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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.

How international can you get? Lineup of several nations in the KBC Laser Worlds at Dun Laoghaire, where Ewan MacMahon won the Silver Medal.
Irish sailing may have gone very public and centre stage in the national consciousness in August 2016, when our Olympic squad performed with distinction. But all round the coast and on the lakes, and at major venues overseas, sailing events…
The “Suburban Seafest”. Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta from 6th to 9th July 2017 will be providing racing in the bay for 30 classes.
The only non-elitist thing about the Olympic Games is the fact that all countries – however large or small – are treated equally. A small country like Ireland is entitled to exactly the same number of places in competition as…
The moment when a nation held its breath. Annalise Murphy in her Laser Radial approaches the finish line to clinch the Silver Medal in the Olympic Games at Rio, Tuesday August 16th 2016
It’s indicative of the pace of Irish sailing in 2016 that for anyone taking an overview, it takes a bit of an effort to remember what the weather was like for much of our spring, summer and autumn. Admittedly, here…
The restored Dublin Bay 24 Periwinkle, currently based in southern Brittany, would be a star turn in the Classic Yachts section in next year’s Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta if she could be persuaded to return for the celebration of the Bicentenary of Dun Laoghaire Harbour in 2017.
It could be argued that Dun Laoghaire Harbour has never been completely finished writes W M Nixon. To varying degrees, it has always been Work in Progress. Construction started in 1817, yet it was maybe all of twenty or even…
The complete package. DBSC Commodore Chris Moore racing his J/109 Powder Monkey in Calves Week at Schull. Despite her undistorted hull shape and comfortable accommodation, the J/109 frequently beats all comers in open IRC racing, while also now offering the possibility of viable One Design racing in Dublin Bay
The J/109 has proven herself to be well suited for sailing in Irish waters for several years, achieving major successes in the main offshore races and championships allied to starring roles in top regattas. Yet it is only now that…
Artist Brian Byrnes and Maedhbh Murphy, archivist of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, with the artist’s new painting envisaging how Sir Thomas Myles’ Chotah, one of the Irish gun-running vessels of 1914, might have looked with a steam-driven auxiliary engine fitted. Sir Thomas Myles was President of the RCSI from 1900 to 1902
The Erskine Childers-led Howth and Wicklow gun-runnings of July 1914 took place so quickly and efficiently that those involved ashore only had fleeting glimpses of the boats involved. Although Erskine & Molly Childers’ historic ketch Asgard is now conserved and…
 Sailing should be fun….49er President Marcus Spillane and ISA Coach Rory Fitzpatrick showing what a 49er can do
Is it a bird, is it a plane? The International 49er Skiff is twenty years old in 2016, and it has been part of the Olympics since 2000. Yet for most sailors it is still as modern and bewildering as…
In control. Anthony O’Leary powering along to his convincing victory in the All Ireland Championship 2015 in Dublin Bay
It has been a golden if sometimes very thin thread running through Irish sailing continuously since 1947. Despite the vagaries of the Irish weather and the increasing complexity of our sailing programme, absolutely every season for sixty-nine years now we’ve…
On the mark – Ewan McMahon. His Silver Medal in the KBC Laser Radial Worlds in Dublin Bay was Irish Youth Sailing’s supreme achievement in 2016
Time was when youth sailing and junior sport generally were dealt with very cautiously by mainstream media, if at all writes W M Nixon. Apart from the need to provide space for young people to develop their personalities and sporting…
One of cruising’s many pleasures is the unrivalled opportunity it provides to enjoy island and coastal wildlife without fuss. These puffins were seen on the Treshnish Islands west of Mull during the cruise by the Sun Fizz 40 Mystique of Malahide (Robert & Rose Michael) to the west coast of Scotland in July 2016
While today’s galaxy of our top international sailing talent draws in its stars from many parts of Ireland to focus their energies and campaigns through a relatively few major centres, there was a time when one charming little estuary village…
New boats to a classic design. On the waterfront at Clontarf, the IDRA 14 Wicked Sadie (left) and the Waldringfield Dragonfly Phoenix (right) are both 2016-completed to an O’Brien Kennedy design with its origins in 1938
A two-day celebration in a coastal suburb of Dublin to mark the 70th birthday of a 14ft One-Design sailing dinghy class may not seem an event of major significance in an island nation which can trace its recreational sailing history…
A performance sailer being used as an introductory fun boat. At last weekend’s Open Day for junior sailors with Howth YC’s new club-owned flotilla of five J/80s, instructor Craig Jeffares (left) guides Sarah Hanratty, Grace Quilligan on tiller, Anna Maguire, and Hannah Furlong, with Class Bos’un Luke Malcolm beyond
While the headlines and public attention for much of the summer were dominated by the acrimonious Brexit vote in Britain and the extremes of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, out beyond a narrow sandspit on a secretive peninsula…
Fireworks with all the trimmings – celebration over Dun Laoghaire from the National YC while on the screen are Silver Medallist Annalise Murphy, her training partner Sara Winther, and longtime coach Rory Fitzpatrick
On Thursday evening, sailing came centre stage in Irish life when our new Olympic Silver Medallist Annalise Murphy was officially welcomed back to her home port of Dun Laoghaire. She arrived by sea on a summer’s evening with flags flying…
Silver service….Annalise Murphy crosses the finish line in the crucial place in the Medals Race ahead of Belgium, The Netherlands and Denmark
Annalise Murphy’s Silver Medal has re-focussed sailing’s thinking about the Olympic Games, which tend to be perceived in many ways. It’s understandable that some specialist sportsmen see the Games as a monster which consumes energy which could be better deployed in other ways. Yet…
Enjoying each race as it comes – Annalise Murphy’s approach to the Olympic challenge has proved successful
With yesterday’s fourth day of sailing for the Women’s Laser Radials at the Rio Olympics bedevilled by light breezes after unusually strong winds earlier in the week, pressure is intensified on Annalise Murphy, who has electrified everyone at home with…
Blast from the past. It’s August 1980, and the magic Half Tonner Swuzzlebubble (Bruce Lyster, RStGYC) is trickling towards the finish of the ISORA Pwllheli-Howth race which she won overall to confirm her as ISORA Champion 1980. She also won ISORA Week 1980, and her class in Cowes Week 1980. Crew on board are (left to right) Bruce Lyster, Robert Dix on helm, Michael Rowan, Drewry Pearson (white hat), and Des Cummins
With the confirmation that Kinsale Yacht Club will be hosting the Half Ton Classic Worlds from August 14th to 18th 2017, Irish interest will intensify further in a class which already attracts much favourable attention. W M Nixon tells us…
A spectacular setting. However, sailing conditions in Rio de Janeiro show how far we have moved from the abandoned Olympic ideal of a sailing venue where the winds blows true, free from undue influence by steep coastlines and tall buildings nearby. In Rio, most of the sailing areas are admittedly in the more open waters beyond the Sugarloaf, but in this case “more open” is only a very relative term – the winds can be all over the place
Ireland’s six sailing Olympians have reached their selections for the 2016 Games at different times. Some have been secure with their places for many months, while others have been confirmed more recently, with the final place being filled on May…
Finn Lynch racing in Croatia. In May in Mexico in a last gasp chance he took the Irish Mens Olympic place in the Laser class.
The rise of Finn Lynch into the top ranks of Irish adult dinghy sailing has been meteoric. It was as recently as May 18th in Mexico that he secured the right to become our Olympic Men’s Laser representative in Rio,…
A good start. “WHEN the Admiral will have the whole Fleet to Chace, he will hoist Dutch colours under his Flag, and fire a Gun from each Quarter; if a single boat, he will hoist a Pendant, and fire as many guns from the side as the Boat is distanced from him. WHEN he would have the Chace given over, he will hawl in his Flag and fire a Gun……” While the original Sailing Orders for an early race by the Water Club of the Harbour of Cork in the 1700s might not have worked for this fleet of a hundred at the start of the Harbour Race in Volvo Cork Week 2016, the spirit of the great pioneers of sailing was being properly celebrated
Afloat.ie’s W M Nixon won’t divulge when he first sailed into Cork Harbour, but he claims to have taken part in an early version of Cork Week as long ago as 1970. And he also claims that, at the Week…
The spirit of Volvo Cork Week as expressed in 2014. Francois Giroud’s Open 750 Bois Dresses II from France revelling in great sailing off Cork Harbour
Awareness of Cork Harbour’s long and colourful history of sailing has become so widespread and generally acknowledged that there’s a risk that the Irish and global sailing community will take it all for granted. Equally, the wonderful natural harbour of…
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