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Sailing on Saturday with WM Nixon
Busy men. Mark Mansfield on the wheel and Maurice “Prof” O’Connell optimising the trim on Dave Cullen’s J/109 Euro Car Parks at the start of the Volvo Round Ireland Race 2016, in which they won their class - the only Irish boat to do so. While the boat - in her other life, she’s the Kelly family’s Storm - has been an ICRA “Boat of the Year” in past seasons, at last weekend’s ICRA National Conference in Limerick, Mark Mansfield was present to collect the “Boat of the Year” award on behalf of John Maybury’s J/109 Joker 2, his regular mount. And the Prof was there to tell us about winning the Melges 24 Worlds in Conor Clarke’s Melges 24 Embarr
On the other hand, ICRA could equally mean 'Ireland’s Cool Runnings Assembly'. In the week in which the Travelling Community was granted Ethnic Minority Status, W M Nixon finds himself among two groups which might be equally deserving of such…
Glory days. Asgard II at her best in a Tall Ships Parade in the Baltic in company with the Russian government’s Shtandart, a replica of a warship built by Peter the Great in the early 1700s.
As we move into March each year, throughout Ireland Tall Ships enthusiasts will wistfully recall that it was in March 1981 that Ireland finally commissioned her own Tall Ship, a national flagship worthy of our aspirations, the Jack Tyrrell-designed and…
This famous 1834 aquatint by J Lyons of a schooner from Bermuda sailing in the Caribbean shows that the straightforward Bermudan rig was already old hat when it caught on elsewhere in the 20th Century
The 35th staging of international races for the 176-year-old America’s Cup is rising rapidly up the agenda. The opening jousts for challengers begin on 26th May 2017 at the first-time-selected venue of Bermuda, and the cup series itself starts there…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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 complete package. DBSC Commodore Chris Moore racing his J/109 Powder Monkey in Calves Week at Schull. Despite her undistorted hull shape and comfortable accommodation, the J/109 frequently beats all comers in open IRC racing, while also now offering the possibility of viable One Design racing in Dublin Bay
The J/109 has proven herself to be well suited for sailing in Irish waters for several years, achieving major successes in the main offshore races and championships allied to starring roles in top regattas. Yet it is only now that…
Artist Brian Byrnes and Maedhbh Murphy, archivist of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, with the artist’s new painting envisaging how Sir Thomas Myles’ Chotah, one of the Irish gun-running vessels of 1914, might have looked with a steam-driven auxiliary engine fitted. Sir Thomas Myles was President of the RCSI from 1900 to 1902
The Erskine Childers-led Howth and Wicklow gun-runnings of July 1914 took place so quickly and efficiently that those involved ashore only had fleeting glimpses of the boats involved. Although Erskine & Molly Childers’ historic ketch Asgard is now conserved and…

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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