Galway Hookers Join Irish Sailing

Galway Hookers Join Irish Sailing

Irish Sailing welcomes its newest affiliated club

Galway Hooker Sailing Club was formed in 2017 when a group of friends came together to revive and retain the Galway Hooker tradition in Galway. The Galway Hooker is a traditional fishing vessel built and designed in Galway and originally date from about the 1850s. They are iconic to Galway with their typical red sails, and you can see their image in many logos and brands around the city. 

The Club’s first priority was the need to teach people the skills to sail these traditional vessels. A collaboration with GRETB (Galway Roscommon Education Training Board) was formed to run basic courses which would introduce people to the Hookers and give them the history and skills needed to restore, maintain and sail them.  Current club commodore Ciaran Oliver is one of the founding members and together with a current crew of about 100 people has built a steadily growing club with strong links to the local community.

The Hookers are gaff rigged* with a gaff mainsail, a staysail and a jib. The Hooker is a wooden keel boat built from oak and larch and pine spars. There are 4 types of gaff rigged Hooker: Bád Mór 31.5’ – 46’ in length, the Laethbhád 28’ – 31.5’ and the Gleoiteóg 20’ – 28’. The Pucán is typically the same size as the Gleoiteóg but has a dipping lug sail and a jib.

The Galway Hookers themselves are unique and of huge fascination to people. They embody traditional craft and the club wants to pass these traditions and skills on. With a focus on youth and incorporating local history as well as traditional boat handling skills, the club hosts open sailing sessions giving many people an opportunity to experience the thrill of sailing a Galway Hooker.

The club has established a number of links with local businesses and are always looking for the opportunity to expand within the community. Collaborations to date include Galway Bay Seafoods who provide a workshop for the current Hooker restoration project, and the Irish Socksciety. As a local project the club is very aware of the importance of inclusion and community spirit and strive to keep growing and developing to the highest standards.

The Galway Hooker Sailing Club is open to anyone who has an interest in the boats, be it sailing them, building them or just photographing them. The club’s aim is to include a diverse group who are interested in volunteering and learning.

To learn more about the club follow them on Facebook and Instagram @ Galway Hooker Sailing Club or visit their website

*Gaff rig is a sailing rig (configuration of sails, mast and stays) in which the sail is four-cornered, fore-and-aft rigged, controlled at its peak and, usually, its entire head by a spar (pole) called the gaff.

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