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Sailing on Saturday with WM Nixon
The Italian Class40 Alla Grande Pirelli in the 2023 Normandy Channel Race, which took in turning marks at the Tuskar and Fastnet Rocks. The first of the Class40 fleet – the French boat Unicorn – confirmed entry this week in the 2024 SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race from Wicklow on June 22nd
This weekend is expected to see the Entry List for the SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race on June 22nd going through the 40 mark, with a good selection of boats already providing a healthy mix of internationally-renowned craft lining up…
Claud Monet’s impression of the August 1900 Sailing Olympics at Le Havre. This was the first modern Olympic Sailing event ever completed on salt water, and was the second stage of a two-part regatta in which Part 1 had been raced on the River Seine near Paris in May. A sailing event had been scheduled for the first modern Olympiad at Athens in 1896, but persistent gales on the Aegean Sea made its staging impossible. Image Courtesy MM
Olympians are different from you and me. In the final analysis, that’s what being Olympian is all about. For whether we like it or not, the vivid clarity of an Olympic medal is one of the few ways that sailing…
Storming along to the big win in Tangier. Eve McMahon was to show grace under pressure in maintaining a very clear lead in the ILCA U21 Worlds in Tangier
Friday evening’s announcement of the Irish Sailor of the Year 2023 title for 19-year-old Eve McMahon at her sailing home of Howth Yacht Club well captures the zeitgeist of mid-2020s Ireland, not least in the fact that the title holder…
The ultra-mix of sailing and the inland waterways – the century-old Shannon One Design Class transitting the lock in Athlone during their annual downriver race from Lough Ree to Lough Derg
If you were trying to think of the most utterly rural town in all Ireland, Longford would certainly be among the top ten - maybe tops of all. And our rustic view of it is emphasised by the fact that…
The Last Hurrah. The late Clayton Love Jnr and regular crewman Neil Hegarty revel in racing the 505 Miss Betty in IYA Dinghy Week in July 1970 at Ballyholme on Belfast Lough. This was to be Clayton Love’s last actively dinghy racing season, and it was also the last Dinghy Week, as the event had become too big for most sailing centres to handle
The widely-mourned death of Clayton Love Jnr of Cork at the age of 94 may leave a void in the lives of his very large circle of family, friends and colleagues in many parts of the world and numerous areas…
Heather Kennedy, daughter of Ruffian 23 designer Billy Brown of Portaferry, with National Yacht Club Commodore Peter Sherry at the presentation of the shared MG Motor “Sailing Club of the Year 2024” award
Friendship, family and sailing enjoyment expressed enthusiastically through quietly efficient organisations - that was the warm theme which dominated Thursday evening’s convivial gathering in the National Yacht Club on Dun Laoghaire waterfront. The successful hosting club and the Golden Jubilee-celebrating…
Ballyholme Bay looking southeast – it is ideally located between town and country, and used to be within handy bike free-wheel distance of Bangor Grammar School
Back in the day, Bangor Grammar School was seen by a small but significant sector of its pupils as a sailing school with a grammar problem. This was in a time when it was an establishment of friendly size, located…
ICC Commodore David Beattie’s steel cutter Reespray at the Fastnet Rock. As her hull lines are based on Joshua Slocum’s world-girdling Spray, this means that the basic shape is more than 250 years old
Last night’s Annual General Meeting of the 1929-founded Irish Cruising Club in Dublin was more than the usual agenda-guided review of a year of activity afloat, a time-honoured long look at twelve months of varied cruising and voyaging on waters…
Sailing history comes alive in Half Ton Classic racing at Kinsale. The 1976 Farr-designed Swuzzlebubble - now owned by James Dwyer of Royal Cork – is current ICRA “Boat of the Year”, while the blue Humphreys-designed 1985 Checkmate XV won outgoing ICRA Commodore Dave Cullen of Howth the Half Ton Classics Cup in Belgium in 2018
The weather may have decided that winter is far from gone in the last couple of days, but in Dun Laoghaire this morning, the annual conference of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association at the Royal Irish YC remembers only sun-filled…
Laurent Charmy’s J/111 SL Energies Groupe Fastwave from France was the narrow overall winner of the 2022 SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race from Wicklow, closely ahead of the J/99 Snapshot (Mike & Richard Evans, Howth YC)
It’s one thing to declare an interest in contesting an up-coming iteration of the biennial 704-mile SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race from Wicklow. But it is quite something else to divvy up an entry fee, and sign on the dotted…
The real party begins at home – Royal Cork YC’s new Admiral Annamarie Fegan (second left beside husband Denis Murphy) celebrates aboard Nieulargo on return to Crosshaven after winning the Fastnet 450 Race. Total lineup is (left to right, back): Denis, Annamarie and Molly Murphy, Mark ‘Nipper’ Murphy (no relation), Killian Collins and Clive O'Shea. (Front): Mia Murphy, Cian Byrne, James Fegan and Nin O'Leary
This week’s election of Annamarie Fegan as Admiral of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, the first woman sailor to fill the top posting in this extraordinary organisation’s 304-year history, is remarkable in that it doesn’t seem to have been seen…
The Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire has the world’s oldest original purpose-designed complete clubhouse, with its classical premises dating from 1850. Yet while this has been meticulously preserved, the harbour and marina have conveniently re-arranged themselves round it to provide a unique combination of living history and modern facilities
The latest news on the Dun Laoghaire waterfront is that the J/109 Europeans 2024 will be part of this year’s intense series of cruiser/racer regattas at the Royal Irish YC in late August and early September. It’s an organisational breakthrough…
The Reichel/Pugh-designed Rolex Sydney-Hobart  2023 overall winning 66 footer Alive from Tasmania would be considered a veteran of significant age in many other sailing areas, but the Australian philosophy of constant modification and up-dating with continuous input from designer Jim Pugh makes her better than new each time out
There’s something about the annual 628-mile Rolex-Sydney Hobart Race that lends it to endless angles of speculation and re-analysis long after the event. We’re already a fortnight clear of the final postings of the results, yet the real anoraks and…
Summertime at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, with an International ILCA event under way and former Commodore Conor O'Regan's world-girdling Rival 38 Panima alongside
It is not unprecedented for leading clubs and one of the key class organisations within their ambit to share the MG Motor Sailing Club of the Year Award. It began with an added convention (the informal contest has been based…
The turning point. Until mid-August 2023, it seemed increasingly possible that Ireland would not qualify for a place in any sailing class in the 2024 Paris Olympics, at that time just eleven months away. But then Finn Lynch secured qualification for the ILCA 7 at the Sailing Worlds 2023 in The Netherlands (above), and in November Robert Dickson & Sean Waddilove did the same for the 49er at the Euros in Portugal. The tide had well and truly turned
Afloat.ie has already clocked 2.1 million readers during 2023, so we’re communicating with a large and often international readership, although the core of our regular visitors is still very much in Ireland. And now, with just one day to go…
Kinsale's Cian McCarthy and Sam Hunt putting
For sure, it’s very easy to make too much of the power of the Irish global diaspora. After all, these days just about everybody in the creative arts – particularly writing, acting and music – will determinedly claim an Irish…

William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago