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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 Limerick ketch Ilen in fine order at Narsaq in southwest Greenland this week
The traditional restored 56ft trading ketch Ilen of Limerick, under the command of Paddy Barry, is serenely continuing her progress homewards along Greenland’s southwest coast despite that rugged and sparsely-populated coastline suddenly becoming global news, thanks to the revelation that…
The 1905-built Iolaire in her glory years under Don Street’s ownership, when she cruised extensively in the Caribbean, crossed the Atlantic seven times, and took part in the Golden Jubilee Fastnet Race of 1975
They say bad news travels fast. But the news that the 48ft 1905-built yawl Iolaire has been lost, after an inadvertent gybe in heavy weather drove her onto rocks – fortunately without loss of life or injury - off Ibiza…
Symbolic link – Ilen’s squaresail with the distinctive Salmons Wake logo on display in St Mary’s Cathedral in Limerick during the Spring, and in use off the coast of Greenland this summer as the ship continues her mission in researching the Atlantic salmon story, and developing cultural links between Limerick and the Greenland capital of Nuuk
The 1926-built restored 56ft Limerick trading ketch Ilen has completed the varied shoreside and coastal aspects of her research voyage to Greenland writes W M Nixon. This took her as far north as Ilulissat beyond the Arctic Circle to give…
Commodore John Kavanagh, formerly Officer Commanding Naval Service. In 1979 as Captain John Kavanagh, he was in command of the LE Deirdre which played a central role in the Fastnet Disaster Rescue and was on station for longer than any other vessel
The significant role played by the Irish Naval Service in the 1979 Fastnet Race Disaster has sometimes been overlooked in the dramatic images of helicopters and lifeboats in direct action writes W Nixon. But in fact the LE Deirdre under…
The popular Douglas “Dougie” Deane in 2018
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Douglas Deane of Crosshaven, for many years one of Cork Harbour’s best-known sailing figures afloat and ashore. His funeral will take place tomorrow (Tuesday) at 11.30am in St Brigid’s…
When the weather settled down, the RS 400 class had excellent racing in the RS Western Regatta at Galway Bay SC.
Ireland’s expanding RS Classes are in acceleration mode as they build towards the Irish & UK RS 400 Nats at Royal North of Ireland YC at Cultra on Belfast Lough from 25th to 29th August, and the all-classes RS Southerns…
Skellig Michael, with the Little Skellig and the coast of Kerry beyond. The patch of white water in the foreground indicates the location of The Washerwoman Rock, and it has been demonstrated that it is possible to sail – indeed, to race – between it and the Skellig itself.
It is ironic that the internationally-recognised abbreviated sail number identification on Irish racing boats should be IRL writes W M Nixon. For in global tech-speak, IRL is the acronym of “In Real Life”. If the rather intriguing way of existence…
The Watson 47 lifeboat The Robert, heroine of the 1979 Fastnet Storm, as she is today - restored by Jeff Houlgrave
It was the 15th August 1979 by the time the full horror of the effects of the Fastnet Race storm had become apparent writes W M Nixon, and today is the most quietly poignant in 2019’s sequence of recollection and…
The International Optimist Dinghy Worlds at Howth in 1981, when the 130-strong fleet from 26 nations covered the sea so tightly that Lambay was almost invisible
When Howth Yacht Club hosted the 1981 Optimist Worlds, it was while the harbour was in the midst of a major redevelopment project writes W M Nixon. Yet young sailors from 26 nations provided a fleet of 130 boats, and…
 The magic and mysteries of the west – traditional boats of Connemara shaping up for racing at Kinvara on Sunday
When the late Tony Moylan cajoled the notion of Cruinnui na mBad at Kinvara into being in 1979, times were different writes W M Nixon. The idea was to celebrate the Gathering of the Boats in the old days, when…
Howth 17s revelling in a good westerly breeze – the new 2019 ‘National’ Champion Deilginis is on the extreme right, overall runner-up Leila is third from left, and third-placed Oonagh (yellow hull) is third from right
The classic Howth Seventeens have not survived and thrived since 1898 through having a narrow perception of themselves writes W M Nixon. When they decided some years ago to add an annual two-day championship to their already busy 60-race season…
Stately workhorses of the west – the Galway Hookers showcase their highly individual style at the Cruinniu na mBad at Kinvara this weekend in a three day festival
After a week of thinking maybe too much about modern and ultra-modern boats contesting the Fastnet Race and Calves Week at Schull, it’s a comforting relaxation to settle gently into contemplation of this weekend’s annual Crunniu na mBad (The Gathering…
Conor Doyle’s Freya in the Kinsale-Monkstown Race, when she completed the course in two hours
Conor Doyle’s Xp 50 Freya from Kinsale – which placed tenth in Class IRC 1A - looks to be the 2019 winner of the Gull Salver for the best-placed Irish boat on corrected time overall in the current Rolex Fastnet…
 It may be Ireland’s Fastnet Rock at dawn, but it’s yet another successful French boat greeting the new day as veteran French sailor Catherine Pourre in her French-designed and French-built Class 40 Earendi races on to place third overall in Class40 in the Rolex Fastnet Race 2019
The “Wimbledon Effect” is pretty well complete with the Rolex Fastnet Race generally, and with the 2019 event, in particular, writes W M Nixon. As with Wimbledon tennis itself, the English organize a jolly good event with this classic offshore challenge,…
The Juan K-designed Volvo 70 Wizard, overall winner of the Rolex Fastnet Race 2019
When veteran French skipper Gery Trentesaux’s JPK 11.80 Courrier Recommande crossed the Rolex Fastnet Race finish line in Plymouth at 11.22 BST this morning and corrected into fifth place overall a clear 2 hours and 16 minutes behind Peter &…
The new JPK 10.30 Leon rounds the Fastnet Rock at 5.0pm yesterday. Sailed by her builder Jean-Pierre Kelbert and Alex Loisson, she currently leads the Fastnet Race Two-Handed Division and is first in IRC3 and IRC3B
Strong southwest winds last night – with Met Eireann issuing a Small Craft Warning at 2100 hrs – gave the more determinedly sailed smaller craft a fighting chance of significantly improving their overall standing in the Rolex Fastnet Race 2019,…
Last gasp victory – the Ultime 32 Gitana XVII aka Maxi Edmond de Rothschild (left) snatches a 58 second victory from Macif to establish a new Mulithull Course record in the Rolex Fastnet Race 2019
The great George David’s Rambler 88 – holder of the Round Ireland monohull record – finished the Rolex Fastnet Race at 0955 this morning to take mono-hull line honours, but the final run into Plymouth from the Scillies put paid to a…
The Maxi Edmund De Rothschild, has won multihull line honours in the 48th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race
The new breed of Ultime 32 trimarans have lived up to their name and reputation with the leading pair of Gitana XVII and Macif slashing more than four and a half hours off the record time for the 608-mile Rolex…
Conor Doyle’s handsome Xp 50 Freya from Kinsale (her crew including Olympic campaigner James Espey) was in the limelight as overall leader at one stage
With the leading Fastnet Race multihulls well round the Fastnet Rock this morning (fleet leader Gitana 17, the Ultime 32 aka Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, was first at the turn at 0633 BST) the bulk of the fleet are still…
The 100ft Ultime 32 Maxi Edmond de Rothschild seems to have emerged unscathed from a close encounter with the Shingles Bank in the early stages of the Rolex Fastnet Race 2019, despite all those vulnerable appendages
For most sailors a fair wind from well aft of the beam is welcome. But if you happen to be a 100ft trimaran which three hours ago was registering 38 knots on a beam reach, the fact that the wind…
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