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W M Nixon
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…
Going for it. Baraka GP may have looked every inch a winner as she settled down after the start going past Wicklow Head, but she experienced many reversals of fortune before moving into the overall lead for the final 180 miles
The Volvo Round Ireland Race from Wicklow back in 2016 was something of a unicorn event writes W M Nixon. George David’s majestic Rambler 88 took mono-hull line honours, the new mono-hull course record, and the overall IRC win -…
Chris Power Smith’s optimized J/122 Aurelia (RStGYC) is one of many contenders in with a good chance in the 20th staging of the biennial Volvo Round Ireland Race, which starts today off Wicklow at 2.0pm
It was the dogged determination of Wicklow Sailing Club 38 years ago that brought about the beginnings of an event which has since become an internationally-recognised cornerstone in the complex structure of the Irish sailing programme writes W M Nixon.…
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 start of the Volvo Round Ireland Race 2016 in an offshore breeze, with the fleet tending to bunch towards the Guardship at the outer end of the line. It has been suggested that in similar conditions, it might be useful to give the line a slight bias in favour of the inner end of the line, bringing the fleet close in off the Wicklow pierhead
For most of the Irish sailors who have committed to this year’s 20th staging of the biennial 704-mile Volvo Round Ireland Race on 30th June, it will be the central focus, the core pillar of their 2018 programme. And even…
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…
In the groove. The 1981-designed Granada 38 Cavatina - a true cruiser-racer - closing in on the finish at Wicklow in the 2006 Round Ireland Race, when she became overall winner for the second time. Under the ownership of Ian Hickey of Royal Cork YC, Cavatina is this year doing the Volvo Round Ireland Race yet again.
The Volvo Round Ireland Race 2018 - in just eight weeks time on June 30th from Wicklow - will be marking 20 stagings of this biennial classic. When first raced in 1980, it was with a fleet of very modest…
Kenneth Rumball in the newly-enlarged Irish National Sailing School premises in Dun Laoghaire this week. He is already in the midst of a busy sailing year, a highlight of which will be racing the INSS’s successful J/109 Jedi in the Volvo Round Ireland Race with former overall winner Michael Boyd as skipper
To say that Dun Laoghaire Harbour is facing a period of administrative flux is an under-statement. This exceptionally complete and totally artificial haven, for so long such an integral part of Dublin Bay that people perceive it as a natural…
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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