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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.

Checkmate XV’s international racing success is the public face of Dave Cullen’s determied campaigning, but there’s another shoreside aspect to him which emerges as Christmas approaches
Most sailing folk in Ireland and abroad will know Dave Cullen as the amiable yet very determined owner-skipper of the immaculately-maintained and precision-campaigned Half Ton Classic Checkmate XV, the current World Champion writes W M Nixon. But if you are…
Solemn moment…..Ireland’s Tom Dolan (right) looking unusually serious as he is honoured for his third place in the rookie division in the French Offshore Championship at the Paris Boat Show
Tom Dolan of Ireland had his hectic first year on the Figaro circuit during 2018 celebrated at the Paris International Boat Show over the weekend when he was on the podium for the National Championship Offshore awards writes W M…
Winter? What winter? Veteran skipper George Sisk’s rejuvenated Farr 42 WOW in sparkling form in the Turkey Shoot Series in Dublin Bay
Maybe it’s the fact that the days start to get longer again in only a fortnight, but there’s mood of rising optimism in Irish sailing these days writes W M Nixon. There’s an almost measurable buzz in the air which…
Darryl Hughes of Maybird with Anne-Marie Ryan, wife of the ISORA Chairman Peter Ryan, at the presentation of the historic Penmaen Plate in the National YC
The Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association has a long and varied history extending back to the 1930s writes W M Nixon. For although ISORA, as we know it today, was inaugurated as recently as 1972, it is directly descended from…
Flying the flag for Ireland – a very neat start for IRL 2846 in the 2018 Australian Tasar Nationals in Darwin.
Conor Byrne remembers his best sailing in Ireland as being in Mermaids at his home port of Skerries writes W M Nixon. But for some time now he has been in the most tropical part of Australia in Darwin, and…
Could it be one of the Blaskets? Or maybe a southern island of the Outer Hebrides? Not so. This is the Big One – Cape Horn on a good day. It was 94 years ago this Sunday that Conor O’Brien of Limerick achieved the remarkable “first” of crossing the Southern Ocean directly from New Zealand and rounding Cape Horn with his 42ft Baltimore-built ketch Saoirse
On most coastlines in the world, you’ll invariably hear of some challenging nearby headland being referred to as “the local Cape Horn” writes W M Nixon No other promontory worldwide has the same global image. It tells us much about…
Balbriggan Harbour looking south. It has its own special history, but now it is planned to link it more closely with the town.
When you’ve an ancient port town which happens to have the youngest population in all Ireland, clearly you face problems when the local authority proposes plans to upgrade the old harbour area to bring it more in line with the…
After a few days with the Ilen in Limerick’s Ted Russell Dock, you get used to the ever-present yet always-changing metallic mini-mountains
Down Limerick way, somebody is probably already putting together an appropriate song about how the historic sail trading ketch Ilen was saved from the scrapyard through a heroic decade-long restoration programme by Limerick’s Ilen Project, only to spend her first…
 Ready to roll – the Naomhoga Chorcai flotilla assemble in Tinnahinch Lock at Graiguenamanagh
The keen November sailors of Crosshaven, Dun Laoghaire, Howth and Bangor weren’t the only ones to get a bonus afloat from the weekend’s almost freakish sunshine before the first real hints of winter arrived today writes W M Nixon. The…
Ireland’s Tom Dolan in his Figaro 2 Smurfit Kappa, turning to windward along the north coast of Spain during the Portosin-St Gilles leg of the 2018 Solitaire URGO Figaro – he was first rookie in this stage. Although the versatile Figaro 2 is being replaced by the foiling Figaro 3 for the Golden Jubilee Figaro Series next year, the introduction of a new offshore racing event in the 2024 Olympics could give the Figaro 2 a fresh lease of life
A woman. A man. Three days and two nights together at sea. Racing in a cramped 30ft boat. Under 24-hour surveillance. It sounds like the latest pitch for a Reality TV show. Arguably, it is. But it’s also the new…
Somewhere, under the rainbow…..the bright side of the rainstorm favours the Ilen in the Ted Russell Dock in Limerick – she has her own private rainbow, when everyone else was facing flash flood warnings
When we’d flash floods pestering the country recently with wayward downpours, Gary MacMahon went to check out the beloved Ilen in Limerick docks, and found the old girl sitting serenely under her own private rainbow writes W M Nixon But…
Never happier than when at sea - Donal Lynch in 1998, aboard the Swan 55 Rambler.
Donal Lynch’s remarkable life was a series of successful and interconnecting phases writes W M Nixon. His engaging presence is now gone from among us at the age of 81, and he is very much missed. Yet so much of…
Beaufort Cup racing in Volvo Cork Week. Commandant Barry Byrne’s success with racing John Maybury’s J/109 Joker 2 in this series, and in the Round Ireland Race earlier in July, was one of 2018’s many remarkable achievements
As we begin to contemplate a 24th year for the Afloat.ie/Irish Sailing “Sailors of the Month” assessments in 2019, it’s time and more for a look back to the people and the achievements which defined our top performers in and…
 Ilen in search of wind as she heads seaward past Scattery Island in the Shannon Estuary
Foynes Island in the Shannon Estuary exerts an almost supernatural attraction for the O’Brien family writes W M Nixon. The great circumnavigator Conor O’Brien always regarded it as his one and only true home. And though his voyagings and other…
Dingle Maritime Weekend to Feature Ted Creedon on 3rd & 4th November
Dingle Maritime Weekend, an annual event jointly organised by Kevin Flannery of the town’s renowned Oceanworld, and former Harbour Master Captain Brian Farrell (he played a key role in the establishment of the biennial Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race in…
Everyone Welcome to Limerick Party to Celebrate Restoration of Sail Trader Ilen
The return of the restored trading ketch Ilen to Limerick after 92 years has been a matter of quiet celebration among all involved since the 56ft “small tall ship" sailed up the Shannon Estuary from Baltimore at the beginning of…
Summer sailing as it should be….Jump Juice from Cork in the lead at the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, which will be the biggest event in Irish waters in 2019
“For everything to stay the same, everything must change….” It’s an enduring and profound thought from the classic Italian novel The Leopard. And it applies to Irish sailing at least much as it does to most other aspects of Irish…
The 64ft Cornish lugger Grayhound, a re-creation of a design of 1796, recently delivered 6 tons of Monaghan-brewed Irish craft beer from Cork to Granville in Normandy
The recent totally carbon-free delivery of six tons of Irish craft beer from Cork to France makes for a positive response to those who are concerned by the adverse effects of industrially-induced climate change, and the possible interruptions to trade…
Silver sun, shining sea – Conor Fogerty’s historic Silver Shamrock (1976 World Half Ton Champion) and the Formula 28 Animal (G. O’Sullivan) cross tacks in perfect Autumn racing conditions at Howth
The six Saturdays of the KBC Bank Autumn League at Howth Yacht Club experienced some days so perfect that by the time it concluded with the mother of all festive prize-givings last night, everyone had forgotten that somewhere in the…
 Cool performer. Niall Dowling’s Ker 43 Baraka GP at Wicklow Head at the start of the Volvo Round Ireland Race 2018. Despite being well down the overall rankings off the coast of Mayo, a tactically brilliant second half saw her emerge as line honours victor and overall winner
Anyone who claims to comprehend every nuance of Ireland’s sailing story during 2018 is living in a state of happy delusion writes W M Nixon. For sure, much that happened followed the set path of the annual programme at home…
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