Three cobles at North Landing, Flamborough Head
Coble on Filey Coble Landing

The coble is a type of open traditional 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[1] series of drawings of 1829); the type extends to Burnmouth just across the Scottish border.

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.

See also

External links


  1. ^ Cooke, Edward William (1829). Sixty five plates of shipping and craft, drawn and etched by E. W. Cooke. London. 

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Coble — Co ble, n. [AS. cuopel; cf. W. ceubal skiff, ferryboat.] A flat floored fishing boat with a lug sail, and a drop rudder extending from two to four feet below the keel. It was originally used on the stormy coast of Yorkshire, England. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • coble — [kō′bəl, käb′əl] n. 〚ME cobel < OE cuopel, prob. < Celt, as in Welsh ceubal, Bret caubal (> ? L caupulus)〛 1. a small fishing boat with a lug sail, a deeper draft at the bow than at the stern, and a large rudder, used off the northeast coast of… …   Universalium

  • coble — [kō′bəl, käb′əl] n. [ME cobel < OE cuopel, prob. < Celt, as in Welsh ceubal, Bret caubal (> ? L caupulus)] 1. a small fishing boat with a lug sail, a deeper draft at the bow than at the stern, and a large rudder, used off the northeast… …   English World dictionary

  • coble — Hawfinch Haw finch (h[add] f[i^]nch ), n. (Zo[ o]l.) The common European grosbeak ({Coccothraustes vulgaris}); called also {cherry finch}, and {coble}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • coble — 1) a flat bottomed, single masted North Sea fishing boat. See also plosher (1) 2) an open or deckless fishing boat used principally on the north east coast of England, with sharp bows, flat, sloping stern, and without a keel 3) a short, flat… …   Dictionary of ichthyology

  • coble — couble m. couple techn. ; paire ; pièce de bois, poutre. cf. expr. Vèire la palha dins l uelh dau vesin e pas lo coble qu es dins lo sieu : voir la paille dans l œil du voisin et pas la poutre qui est dans le sien. voir pareu …   Diccionari Personau e Evolutiu

  • coble — noun Etymology: Middle English Date: 14th century a flat bottomed boat propelled chiefly by oars and used in Scotland and northern England especially for fishing …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • coble — co|ble Mot Pla Nom masculí …   Diccionari Català-Català

  • coble — I Cleveland Dialect List a kind of boat peculiar to the North east, in use among fishermen and pilots, with sharp bows, flat sloping stern, and without a keel II North Country (Newcastle) Words a particular kind of boat, very sharp and wedge… …   English dialects glossary

  • coble — n. small flatbottom rowboat; boat used for fishing herring (Nautical) …   English contemporary dictionary

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