Hartlepool’s oldest surviving coble boat to be restored

The oldest surviving traditional northeast coast coble is set to be restored to full sail once again, 121 years after being first launched.

Venus will be fully restored, regularly sailed, and become part of the growing fleet of sailing cobles kept by Bridlington Sailing Coble Preservation Society (BSCPS) based in Bridlington Harbour.

Built in Hartlepool as a six-plank pilot coble in 1900, Venus is one of the many that worked from Hartlepool during the 1800s and very early 1900s to take pilots out to incoming ships and guide them safely into the port.

Work will begin on the two latest additions to the Bridlington fleet, and it is planned they will take their place alongside the other heritage vessels in the harbour next year.

Pilots worked from Hartlepool, Redcar and Seaton Carew as far back as the 1750s, and carried a crew of just two: the pilot and his assistant, or ‘dog’ as he was known.

According to The Northern Echo, Venus was rescued from the water by retired Hartlepool lifeboat coxswain, Eric Reeve, after sinking in the town’s dock in 1992 . After fitting new planks in her hull, he then sold her to the late Dr. Dave Kipling, a GP, in 1994.

Many of Dr Kipling’s patients helped him with his restoration project by donating a wide range of coble equipment, such as thole pins, oars and travellers, which they had found forgotten in sheds, outhouses, and attics.

She was later in the ownership of Hartlepool Borough Council, and prolonged negotiations have taken place with BSCPS for both Venus and Viking, a double-ended pilot boat, to be acquired by the society as museum transfers.

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