Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Galway Hookers at Doilin festival.

Last Sunday was the Féile (fay-la) an Dóilín, or the Doilin festival, one of Irelands biggest regatta's of the traditional Galway sailing boat the Hooker or in Irish the Húicéir , the name might sound rude but the dutch have a sailing boat with the same name. This festival is on every year at the end along with the Crinniu na mbad (crin-u na bawd) or the Gathering of the boats in Kinvara.
These are the tradional Oak sailing boats of Galway and are small yet Sturdy and very maneuverable in rough seas. They have been sailed in recent years to Boston and to Iceland and other parts of mainland Europe. Anyone who has seen the fountain in Eyre Square  will see where it gets its inspiration. I will have to say that I would not have known about this race festival, but for findabair, thank you!
Their origins seem unlear as they draw on influences from other designs from Norse, Eastern to Coptic but the end product is unique with traditionally a distinctive red sail (see comments from Ronan below).  Tis type of boath suits the Galway coastline with with the shallow waters in Connemara and the bigger vessels are able to carry up to 22 tonnes of cargo and get trough rough seas.
There are four classes of Boat the first Bád Mór (Bawd More) or big boat which goes from 10.5 to 13.5 metres (35 to 44 feet) . The Leath Bhád (La Whad) or half boat this was arround 10 metres or 28 to 32 feet in length. Both of these were used to transport turf, limestone and whatever was needed on the Islands including livestock.
Next is the Gleoiteog (Glay-thog) it is from 7 to 9 metres (24-28 feet) and has sails like the bigger ships and last is the Púcán (Poo-con) the baby of the fleet, its sails are different. Both of the smaller were usually open decked and used for fishing.

For more info on the racing visit http://www.doilin.com/, some of it is in Irish, if you use google chrome it should be able to translate some of it for you.


The Retired One said...

Very cool. I am used to seeing sailboats with white or patterned sails, not red or black...but very interesting!

Paz said...

its traditional to have the dark sails, the boats are different to normal sailing boats, the boston clipper is modeled on them

Leisha Camden said...

I see you've been reading up on this ;-) - but still no answer as to why the different color sails? Is there any particular meaning? Great shots btw, as always. :-)

Paz said...

sorry thought that I put that in about the sails, I found out that they are traditionally dark red in colour, If you look at the darker ones they are Maroon the colour of the Galway flag, have updated text.

Rónán said...

Traditionally, the sails used to be a reddish brown, this was the colour used in the calico sails of the time. Today, the sails are made from a synthetic material called terylene, and the colours chosen are more a nod to tradition, rather than any particular reason. Sails these days are usually dark brown, reddish brown, occasionally black, and rarely white. Only one boat (that I know of) still regularly sails under traditional canvas, that being An Capall (The Horse). There's a photo here of another Galway Hooker, An Tonaí (The Tony) sailing under calico sails: http://www.galwayhookerassociation.ie/downloads/gallery12.jpg

You can see the difference in the older material.

Paz said...

thanks Ronan, I have mentioned your comment and edited text