From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The coble is a type of open fishing boat which developed on the North
East coast of England.
The southern-most examples occur around Hull
(although Cooke drew examples at Yarmouth,
see his Shipping and Craft series
of drawings of 1829); the type extends to Burnmouth just across the Scottish
The distinctive shape of the boat — flat-bottomed and high-bowed — arose to cope
with the particular conditions prevalent in this area. Flat bottoms
allowed launching from and landing upon shallow, sandy beaches; an advantage in this part
of the coast where the wide bays and inlets provided little shelter
from stormy weather. However, fishermen required high bows to sail
in the dangerous North
Sea and in particular to launch into the surf and to land on
the beaches. The design contains relics of Norse
influence, though in the main it shows Dutch origin.
A Scottish version of the coble, much shallower and beamier than
the English type, serves for salmon-fishing off beaches near Arbroath and Montrose in Angus. These cobles have a less
refined construction than their southern counterparts. Ghillies
employ a smaller, better-built version for fly fishing on Scottish rivers.
Local boat-builders constructed the clinker-built cobles locally as
required, without the use of plans. The craftsmanship on many boats
gave them a long working life. They had a reputation as dangerous
to sail for an inexperienced crew, but in the hands of experts
could move both safely and speedily.
Today, surviving cobles generally use diesel engines, removing the need for the
distinctively shaped lug sail.
In a further concession to comfort, a tarpaulin shelter often covers the bow.
The Northumberland coastal village of Newbiggin-by-the-Sea has a pub
called "The Coble", named in tribute to these boats.
Cooke, Edward William (1829).
Sixty five plates of shipping and craft, drawn and etched by E.
W. Cooke. London.