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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.

Involved to the end. The late Fred Espey in his eighties, fulfilling his longtime role as President and Chairman of the Sandycove Bathers Association. In addition to his many sailing roles, he was a lifelong swimmer at the Forty Foot, and an experienced diver
Fred Espey of Dun Laoghaire, who has died aged 85, was best-known in sailing as Commodore of the Royal Irish Yacht Club from 2001 to 2004, the culmination of many years of service to the club in a variety of…
The Ilen as she is today, fully restored and sailing into port past the Baltimore Beacon before departing for her passage to Limerick. Back in 1952, she was far from being in the same excellent order when Pat McCarthy, originally of Bantry, managed to deliver her from the Falkland Islands to Chile for a much-needed complete refit.
The story of the historic 1926-built trading ketch Ilen, and her recent return in her restored state to the Shannon Estuary and Limerick, has evoked many memories writes W M Nixon. But few if any of these stories are as…
Aboard Ilen in Limerick Docks are (left to right) boatbuilder Liam Hegarty of Baltimore, Gary MacMahon of the Ilen Project, President Higgins, Brother Anthony Keane of Glenstal Abbey, and Sabina Higgins
President Michael D Higgins wished further fair winds for the historic ketch Ilen when he and his wife Sabina went aboard the newly-restored Conor O’Brien ketch during his visit to Limerick writes W M Nixon. Ilen has been brought back…
Whatever about the outcome of this weekend’s J/109 Nationals at Howth, home team Pat Kelly (centre) and his crew on Storm are already winners of the RC35 Celtic Trophy 2018 after success (seen here) in the Silvers Scottish Series in May, followed by second at Bangor Town Regatta in July, and first at the Welsh IRC Championship in August.
The great Danish sailor Paul Elvstrom famously commented that it was much easier to create a completely new racing boat with top class potential than it was to create a successful Class Association with global reach to give proper support…
Myfanwy shows her sweeping curves to best advantage as she races to success in Dublin Bay. Photo
The memorable Dun Laoghaire Regatta of 2017 included celebrations for the Bicentenary of the great harbour, and the Kingstown 200 Trophy in its honour became something very special for racing among the Classics writes W M Nixon. In a popular…
The Great Skellig as seen from the Limerick-bound ketch Ilen this (Saturday) afternoon
The restored Conor O’Brien ketch Ilen may have had her first sailing sea trials as recently as yesterday off Baltimore in West Cork, but the current spell of settled weather in the southern half of the country has been too…
The classic view looking aloft – the restored working ketch Ilen sailed again today, the first time in nearly 20 years
The Conor O’Brien-designed 56ft ketch Ilen sailed for the first time in twenty years today off Baltimore writes W M Nixon. Originally built in 1926 at the picturesque West Cork port, and recently restored at nearby Oldcourt by Liam Hegarty’s…
Ready and willing – just 14 weeks ago, this was Gregor McGuckin at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire with Hanley Energy Endurance, about to depart for the Golden Globe Golden Jubilee Race in France
Gregor McGuckin is currently and very deservedly the best-known Irish sailor in the world writes W M Nixon. The sheer gallantry and utter rightness of his efforts to bring aid last weekend to injured fellow Golden Globe competitor Abilash Tomy…
Making the Ilen concept child-friendly – young visitors to the Ilen Exhibition in the Hunt Museum in Limerick find that learning about the historic ketch can be fun
The eclectic new exhibition in the Hunt Museum in Limerick, which outlines the Shannonside city’s maritime connections, its traditional local boats and its links to the historic sail training ketch Ilen, has been proving popular with local schools and their…
The seriously-injured Abilash Tomy’s dismasted ketch Thuriya in the Southern Indian ocean this morning. Although himself dismasted 90 miles away, Ireland’s Gregor McGuckin is trying to reach his fellow Golden Globe competitors under emergency rig and auxiliary engine
In rough post-storm conditions in the southern Indian Ocean, Irish sailor Gregor McGuckin is heroically attempting to reach seriously-injured fellow competitor Abilash Tomy of India in the dismasted Thuriya 90 miles away, despite McGuckin’s own boat Hanley Energy Endurance sustaining…
Home again – solo sailor Richard Hayes in his Ireland-circumnavigating Laser is welcomed back to Rinville and Galway Bay Sailing Club
The contrast could not have been greater writes W M Nixon. On Friday, September 14th on Ireland’s relatively sheltered East Coast, 302 Laser dinghies came in from Dublin Bay to Dun Laoghaire’s elegant and busy harbour to conclude the penultimate day’s…
Mona (Denis Aylmer) and Tir na nOg (Sean Walsh) racing in the inaugural event for the DBOGA’s Leinster Plate in 2013. This Sunday’s planned staging at Dun Laoghaire of the Leinster Plate Race 2018 may be affected by the inclement weather, and a decision will be taken on Saturday morning
This year's Centenary of the wartime sinking of the mailboat RMS Leinster on 10th October 1918 will see a significant Dun Laoghaire and national commemoration on the day itself writes W M Nixon. As part of the buildup to those…
Extreme conditions during the Sydney-Hobart Race, one of the topics scheduled for the Weather & Sailing Conference in Dun Laoghaire on Friday November 23rd
Ireland’s weather fascinates everyone. But for boat enthusiasts, an informed insight into the workings of maritime meteorology anywhere in the world has many practical and often vital applications writes W M Nixon. With this in mind, Darryl Hughes (best known…
The restored Ilen looking well at Oldcourt, with some final trimming still needed to bring her to her marks
The successful ten-year restoration of the 1926 Baltimore-built 56ft trading ketch Ilen, originally constructed by Tom Moynihan and his shipwrights in West Cork to designs by pioneering global circumnavigator Conor O’Brien of Limerick, has been a continuing story in Afloat.ie…
 Sebastien Simon (above) is the provisional overall winner of the 49th edition of the La Solitaire du Figaro
A freshening nor’west to north wind brought life to the final stages of the concluding Stage 4 of the Solitaire URGO Figaro 2018 off Saint Gilles this afternoon, and kept Anthony Marchand in the lead at the finish of the…
Ireland’s Tom Dolan in Smurfit Kappa (15) on port tack shortly after the start
The final 165-mile stage of the Solitaire URGO Figaro 2018 – which began last night at 1830 hrs - is envisaged as a sprint of less than 24 hours in which the 36 solo skippers will do entirely without sleep…
A race and a place imbued with history – the Rock is astern in 2015’s Rolex Fastnet Race with the classic Stormy Weather (overall winner in 1935) leading from fellow-classic Dorade (overall winner in 1931 and again in 1933).
It was announced this week that the 2019 RORC Rolex Fastnet Race from Cowes will have a change of its original date, with its start moved back from Sunday, August 18th all the way to Saturday, August 3rd. W M…
Tom Dolan has achieved a clear win in the First Timers section in the 410-mile Stage 3 of Solitaire URGO Le Figaro, taking eleventh overall just 15 minutes behind the leader after 3 days and 16 hours of racing
Tom Dolan of County Meath racing Smurfit Kappa took the coveted Top Rookie spot after a worthwhile little breeze finally spread in over the calm-bedevilled Figaro fleet last night as they raced Stage 3 from Northwest Spain, bringing leader Sebastien…
Sebastien Simon, front-runner in the Solitaire URGO Figaro. He has a new IMOCA 60 on the way for the Vendee Globe 2020
It’s a cruel scenario, the final wind-lacking 70–miles of Stage 3 of the Solo URGO Figaro 2018 from northwest Spain across the Bay of Biscay to Saint-Gilles in the northwest of France’s Vendee region writes W M Nixon. We may…
Tom Dolan with his Figaro 2 Smurfit Kappa nicely in the groove as as the fleet shapes up to take on the long slow beat across the Bay of Biscay. Photo Figaro URGO Solo
With a hundred miles still to race this morning to the finish at Saint Gilles Croix de Vie on France’s Biscay coast, the shortened 410 miles Stage 3 of La Solitaire URGO Figaro 2018 from northwest Spain is even more…
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