Bridlington has reinforced its reputation as the main centre along the East Coast for people to see and experience traditional sailing coble fishing boats.
Already home to the “Three Brothers” craft is has now been joined by the 26 foot sailing coble “Gratitude” which has been acquired by the 70 or so members of the Bridlington Sailing Coble Preservation Society.
She was spruced up and given its original red white and blue colours by committee member and retired boat builder John Clarkson, of Bridlington, prior to her relaunching ceremony at Bridlington Harbour.
The coble boats are now almost extinct. They date back several hundred years and are an important part of the East Coast maritime history. At their height in the 19th century they were the backbone of the East Coast fishing industry from the Scottish Border down to the Humber.
‘Gratitude’ was built in 1976 by the master coble builder Hector Handyside for Dave Wharton of Whitby. In 1988, courtesy of P&O, she went to the Australian Bicentenial Celebrations to mark the first arrival of British convict ships in 1788. Dave sailed her in Sydney harbour under the famous bridge and was alongside the British aircraft carrier ‘Ark Royal’ for the celebration events. More recently she was owned by Alan Richmond of Scarborough and could be seen in the resort’s outer harbour. He took her to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the Thames in 2012 and was part in the parade of sail.
Formed in the 1980s the society’s volunteers are entirely self funded from revenue from the Harbour Museum and membership fees. Anyone wanting to join can pick up a form at the Harbour Museum. Annual subscription is £5 and a sailing membership £10.