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Fishing Boats On Hastings Stade
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Hastings is a town and borough in the county of East Sussex on the south coast of England famous for it's battle of 1066 when William of Normandy defeated and killed Harold Godwinson, the last Saxon King of England, destroying his army and opening England to the Norman conquest.
The fishermen of Hastings work from The Stade.
The word ‘Stade’ is an old Saxon term meaning "landing place", and dates from before the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
The Stade is a shingle beach, situated in Hastings Old Town. It has been used for beaching boats for over a thousand years, a use which continues to this day: it is now home to Europe's largest fleet of beach-launched fishing boats.
In 1896, a new Hastings Harbour was built which stopped shingle moving out along the coast. Over time, the shingle accumulated and steadily grew outwards until it created enough beach space for the fishing fleet.
The steep gradient of the beach means that the fishing boats can slide into the sea at High Tide but they have to be hauled out on their return. This prevents them from being more than ten metres long so they can only carry small amounts of gear over short distances.
Each boat has a Winch Shed which is used to haul the boats out of the sea (before this mechanical miracle, they depended on a capstan and a horse). Tractors are sometimes used to push boats into the sea at Low Tide. Wooden blocks called 'Troes' are laid under the moving boat.
The Fishing Fleet is one of the most exhilarating examples of living history in the United Kingdom, keeping alive a thousand years of techniques and traditions. The Sea Fish Authority described the Stade "as near perfect a fishery as could be devised" because of the environmentally sound methods used by the fishermen which includes changing their net size to allow young cod to escape and keep stocks high.
January 19th, 2013
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