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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.

My word, what big teeth you've got….the orca is a barrel of laughs among friends, but at a full size of eight metres this is maybe the only species feared by the Great White Shark
Stories of whales attacking boats at sea and sometimes sinking them go back a long way in maritime history, and as often as not it has happened in such a sudden and frightening way that identifying the precise species has…
Sheep-shape & Bristol fashion, or a time for woolly thinking……? For 64 years from 1926 until around 1990, deck scenes like this were a regular part of the Ilen's long working life
When we contemplate the 56ft 1926-vintage Limerick ketch Ilen today in her superbly-restored form, making her stylish way along rugged coastlines and across oceans on voyages of cultural and trading significance between places as evocative as Nuuk in West Greenland…
Suntan Sailing beyond The Pale – SB20s on the Shannon lakes, with 3272 (John McGonigle, second left) throwing a judiciously-judged gybe which helped towards her overall win
At midnight on Friday, the lockdown shutters came down on the million-plus inhabitants of a place that no longer exists. And no, we don't mean that Dublin has obviously become a ghost town. But what we do mean is that…
Bob Bateman's photos capture two little classics with a shared spirit in his images of Pinkeen and Sunflower on Cork Harbour
Those who have been rewarded for their careful adherence to social distancing and crew-pod rules by getting some sailing in the Indian summer which has been at its very best on Cork Harbour can be forgiven for wondering if, despite…
While her wardrobe is not yet complete, John B Kearney's 1925-built Mavis - restored by Ron Hawkins in Maine - has enough cloth available to take her first new steps under sail in September 2020
In this time of increasing uncertainty with its frustration of sailing plans, we find reassurance in soothing thoughts of well-restored or new-built classic boats. And traditional vessels in handsome and workmanlike order have the same heartening effect. We've an instinct…
Vera Quinlan brings a unique combination of experience, skills and qualifications to the Board of Irish Sailing
Noted ocean voyager Vera Quinlan has joined the Irish Sailing Board of Directors, where she will head up the Cruising Policy Group. Vera (of Galway Bay Sailing Club) began sailing at the age of 10 on Lough Derg. She started…
With all of Dun Laoghaire Harbour to play with, and an unusual evening onshore breeze, the Water Wag fleet takes all the tactical options on Wednesday evening. Polly (31, Roger Mossop & Henry Rooke), Badger (20, John & Anne Marie Cox) and Ethna (1, David Sommervillle & Pauline McNamara) in foreground
With a turnout of 24 boats keen to enjoy the benefit of sunshine at sea while the mist gloomed over the land, the Dublin Bay Water Wags continued to push the truncated 2020 season to its limits on Wednesday evening.…
Although the Mayflower Autonomous Ship will not have a crew to experience the battering she might encounter in trying to cross the North Atlantic east to west directly from Plymouth in Devon to Plymouth in Massachusetts, at just 15 metres LOA she is likely to receive quite a battering nevertheless
Today (Wednesday) in Plymouth in England, the Mayflower Autonomous Ship is expected to have her official launch, though the word is she has been test floated in advance. If that's the case, it was a prudent move, for although un-manned…
Happy Anniversary! Neville and Jean Maguire quietly celebrate 69 years of marriage on board their motor-cruiser in Howth Marina. Photo: Judith Malcolm
Congratulations have been pouring in for sailing legends Neville and Jean Maguire of Howth, who celebrated their 69th Wedding Anniversary in yesterday’s balmy weather aboard their Seaward 23 motor-cruiser Two Much in Howth Marina. These days, they’re best-known internationally as…
Indian summer hunt in the opening race of Howth's six weekend End-of-Summer Series – Simon Knowles' J/109 Indian in hot pursuit of the Classic Half Tonners Mata (left, Wright Brothers & Rick De Neve), King One (David Kelly), and on right The Big Picture (Michael & Richard Evans)
The Irish sailing community's response to the pandemic-induced prohibition on open events has seen some inspiring out-of-the-box thinking where there are significant local fleets. So although Howth Yacht Club has weathered two major setbacks in 2020 in being unable to…
The Goodbody family of Dun Laoghaire have been remarkably successful in making the best of 2020's shortened season. On Thursday evening their J/109 White Mischief emerged as overall winner of Cruisers 1 in the DBSC Thursday Series under both IRC and ECHO, and they also were champion J/109. Meanwhile in August, Richard Goodbody and his 16-year-old son Max crewed aboard Chris & Patanne Power-Smith's J/122 Aurelia to take line honours and third overall in the Fastnet 450
Even Dublin Bay Sailing Club, with all its remarkable expertise and sheer firepower, has been unable to slow Planet Earth in its daily rotation, let alone alter the steady changing of our little solar satellite's endlessly shifting tilt as it…
The philosophical concept of "less is more" acquires an added layer of meaning when Mark Mills applies it to the design of the new award-winning MD75 Karma. Like the stately homes of the 19th Century, the theory is that almost all the mechanical and physical work needed to keep this extraordinary concept at optimum performance is taking place out of sight
County Wicklow-based international superyacht designer Mark Mills has scooped another major trophy at the stratospheric end of the global sailboat design spectrum. Back in April, he was an Afloat.ie "Sailor of the Month" awardee when his very advanced prototype Wally…
Ilen departs Foynes, on passage for Kilronan in the Aran Islands. Conor O'Brien – Ilen's designer in 1926 – ensured that all his major voyages essentially started from Foynes, his home port where he lived on Foynes Island
The restored 1926-built Conor O'Brien-designed 56ft ketch Ilen of Limerick found the Atlantic in a challenging mood last week as she undertook a combined educational, cultural, and commercial cargo voyage. Yet despite the vagaries of the Irish weather and the…
A fair tide with a soldier's wind for Lambay – Roddy Cooper's Leila (built Carrickfergus 1898) and Anita (D.O'Connell & M. Karasahin, built Kingstown 1900 and re-built France 2019) at the start of the Howth 17's Lambay Race
The Olympic sailing dream is of competition on a sterile racing area with weak to non-existent tides, well clear of any special wind effects that a nearby coastline and an island or two might provide, while of course using a…
Viking Marine sailor helms modern Viking ship – Ian O'Meara of Dun Laoghaire's Viking Marine steering the successful Volvo 70 Ericsson.
The only way to face the future is with optimism, energy and enthusiasm. That's the philosophy of Ian O'Meara and the team at Viking Marine in Dun Laoghaire, as they implement the re-shaping of a business which is noted for…
Always in the cut and thrust of it, even after 114 years. Vincent Delany’s veteran Water Wag Pansy (no 3) is well able to mix it with much newer boats, and last night (Wednesday) she became the first medal-winner in the National YC’s 150th Anniversary Regatta
The 1906-built Dublin Bay Water Wag Pansy has been in the ownership of the Delany family since 1939. But while she has won many trophies, the absence of medals as prizes in local One Design racing has meant that winning…
The Puppeteer Nationals at Howth find that summer has returned of their second day of racing at the weekend. The new champion Shiggy Shiggy (foreground) is the prototype of the class, designed and built by Chris Boyd in 1978, and completely restored during the past two years by Laser and SB20 ace Paul McMahon
Although the Puppeteer 22 first appeared from Chris Boyd of Killyleagh on Strangford Lough in 1978, it was 1983 by the time some keen-to-upsize Squib sailors in Howth saw the potential of this user-friendly little sloop, with her sparse but…
Back at her real home after 93 years – the 56ft 1926-built restored Limerick Trading ketch Ilen takes up her berth in Foynes for the first time in 94 years yesterday (Friday) evening. On the Foynes YC pontoon are (left to right) Ilen Project Manager Gary Mac Mahon, and Conor O’Brien family relatives Rob, Alison and Stephen O'Brien. Conor O’Brien’s modest house of Barneen on Foynes Island, in which he designed both Saoirse and Ilen and spent his last days in 1952, is just visible above Ilen’s bowsprit.
The 56ft Trading Ketch Ilen has had a busy couple of days of cultural and educational activities in Kilrush during her current two-week cargo cruise, with performances including shows and workshops with noted Limerick Boy and contemporary dancer Tobi Omoteso.…
After weeks of preparation to be COVID-compliant, Lough Ree Yacht Club's Quarter Millennial Regatta is finally under way with 25 Shannon One Designs and other classes racing
"The seas is for sailing and the lakes are for fishing". Quite. It's a gross over-simplification to put any analysis of the Irish public perception of our use of waterways into such crude terms. But we didn't get where we…
It’s a generational thing, provoking mixed feelings – former Lough Ree YC Commodore Alan Algeo looking decidedly mature and thoughtful at the 2019 Lough Ree YC Regatta Week with his daughter Naomi, then recently-elected as Shannon One Design Association Honorary Secretary.
Water-skiing is just about the only waterborne activity for which the Afloat.ie style-book permits the use of exclamation marks (or screamers as we call them in the trade, and there are much rougher words with crude canine associations, but we…
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