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WM Nixon

WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

Much up-dated since she first appeared in 2007, the Farr Super-Maxi Leopard 3 has shown that the RORC Caribbean 600 tends to favour bigger boats
Update 12:45 Thursday, Feb 22: In previewing the RORC Caribbean 600 2024, we made the point that in its 15 years of annual staging, no boat under 50ft LOA had ever emerged as the overall winner, and the smallest top…
Superstar international sailor Lawrie Smith lists Glandore Harbour YC as his home club when campaigning his own boat
Afloat.ie may have got there first by naming Lawrie Smith, the Master of Tralong and enthusiastic member of Glandore Harbour YC, as one of our "Sailors of the Month" for September 2023 after he'd won the Dragon Gold Cup as…
Saoirse by moonlight off Ibiza at New Year, 1932. Saoirse was rigged as a brigantine when she sailed to Ibiza, but thanks to Conor O’Brien’s willingness to have a notably long main gaff boom aloft on the aft mast, the rig change had been done using the same compact ketch masts that sailed her round the world
Conor O'Brien’s outstanding pioneering achievement was in demonstrating that a sailing vessel as small as his own-designed 42ft Baltimore-built ketch Saoirse could complete a global circumnavigation through the vast expanse of the Southern Ocean, south of the Great Capes. The…
Puppeteer 22 prize-winners in Howth Yacht Club – everyone knows everyone else, and some of the boats have been with the same families since the class established its own identity at Howth in 1984
In recent years, the large and varied membership of Howth Yacht Club have seen so many major anniversaries come and go – after proper programmes of lively celebration afloat and ashore – that casual observers might expect an element of…
At sea level, the majestic granite construction of Dun Laoghaire Harbour blends so well with the many of the older buildings on the town's waterfront and its coastal surroundings that, after 200 years and more of its existence, many folk…
Laurent Charmy’s J/111 SL Energies Groupe Fastwave from France was the narrow overall winner of the 2022 SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race from Wicklow, closely ahead of the J/99 Snapshot (Mike & Richard Evans, Howth YC)
It’s one thing to declare an interest in contesting an up-coming iteration of the biennial 704-mile SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race from Wicklow. But it is quite something else to divvy up an entry fee, and sign on the dotted…
The J/122 Noisy Oyster is campaign boat for the Galway Bay Sailing Club Middle Sea Race Challenge in October
A crew from Galway Bay Sailing Club (GBSC) is gearing up to compete in the challenging Rolex Middle Sea Race from Malta, the renowned 600-mile annual sailing event set against the backdrop of some of the most spectacular coastlines and…
The availability of in-habour viewing points on Fort Adams in Newport, Rhode Island will raise the profile of the historic Newport-Bermuda Race
The ocean-isolated island group of Bermuda, know to the cognoscenti as The Onion Patch, has the same special attraction for the American cruiser-racer sailors of New England as the distant island of Hy Brasil had in ancient times for voyaging…
The real party begins at home – Royal Cork YC’s new Admiral Annamarie Fegan (second left beside husband Denis Murphy) celebrates aboard Nieulargo on return to Crosshaven after winning the Fastnet 450 Race. Total lineup is (left to right, back): Denis, Annamarie and Molly Murphy, Mark ‘Nipper’ Murphy (no relation), Killian Collins and Clive O'Shea. (Front): Mia Murphy, Cian Byrne, James Fegan and Nin O'Leary
This week’s election of Annamarie Fegan as Admiral of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, the first woman sailor to fill the top posting in this extraordinary organisation’s 304-year history, is remarkable in that it doesn’t seem to have been seen…
Summertime at the Outer Pier in Carrigaholt, where a St Ayles skiff is being built beside the ancient castle stronghold of the Mac Mahons by Loop Head Rowing Cub, under the direction of Steve Morris of Kilrush
Carrigaholt on the south-facing shore of the Outer Shannon Estuary is one of the sweetest places in all Clare, a refreshingly leisurely contrast to the over-busy northwest of the county, where the once tiny port of Doolin finds itself swamped…
The Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire has the world’s oldest original purpose-designed complete clubhouse, with its classical premises dating from 1850. Yet while this has been meticulously preserved, the harbour and marina have conveniently re-arranged themselves round it to provide a unique combination of living history and modern facilities
The latest news on the Dun Laoghaire waterfront is that the J/109 Europeans 2024 will be part of this year’s intense series of cruiser/racer regattas at the Royal Irish YC in late August and early September. It’s an organisational breakthrough…
All curves and ornamentation, and yet with good speed too. The 72ft 1936-built ketch Ticonderoga is L Francis Herreshoff’s definitive design
The Slow Food Movement started in Italy many years ago, with its admirable ideal in the notion that the gentle preparation and leisurely cooking - preferably of locally sourced ingredients - was best complemented by then eating the simple feast…
A lone canoeist finds perfection in Sutton Creek on Dublin Bay at 16.20hrs, 17-01-24
Once upon a time, as Sutton Creek developed in the northerly corner of Dublin Bay, some bright spark councillor suggested the new and very tidal waterway should be called the Blue Lagoon. The idea of such a name was aired…
Class of 2023 - The Irish Sailors of the Year of 2023 (clockwise from top left): Adrienne Cahalane, Paul O'Higgins, Chris Bateman, Pamela Lee, Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove, Lucia Cullen and Alana Twomey, Cian McCarthy and Sam Hunt, Niall and Ronan O'Briain, Rocco Wright, Anthony O'Leary, Ben O’Shaughnessy and Ethan Spain, Justin Slattery, Tiernan Roe, Clementine and Nathan Van Steenberg, Tom Nolan, Nigel Young and Will Byrne, Andy Thompson, Duncan Sclare, Barry Cunningham, Jame and David Dwyer, Eve McMahon, Ron O'Hanley, Gary McMahon, Cillian Dickson, John Minnis, Sienna Wright, Aongus O Cualain, David Beattie, Cian Guilfoyle, Russell Bolger, Jack Fahy and UCD team, Rory Whyte, Tom Higgins, Micheal O'Suilleabhain, Ann Kirwan, Johnny Murphy, Don O'Dowd, Harry Dunne, Finn Lynch, Lawrie Smith, Dave O'Shea, Seamus O’Connor, Tom Dolan and Dave Kenefick
Who gets your vote for the Irish Sailor of the Year 2023? Over 40 Afloat Sailors of the Month in 2023 demonstrate the strength and diversity of the sport of sailing in Ireland.  Afloat's review of individual sailors, pairings and…
The Reichel/Pugh-designed Rolex Sydney-Hobart  2023 overall winning 66 footer Alive from Tasmania would be considered a veteran of significant age in many other sailing areas, but the Australian philosophy of constant modification and up-dating with continuous input from designer Jim Pugh makes her better than new each time out
There’s something about the annual 628-mile Rolex-Sydney Hobart Race that lends it to endless angles of speculation and re-analysis long after the event. We’re already a fortnight clear of the final postings of the results, yet the real anoraks and…
Definitely not Clew Bay. Northabout in brash ice in the Canadian Arctic
“Seal meat tastes strong and is best eaten, we found, with plenty of onions and curry”. You better believe it. For it comes from an even more reliable source than the proverbial horse’s mouth. It’s one of the many conclusions…
The fascinating and often heart-warming story of Dublin Bay's lifeboats
The indefatigable maritime polymath Cormac Lowth is among the first back into presentation mode in 2024, with the fascinating and often heart-warming story of Dublin Bay's lifeboats told - and very well illustrated - in his renowned inimitable style. The…
Jamie McWilliam and crew Peter Austin and Ali Devlin of Hong Kong (and Ireland) in upbeat mode after winning Race 4 of Etchells 22 Australian Nationals in borrowed boat Wobbegon 2
Nearly fourteen years have elapsed since America's Cup winning helm John Bertrand from Australia brought his Etchells 22 to Ireland for six weeks of preparation for the Etchells 22 Worlds at Howth. He said that success in this would be…
Absent heroine. Eve McMahon was winner on Saturday night of Howth YC’s International Trophy, but as she was away racing in Argentina, this was a photo taken earlier at the height of Christmas
What with the lockdowns and other upsets to the regular progression of sailing life, three years have passed since Howth Yacht Club has been able to make a thorough-going job of hosting its annual winter-time Achievers Awards ceremony. But all…
Summertime at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, with an International ILCA event under way and former Commodore Conor O'Regan's world-girdling Rival 38 Panima alongside
It is not unprecedented for leading clubs and one of the key class organisations within their ambit to share the MG Motor Sailing Club of the Year Award. It began with an added convention (the informal contest has been based…
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