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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.

HYC Commodore Ian Byrne on the winch and Lea O'Donoghue maintaining social distance on the helm aboard the Commodore's Sunfast 32 Sunburn, all within 5 kilometres of home in the weekend's revival of sailing at Howth
We'll put aside for the moment the fact that Bono's father, the late Bob Hewson, lived out his days in Howth, a place he adored. We'll let it go for now that U2 drummer Larry Mullins lives in an elegantly-restrained…
The Irish-German Bee-Fenix family’s Hanse 455 Saoirse making lots of well-controlled knots under her downwind Transatlantic rig
When your name is Wolfgang Bee and your boat is a top-of-the-line Hanse 455, the smart money would say you’re German. But when your wife is a Fenix from a family with roots in Tippperary and a couple of other…
That was then…..the conclusion of Scottish Series a year ago, and Dublin Bay’s Andrew Craig (second right) has emerged as overall champion with his J/109 Chimaera and a crew of all the talents
How many other front-line sailing administrators anywhere in the world would have noted the February announcement of the postponement of the new James Bond movie’s global premiere in London from early March 2020 away back until November, and immediately realised…
J/109 action at Howth. With many of the members living within 5 kilometres of the clubhouse/marina complex, and with a strong tradition of family and household sailing, Howth Yacht Club is able to get some sailing again within the Covid-19 Protocols
Howth Yacht Club will be testing sailing options this weekend within parameters outlined by Commodore Ian Byrne in a missive direct to members and on the club website, issued late Thursday night. After more than two months of total Covid-19…
Historic departure – the ill-fated Titanic is manoeuvred out of her berth in Belfast Harbour on April 2nd 1912 to sail for Southampton and her maiden Transatlantic voyage, brought to a tragic end by an iceberg in mid-ocean just twelve days later
An ambitious project to retrieve the most famous marine radio in the world from 2.5 miles down in the Atlantic has finally secured legal approval. The saving of the Marconi radio which sent out the distress signals from the sinking…
The new Ilen Tetra Pak models have sailed on the Rhine and the Shannon
The restored Limerick trading ketch Ilen may have already voyaged to Greenland in 2019, but this year the distinctive vessel – or at least a model of her – has also been seen sailing on the Rhine in Germany. For…
The ketch Danu leaving harbour in Antigua, homeward bound for Galway Bay with 12-year-old Lillian serenading from the foredeck
At Port Aleria on Clew Bay in Mayo, Alex and Daria Blackwell can see their Bowman 57 ketch Aleria when she’s on her moorings off their house. But at the moment, their minds are often elsewhere, as Daria is Vice…
Pilot whale jumps for joy? Maybe so, but try to imagine this in the confines of Baltimore Harbour, when Albert in his prime would have weighed three tons
Whales, dolphins and porpoises hold a very special place in people’s hearts and minds. It may be a very long time since our shared mammalian ancestors went their respective ways, but when we get anywhere near “the cousins” in their…
Cometh the hour, cometh the boat….with a weight of just 30 kilos to the 58.97 kilos of the Laser, the easily-managed RS Aero may be just the boat to provide sailing with minimal shoreside inter-action in these restricted times
You would expect the sailing community to be more understanding than most others of the difficulties inherent in setting out any sort of comprehensible and feasible plan for the resumption of life in all its forms as the Covid-19 pandemic…
Alex & Daria Blackwell’s Bowman 57 Aleria revelling in good sailing on Clew Bay in a very different time. These days, Ocean Cruising Club Vice Commodore Daria is busy at home on the shores of Clew Bay, co-ordinating the Atlantic passages of voyaging boats anxious to deal with Covid-19 restrictions, and get clear of the Caribbean and home to Europe or North America before the hurricane season sets in.
Today, all being well, a flotilla of eight boats will be leaving Antigua, bound Transatlantic for Europe in the hope of being well clear of the Caribbean before the hurricane season sets in. Included in the group will be the…
The hugely popular Cruinnui na mBad gathering of traditional boats at Kinvara in Galway Bay celebrated its 40th Anniversary last year
The annual Cruinnui na mBad (the Gathering of the Boats) at the very hospitable port of Kinvara in the southeast corner of Galway Bay is one of the most popular events in the western sailing programme, and it was hoped…
The plans for John & Adam Brennan’s new Redbay Stormforce 1450 as they were in March. But with a third eco-friendly centreline economy engine since added to the specification, the boat has now become the Redbay Stormforce 1650, 54ft long with an additional 0.5 metres of beam, and due for delivery in April 2021
Renowned hospitality specialist John Brennan of Dromquinna Manor and the Park Hotel in Kenmare in County Kerry is best known for his entertaining and informative “At Your Service” double act on television with his brother Francis. In it, the brothers…
The great Dingle dolphin Fungie in flying form – his many friends worldwide are concerned that their waterborne rockstar is becoming gloomy in his enforced isolation
There’s concern in West Kerry and worldwide among his fans and friends that Fungie the Dingle Dolphin is becoming depressed. He is being made gloomy by the lack of company and an audience for his usual summer season starring role,…
They’re coming up the bay – the SB20 class will stage their 2023 Worlds in Dublin Bay from the National YC, with an increasingly busy buildup in the Irish class towards September 2023 once the Lockdown has concluded
Not every sailing class in Ireland gets a monthly update from its President which opens with a quote from Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. But then, it’s not every Class President who can so readily re-organise his busy working week that he’s…
This could well be the maiden sail of the famous Dorade in 1930, as the inappropriately-dressed group in the cockpit – with Olin Stephens (22) on the helm and his brother Rod (20) beside him -look as though they came for a launch party, and decided to go for a brisk sail as well, even if no-one had brought proper sailing gear - note the slightly bewildered-looking guy on the weather rail wearing a bow tie
In Ireland, these days, the name of Rod Stephens is most readily associated with an international award - the Cruising Club of America’s Rod Stephens Trophy for Outstanding Seamanship - for the very good reason that during the past six…
The late Bruce Lyster (on left) as his hugely successful Half Tonner Swuzzlebubble finishes first in the late August 1980 Abersoch-Howth Race to add the ISORA Championship Title to a season of national and international success
The death of Bruce Lyster of Dun Laoghaire at the age of 78 is the sad loss to the Irish sailing community - and our maritime world generally - of a multi-talented figure who combined exceptional abilities in the financial…
The dream in fulfillment – the ketch Danu in the Caribbean
The family crew of the 13 metre Bruce Roberts steel ketch Danu from Galway Bay hope to start their long Transatlantic voyage home from Antigua this weekend. The oceanic circuit cruise started nearly eleven months ago when Marine Institute scientist…
The ultimate expression of a return to normality in Irish life and sailing – the successful Cavatina has long carried the flag for Cork
Back then, we didn’t know we were living. “Back then” was the first eight or so years of the 21st Century - not forever ago at all. Yet now it feels like not so much a foreign country as more…
It would only take some green jerseys and a translation of the name as gaeilge to make this new JPK 11.80 an ideal GAA entrant in the SSE Renewables Round Ireland race on August 22nd, as the JPK boats are built in the proudly Celtic seaport of Lorient.
If you’re not having unusually colourful dreams in these weird times, then you’re the exception. Everyone else is. I woke up the other morning totally exhausted, and little wonder. For as the foggy mind came into focus, all recollections were…
 The restored Ilen in Greenland last July with her squaresail featuring the Salmons Wake logo which has become a symbol of the ship
Our story last week, about how Gary Mac Mahon of the restored trading ketch Ilen of Limerick has launched a unique ship’s model-making competition to express the Ilen spirit, has rung a bell in Ballinasloe in County Galway, at the…
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