Preservation Society - Charity Number 1095946



Built 1949

It all started at the Bridlington Sailing Coble Festival 2018 when Ian and myself were lucky enough to sail aboard the coble Christina with David and Colin Warwick. This was the first time we had both sailed aboard a coble together since 1974 but we were instantly bitten by the coble bug again. We joined the Bridlington Sailing Coble Preservation Society (BSCPS) on the spot and it wasn’t long before we were dreaming of owning a sailing coble ourselves so the search for a suitable coble began. We had seen a few cobles advertised for sale but they were all too big for us to consider as a sailing coble so we had to be patient and wait for the right coble to come along. It wasn’t until some months later that we spotted the coble "Tomleo" advertised for sale at North Shields and at 27 feet in length she seems to be just what we were looking for. After speaking to John Clarkson and showing him the advert, John, Ian and myself travelled up to North Shields to see her at the end of June 2019.

John, a retired boatbuilder, advised that she was a suitable coble to restore so we bought her and started to plan transporting her back to Bridlington so that her restoration could begin. The day to bring her down to Bridlington finally came at the beginning of August 2019 and although her crossing of the Tyne to the North East Maritime Trust (NEMT) at South Shields was a little scary due to the fast-flowing tide on the day, she was lifted out onto the trailer ready for her journey south without too much trouble thanks to Dave Parker and the members of the NEMT and the members of the BSCPS that had travelled up with us to help. Her arrival in Bridlington saw the start of the restoration work which involved three months ‘hard labour’ for Ian and myself where we stripped everything out of her and set to burning all of the old paint off down to bare wood and giving her two coats of primer to stabilise the areas of her that were good. She had a lot of tar in her too but that had probably helped in preserving her lower planks as they were still sound to say that she was build 70 years ago. Her 3-cylinder Perkins diesel engine was lifted out and Ian has overhauled it so it is ready for putting back once the main restoration is complete. We also decided that we would change her name back to her original name of "Kathleen" to restore her name as well as her damaged planks and timbers.

She was sheeted down for winter in November 2019 for the next stage of her restoration to start early in 2020. Although the restoration work had to finish for the winter, there was still plenty to be done such as ordering the larch, oak and nails that would be needed to carry out the repairs on Kathleen’s top two planks and timbers and ordering the sails etc. The winter break also gave us the time to research her history helped by many of her previous owners contacting us through Facebook. She was built by Dawson and Beverley at Seahouses in 1949 and used as a salmon coble by the Stephensons of Boulmer (BK 46). Many people have commented that she looks more like an Amble coble than a Seahouses coble and we think that could be possible that Ron Beverley, formerly a master coble builder at Amble, built her during his short partnership with Ralph Dawson. Since then, she has been with owners at Amble (BH 41), Seaham (SD 104), Hartlepool and North Shields.

The original plan to start replacing Kathleen’s planks and timbers early in 2020 suffered a set back and so work didn’t start on replacing her damaged planks until mid-October when Kathleen was moved into the BSCPS boat workshop for the repairs to be carried out. John Clarkson, along with several BSCPS members who are interested in learning boat restoration skills, have made great progress so far and the repairs to her port side are complete.

There is still much to do,thanks to everyone for the advice, support and encouragement that we have received since we decided to restore Kathleen.

Article: Julie Coultas who with husband Ian own Kathleen

Update 28th June 2021

The beautifully restored 27 ft Northumberland sailing coble Kathleen was launched into Bridlington harbour this week, Fully rigged with dipping lug and foresail Kathleen will bring the number of sailing cobles to seven, with further similar restoration projects also being undertaken. The harbour already carries the mantle of "Sailing Coble Capital of Great Britain" and with tentative plans being drawn up for the return of the popular weekend "Sailing Coble Festival" in 2022 the future looks very promising for these North East coast heritage craft.

Acknowledgement to member Paul L.Arro

Kathleen is now a regular, sailing from the harbour.