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If one adds the series of bays that are a feature from Casla Bay westwards, then this coastline in reality covers at least miles. The southern shore from Galway to Kinvara and Black Head would add about 30 miles. This span of miles, and the Aran Islands, encompassed the waters that bred an able sailing craft, locally built to traditional design and manned by equally able Connemara and Claddagh men. Often known collectively to the outside world as Galway or Connemara hookers, the boats fell into lour broad classifications locally: 1 Bad Mor big boat , pronounced Bawd Moor 2 Leath Bhad half boat , pronounced La Wawd 3 Gleoitcog, pronounced Glowchug 4 Pucan, pronounced Pookaun The first two were hookers, na huiceiri, a term associated, like the Dutch HOEKER, with hook and line fishing.
The Galway versions here differed only in size or carrying capacity, with the bad mor ranging from about 35 feet to 44 feet overall hull length, and the smaller sister about 32 feet.
An oak or beech keel, about two-thirds the overall length of the hull, provided the backbone to the framework which was bound above by a beam shelf, or stringer, 10 x 3 inches, and heavy oak aprons, or deadwoods, fastened at the stem and sternpost by iron dumps. With its false stem piece adding nearly a foot to hull length, the high round bow was evolved in the mists of tradition to counter Irish western seas, though the freeboard aft was surprisingly low, especially when loaded.
I once heard of a rule of thumb used to determine how far forward this point should be - the length height of a barrel of porter. This was not as far fetched as it seems now, because apart from fishing, some hookers also carried general cargo supplies from Galway back to Connemara. There were, of course, some small variations in these specifications from one boatbuilder to another, but these are fairly average amongst the present day fleet. The rudder was slung at a sharp rake of about 35 to 40 decrees to the waterline, depending on the builder, and this made for quickness in stays coming through the wind.
The short tiller lacked leverage and in a breeze the weather helm was pretty strong, to say the least, arid was not for the faint hearted.