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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 making knots in Dublin Bay in May. Having since voyaged to Greenland for salmon migration research and the further development of cultural interchange between Limerick and Greenland schools, she is now bound for Kinsale for an Autumn programme of school and health projects before finally returning to Limerick in October
The 56ft traditional ketch Ilen under the command of Paddy Barry has been making excellent progress since departing Greenland on Sunday evening, and is already halfway home to Ireland along the 1200 mile passage from Prince Christian Sund writes W…
The late Douglas Deane, winner of the Dognose Trophy in 1959 at Crosshaven.
The world of sailing in Ireland and internationally is much diminished by the sad passing of Douglas “Dougie” Deane of Crosshaven at the age of 82, after a very fully-lived life in which he contributed much to the sports with…
Michael Walsh of Dubarry presented Belgian solo sailor Caroline Adriens with a very practical gift of the latest Dubarry Shamrock Boots in Galway before she departed south on her dream voyage
Belgian solo sailor Caroline Adriens has departed southwards from Galway after spending nearly a year in the popular west coast port with her 30ft Albin Ballad. She had arrived in Galway in September 2018 from Tromsø in Norway via Shetland,…
A perfect day for their first sail - pupils of Tokai School in Japan were introduced to sailing in Quest’s J/80s at Howth, in this case with instructor Alex Delamer.
With all eyes on the pre-Olympics and the Rugby World Cup in Japan, Quest Howth has recently proven a big hit in the Land of the Rising Sun. While the focus in recent days may have been on the Olympic…
ISORA competitors Tsunami (left) and Wow depart Dublin Bay on Saturday en route for Greystones in a feeder race to the County Wicklow port
After so much promise with sun-filled races towards Greystones on Saturday, as a local observer has wrily remarked, Sunday was more Factor 6 than Force 6…….Perhaps in other places, local coastal anomalies and neighbourhood weakness in tidal streams made events…
The 56ft 1926-built Ilen setting her full traditional rig off the rugged coast of Greenland
Limerick’s restored 56ft Conor O’Brien-designed 1926-built traditionally-rigged trading ketch Ilen emerged yesteray evening (Sunday) from the eastern end of Prince Christian Sound to start her passage back to Ireland writes W M Nixon. The magnificent Sound - noted for its dramatic…
Dreamworld. The fabulous location of Greystones and its marina needs an aerial view to be fully appreciated
The problem with Greystones is that it faces the sea writes W M Nixon. Or at the very least, there isn’t a part of the north Wicklow town in which you aren’t very aware that the sea is nearby. The…
Centenary celebrations under way – the Treardur Bay Sailing Club crews at the National Yacht Club during VDLR19 in July
It’s exactly a hundred years to the day from the establishment of the thriving Treardur Bay Sailing Club at its rocky cove in west Anglesey in North Wales on August 23rd 1919 writes W M Nixon. Back then, the world…
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…
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