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Sailing on Saturday with WM Nixon
Optimal record-breaking conditions for a circuit course like Ireland – Tom Dolan in his Figaro 3 Smurfit-Kappa Kingspan on a full sail reach with enough speed to make the foils earn their keep
As solo star Tom Dolan said when he arrived this week in Greystones to position himself on stand-by for his waiting-game round Ireland record challenge from the Kish Lighthouse, the current increasingly Autumnal weather pattern is much more encouragingly dynamic…
Carrickfergus rules okay…Stephen Penney’s champion Ruffian 23 Hot Orange making a classic pin end start in the Ruffian 23 Golden Jubilee Nationals 2023 in Dublin Bay at the end of July
You never really know when you’re experiencing history in the making. It was early in March 1973 when we were invited to Portaferry, along the east side of the Narrows going into Strangford Lough, on a Saturday morning. The idea…
A high level of pressure on Dun Laoghaire’s facilities for cruiser-racer events will extend well into September 2024
It seems the sailing world has “recovered from recovering from the pandemic lockdowns”, as the world’s year-round programme of major events – particularly high-profile offshore challenges – swings back into top gear. Not that some of these events didn’t somehow…
Sean Flood at the helm of Otto Glaser’s McGruer 47 Tritsch-Tratsch II with The Needles astern in the early stages of the 1974 RORC Cowes-Cork Race. Also just visible astern are Denis Doyle’s blue S&S 47 Moonduster, and Clayton Love’s Swan 44 Assiduous – they were still astern at the finish. Line honours and overall winner was Eric Tabarly’s then-new 70ft ketch Pen Duick VI, while Tritsch-Tratsch II was in the frame, and top Irish boat

Sean Flood 1932-2023

30th September 2023 W M Nixon
The life story of Sean Flood, who has died at the age of 91, is in many ways the story of modern Ireland as seen through a sailing and business lens. From a family of traditionally and strongly patriotic outlook,…
Sailing as it is when true sailors like to watch, but only if they can’t be sailing themselves. The International 12 Metres in fleet racing mode. Their speeds may seem slow when compared to modern foilers, but it is the matching speeds and the skills needed to get an edge which attract the true aficionado
The sailing scene in Ireland has lost three significant figures this past week with the deaths of Liam Shanahan of Dun Laoghaire, Mick Hunt of Howth, and Sean Flood of The Baily overlooking Dublin Bay. They were very much distinctive…
A rose-tinted view? The setting sun – enhanced by the recent incursion of Sahara dust – adds romance for three Howth 17s in the final evening race of their 125th season in 2023, with current champion Sheila (Dave Mulligan) in foreground. But the sun is definitely not setting in a more general way on such historic local classes in Ireland, as they’re thriving with a new surge of interest
They’ve been part of our sailing furniture for so long that you could be forgiven for thinking Ireland’s historic local classes might just quietly fade away through being barely noticed. But you’d be very much mistaken. 2023 has been a…
John Maybury’s J/109 Joker II – seen here racing at the Howth Wave Regatta 2022 – is defending champion in the ICRA Nats 2023
When the three-day Irish Cruiser-Racing Association monday.com-sponsored annual National Championship gets underway today (Friday) at Howth, it will be the combination of a modern innovation in Irish sailing, which is barely twenty years old, and a local regatta tradition of…
The eternal traditional sailing boats of Connemara. Despite August’s perverse weather, the Galway Hookers were the flagships for the staging of Cruinniu na mBad 2023 in mid-month at Kinvara
Yesterday (Friday), Afloat.ie listed eight of our “Sailor of the Month” awards for August 2023. As most involved either double-handed teams or helmsmen representing more numerous crews, in total, the achievements mentioned highlighted the successful sailing performance of 22 people…
Nobody said it was going to be easy…..before he starts tomorrow’s 54th Figaro Solo, Tom Dolan has to be sure that every line and control in his complex boat Smurfit-Kappa Kingspan is functioning smoothly
The Solitaire du Figaro has been a significant feature of the European sailing scene for 54 years now, and today it is well established as La Solitaire du Figaro Paprec, supported by the 1985-founded French re-cycling and green energy conglomerate.…
Classic J/133 Pintia takes a mighty leap to reveal her keel in the rough early stages of the Rolex Fastnet Race 2023, in which she won Class 1
The international J Boat fleet, with its many variants, fills a special role in world sailing, with an underlying sense of family permeating this attractive no-nonsense craft. For it all of course, stems from the initial creative introduction – explosion,…
Howth Yacht Club Commodore Neil Murphy (centre) accepting the MG Motor “Sailing Club of the Year” 2023 award on behalf of his 2000-plus members from Andrew Johnson (left, MG Motor National Sales Manager) and Brian Keane of Frank Keane Holdings, proprietors of MG Motor Ireland
Although the announcement that Howth Yacht Club had become the latest MG Motor “Sailing Club of the Year 2023” was made at the beginning of the year following outstanding achievements at home and abroad by the club and its members…
Noah’s Ark approaching a Kerry landfall. Thanks to July’s endless rainfall, gopher wood futures are rocketing
Down Kerry way where the weather is often for adults only, they say that when Noah came bobbing along in his crowded Ark across the boundless wastes of flood water, the first sign of any land-indicating feature with life that…
Once upon a time…back in the days when offshore racing could still seem like the popular notion of yachting, Otto Glaser’s McGruer 47 Tritsch-Tratsch II from Howth runs back in style from the Fastnet in the 1975 race, on her way to take a top ten placing in the 79-strong Class 1
It was the dog what done it. A hound of mysterious powers has changed family fortunes for a Crosshaven sailing clan. The Murphy-Fegan family’s Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo, the Royal Cork Yacht Club Vice Admiral’s Cleopatra-style gilded barge, so to…
Five times Sydney-Hobart winner Gordon Maguire will be racing in Sean Langman’s very-upgraded 1932-built 30ft gaff cutter Maluka in Saturday’s 50th Fastnet Race
Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that prediction can be a dodgy business as it involves the future. And when that future is reckoned to include – as it does for today (Saturday’s) Fastnet Race start in the Solent –…
“Driving her on”. The late Hugh Sherrard, in his mid-70s at the helm of the 1905-vintage Brynoth, was the only Irish winner of a major trophy in the Golden Jubilee Fastnet Race of 1975
It is arguably the greatest on-water fleet organisation in world sailing. In a week’s time, the 450 or so boats in the 50th staging of the 695-mile Rolex Fastnet Race will be sent on their way from Cowes in a…
The construction of the new harbour at what had become Kingstown created a new world in itself, and a thousand words could be written about everything that is going on here in the 1860s with a brisk sou’easter, as painted by Richard Breeches Beechey
Some decidedly rugged racing yesterday (Friday), though with rapidly improving conditions, managed brilliantly to pull the wind-battered VDLR-23 back into line. But there’s no doubting the fact that it is all being achieved with weather that is a little bit…

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