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Sailing on Saturday with WM Nixon
Racing certainty? The 1971-vintage S&S 49 Hiro Maru (Hiro Nakajima) crossing the finish line at the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes to win Class 3 in the 2019 Transatlantic Race. Hiro Maru is currently the senior entry in the SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race 2020, and the favourite to be the first winner of the Maybird Mast Trophy for the oldest boat to complete the course, while also being well in the reckoning for other honours.
There’s a rumour going around about the cancellation of this week’s traditional Dublin launch in the Royal Irish Yacht Club of the biennial SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race, due to start from Wicklow Sailing Club on June 20th. The rumour…
Making sailing fun again – the user-friendly Sun Fast 3300 provides maximum sport for best-utilised effort as the boat moves over rather than through the water.
We were having one of those brainstorming discussions the other day about how best to promote sailing in Ireland, when some still small voice suggested that we were going at the challenge entirely the wrong way. We were thinking in…
Strangford village’s own-build St Ayle’s Skiff. A sister-ship is to be built in Kilrush by Seol Sionna, builders and owners of the gaff cutter Sally O’Keeffe
This weekend two years ago, Storm Emma was sweeping Ireland, with onshore hurricane-force winds attacking much of the East Coast and wrecking a shed on Howth’s East Pier where, for decades, boats of the 1898-founded Howth Seventeen Foot class had…
A long way from Portmarnock and early seagoing experience on Asgard – Darren Nagle’s award-winning Chantey V in the majestic anchorage of Puffin Bay in Alaska
The Irish Cruising Club celebrated the completion of its successful 90th year at its Annual General Meeting in the Royal Irish YC in Dun Laoghaire last night and saw a significant change of the watch with Stanton Adair of Belfast…
If it’s February, it must be Miami…..this weekend sees two boat shows at full steam ahead in Miami, and Gerry & Martin Salmon of MGM Boats of Dun Laoghaire are with the Prestige array in the Miami Yacht Show.
With the Silver Jubilee of their leading Dun Laoghaire boat agency, brokerage, dealership and boatyard only two years away, Gerry and Martin Salmon of MGM Boats find themselves in the position of being seen as senior role models in a…
Maritime Ireland. Howth Harbour on New Year’s Day 2020, with the local fishing fleet augmented by the well-kept Clogherhead fleet from Port Oriel, a small but very busy fishing port which doesn’t enjoy the same total shelter that Howth provides for the mid-winter break. The sails in the Sound inside Ireland’s Eye belong to cruisers and Lasers celebrating the first day of Howth YC’s 125th Anniversary Year
With Storm Ciara battering the country on this General Election day to remind us all of who is really the boss in Ireland during an average February, it’s timely to reflect on the longterm effect of the choices we make…
The Children of Danu – since this photo of Ruari and Lilian was taken as they departed from the Fastnet last June, they and their parents have been in some mighty mountain ranges, crossed oceans, navigated up jungle rivers in the tropics, and sailed to treasure islands.
Last June, in what was meant to be the mid-summer period, Ireland was experiencing notably unseasonal weather with winds in the northerly sector which were cold - as anyone who took part in the biennial Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race will…
J/109s in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta in Dublin Bay. Racing in Irish and nearby waters keeps the budget manageable, but aspirations to international competition and Olympic participation immediately activate a built-in travel cost before any further expenditure is taken into account
It is still possible to sail in Irish waters in your own cruiser-racer without involving enormous expense. You just have to be prepared to do it in a boat of economical size which is far from being the newest available.…
Cork Harbour – “Where it All Began”. One of the finest natural harbours in the world, it provided a unique set of circumstances in 1720 to bring the world’s senior yacht club into existence, a pioneering organisation which has influenced the develpment of recreational sailing ever since. Crosshaven – home of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, is centre left
The Royal Cork Yacht Club is the new Mitsubishi Motors Sailing Club of the Year, both in honour of its Tricentenary in 2020, and in celebration of a busy and successful season in 2019. The hospitable club faces this unprecedented…
Where did the original Mayflower’s Transatlantic voyage really begin? This is Mystic Seaport’s replica Mayflower II, and with the 400th Anniversary of the original’s voyage to America coming up in 2020, the people of Harwich on England’s East Coast claim that their links to the original Mayflower are much stronger than those of Plymouth in Devon.
Some sailing events capture the popular imagination, while others – for some reason – simply pass by relatively unheeded. Either way, there’s no doubting that the 628-mile Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race is in the former category, with its crazy Christmas-time start…
Hot favourite in a heatwave: Matt Allen’s Botin TP 52 Ichi Ban 2 – with Gordon Maguire (on helm here) as sailing master - is reckoned to be the banker for next Thursday’s 75th Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race.
In Australia, the unprecedented heatwave is so totally engulfing the continent that respected observers of maritime weather patterns such as Matt Allen, owner/skipper of the very special Botin-designed TP52 development Ichi Ban 2, reckon that we’ll have to be a…
HYC Breakthrough, the First 40 which is the Howth entry for the 75th Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race of 630 miles in twelve days’ time
Back in 1991 when the world seemed a much simpler place, a three-crew Irish team - using shrewdly-selected offshore racing boats chartered in Australia - took part in the then-popular International Southern Cross Series, which was built around a programme…
“The light of other days…..” The Dublin Bay 21 Naneen sails for the first time in 33 years in the otherworldly illumination of December sunshine on the Shannon Estuary. Photo: Kate Griffiths
Sunshine in December imparts a surreal look to everything it illuminates with its vivid low-angled delineation. And for anyone who happened to be on the Shannon Estuary between Kilrush and Scattery Island on Monday afternoon this week, the sense of…
The modern Dragon class racing the 2019 Grand Prix at Cannes – an extraordinary transformation for a boat designed 90 years ago to be a weekend cruiser and club racer in the Swedish islands around Gothenburg.
The International Dragon Class and Kinsale seem to have been made for each other. When the Dragon Gold Cup is staged at the glossy south coast port next September, there will undoubtedly be a natural harmony to the event. With…
The 40th anniversary Round Ireland Race from Wicklow on June 20th will be an “alternative highlight” of the 2020 season, with fresh sponsorship from SSE Renewables. The 2018 winner, Baraka GP (a Ker 43), is seen here sweeping past Wicklow Head shortly after the start. The middle third of the race saw conditions go against her, and at one stage off the north coast of Mayo she was lying 23rd overall. But in the later stages, skipper Niall Dowling (RIYC) and navigator Ian Moore called the tactics to such good effect that Baraka took line honours and won overall. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O’Brien
Nobody seems yet to have nominated the already very special 2020 as The Year of the Sailing Club, or more accurately as The Year of the Irish Sailing Club. So here in Afloat.ie we’re just going to do that very…
Flying the flag for Ireland, asymmetric style. The US and UK in downwind dicing with Ireland, represented by Royal Cork YC and skippered by Anthony O’Leary, in the New York YC 20-team international series in September at Newport, RI. Ireland finished third overall in a series raced in the new Melges IC 37s, designed by Mark Mills of Wicklow
The Irish sailing and boating season seems to get longer and more complex with every passing year, yet the vast majority of us would like it all to happen on days of floating summery perfection, with the ideal weight of…

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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