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Sailing on Saturday with WM Nixon
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…
The first boat ever to be awarded a major perpetual cruising trophy was Royal Ulster YC member Dr Howard Sinclair’s 26ft Brenda, which received the new Challenge Cup of the Cruising Club in 1895 for a Round Ireland cruise. Built as a straight-stemmed racing boat to W E Paton’s designs in Belfast in 1886, Brenda was converted for cruising in 1891, and in 1894 she was lengthened forward with a “modern” stem to Dr Sinclair’s own designs by John Hilditch of Carrickfergus
In a week’s time, Sailing on Saturday will resume normal service with a preview on December 23rd of the up-coming Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race on December 26th, both generally and from an Irish angle, for we…
Eric de Turckheim’s NMYD 54 Teasing Machine from France, seen here on the way to winning the 2022 Middle Sea Race, is RORC “Yacht of the Year” 2023. TM’s owner has indicated a strong interest in returning to contest the SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race on June 22nd 2024
We know that the biennial SSE Renewables 700-mile Round Ireland Race from Wicklow is a significant fixture in the international calendar. We know it well, because since its inception through the dedication of the late Michael Jones and his voluntary…
Sunshine action and breeze for “cruisers” racing on Dublin Bay. Late August and September 2024 will see unprecedented national and international competition from Dun Laoghaire’s Royal Irish YC for the “boats with a lid”
Let us begin by simply setting out the pillar events of the 2024 season in Ireland, while including the major international happenings which will be of interest to our sailing community. And then we’ll provide a further take on it…
Telling it like it is. While there is very much more to Irish sailing than success in world-level events, it is only achievements like this that register immediately with the premier national TV news programmes
What, you might well wonder, is a blatant billboard doing at the top of the page this Saturday morning, even if it is exactly a month to Christmas, and Christmas has come early for Ireland’s younger international sailors in 2023?…
Ger O’Rourke of Limerick’s Cookson 50 Chieftain slicing her way through the Solent at the start of the 2007 Rolex Fastnet Race, from which she emerged as overall winner
The Cruising Group can often emerge as the backbone of any sailing club, particularly in the winter. Back in the day when the new Howth Yacht Club premises opened in March 1987, fresh concepts were needed to ensure that the…
Tom Dolan sets out on his Round Ireland Speed Challenge  from Dublin Bay on October 29th
Tom Dolan halted his latest Round Ireland speed challenge on October 31st due to worsening weather forecasts off the South and Southwest coast. It was a disappointing decision for him and his team and a great many readers who had…
The start from Dun Laoghaire in 1888 of a Royal Alfred Yacht Club cross-channel race to Holyhead, where the finish would be co-ordinated by the Royal Mersey YC or the Royal Dee YC. This weekend sees two prize-givings in Dun Laoghaire with direct links to this 1888 event. The Royal Alfred YC is now merged into Dublin Bay SC, whose annual trophy distribution took place last night (Friday) in the National Maritime Museum. And tonight (Saturday) the Irish Sea Offshore Racing – formed in 1972 in a direct line of organisational descent from the early cross-channel inter-club co-operations shown above – will be holding its annual prize-giving dinner in the National YC in Dun Laoghaire
It’s prize-giving time down beside the Old Granite Pond. Last night (Friday), Commodore Eddie Totterdell presided over Dublin Bay Sailing Club’s annual re-distribution of their enormous cache of trophies in the National Maritime Museum in Dun Laoghaire. And tonight (Saturday),…
A perfect start. Tom Dolan departs the Kish Lighthouse at full speed last Sunday (October 29th) at 1600 hrs. The boat may be French, but the skipper is pure Meath, and the lighthouse tower structure was built in Dun Laoghaire Harbour in the 1960s before being towed eight miles out to sea and secured into the Kish Bank at the mouth of Dublin Bay
A statement from Tom Dolan Racing, issued at 07:54 on the morning of Wednesday, November 1st after his anti-clockwise Round Ireland Campaign from Dublin in his Figaro 3 had been abruptly brought to a halt at Dingle on Tuesday evening…
A lot of boat…the well-tested Class40 Black Mamba has become Pamala Lee’s Brittany Ferries-sponsored mount for tomorrow (Sunday’s) Thirtieth Anniversary Transat Jacques Vabre to Martinique in the Caribbean
It has been a remarkable week for Irish sailing, with our clubs last weekend managing to get in the complete programme of Autumn League racing despite being close in on the tail end of Storm Babet. Meanwhile, Eve McMahon confirmed…

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