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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.

Traditional boats at this time of the year when tradition takes centre stage. Galway hookers moored in the Claddagh Basin across the River Corrib from the famous Spanish Arch are (left to right) the Naomh Cronan, the Manuela, and the Croi an Cladaigh
Although the much-anticipated Galway 2020 Festival was one of the many aspects of 2020 which has been severely curtailed by the pandemic, the spirit of the great western city and its maritime traditions lives vibrantly on. A recent ceremony in…
Blast from the past…..Northele starring in the Crosshaven Classics Regatta 2009 on the cover of Afloat Magazine March/April 2010. At the time, Anthony and Sally O'Leary had already quietly decided that they hoped to own her one day, but the family had another decade of successful competitive sailing at home and abroad before they made the move
When Anthony and Sally O'Leary of Crosshaven quietly decided that some day they were going to make the classic 50ft 1949-vintage sloop Northele a member of their extended sailing family, it was a sort of Breakfast Epiphany. The boat had…
Charlie Dalin's Apivia currently leads the Vendee Globe
Before the 33 boats went off from les Sables-d'Olonne on November 8th to start the Vendee Globe, there'd been much talk of the possibility of reducing Armel le Cleac'h's notable record of 74 days established in the 2016-2017 event. It…
Only a month to the shortest day of the year, yet late November at Howth produces hyper-strong sunshine with a sky so blue they haven't got a name for it yet
November sunshine plays tricks with how we see things. Maybe it's because it's so rare. But at the weekend at Howth – with just a month to go to the shortest day of the year – a special coaching course…
Trading ship, sailing ship, school ship – the Ilen goes about her business in Kilrush, County Clare
The restored 1926-built 56ft Limerick trading ketch Ilen's project of education through action and involvement continues to be developed with the Ilen Marine School's Community and Cargo 2020-21 Programme. Transportation of cargo to coastal communities was the original purpose of…
Many of Many Talents – Richard Brydges Beechey’s stylish portrayal of the Royal St George YC Regatta of 1871
Richard Brydges-Beechey was one of those multi-talented people that the 19th Century produced in droves. Maybe they’d the time to be multi-talented because they didn’t have to spend time watching TV or using mobile phones or commuting or whatever, but…
Classic boat-building from an 1896 design – the 12ft Bray Droleen built by Michael Weed of Donegal during a recent course at the Boat Building Academy in Dorset
The Dublin Bay Old Gaffers Association winter talks series on Zoom continues on Thursday (November 26th) with a deeper insight into a classic boat-building story that has featured recently on Afloat.ie DBOGA member and a graduate of the Boat Building…
The National Yacht Club today. At the heart of the modern complex is the building constructed as the Kingstown Royal Harbour Boat Club 150 years ago
Most yacht and sailing clubs begin with a group of like-minded friends sailing and racing - sometimes together, sometimes against each other - until activity reaches such a level that some sort of organisation is required, and in time it's…
Up and at it – Thomas Ruyant's LinkedOut is the first IMOCA 60 in Vendee Globe 2020 to break the 500 miles per day barrier as he whittles down the Hugo Boss lead
Thomas Ruyant's Advens Cybersecurity-sponsored IMOCA 60 LinkedOut is steadily whittling away at Alex Thomson's lead with Hugo Boss in the Vendee Globe 2020 as the front runners cross the Equator through Wednesday and Thursday. On Tuesday, LinkedIn became the first…
Better than a Health Farm……the soothing setup in the McMahon shed in Athlone, with the "new-old" Dublin Bay Water Wag Shindilla (original built in 1932) nearing completion beside a useful little clinker-built dinghy, while a multi-purpose canoe with sailing potential is stored by suspension from the roof
In times of stress like this, there is nowhere more soothing than a well-organised but not unduly fussy timber workshop where each day's harmonious effort shows a tangible result. And of all such workshops, there's nowhere so healthily absorbing –…
Will Ireland's Fastnet Rock be the only Great Unchangeable? If the Royal Ocean Racing Club Executive's decision of a year ago to change the finish for the next two Fastnet Races in 2021 and 2023 to Cherbourg is upheld at an EGM of all members on December 7th, then Irelands Fastnet Rock will be the only enduring feature of the course of a race which was first staged in 1925
It says everything about the iconic nature of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Fastnet Race that a General Meeting about the route for the race, which should be a private matter among the admittedly many members of the RORC, has…
Catherine Hunt and Pamela Lee of Greystones aboard Iarracht Maigeanta. Their new double-handed Round Ireland Time has added significance when set in the full historic framework
The Round Ireland Sailing Record is a bit like Ireland herself. It's complicated by Partition. It's a case of there being not one but two sets of records, two elephants in two rooms. But for interested parties, the relevant elephant…
Hugo Boss has finally managed to get the skates on for Crosshaven nipper Alex Thomson, and is currently leading the Vendee Globe as the serious contenders shape their course southeast of the Azores. And no, they haven't added a Korean car manufacturer to the sponsorship line-up - it's just a big no No for the Finnish phone makers…….
The Vendee Globe Race has finally started to get serious after several days of faffing around in flukey winds off northwest Spain and Portugal in conditions so volatile that last night they'd a messy frontal system going through to provide…
Local products….the 25ft Shannon Hooker Sally O'Keeffe (left) was community-built in 2015 in Querrin on the Loop Head Peninsula near Kilrush under the guidance of Steve Morris, while the new 24ft Galway Bay Gleoiteog Naomh Fanchea has been built in Steve's busy boatyard in Kilrush itself.
Steve Morris of Kilrush Boatyard and his lead boat-builder Dan Mill are busy these days, as their team have two further Dublin Bay 21s under construction for the Hal Sisk/Fionan de Barra project, and this week they launched the new…
The 1937 Tyrrell-built 43ft ketch Maybird is now Crosshaven-based, but her owner-skipper Darryl Hughes somehow manages to be the new Honorary Secretary of the Dublin Bay Old Gaffers Association. In 2018, Maybird became the oldest boat ever to complete the Round Ireland Race
The recent 2020 Annual General Meeting of the Dublin Bay Old Gaffers Association was a successful exchange of proposals and decision-making among enthusiasts who share a delight in classic and traditional craft which set rigs of the most ancient style.…
Up, up and away….Jeremy Bayou's Charal was one of the first of the latest generation of IMOCA 60s to be launched, thereby avoiding many of the production delays which the pandemic caused for campaigns on a later time-scale. Having won the Vendee Artique Race in July, Charal is seen as a leading contender in the 24,000 mile Vendee Globe Race, which starts tomorrow at Les Sables d'Olonne
Make no splash, leave no trace, tame the turbulence, and THEN JUST FLY…..That's the thinking which underlines the very latest manifestations of the IMOCA 60, which are expected to lead the fleet of 33 sailing machines in the 24,296 miles…
The aluminium-built 33 Eco-Trawler is simplicity carried to its logical conclusion by designer Don O'Keeffe, originally from Schull but long since living and working in Wisconsin
When glassfibre boat construction started becoming mainstream, there were those who said it would never last as a manufacturing trend, for in those days plastic and longevity somehow weren't associated concepts. But then, as the builders overcame problems such as…
The 1893 25ft 6ins Heir Island lobster boat Hanorah (Nigel Towse) was restored at Oldcourt in 2003, and had her lines taken off by the Traditional Boats of Ireland Project. The lines have now been used to build a sister-ship, Fiona, at Manitowoc in Wisconsin on Lake Michigan
You can take the boy out of West Cork, but you can't take West Cork - and its boats and sailing - out of the boy. That's especially so if he's one of the O'Keeffes, whose great names in sailing…
Thanks to main support sponsors Advens Cybersecurity, Thomas Ruyant's new Marcus Hutchinson-managed Vendee Globe-entered IMOCA 60 is providing major publicity for the not-for-profit social organisation LinkedOut
Marcus Hutchinson has been having a good Autumn in his role as a sort of benign marine Svengali with an Irish flavour, operating largely behind the scenes at the sharp end of the French big-time offshore racing scene. But it…
The 70th Annual Gold Cup Match-Racing Worlds in Bermuda is being raced in the GRP-built version of a classic 1936 boat, the International One Design
Global sailing's focus of attention this week is on Bermuda, where the 70th Annual Bermuda Gold Cup and 2020 Open Match Racing World Championship is underway with GBR's Ian Williams the defending title-holder against fifteen other top drivers, Williams having…
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