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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.

The Rolex Men’s Sailor of the Year 2019, 15-year-old Marco Gradoni of Italy, on his way to winning his third Optimist Worlds in a row at Antigua in July
What’s with today’s teenagers? Time was when your average teen aspired to sleep for 24 hours every day. The reason they slept for 24 hours every day was there were only 24 hours in the day. Move the dial-up to…
(Top) The yachts of the Water Club of the Harbour of Cork on fleet manoeuvres in 1738, as painted by Peter Monamy. Founded in 1720 with just 25 members, the club’s early programme at sea was to follow Sailing Orders with signals by flags from the Admiral’s yacht. But by the 1760s, the occasional race was being held, and by the 1780s racing was a more regular part of the programme Reproduced by courtesy RCYC and (above) Royal Cork 1720 Sportsboats at speed. The Water Club had become the Royal Cork YC by 1831, and having been unique at its foundation in 1720, it had now become part of a much broader development of sailing in both its cruising and racing forms. By the 1970s-1990s, Crosshaven had become a remarkable nucleus for advanced ideas, and the Royal Cork 1720 Sportsboats of 1994 became international trend-setters Photo: Bob Bateman
You thought 2019 was quite the busy sailing year in Ireland? Believe me folks, after writing last Saturday’s marathon review of one very special season, we went through the weekend in a state of mental meltdown which wasn’t helped by…
Summertime on Dublin Bay. In a season of very mixed weather, the biennial Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta managed its usual trick of finding a useful little bit of precious summer.
With two World Championships on the agenda, and Ireland’s biggest sailing event – the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta - making its biennial appearance at mid-season, 2019’s sailing programme couldn’t be anything other than interesting as it also included the increasingly…
Neat trick…..the Puppeteer 22 Trick or Treat (Alan Pearson and Alan Blay) was top scorer for the second year running in the Beshoff Motors Autumn League at Howth. At the end-of-series prize-giving in HYC her cheerful crew were (left to right) Alan Pearson, Nicole Guinee, Alan Blay, and Oscar Langan – missing from photo is regular crewman Peter Bannon.
After the perfect weather of the sunlit two-race programme on Saturday, October 12th in the Beshoff Motor Autumn League in Howth, there were those who suggested the series should have been declared finished there and then, as it just couldn’t…
Bryon Ehrhart’s Maxi 72 Lucky has set a new record in the ninth biennial Hong Kong-Vietnam Race with a strong Irish presence on board
American Bryon Ehrhart’s impressive Maxi 72 Lucky has added a new gong to her distinguished trophy list by taking line honours and establishing a new course record in the biennial Hong Kong to Vietnam Offshore Race, aided in no small…
The veteran IMOCA 60 4myplanet which Mayo’s Joan Mulloy will be co-skippering with Alexia Barrier in next weekend’s 12,000 mile Transat Jacques Vabre from Le Havre to Bahia in Brazil
Solo sailor Joan Mulloy of Mayo has teamed up as co-skipper with France’s Alexia Barrier on the latter’s veteran IMOCA 60 4Myplanet to become the only all-female crew in the 30-strong IMOCA 60 Class in the 12,000 mile Transat Jacques…
A perfect sailing day – the J/109 Outrajeous (Richard Colwell & Johnny Murphy) showing ahead of National Championship runner-up Storm (Pat Kelly) early in Saturday’s racing at Howth, but overall Storm now holds the lead
Day Five of the Beshoff Motors Autumn League at Howth Yacht Club on Saturday saw races six and seven completed, but even with a race still to go, with no further discards, some of the class leaders have already secured…
Tough going for a classic – in the very varied weather for the 160-boat fleet at the 90h Anniversary International Dragon Regattta at San Remo, the large classics division had to take the rough with the smooth along with the rest of the fleet
The stupendous 90th Anniversary International Dragon Class Regatta at San Remo in Italy has concluded with overall victory going to Jens Christensen of Denmark, crewed by Anders Bagger and Thomas Schmidt. But the most special celebration at the prize-giving was…
The SB20 has been in Ireland since 2003, but with an increasingly strong class organisation now headed by John Malone of Lough Ree YC, its position is stronger than ever with two overall wins in a row recorded in the annual All-Ireland Helmsmans Championship. Healthy class organisations are essential for the general good of Irish sailing
Here in the Sailing on Saturday verbiage production complex in a hidden bunker under a nameless hill off an un-named coast of Ireland, all this maundering-on about a gloomy future for sailing in general and Irish sailing, in particular, passes…
At the presentation to Dun Laoghaire RNLI of the Cruising Association of Ireland cheque for €1,000 collected at the recent CAI "Three Bridges Lifted” Rally in Dublin Port were (back row, left to right) Chris Watson, Ronan Adams, Jack Shanahan, Damien Payne and Oisin Corrigan of Dun Laoghaire lifeboat, and front row (left) Station Mechanic Kieran O’Connell (left) and (right) Duty Cox’n Adam O’Sullivan, with Commodore Vincent Lundy of the CAI, and Honorary Treasurer Bryan Downey
The Cruising Association of Ireland’s popular “Three Bridges Lifted” Rally to Dublin Port in September was a festive occasion in a weekend of exceptionally good weather, and a large fleet celebrated the camaraderie of seafaring and boats and cruising until…
The successful Australian Botin 52 Ichi Ban, a TP 52 variant, has seen Irish sailor Gordon Maguire (seen here on helm) much involved both as sailing master and during the design, build and development stages with owner Matt Allen. Ichi Ban is now on the three-boat short-list for the World Sailing 2019 Goslings Boat of the Year, the winner to be announced on October 29th
Gordon Maguire (58) may now be recognised as Australia’s leading all-round professional offshore/inshore keelboat skipper - his World Sailing Code Number is unmistakably GMA#1 writes W M Nixon. But somewhere in there is the exceptionally talented sailor, son of renowned…
The always-absorbing world of a traditional sailing ship – students from Cork Life Centre get busy with Ilen Facilitator Chelsea Canavan during the vessel’s recent participation in Cork Mental Health Festival
The 1926-built 56ft Conor O’Brien trading ketch Ilen of Limerick has had an exceptionally busy first season in 2019 in her restored condition as achieved by the Ilen Boat-Building School of Limerick, and Liam Hegarty’s Oldcourt Boatyard in West Cork.…
Never mind the weather, the sailing is great. The wind rises, the rain sets in, and the crew of the Howth 17 Isobel are having a ball in Saturday’s race of the Beshoff Motors Howth Autumn League, in which they finished third in class
“If the wind holds up you can live with the rain” was one stoical comment after Saturday’s increasingly brisk fifth contest in the Beshoff Motors Howth Autumn League on Saturday afternoon. But there was no escaping the fact that by…
Olympian Cathy MacAleavey (left) with her daughter Claudine racing their Dublin Bay Water Wag on the Shannon. Cathy will be the only woman helm in this weekend’s All-Ireland Sailing Championship at Dun Laoghaire, crewed by her husband Con Murphy
Only in Ireland could it be like this. We hear that of many things in this curious island of ours. But the varying sailing, location and personal backgrounds of the sixteen helmspersons competing in this weekend’s All-Ireland Helmsmans Championship at…
The newly-restored Marguerite of 1896 vintage is the latest addition to Dun Laoghaire’s flotilla of classic yachts
Anyone sailing in Dun Laoghaire on one of those gentler days which have occasionally punctuated this Autumn’s meteorological extremities could have been forgiven if they thought they were seeing a ghost writes W M Nixon. White of hull – very…
The veteran Howth 17 Rita (John Curley & Marcus Lynch) won the class’s first race in 1898, and she’d another win on Saturday in the Beshoff Motors Autumn League. But the win was only by 33 seconds ahead of Peter Courtney’s Oonagh, with Deilginis (Massey, Toomey & Kenny) a further 21 seconds astern in third
We may all be thinking Hurricane Lorenzo as we look towards later this week writes W M Nixon. But in looking back at the underlying themes of the weather forecasts as the weekend’s busy programmes at places as diverse as…
Peter Kennedy (left) with the Trophy of Trophies, the salver which dates back to 1947, with his crew Stephen Kane after winning the All-Ireland at Lough Ree in October 2018. It was raced in SB20s, in which Kennedy is Irish champion. But though this year’s series will be staged in Flying Fifteens at the National YC in a week’s time, defender Kennedy may have inherited form here, as his parents Terence & Bridget Kennedy of Strangford Lough YC were British F/F  Champions in 1962
The Champion of our Sailing Champions? Ireland first ran with the idea 72 years ago. And while other countries have since come up with their own versions with varying levels of success which have sometimes reduced annually until fading away,…
The unstable Autumn winds have made it difficult for the veteran Howth 17s to decide whether or not to carry their topsails in the current Beshoff Motors Autumn League at Howth. This is the quickest known method of lowering the topsail when racing, as very effectively demonstrated by the 47ft gaff cutter Lily Maid (Royal North of Ireland YC) in Clyde Fortnight 1910. However, regular use of this technique is not recommended for reasons of expense
Get yourself a sponsorship partner of intriguing Russian descent, and you can hardly be surprised that an element of Russian Roulette enters the staging of your annual Autumn League writes W M Nixon. With the presence of hurricanes past and…
Denis Doyle’s Moonduster in her prime, as she was between 1981 and 2001 – designed by German Frers Jnr, built by Crosshaven Boatyard, and with sails by McWilliam of Crosshaven
As each year passes, it becomes increasingly difficult to explain to up-and-coming offshore racers just what “The Doyler and The Duster” meant to a whole generation of Irish sailors writes W M Nixon. Crosshaven-built in 1981 and kitted out with…
Dreams of long ago are re-born with relevance for today. The revived Dublin Bay 21 Class being re-created in Kilrush Boatyard will give an accessible introduction to classic wooden boat sailing in Dun Laoghaire in a way that is in tune with the modern trend towards non-ownership
In 1828, when the recently re-named and still only semi-finished harbour of Kingstown on Dublin Bay staged its first regatta, it certainly gave an indication of the transformed place’s potential for waterborne sport. Yet it was not until 1831 that…
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