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Sailing on Saturday with WM Nixon
At Ballyholme on Belfast Lough in April, the biggest-ever Irish Sailing Youth Pathway Nationals saw Ewan McMahon of Howth emerging supreme in the elite fleet in the Laser Radial, making him April’s Junior Sailor of the Month
The Afloat.ie “Sailor of the Month” awards were established twenty-one years ago in 1996. But as the adjudicators have always been allowed an element of flexibility, sometimes there have been more than one award in a particular month, so any…
The sailing dream realised for Westport’s Joan Mulloy. But now she reckons she has to give her sailing talent a real racing edge, and in January she’ll be doing an intensive offshore racing and training course with the legendary Tanguy Leglatin at Lorient in South Brittany.
In an exceptional week for Irish international offshore sailors, the Michael Boyd-skippered Lisa has been confirmed as both the RORC Points Champion and the Boat of the Year, while the Damian Foxall-crewed Vestas 11th Hour Racing has emerged as the…
(Top) The essence of summer sailing for the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, which also celebrated the Bicentenary of the Harbour. The classic restored Dublin Bay 24 Periwinkle (Chris Craig and David Espey) and the likewise restored 1897-vintage 37ft Myfanwy (Rob Mason) racing neck and neck towards the in-harbour finish. Photo: David O’Brien/Afloat.ie (Above) Another side of 2017’s sailing. 2016 All-Ireland Champion Helm Alex Barry of Monkstown Bay SC revelling in brisk conditions at the Royal Cork’s successful Dinghyfest 2017. Event organizer Nin O’Leary had put in such good work beforehand that he was able to take a day out to go to England and win the huge-fleet Round the Island Race. Photo: Robert Bateman
While sailing is now a year-round interest, and for many a year-round activity too, the notion of a traditional season is natural for anyone who lives in Ireland. Admittedly, there are times when we seem to be experiencing the four…
Grind on…..Annalise Murphy putting in the work on Turn the Tide on Plastic
There is a time and a season to all things, and in some years, that time comes earlier than others. Ireland has been getting away with it in remarkable style in recent weeks, putting through 2017’s Autumn sailing fixtures in…
Mark Mansfield – his expression may seem impassive, but he is at his most alive and alert when racing a sailing boat
Mark Mansfied of Cork has been a major presence in Irish and international sailing for decades. With his considerable height and presence, and air of being intensely focused on the task in hand, he is at the core of any…
Mullingar SC Fleet Captain Michael Collender and Hon. Treasurer Brian Walker are into GP 14 racing on Lough Owel
It has had at least two different event descriptions since it was first sailed all of seventy years ago. Back then, Irish sailing was finding its feet in the late 1940s, becoming re-energised in the exciting developmental world of modern…
A sense of anticipation. Tom Dolan in fine form in 2016 when he started campaigning his new Pogo 30 IRL 910, on which he’d done the finishing and fitting-out work himself. He wryly remembers now that he immediately won his first solo distance race: “Big mistake. I’ve been a marked man ever since”.
In its forty years, the 4,000 mile Mini-Transat has become a very French event, despite always having a significant international presence which this time round will see Ireland’s Tom Dolan (30) in a leading role for 2017’s staging, starting tomorrow…
That winning feeling….the crew of the Irish National Sailing School’s J/109 Jedi in Plymouth after winning Class 3B in the Rolex Fastnet Race 2017 are (left to right, back row): Deirdre Foley, Lorcan Tighe, Fearghus McCormack, George Tottenham, Kylie McMillan and Kenneth Rumball. Front row: Conor Kinsella and Keith Kiernan
With 312 entries in the IRC divisions alone, and numbers pushing towards the 400 mark when all classes are included, the record-breaking Fastnet Race 2017 was surely on the edge of becoming an unwieldy beast as it got under way…
Cliffhanger….the Volvo 65s Turn the Tide on Plastic and Team Vestas in a tacking duel at The Needles lighthouse during the first race of the new fleet, a sprint round the Isle of Wight in the middle of Cowes Week 2017. Annalise Murphy will contest the Volvo Ocean Race on Turn the Tide, and Damian Foxall and James O’Mahoney are with Team Vestas
In the days when sailing was a seasonal sport, a few main pillar events dominated the international programme. The Sailing Olympics. The America’s Cup. The Fastnet Race. The Dragon Gold Cup. The Sydney-Hobart Race. The Whitbread Round the World Race.…
Irish Lights’ 2,600 ton ship Granuaile is one of the most truly functional vessels in Ireland
The functioning of the Commissioners of Irish Lights is within a matrix in partnership with the Northern Lighthouse Board in Scotland and the Isle of Man, and Trinity House in England and Wales. They co-operate actively through a grouping known…
Making history. David & Sally MacFarlane sailing the 107-year-old Moosmie on their way to winning the first Water Wag race with a fleet of more than thirty boats, with Dun Laoghaire Harbour’s wonderful stonework looking its classic best
The rapidly-developing partnership between solo offshore veteran Alex Thomson and proven star of fully-crewed boats Nin O’Leary of Cork has been the focus of much attention this week as they visit Cork and Dun Laoghaire. Thomson’s eye-catching IMOCA 60 Hugo…
While there were hundreds of boats in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017, the Welsh-based Myfanwy, built 1897, and restored by owner Rob Mason (at helm), deservedly attract special attention
In his poem Sailing to Byzantium (1928), William Butler Yeats immortalised the vision of Ireland as “no country for old men”. Expressed so well, the idea took hold and has been re-used internationally in novels and films, even if in Ireland…
Hugo Boss doing what she does best – zooming offwind on the foils
There have been several Irish offshore racing sailors who have been making national and world headlines for some years now, but in recent weeks and months the wave of new enthusiasm for the big ticket events has surged to fresh…
The start of something big. The Irish National Sailing School’s J/109 Jedi (IRL 8088, skipper Kenneth Rumball) gets away with a close start on Sunday in the Rolex Fastnet Race 2017. She finished first in Class 3B
The final results of the Rolex Fastnet Race 2017 show that Kenneth Rumball with the Irish National Sailing School’s J/109 Jedi has won in IRC 3B, where third place has been taken by ISORA’s J/109 Mojito. And RORC Commodore Michael…
(Top) That eternal Fastnet mystique – George David’s Rambler 90 and Mike Slade Leopard 100 leading on the water and closing in the on the rock in the Rolex Fastnet Race 2007……. yet in that race ten years ago, ((above) the overall winner was to emerge from further back in the fleet, in the form of Ger O’Rourke’s Cookson 50 Chieftain from Kilrush – seen here beating down the Solent shortly after the start
In August 2007, a lone Irish boat swept quickly towards the finish of the Fastnet Race at Plymouth. Groups of larger craft had finished ahead of her, and soon a rush of other boats would follow in her wake. But…
Tom Dolan’s IRL 910 making a good start at Douarnenez in the mini-Fastnet in which he placed third, with his mainsail carrying the Smurfit Kappa logo for the first time
The great solo sailing challenges of world sailing are acquiring added stature as sailing is enmeshed in ever-more-advanced technologies. With fully-crewed vessels, interest in the people involved as individuals seems to decline in an inverse ratio to the rising graph…

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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