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Sailing on Saturday with WM Nixon
The sailing weather of 2021 was decidedly mixed, and recollections will depend on the focus of each significant event. The Puppeteer 22s recall only idyllic Mediterranean weather for their Annual Championship at Howth, won by the McMahon family’s Shiggy-Shiggy for the second year running
(First published 27/11/21): The 2021 programme for Irish sailors is still in action with winter series underway at several centres, while next Wednesday a junior squad departs for Oman and the Youth Sailing Worlds which get fully underway on December…
A Classic. The Rolex Sydney-Hobart fleet leaders sweep seaward in perfect style shortly after the traditional in-harbour start.
For many years now, the annual 628-mile Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race on 26th December has played a special role in reviving the mid-winter spirits of the dark and gloomy Northern Hemisphere, with the glitzy sunlit start out of one of the…
Never happier than when afloat – Neville Maguire aged 93 heading seawards from Howth in his final boat, the Seaward 23 Two Much
Neville Maguire (1927-2021) was a devotedly local sailor whose racing was at world standard. Yet any civilised sailing enthusiast would wish to be as he was, for although Neville’s racing was important, it was only part of a lifelong love…
Eve McMahon on her way to Gold on Lake Garda. She is probably the only World Champion involved in the recent school exam programme in Ireland.
So many 50th Anniversaries in international sailing are being celebrated these days that you could be forgiven for thinking that all these major events - such as next week’s opening of the event’s Golden Jubilee celebration, and the staging of…
The AC 75 American Magic in the preliminaries for the 2021 America’s Cup at Auckland. The essence of the contemporary America’s Cup is that it should be sailed in unique boats
The 170-year-old America’s Cup is global sailing’s Sacred Mystery. To be most true to itself, it should be raced in boats - or more accurately sailing machines - that are about as different as possible from the craft used by…
Even at Barcelona, the best of the summer is long gone in November, but it still provided “an energetic variety of conditions” for the Laser Worlds 2021, and Finn Lynch (centre) emerged from melees like this to record a great scoreline
While everyone in Irish sailing and beyond shares in the joy of seeing Finn Lynch emerge so spectacularly from a performance drought to take Silver at this week’s Laser Worlds in Barcelona, it is really only those who have fully…
Tom Kneen's JPK 11.80 Sunrise winning the 2021 Fastnet Race at Cherbourg. As a loyal Royal Western YC member, he had voted in favour of retaining the traditional Fastnet finish at Plymouth, but it's possible that it was the extra distance to the Cherbourg finish which played a key role in Sunrise's clear win
Would Tom Kneen's JPK 11.80 Sunrise have still won the Rolex Fastnet Race 2021 if it had been sailed on the old course, with Plymouth rather than Cherbourg as the finish? Imponderable it may be, but it's a question of…
The hidden gem of County Clare – mixed classes racing at Cullaun SC. Despite the lateness of the season, Cullaun and the GP 14 Association hope to get together in a week's time for a championship postponed from April
October 2021 has been kind to Irish sailing in brightening our spirits, letting our crews be active with more sunshine than you'd expect, and helping to banish any thoughts of the dodgy pandemic situation ashore. Even though the Bank Holiday…
America's Cup contenders at Auckland – it's an abiding and evocative image, but at what cost?
According to one usually reliable line of information, yesterday was to be the day in Auckland when Team New Zealand and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, as Trustees and Holders of the America's Cup, were due to confirm the…
With their Centenary next year, the Shannon One Designs celebrate a unique boat and successful class which came into being at a time when Ireland was in a state of turmoil
In Ireland, we're living through the Decade of Centenaries in terms of marking conflict-laden historical events and major national happenings ashore. So it says everything about the blissful sense of having a world of our own in sailing that in…
The The 1938-founded Ballyholme Bay Class when still going strong in 1970, with Bobby Swanston's Eileen leading from Frank Humphreys' Penelope. While the class in Bangor is now largely defunct, an active sister-ship has emerged in Isle of Wight ownership
Coming as it does from David Tasker - an Afloat.ie reader from the Isle of Wight - a typically Autumnal query received a day or two ago from this new owner of an interesting and much-loved vintage boat is one…
The Helmsman's Championship of October 1970 at Crosshaven rounded out the Quarter Millennial Celebrations of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, and the six finalists were (left to right) Michael O'Rahilly (Dun Laoghaire), the late Somers Payne (Crosshaven), Harold Cudmore Jnr (Crosshaven), Owen Delany (Dun Laoghaire), Maurice Butler (Ballyholme) and the winner, Robert Dix of Malahide – at 17 in 1970, still the youngest-ever winner
We've been waiting a year to use this header photo which – owing to a certain confusion in the filing of thousands of photographic negs and images – has had to be scanned from the November 1970 issue of Irish…
What was it with last weekend's weather? As the pandemic restrictions against activity afloat are ever-so-gradually eased, not only was there some sort of sailing going on almost everywhere, but the mood was that of late August. Yet it was…
The cause of much joy – and grief. The schooner America wins the race around the Isle of Wight 170 years ago
Let's face it, Ireland bidding to host the 37th America's Cup in 2024 – or more accurately, Cork's campaigning to stage it – has all the makings of a handy TV drama. As it has to be a national investment,…
Frank Whelan's J/122 from Greystones SC had had a fine season, winning Calves Week in August, and then following it in September with a clean sweep and the overall win in the ICRA Nats. The J/122 – first produced in 2008 – is no longer built, yet Kaya is frontline competitive with the owner-skipper supported by crew-leader Patrick Barnwell, and with Mark Mansfield as tactician for the ICRA Nats
You might say it's unnatural. Normally at this time of year, we'll be talking of the evenings and the season closing in together to facilitate a gently easing pace. But last weekend in Cork, they seemed to have so many…
If you want some colour in Dublin Bay, bring your own……Conor Phelan's Ker 37 Jump Juice from Cork, fresh out of A&E @ The Noonan Clinic, provided a bright spot yesterday on a grey day in a grey bay.
Let's hear it for coloured sails. On a grey day on a grey bay, every last spinnaker or asymmetric or gennaker or whatever with a splash of colour was more than welcome yesterday morning (Friday) to help bring the grimly…

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