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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 39ft ketch Teddy of Clifden in a Greenland anchorage
When long-distance American sailor Nick Kats – now 62 - arrived into Clifden in far west Connemara nearly ten years ago with his 39ft steel Bermudan ketch Teddy, it started a fascinating new chapter in an already interesting life. For…
At the socially-distanced noonday ceremony at Royal Cork Yacht Club on Sunday to consign Volvo Cork Week 2020 to history were (left to right) Kieran O’Connell (Vice Admiral RCYC and Chairman Volvo Cork Week 2020), George Mills (Johnson & Perrott and Volvo), Ross Deasy (Director of Racing – Keelboats Cork300), Colin Morehead (Admiral RCYC & Chairman Cork300), Daragh Connolly (at signal cannon, Rear Admiral Keelboats RCYC), Megan O’Sullivan (Optimist sailor, RCYC), Annamarie Fegan (Rear Admiral – Dinghies RCYC) and Harry Moynan (Optimist sailor RCYC).
At times of sadness, we are helped by ceremonial. For sure, no-one would dream of comparing the enormous grief visited upon those who have been and will be bereaved by COVID-19 with the quiet sense of loss caused the absolutely…
Busy times in the great days of sail at the entrance to Dun Laoghaire (Kingstown) Harbour in a fresh to strong east sou’east wind, as painted by Admiral Richard Brydges Beechey, with a working cutter towing a hobblers’ boat entering as two yachts leave, while a stately naval man o’ war comes down the harbour, setting sail as she goes.
Dublin Bay Old Gaffers Association invites you to join their next Zoom session on Historic Dublin Bay Gaff Rigged Vessels from Maritime Paintings and Photographs, which will be given by Cormac Lowth on Thursday 16th July. Dublin’s leading maritime historian…
The Royal Cork Yacht Club Tricentenary is up and running. Thursday night’s exuberant club racing was a declaration that while the international element of the celebrations may have been COVID-curtailed, the core membership element of the 300-year-old club at Crosshaven is very much in action at home.
There are three Royal Cork Yacht Clubs. One is the globally-recognised historic institution which is directly descended from the Water Club of the Harbour of Cork founded three hundred years ago, the oldest yacht club in the world. The second…
Still hot – the 2016 Marc Lombard-designed 45 Pata Negra will carry the Howth colours in August’s SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race
When the then-new Lombard 45 Pata Negra was racing with a Dutch charter crew in the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race and carving her way through the fleet with style and winning speed, Howth YC’s offshore team manager Kieran Jameson was…
Mary Ellen (O’Byrne/Finucan/Carty HYC) and the vintage First 38 Out & About (Terry McCoy & Maurice Cregan, Skerries SC) neck and neck in the White Sails Division through the Sound towards the finish at Howth in the first race of the Fingal Cruiser Challenge
The delayed 2020 racing programme at Howth Yacht Club had a boost last weekend with a 20-boat fleet for Saturday’s inaugural race for the Fingal Cruiser Challenge, while the Puppeteer 22s, Squibs and Howth 17s mustered viable turnouts for their…
The Earl of Belfast’s brig-rigged superyacht Waterwitch successfully working up to windward of the Royal Navy’s crack Channel Squadron in an offshore sailing test in 1834
In the current wave of revulsion against slavery and its appalling history, no European nation has totally clean hands. For although we might like to think that the huge Caribbean sugar plantations worked by African slaves in the 1800s brought…
“I only do it to keep fit, y’know”. Bus-pass sailor Frank Larkin with his latest Laser at Killaloe
Senior sailor and noted offshore veteran Frank Larkin of Limerick claims he only got his latest Laser a year or so ago as a present for himself for his 73rd birthday, and for “just the occasional sail to keep in…
 The Clondalkin community-built 43ft Galway Hooker Naomh Cronan on Dublin Bay in 2003, with Stiofan O Laoire at the helm. Launched new in 1997, she had been based on Ireland’s East Coast until this week at Poolbeg Y&BC, regularly appearing in traditional events at home and abroad. But now she has moved west into new management with the Claddagh Boatmen in Galway City
If you’re having trouble processing the full implications of the fascinating new portmanteau ministry which has emerged this week from the formation of our latest government, not to worry. You’d be on your own if you weren’t a little bit…
She’s coming home – Garry Crothers’ Ovni 435 Kind of Blue in Lough Foyle, which she left in 2017 for a long ocean cruise which has now had to be reduced to a Transatlantic circuit
Garry Crothers, the indomitable 64-year-old one-armed solo sailor from Lough Swilly Yacht Club, hopes to get back to his Lough Foyle berth in Derry on Saturday after completing his Coronavirus Lockdown-enforced 3,500 mile marathon from the Caribbean in his Ovni…
Stepping out – Roddy Cooper’s 122-years-old Howth 17 Leila looking her best for her first race of the delayed 2020 season on Tuesday
There were by no means full fleet affairs, but the 2020 racing season has definitely got underway at Howth where the One Designs raced in a good breeze on Tuesday evening, while last night (Wednesday) the cruisers found themselves battling…
 John Killeen, the newly-elected Chairman of Irish Lifeboats, at his home station on the morning of Wednesday July 1st 2020
Dr John Killeen of Galway, noted engineer, businessman, national administrator and sailing enthusiast, has been elected as Chairman of Irish Lifeboats in succession to David Delamer of Howth, with the Galwayman also continuing in his role as a member of…
Garry Crothers in St Lucia.  After a challenging Transatlantic passage made necessary by the severe COVID-19 Lockdown in the Caribbean, the one-armed solo sailor is now within 500 miles of his home port of Derry
Garry Crothers (64), of Lough Swilly Yacht Club and Foyle Sailability, was making good progress this (Monday) morning, with a speed of 6.6 knots in the right direction on his Ovni 435 Kind of Blue, taking steady chunks out of…
Club racing is allowed to resume from next Tuesday (June 30th) provided that crews comply with much-relaxed social distancing requirements
Following the Commodore’s Conference on Zoom yesterday (Thursday) evening to analyse the lifting of COVID-19 Lockdown restrictions, the basic reality is that club racing is allowed to resume from next Tuesday (June 30th) provided that crews comply with much-relaxed social…
Gotcha! The 1898-built Cork Harbour OD Jap is discovered hidden away at Truro in the uppermost reaches of Falmouth Estuary in Cornwall in August 1994, cleverly disguised as an attractive little cruiser. Jap has now returned as a restored classic to Cork Harbour. Photo: W M Nixon
It is a truth not universally acknowledged that the steady pint-drinking communities of Cork city and south Munster contributed substantially to the resourcing of the newly-formed Ulster Volunteer Force’s uprising against the proposed introduction of Home Rule for Ireland in…
Just the two of us….Howth’s Aqua Restaurant Two-Hander was for cruiser-racers only in 2019 (as seen here), but for this year's on Saturday July 18th, other classes will be accommodated, and visiting boats will be very welcome.
If you’re having trouble deciphering what you can do and can’t do as Lockdown lifts, well, welcome aboard. But at least Howth Yacht Club have realised that their annual Aqua Two-Handed Challenge may simplify things for locals and visitors alike,…
Popular Transatlantic port-of-call. Horta with its friendly harbour on Faial in the Azores makes for a handy destination for cruisers crossing the Atlantic. Beyond that sheltering neck of land, it’s clear water all the way to the Caribbean
The autonomous Azores islands, administratively linked to Portugal and 800 miles westward of Lisbon in the midst of the Atlantic, have become European pace-setters in controlling and eradicating COVID-19. And in doing so, they have been able to provide a…
Atlantic voyager Garry Crothers with wife Marie and daughters Oonagh (left) and Amy (right) aboard their Ovni 435 Kind of Blue in the Caribbean
If this year had gone anything like according to plan, today (Saturday) would be seeing the SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race from Wicklow getting going, with Afloat.ie providing a list of riders and runners in this column today, while getting…
Fair winds for the Ovni 435 Kind of Blue, with skipper Garry Crothers taking it easy on the foredeck. Usually he sails with at least two others on board and can relax like this, but for the current Transatlantic voyage home, he’s very much on his own as he faces the extra challenge of being one-armed
Garry Crothers of Lough Swilly YC, who has refused to let life-changing injuries from a horrific motorcycle accident prevent him from fulfilling his dream of sailing the oceans, is now better than halfway home across the Atlantic in his Ovni…
Johanna Murphy of Cobh, Commodore of the South Coast Offshore Racing Association, is also a Committee Member of of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association
Some offshore racing enthusiasts may have been hoping that the historic re-enactment of the “Kingstown to Queenstown" Race of 1860 – the first proper offshore event in Irish and British waters – might still have been staged in some very…
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