When Pierce Purcell and others such as the late Dave Fitzgerald and David Whitehead were trying to get Galway Bay Sailing Club into being fifty years ago, they had to deal with the reality that Galway city’s long and varied coastline presented many challenges. Access points of varying quality to recreation afloat included the Claddagh on the River Corrib itself, plus the ships’ dock accessing the Bay by a sea-lock, together with the spacious inland sea of Lough Corrib in the north of the city, dinghy sailing waters in the partially-tidal inlet of Lough Atalia, and several sheltered sea inlets to the east of the city, towards Oranmore at the head of Galway Bay.
In time, GBSC settled on headquarters at Renville, with its sheltered inlet near Oranmore, to create a proper clubhouse/dinghy park/anchorage complex. It’s there that 2020’s Golden Jubilee celebrations will begin on this Friday night (February 21st) with Pierce Purcell presenting a “Reeling in the Year” show (proceeds to the RNLI) about the eventual move ro Renville, where until 1981 they had to make do with a caravan as the main shore base for a growing range of activities.
However, members still fondly remember those early winter gatherings in the Salthill Hotel to the west of the city, where they diligently built a membership base which was developing as a result of pioneering dinghy sailing events in which they’d tested the usefulness of the various sailing possibilities on the city’s waterfront.
In time, however, the move to Renville became inevitable, as the growing number of keelboats required a 24-hour-accessible anchorage. But many senior GBSC members have the fondest memory of those early gatherings at the Salthill Hotel, so it’s there on Sunday (February 23rd) that a Golden Jubilee Coffee Morning will get going at noon, and if it phases into a convivial nautically-themed shared viewing of the Ireland-England Rugby Match, so be it….