Coble skills passed on in new wave of boat-building

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ANCHORS have been weighed on a project to build two identical sailing cobles – the first to be made anywhere in four decades.

John Clarkson and Joe Gelsthorpe will be building the traditional 26ft boats side by side at Clough Hole on Bridlington harbour.

No drawings are used, with the boatbuilders relying on their years of experience to size up the wood available. Constructed with larch planks on oak frames, now being seasoned in readiness for the start of work in July, the cobles will be rigged with a dipping-lug sail and jib, a rig which goes back centuries, some say to the Vikings.

Mr Gelsthorpe, who last year restored the 1912 Bridlington coble Three Brothers with Mr Clarkson, said: “You have to be brought up to build them, or trained or shown – you can’t read about it in a book. The idea is to try and get some of the younger ones to see how they are built and to sail them. They are a super boat to sail – a lot faster than many yachts.”