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Sailing Cobles to Catch the Breeze again at Bridlington in 2020

Planning for this years Sailing Coble Festival at Bridlington, which will take place over the weekend of 11th-12th July, has got underway.

The Festival, now in its fifth year, has grown from its humble beginnings and is now a major maritime attraction on the East Yorkshire Coast. There is no other such gathering around our shores and the port rightly carries the mantle of ‘sailing coble capital of Great Britain’.

The revival and interest in sailing cobles has been remarkable in recent years, the number of cobles already restored, together with new builds rigged for sail, is testament to the growing appreciation people have for wanting to sail this traditional north east coast craft.

Once the mainstay of the inshore fishing industry, this ubiquitous open working boat could be seen in great numbers at every port, harbour and coastal village from the Humber to the Tweed during the 1800/1900’s.

Due to various circumstances, but mainly the de- commissioning schemes and more versatile vessels being built in modern materials, those large fleets have long since disappeared.

There are however some beautiful examples around our coastline today and it is with credit to owners who have the enthusiasm and dedication to maintain such craft that the coble will be seen by future generations. Bridlington alone can boast a fleet of seven sailing cobles moored in the harbour during the summer months.

Organised by the Bridlington Sailing Coble Preservation Society, a registered charity and a major player in the coble revival story, together with sponsorship by the Bridlington Harbour Commissioners, it is hoped this years Festival will see an increase in vessels attending.

The number of attendees has increased year on year since the inaugural event in 2016 and with the further restoration projects on-going, expectations are high that this years Festival will bring together even more cobles to grace the glorious waters of Bridlington Bay. Interest has already been shown by sailing coble owners in Amble, Blyth and Brixham who have not attended previously.

As this years Festival is in the early stages of planning, the organisers would be delighted to hear from anyone who has a traditional sailing vessel, coble or otherwise, and who would like to be part of this spectacular and unique event.

Bridlington Sailing Coble Festival 11th-12th July this year.

Stands and stalls will be set up once again in the Commissioners’ Vessel Maintenance Facility (VMF) at Clough Hole for maritime themed displays, crafts and merchandise and there will be traditional music, folk and sea songs performed around the harbourside during the weekend.

Financial assistance to help offset expenses would be very much appreciated and any company willing to help with sponsorship or make a donation towards the Festival will be suitably recognised in the publicity.

Those with an interest in the maritime heritage of the north east coast of England should not miss the opportunity to visit Bridlington and recapture those nostalgic bygone days that were once such a familiar sight long ago but now sadly only seen in faded images of the coastal communities. Bridlington harbour is definitely the place to be on the 11th-12th July this year.

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