Boatbuilder hopes two sailing cobles will be kept together

A fishing boat high and dry on Coble Landing in Filey. Picture by Neil Silk
A fishing boat high and dry on Coble Landing in Filey. Picture by Neil Silk
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ONE of the boatbuilders behind an unusual project to create two sailing cobles hopes that in the future they can remain together in the harbour where they were built.

The identical 26ft pair, which are now for sale, will be launched in Bridlington Harbour on September 12.

The sailing cobles are the first to be built in the country since 1976, and building two identical cobles is a feat unlikely to be repeated.

Boatbuilder John Clarkson, who has been working with Joe Gelsthorpe on the project, said: “I’d like them to stay in Bridlington, stay together, so they can race together.”

The project has been kept to a strict timetable by the two boatbuilders and a small team of volunteers The boats, whose design some say came with the Vikings, are now being rigged and the painting of the insides in Flamborough orange finished.

By launch day when they will have a bottle of champagne poured over them – thanks to modern health and safety rules –before being lowered into the harbour, they should be resplendent with varnished hulls, gloss paint and tan sails.

Mr Clarkson, who has named his boat Free Spirit, symbolising the independent spirit in which the self-funded project has been done, said: “I’ve enjoyed doing it, but it has been a lot of effort six days a week, nine hours a day.

“We aren’t doing it for the cash because it’s costing me and Joe a lot of money. When you are putting your own money up you are not going to put it up if you don’t really want to do it.”

He said there had been a lot of interest in the project, particularly from the north, with people making a bee-line to the harbour where the boats have been built side by side.

Traditionally built with larch planking on oak frames, secured by copper rivets and roves together with silicon bronze nails, the two cobles are to be rigged with dipping-lug sail and jib.

They are for sale, fully rigged, for £15,000.