Bridlington Sailing Coble Festival, 13th-14th August

Coblegram Special Edition Bridlington

Coble enthusiasts are planning a Sailing Coble Festival at Bridlington on the 13th–14th August this year, which sounds like a great idea.

It is being organised by the Bridlington Sailing Coble Preservation Society and The Coble and Keelboat Society, and is sponsored by the local Independent Shellfishermen’s Co-operative, and will bring together the largest gathering of sailing cobles anywhere in the British Isles in recent years.

Four locally based sailing cobles, Three Brothers, Imperialist, Madeleine Isabella and Gratitude; will be joined by the two new cobles; Free Spirit and Misnomer. Christina from Mevagissey and Grace from Staithes will also attend, and a number of other coble owners have expressed interest – and there is even talk of the North East Maritime Trust attending with the coble Royal Diadem II and a 40ft restored seine net keelboats.

Read all about it in the latest Coblegram.

 

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Two new volumes from Lodestar Books – just in time for Christmas!

Lodestar Books Conor O'Brien Lodestar books Ernest Dade

++++ Check the bargain at the bottom of this post! ++++

East Coast cruising sailor Richard Wynne’s wonderful Lodestar Books has two smashing books coming out in the first week of December – just in time for Christmas!

Both titles are published at £12, including UK delivery—slightly more to other countries.

Sea-Boats, Oars and Sails is Conor O’Brien’s guide to sail-and-oar cruising. The new new edition is illustrated with South-West Ireland cruising sailor Tim Cooke’s photos of his small lugger An Suire (The Sea-Nymph).

An Suire is built to François Vivier’s Ilur design, which is said to epitomise the characteristics recommended by O’Brien.

Popular author, Marine Quarterly editor and Conor O’Brien enthusiast Sam Llewellyn has chipped in with a splendid foreword. However, I’d like to quote Conor O’Brien’s own description of his book:

‘Most of what is written about boats is naturally based on the orthodox view, and the man who wants a boat neither for class racing nor as a harbour ornament, but to go to sea in, gets little guidance from it. This book of mine is frankly unorthodox, in that I hold nothing sacred and take nothing for granted.’

Sail and Oar presents 100 historically and technically accurate drawings of the Yorkshire sea fishery in the late nineteenth century by the artist Ernest Dade.

Dade was a sailor and worked out of doors most of the time, so his drawings from the era before steam are both immediate and authoritative.

The book comes with a preface by author Peter F Anson and foreword by fisherman Frank Wheeler. Writing in the 1930s, Anson has this to say:

‘No maritime library will be complete without a copy of this volume on its shelves, for the Yorkshire fishing coble and the Yorkshire smack of the past century were among the finest examples of English sea-going craft ever devised, and none more fitted for the rugged coast to which they belonged or for the stormy seas on which they used to sail.’

While in the same decade Wheeler makes the following remarks:

‘Not only do the sketches portray the boats and their gear accurately and in great detail, but they also show the fishermen at their work both offshore and inshore from most of the fishing centres of the Yorkshire coast. The facility of Dade’s pen work can only be admired and most certainly enjoyed.

‘These pictures show all this and are true in every way. Mr. Ernest Dade lived the life, knew the men, and sailed in the various craft he draws so well. It is a record of things passed away.

PS – Those looking for a pre-Christmas bargain might like to snap up a copy of Francis B Cooke’s Cruising Hints, which is now available at a good discount from Lodestar – for customers in the UK the hardback is down from £35 to £20 and the paperback from £20 to £12, for other countries the price is a little higher to take account of mailing costs.

 

A well-travelled skiff

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Venus the well-travelled skiff in Victoria

Venus, a well-travelled Thames-style skiff spotted in Australia by Jeff Cole

Lest we get too doomy, and serious I’ve decided to post this photo of an 1880s single-scull Thames-style skiff hanging in a country nursery at Victoria, Australia. Jeff Cole, who spotted and photographed Venus for us, says the story is that she was imported from Scotland, and was built by the nursery owner’s great-grandfather.

It’s clearly very well-travelled for a small river boat. I wonder what the rest of the story may be – did a River Thames boatbuilder move to Scotland? Did a Scot learn boatbuilding on the banks of the Thames? Or was great-grandfather an amateur who worked from a book? Or were skiffs of this kind far more widespread in the last 19th century than we tend to think?

Whatever the answer, the boat in the photo looks very much like the one shown in this earlier intheboatshed.net post.

Once again, my thanks go to Jeff Cole. To see some earlier material he has sent us, including some mouthwatering shots of early 20th century racing yachts, click here.

For some photos of later skiffs with rather more sheer at Ruswarp on the River Esk in Yorkshire, click here.

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