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Sailing on Saturday with WM Nixon
“A fine sailing breeze” would be as far as the sailors of the 1870s would permit their feelings to show in studying this image of hard-driven racing boats by Matthew Kendrick RHA (1805-1874, painter to the Royal Irish YC). It illustrates an increasingly familiar scene in Dublin Bay once the new harbour was completed
A week of maritime-related festivity is underway today (Saturday) as Coastival gets going in Dun Laoghaire, with the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta from next Thursday through to Sunday contributing mightily to a peak of dynamic interaction between town entertainment and…
Three hundred years after Kinsale began a Century as an official Royal Navy Port, it is today a dynamic yet relaxing mix of history and modern facilities
Although Friday’s racing was cancelled in the face of heavy winds and the strong possibility of fog in a notably unstable weather phase, it has otherwise been Camelot in Kinsale for the Simple Blue Sovereigns Cup 2023. Any serious rain…
“A mystery to himself as to everyone else” – pioneering global circumnavigator Conor O’Brien of Foynes as portrayed by his wife Kitty Clausen
A hundred years ago next Tuesday, June 20th, Conor O'Brien (1880-1952) of Foynes took his departure with some fanfare aboard his 42ft Saoirse from the harbour her skipper preferred to call Dunleary, though most of its citizens saw it as…
The Sunfast 3300 Cinnamon Girl (Cian McCarthy, Kinsale YC) under her 2023 cutter rig with lengthened bowsprit shortly after the start of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race on Wednesday, June 7th
It was that noted offshore yachtsman and rail travel enthusiast Vladimir Ilyich Lenin who observed that ten years can go past with no significant history occurring at all, and then suddenly ten years of hectic history can happen in just…
Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race defending champion Nieulargo (Royal Cork YC) racing southward out of Dublin Bay
There’s more than a few of us around who well remember the launching of the new 280 nautical miles Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race by the ideas-filled duo of Martin Crotty and Peter Cullen of the National Yacht Club. It…
The Manx Nobby White Heather is the latest addition to the Irish Old Gaffer fleet, having recently been brought by Gary Lyons to Strangford Lough from Peel in the Isle of Man. To add interest to her sailing, every time you tack White Heather the rig obliges you to dip the main and mizzen yards so that they are always on the lee side of their masts
This weekend sees ancient gaff-rigged and other craft of multiple vintages gathering at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club in Ringsend in the heart of Dublin Port, within sight of some of the most modern ships afloat. It’s the 60th Anniversary…
The spirit of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta and Dublin Bay sailing encapsulated in one vivid image as a historic classic boat puts to sea past the East Pier Lighthouse headed for some rugged racing in the Bay. It is the 2015 VDLR, and the Uffa Fox-designed Jack Tyrrell of Arklow-built Flying 30 Huff of Arklow of 1950 vintage, originally commissioned by Royal St George YC Commodore and IDRA President Douglas Heard, has been brought back - superbly restored – from Dartmouth to her original home port by owner Andrew Thornhill to race the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta every day. Thanks to the continuous post-race up-dating of every set of results, the enthusiasm with which Huff is sailed is to be rewarded with her winning the “Boat of the Regatta” trophy
There’s a remarkable inherited experience of staging regattas in Dun Laoghaire, reinforced by the shared skill in running races of appropriate type and length, which comes through from the unrivalled memory bank of what is and isn’t reasonably possible, passed…
Molly Childers at the wheel of Asgard. As a talented helmswoman, she was often in this role. But the disadvantage is that during a sea day of heavy showers, you have to stick at it however unbecoming your sou’wester, while the rest of the crew may have escaped to the dry below until the rain passes over
Whatever you may think about the historic gun-running by Erskine & Molly Childers’ Asgard into Howth on July 26th 1914, there’s no denying the fact that this was one of the most significant interactions of sailing as a sport with…
The team to beat – Round Ireland Two-handed Record Holders Cat Hunt and Pam Lee of Greystones 
Everyone seems to relish the idea of sailing round Ireland. Indeed, such is our appreciation of it that it all seems to mean different things to different people. To start with, how far is it? Time was when you’d be…
It’s now all in the mind, yet more real than ever – the “cover” of the online 2023 Dublin Bay Sailing Club Yearbook, produced in conjunction with Afloat.ie
It’s an idea whose time first came back in 1884, and yet Dublin Bay Sailing Club remains as timely a concept as it ever was. Its official 2023 Opening Day is at Dun Laoghaire today, Saturday, April 29th, even though…
University College Dublin Sailing Club, BUSA Champions 2023 at Grafham Water, Cambridge – top row (left to right) Triona Hinkson, Kathy Kelly and Cian Lynch, bottom row Liam Glynn, Jack Fahy and Tom Higgins
It’s beginning to look as though University College Dublin is a sailing university with a work and studies problem. As the pressure builds in all departments ashore and afloat, they’re piling on the pace in the team and match racing…
The difference between having a great start or getting stuffed can be very narrow indeed, but in this instance Tom Dolan has got himself on the right side of the bacon slicer in the hyper-keen Figaro 3 class
The best news for Ireland thus far in this developing sailing season of 2023 is that, at last weekend’s 400-boat four-day Spi Ouest Easter Regatta at La Trinite in Southern Brittany, Meath’s own Tom Dolan won the hyper-keen Figaro 3…
First major taste of racing success. Donal McClement (right) with the Dognose Trophy in 1959, and (left to right) Royal Munster YC Flag Officers Sam Thompson and Charlie Dwyer, and Donal’s longtime friend and shipmate Dougie Deane
Recipe for a great day of celebration: Put together a well-earned praise-fest in which the lead speaker is a senior Government Minister and sailing enthusiast of the calibre of Simon Coveney TD. Add in a lively attendance of 270-plus that…
Paula Marten’s evocative painting of the early stages of the new Saoirse under construction in the Top Shed at Liam Hegarty’s Boatyard in Oldcourt . It will feature in her exhibition in Bushe’s Bar at the Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival from May 26th to 28th 2023
Let us imagine that you are both an enthusiast for Conor O’Brien (1880-1952), the Shannon Estuary’s great pioneering voyager, and that you are also one of those number-crunchers who enjoy calculating on what particular day significant anniversaries will fall in…
The First Born: The re-structured new Afloat Magazine 51 years ago in March 1972, with the cover featuring Derek Tughan’s Swan 36 and Des & John Irwin’ s Arpege racing on Belfast Lough. In 2022, with sailing in Ireland lifting successfully out of Covid lockdown, Golden Jubilee celebrations were not of prime importance as Afloat.ie got on with its real work
If success has many fathers, while failure is an orphan, then Afloat.ie must be one of the most successful media outlets in Ireland. For in recent years, several people have proudly claimed to have been the founder of what is…
Pure Magic in Greenland for the team’s second visit in 2015 – they’d been before, in the Sigma 36 Black Pepper. Fair dos to Erik the Red, that he managed to sell some of this real estate using the name “Greenland”
That headline may suggest the latest Viking television melodrama. And at times Sailing To Antarctica, this new multi-aspect book of memoirs - written moreover in an Irish sea village with strong links to the Scandinavian sea rovers - brings the…

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