My name is Gordon Burrows. The boat you can see is known as a coble. These were
the traditional North Sea fishing boat, used from Berwick to the Humber Estuary. I
fished from one of these out of Sunderland. Although there were all sizes of cobles, the
most usual was about thirty feet, or in decimal money, eight and a half metres.
Ours was smaller, only about twenty feet long. Originally, these boats were rowed and
sailed so the bow, that's the front of the boat, was deep and slim and the rudder at the
stern was very long because there was no proper keel. Towards the stern the coble was
broad and flat, since these boats were beached stern first.
Later, engines were fitted, which was a relief for amateur fishermen like me because
sailing the boats was now not such hard work. Unfortunately, the propeller meant the
boats could no longer be kept on the beach.
Of course coble fishing, like all old things became redundant as larger and larger
vessels were used. Me, I don't even go fishing any more. Now most of these big boats
have retired. This trawler has not moved for many years. There may still be fish in the
North Sea but where, the gods only know. At least these steel trawlers can be recycled
into something useful.