned by Dennis Hewitt & partners of RIYC, and entered for next week’s ICRA Championship in Howth
To say that Irish sailing’s programme in June 2016 is crowded is a massive understatement. It’s a month which needs at least two extra weekends. Yet with only four available, sailors have to make hard choices, both as to where…
HMS Caroline in Belfast docks, September 2015. She is now nearing the completion of a restoration by Blu-Marine of Belfast in a project led by Staff Captain John Rees OBE
Next Tuesday, May 31st, marks the Centenary of the outbreak of the Battle of Jutland off the northern coast of Denmark, the greatest sea battle of World War I (1914-18). In terms of the fire-power of the 250 vessels in…
The vision of sailing as it can be in high summer. Dave Cullen’s blue-hulled Checkmate XV starts to show towards the front of the fleet in the 2015 Half Ton World Classics, which she went on to win. But the story behind the pitch-perfect tune of these top racing machines can usually be found in workshops far from sea and sun.
The attraction of boats and the sea as a year-round fascination is something which by-passes many people. And even in summer – particularly if it’s a typical Irish summer – you’d sometimes be hard put to explain the appeal of…
Current Blue Water Medallists Tom and Vicky Jackson aboard their much-travelled S&S 40ft sloop Sunstone. Built by McGruer’s in Scotland in 1963 and originally called Deb, Sunstone was for many years known as Dai Mouse III when she was a regular contender with the ISORA fleet in the Irish Sea
We take it for granted, and it’s always there - whether we like it or not. The good old Irish Sea. But could it be that there’s a new and growing awareness of just how much the Irish Sea can…
The big boys’ game….Antix in fine form in the RORC Easter Challenge 2016. But it was during this event that it became clear the newest generation of the Fast40+ class marked an up-grade in performance, and the amateur crew on the now-veteran Antix will have to focus their efforts with total attention if they’re to be at the races at all.
It has been confirmed by the Irish Cruiser-Racing Association (ICRA) that it’s extremely unlikely that Ireland will be mounting a defence in July 2016 of the RORC Commodore’s Cup, which we so convincingly won in 2014 with the team of Catapult,…
The magic book. The Princess Royal receiving the special copy of Lord Dufferin’s Letters from High Latitudes from Myles Lindsay, Vice Commodore, at the recent reception in the Royal Ulster YC
Maybe it’s time and more to see sailing and its story – and particularly the complex history of Irish sailing north and south – in a new light. This year, the historical sailing focus is on Northern Ireland, where the…
She flies…..current Round Ireland Record Holder Musandam-Oman will be on the line for the start of the Volvo Round Ireland Race at Wicklow on June 18th – and this time Damian Foxall will be on board.
In precisely eight weeks’ time from this morning, adrenalin levels around Wicklow Harbour on Saturday June 18th will be rising as the final countdown begins to the start of the 19th Round Ireland Race. With new sponsorship for Wicklow Sailing…
The beginning of a beautiful friendship – top men Chris Moore of Dublin Bay SC (left) and Philip Sherry of Sherry Fitzgerald at yesterday’s launch of the new sponsorship. Photo: Brendan Fogarty
The 133rd annual racing programme of Dublin Bay Sailing Club was unveiled yesterday in the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, and it brought the announcement by incoming Commodore Chris Moore that the club had secured a strong three year…
The Ship’s Wheel finds its new home for 2016. At the Mitsubishi Motors “Sailing Club of the Year” presentation to the Royal Irish Yacht Club this week were (left to right) David Lovegrove (President Irish Sailing Association), Afloat.ie’s W M Nixon (adjudicator), James Horan (Commodore RIYC), Billy Riordan (Mitsubishi Motors, adjudicator) and Frank Keane (Chairman, Mitsubishi Motors).
We’re into the last weekend in which the popular figure of James Horan will be making regular appearances on the Dun Laoghaire waterfront, and at national sailing occasions, as Commodore of the Royal Irish Yacht Club. Next week at the…
 Howth Harbour today is a very long way from the place deliberately forgotten in the mid-1800s. Photo:W M Nixon
This weekend has the Irish Sailing Youth Pathway Championships being staged at Howth, and despite the weather the place is buzzing. From being a harbour abandoned in embarrassment for twenty years in the middle of the 19th Century, the peninsula…
Let’s hear it for Tasmania! The Hobart-registered Reichel Pugh 66 Alive (Philip Turner) has just recorded line honours and a new record in the Rolex RORC China Sea Race
Sailing forums have seen exchanges in recent days about the relative global coverage of the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s (RORC) measurement system - the International Rating Certificate (IRC) - and the Offshore Racing Congress’s (ORC) Offshore Rating Certificate. Dobbs Davis…
The newly-built Fife-designed Belfast Lough Class I 25ft LWL boats Feltie (George Clark) and Halcyone (Bertie Brown) in action in Clyde Fortnight 1897, just four weeks after they’d had their maiden race on May 29th at Carrickfergus, where they were built by John Hilditch. In a classic Firth of Clyde squall, Feltie is still hanging on to her topsail, though Halcyone under her lowers seems to be providing her robust helmsman with quite enough to be thinking about as he shapes up for a gybe. Belfast Lough Class I made such an impressive debut in Scotland in 1897 that a lengthy report of their success were carried in the New York Times. Photo: Courtesy RUYC
The development of organised sailing in Ireland seems to have spread northeastwards from the south and southwest coasts. Although the great chieftain Hugh Maguire had a fleet of pleasure vessels including sailing craft on Lough Erne in County Fermanagh in…

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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