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Sailing on Saturday with WM Nixon
It would only take some green jerseys and a translation of the name as gaeilge to make this new JPK 11.80 an ideal GAA entrant in the SSE Renewables Round Ireland race on August 22nd, as the JPK boats are built in the proudly Celtic seaport of Lorient.
If you’re not having unusually colourful dreams in these weird times, then you’re the exception. Everyone else is. I woke up the other morning totally exhausted, and little wonder. For as the foggy mind came into focus, all recollections were…
Monday 10th August 1987, and the Dubois 40 Irish Independent arrives at the Fastnet Rock, on her way to winning the Fastnet Race overall, and becoming top scorer for Ireland in the Admiral’s Cup.
In 2025, the Centenary of the RORC Fastnet Race – arguably the world’s most famous offshore challenge – will be sailed. Until recently, it would have seemed a bit odd to be focusing on a Centenary all of five years…
The ultra champion – Paul O’Higgins’ JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI is currently ICRA Boat of the Year, Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Champion, ISORA Champion and Calves Week Champion, while he is Afloat.ie/Irish Sailing “Sailor of the Year”. If the tentative proposal to resume sailing with the ISORA Dublin Bay to Cork Harbour Race at the later date of Friday, July 31st is implemented, Rockabill VI and her crew could be campaigning almost continually from July 31st until the conclusion of the ICRA Nationals in the Wave Regatta at Howth from September 11th to 13th
The postponed date of Friday, July 31st is being considered as a feasible time to think of starting the ISORA-organised 160-mile Dublin Bay to Cork Harbour Race, which was originally planned for July 9th to link this summer’s celebration of…
The start of a very special relationship. Denis Doyle’s Moonduster approaches the finish of the 1982 Round Ireland Race to take line honours, a new course record, and the handicap win. Today’s Round Ireland crews, faced with a two month postponement of the start date, will be asking: “What would The Doyler do?”
If we needed a reminder of the central role which the biennial Round Ireland Yacht Race from Wicklow has grown into within Irish sailing and in the global offshore racing context during its 40 years and 20 editions, then the…
The classic stem shape exemplified by Tom Crosbie’s International 8 Metre If off Cobh in 1960. Designed and built by Bjarne Aas in Norway in 1939, the 49ft If was unusual for her class in having full standing headroom
The accepted and popular shapes of boats and yachts in different ages changes so much that you’d be forgiven for thinking that their functions also change completely to suit the requirements of each new era. Of course, design development, measurement…
The yachts of the 1720-founded Water Club of the Harbour of Cork – the predecessor of the Royal Cork Yacht Club – as recorded on fleet manoeuvres by Dutch artist Peter Monamy in 1738. The Royal Cork YC’s unique collection of maritime art and memorabilia – some of it 300 years old – is an eloquent testimony to the continuity and quality of sailing enthusiasm in Cork Harbour.
The Covid-19-related cancellation of the pillar events planned for July in the Royal Cork Yacht Club’s Tricentenary Celebrations has had an inexorable inevitability about it for the last ten days and more. But a decision of such magnitude needed to…
Sailor of the Year Paul O’Higgins aboard his JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI in Dingle Harbour after being declared overall winner and successful title defender of the National YC’s Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race 2019
The potent Dun Laoghaire-based JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI may now have four very busy seasons – both inshore and offshore - in her sailing CV. But the years have not dulled her performance and competitiveness, and in 2019 she had…
“Don’t go down the mine daddy, there’s plenty of coal in the yard…..” The BH41 Silk (Jocelyn Waller, Lough Derg YC) takes soundings in the Solent. As the helmsman is Gordon Maguire, any further comment can only come from sailors of equal stature.
When a country is brooding under the gloom of a developing and lethal global pandemic, you’d have thought that something mildly light-hearted such as the weekend’s Sailing on Saturday creation of a virtual launch party at the Royal Irish Yacht…
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.…

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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