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Sailing on Saturday with WM Nixon
Destination Dingle. Central to the attraction of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race which starts next Wednesday is the natural differences and contrasts between the two ports, despite which they maintain the most cordial of relations
It started in 1993 as a gentler (it was hoped) biennial alternative to the Round Ireland Race, with the 275-mile Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race being the brainchild of Martin Crotty and Peter Cullen of the National Yacht Club writes…
One of Howth YC’s club-owned J/80s coming through the sound inside Ireland’s Eye. The HYC-owned flotilla is well booked for the current season, and five fully-crewed Howth club-owned J/80s will be taking part in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta in July. Photo: Emmet Dalton
Sailing is a vehicle sport. No matter how well we may succeed in spreading the cost of buying and running a boat through group ownership and other schemes, inevitably it has an inbuilt level of expenditure which other sports that…
Rob McConnell’s A35 Fool’s Gold from Dunmore East is a former overall champion of the Scottish Series, and expected to do well in this year’s edition currently under way in Tarbert, Loch Fyne
Despite some interruptions from either too much or too little wind, the regular club sailing programme for 2017 is now fully under way, and this weekend is additionally so well filled with major regional and national events that you could…
Two contrasting images reflecting the wide-ranging activities of Wicklow Sailing Club. Above, the Volvo 70 Monster Project, line honours winner in the 2014 Round Ireland Race while under charter to WSC member David Ryan, comes roaring in to the start at a real rate of knots while (below) life returns to normal with the weekly summer’s evening race for local cruisers.
Irish sailing’s informal inter-club competition has named a “Club of the Year” annually since 1979, and since 1986 the title’s steadfast sponsorship support from Mitsubishi Motors has made it an integral part of the national sailing scene. Yet it has…
Stephen Tudor’s defending ISORA Champion, the J/109 Sgrech from Pwllheli, in her glorious home waters. Today she’s racing in the Holyhead-Dun Laoghaire race, in which Progressive ECHO is being tested against IRC to see if more cruising-oriented boats can be encouraged into ISORA Racing
After the accelerating build-up to Olympic Medal success throughout the summer of 2016, there was hope in some sections of the Irish sailing community that the mood of 2017 might be different in pace. Tokyo 2020 still seemed very far…
The stressed face of the lone skipper. This is Tom Dolan at the briefing in Pornichet before his first major single-handed race in 2015, in which he would sail a borrowed and far-from-new Pogo 650 Mark 2. Two days before the start, he had discovered a fractured spreader bracket on the mast. To fix it, he had to take down the mast, drive to La Rochelle for a replacement bracket, fit it, and then re-step the mast on the night before the race. That final stage was completed with the help of ten fellow-skippers, typical of the camaraderie of the Mini 650 class
The world of sailing has so many sectors of interest that it’s challenging keeping track of the general picture. But even when you’ve achieved that basic level of comprehension, you then discover that each sector has so many sub-sectors that…
Les Bateaux Irlandais...Howth 17s will be representing Irish sailing in graphic style at next month’s enormous international gathering of character boats at the Morbihan Festival in southern Brittany
Three weeks hence from this morning, on Saturday May 19th, an unlikely convoy of vehicles with a very special collection of unique vintage boats and people will emerge in Cherbourg from Irish Ferries’ ship just in from Rosslare writes W…
Gemma McDowell & Emma Gallagher (Malahide) lead the 420s from Geoff Power & James McCann and Kate Lyttle & Niamh Henry (RSTGYC) racing on Belfast Lough from Ballyholme YC. After two days, Power of Dunmore East holds the lead
Its full title is the Irish Sailing Association Youth Pathway Nationals and Optimist Trials. It is a designation with a great air of seriousness about it, contrasting markedly with current public debate about providing more fun sailing, while making regattas…
The Juniors of the National Yacht Club celebrate Annalise Murphy’s Olympic achievements. When the Junior Training programe at the National YC was inaugurated 50 years ago, the extensive boat platform on which this is all happening didn’t exist
A very special Golden Jubilee coming up in May provides links to an Irish Olympic Sailing Silver Medal, the Fireball World Championship, and the America’s Cup. W M Nixon finds the widest connections go even further than that to include…
Michael Cotter’s handsome 78ft Reichel-Pugh designed Whisper comes roaring out of Dublin Bay, on her way to establishing the course record for the Dun Laoghaire-Dingle Race in 2009
Time was when the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race was promoted as a handy way to position your little old cruiser in West Kerry to be nicely placed to make her way in gentle hops back to her home port…
Jarlath Cunnnane’s own-built expedition yacht Northabout sails up Clew Bay in Mayo with Croagh Patrick beyond in October 2005 on her return from seasons in the Arctic and Pacific which had seen her transit both the Northwest and Northeast Passages, with Paddy Barry as co-skipper. In 2016, Northabout did both of the Arctic passages in one extraordinary seven week cruise, with Russian ice-voyaging expert Nikolay Litau playing the key role
The Irish Cruising Club draws its varied membership from every part of Ireland, and since its foundation in 1929, this eclectic group has seen its cruising range extend from European waters until they have now covered virtually every corner of…
The spirit of Dun Laoghaire. J/109s giving it all they’ve got on Dublin Bay. For 2017’s festive Dun Laoghaire Regatta event from July 6th to 9th, the J/109s have very sensibly decided to opt for participation in the open division, adding the interest of racing against boats of other types while being secure in the knowledge that their own stand-alone National One Design Championship (2016 edition pictured above) will be held later in the year. If their “most serious series” is thus planned to be at another place and another time, why not allow them to finish at least one VDLR race within Dun Laoghaire Harbour?
For the summer of 2017 at least, it looks as though Dun Laoghaire Harbour is going to remain free of the threat of the installation of a new liner berth. W M Nixon reckons this provides a unique opportunity for…
David Lovegrove happy in his work as a Race Officer
David Lovegrove, President of the Irish Sailing Association, steps down in a week’s time. The conclusion of his three year period in office at the up-coming ISA Annual General Meeting relieves him of what is surely the most demanding voluntary…
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…

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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