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Historic Boats
Idyllic conditions on Lough Ree last Saturday for the Water Wags, with Paul and Ann Smith leading in Sara
You’re never too old to learn, and at 131 years old the Dublin Bay Water Wags (founded 1887, though current boats date from 1900) seemed determined to prove this by having a two-day Coaching Session last weekend at Killinure on…
The essence of effective simplicity – the schooner America as she was in 1851, when her victory in the race round the Isle of Wight resulted in the trophy becoming the America’s Cup.
There must be very few people in sailing who don’t know something of the America writes W M Nixon. She was the “low black schooner” which came across the Atlantic from New York in 1851, and won a race around…
(Top) The restored Aigh Vie was moved gently down the beach at low water…….and then (above) floated out of the trailer by the rising tide
It’s a long story of the sea and ships, a story which began with the World War I sinking of the luxury Transatlantic liner Lusitania by torpedoes from a German submarine off the Old Head of Kinsale in 1915 writes…
Centenary Season. Twenty years ago in April 1998, Ian Malcolm’s Howth 17 Aura celebrates her Centenary by returning to her birthplace of Carrickfergus on Belfast Lough with its famous 12th Century Norman castle
These days, we’ve become accustomed to the historic Howth 17s of 1898-vintage – the world’s oldest keelboat class still sailing as originally designed – putting in admired appearances at classic boat festivals at home and abroad writes W M Nixon.…
The 12 foot class have decided to compete at CORK 300 in the year 2020 at Royal Cork Yacht Club as a demonstration fleet in the Currabinny River
A huge group of over thirty 12 Foot Dinghy enthusiasts turned up at the Royal St. George Yacht Club on 6th April for the 94th AGM of the ‘Irish International 12 foot Dinghy Class’ or ‘Cumann Báid Dhá Chosa Déag…
The transformed Etchells 22 Guapa has this week received well-earned international recognition for the quality of her conversion
The standard and well-worn Etchells 22 which Bill Trafford of Alchemy Marine in County Cork transformed into an immaculate fast weekend cruiser has been awarded first prize in the Spirit of Tradition category in the International Classic Boat Awards 2018…
With new projects under way for the development of Limerick Docks, it was timely to post a reminder that this will be Ilen’s home port
The restoration of the 56ft ketch trading ketch Ilen (1926) and the re-build of world-girdling 42ft Saoirse (1922) at Oldcourt in West Cork has become a focal point of interest of what might seem to an outsider to be a…
Conor O’Brien’s Saoirse comes back to life in West Cork, as seen on Friday night. The installation of the temporary moulds on the oaken backbone has given the Saoirse project an encouraging glimpse of what the future will bring. Photo: Gary MacMahon
In recent weeks, much of the attention on the traditional boat-building Mecca of Oldcourt in West Cork has been focused around the complex moves involved in vacating the 56ft ketch Ilen from the boat-building shed writes W M Nixon. This…
As part of the Merchant  Schooner ‘Result’ Exhibition the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum kindly offer registered conference delegates free admission for two persons to the Museum on  Thursday 26th or Saturday 28th April
The second in a series of maritime themed conferences jointly organised by National Museums Northern Ireland, National Historic Ships UK, Robin Maesfield, (Author) and Gerry Brennan, (Silvery Light Sailing), highlights Ulster's Maritime Heritage.  The seminar is being organised by a…
An austere and functional beauty – traditional curachs on the Atlantic coast
There’s something about the magnificent West Coast of Ireland that produces larger-than-life characters of prodigious energy writes W M Nixon. And James Cahill of Mayo is one of them. Way back in 1974, he sailed round Ireland in a 13ft…
Journey’s end – the ketch Ilen’s new spars arrive from Limerick at Oldcourt in West Cork
Much of Ireland may seem to have endured one bout of meteorological mayhem after another for most of the winter, with this weekend being no exception writes W M Nixon. Yet the Guardian Angel of the Ilen Project has always…
Ilen’s mainmast assembly before most of the steel fittings (except for the mast ring lower right) had been galvanised
You might well say that the Ilen Project has been galvanised into further action writes W M Nixon. The historic 1926-built 56ft ketch’s restoration has been a matter of the hull being re-born at Liam Hegarty’s boatyard at Oldcourt near…
The inter-island communications vessels Ilen (left) and Penelope in the Falkland Islands in 1977. The Irish-designed-and-built Ilen was always reckoned slightly faster than the German-built Penelope, even when Ilen’s skipper and youngest commander, the 16-year-old Stephen Clifton, was still learning the ropes
Efficient travel between the Ilen Boat-Building School in Limerick and Liam Hegarty’s boatyard at Oldcourt near Baltimore, where work continues on restoring the 56ft 1926-built ketch Ilen, has been a key factor in progressing the project writes W M Nixon.…
A joy to sail. Bantry Boats revelling in open sea conditions off the Morbihan in France during 2014’s Atlantic Challenge
Most sailing folk in Ireland will have some level of awareness of the Bantry Boat. Even those who live most determinedly in the present, and look unswervingly to the future, will be vaguely aware that thanks to some fortuitous turns…
It may look like the end of the line for the 1907-built Howth 17 Rosemary, but the class’s spirit of renewal should never be under-estimated
Following today’s devastating damage in northeasterly storms at high water to the shed towards the end of the East Pier in Howth where seven of the 1898-founded Howth 17s are in winter storage, the members of Howth YC are keeping…
Serial classics restorer Rob Mason (right) aboard the successful Myfanwy in Dun Laoghaire with shipmates (left to right) Max Mason, Gus Stothert, and Andy Whitcher. Photo: W M Nixon
Welsh skipper Rob Mason has taken on a new vintage boat restoration challenge writes W M Nixon. The retired Milford Haven tugboat skipper swept all before him when he brought his beautiful 1897-vintage 37ft restored cutter Myfanwy to the Volvo…

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