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Page last updated at 15:28 GMT, Wednesday, 26 August 2009 16:28 UK
Antique coble gets face lift
Fishing coble
The Imperialist: one of a few fishing cobles left in the country

Yorkshire cobles are traditional wooden fishing boats that have been used for centuries by fishermen on the Yorkshire coast.

A few still operate out of places like Whitby and Filey, but their numbers are dwindling.

Now a 75 year old coble, called the Imperialist, has been restored after it was spotted rotting away in a harbour on the Solent, by Bridlington businessman George Traves.

Mr Traves bought the boat and has spent the last two years renovating it with help from another fisherman, Joe Gelsthorpe.

The Imperialist was built in the 1930's and has not been sailed for decades. It has no motor and is equipped with a mast and oars. Measuring 30 feet long, the coble was used to fish for crab and cod off the east coast near Bridlington.

Cobles are designed to cope with the sea conditions along the north east coast of England
They have no keel and are flat bottomed. This is to make it easier to launch and land them directly from the beach, avoiding the need to enter a port
They also have high bows, which makes it easier to launch them directly onto the waves and surf
The origin of the Coble design is unclear, though many claim that it stems from the fishing boats used by the Vikings who landed along the north east coast more than 1000 years ago

Life under sail

Although he's spent his working life at sea, Mr Traves says his new boat will provide him with a fresh challenge as he learns how to sail her in the often choppy waters off the East Yorkshire coastline.

"She was in a terrible condition when we first found her," said Mr. Gelsthorpe, "we've had to replace all of the top planks."

Mr Traves continued: "We'll maybe do some Mackerel fishing. I'm just going to enjoy it and enjoy sailing.

"We want to master the art of sailing first and we've a lot to learn."


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