Posted on 29/09/2006 at 01:39

Albatross 1959 : rescue operation!

Here is how the story began...
A friend of mine, Fred, owns this boat for years, moored in the Monaco harbor, right below the Prince's palace.

But time is running short to find a new house for it (the boat, not the Prince), because the harbor got recently privatized, and a typical Monaco privilege has disappeared : freeness for boats under 4 meters long.

Now, the Albatross could end up on breakage... Which would be a pity!
So I bought the little boat, as Fred did not have enough spare time to take care of it, but moreover to prevent it from being crushed in a breakage...

September 29th 2006, I'm off to retrieve the beast in Monte-Carlo...

Here we are, the Albatross is safe... Next step, get it back up and running, and go play with it as soon as the weather allows it!
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Posted on 18/10/2006 at 18:16

An Albatross on YouTube...

As seen on YouTube : OK, so it can take a wakeboard out of the water... Sounds cool to me. icone smiley wink
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Posted on 19/10/2006 at 12:43

Duke of Edinburgh's Albatross for sale...

Seen on eBay, the Albatross Super Sport that belonged to H.R.H. Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh (Queen Elizabeth II's husband) is for sale! (voir l'annonce)
So classy, the dashboard is totally polished, as the hull is made out of aluminium!... This boat, bought in '56, was used on board the HMY Britannia for water-skiing, until '67. What a piece of history! Prince Rainier of Monaco would have own 6 of those boats... I have to dig into this story, who knows, aurait possédé 6 de ces bateaux... à creuser, qui sait, there's maybe one or two left to save! icone smiley wink
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Posted on 27/12/2006 at 13:55

Period pictures

Two more old pictures of Albatross boats...

The first one looks like it's been taken at the "Amsterdam Yacht Show", maybe in 1959 (it seems to be written on the poster .

The second picture is more interesting... From the informations I got (many thanks Fred!), the big yacht to which the Albatross is hanged to belonged to the Prince Rainier of Monaco. Which confirms the information that he owned several Albatross runabouts...

Well, I'll have to take care of this little boy if I want to play with it next summer...

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Posted on 27/02/2007 at 15:53

History of the Albatross

Establishing the history of the brand took me longer than I expected... So here is a short summary of what I've learned about those boats.

The beginnings

The Albatross Marine Ltd. company is created by two english engineers, Peter Hives (son of the Rolls Royce director by that time), and Archie Peace (an aeronautics engineer trained up by the Bristol Aeroplane Company), in St. Olaves (Great Yarmouth, England).

By applying the techniques they knew, an using the after-war surplus of aluminium, they created the first Albatross Mk1 runabout in 1949. The first models were sold in 1950, equipped with the 100E engine from the Ford Anglia (marine converted, 4 in-line cylinders, 1172cc, side valves, SU carburetor, giving 35 hp at 4500 rpm).

The success

This is when Bruce Campbell joined the team. This billionaire (Hoover family), former test pilot for De Havilland, cruised the Riviera with his yacht, featuring the little Albatross. Soon, many yacht owners wanted to add the little two-seater speedboat to their ships...

Many celebrities then became Albatross owners : Prince Rainer of Monaco (he owned 6 Albies, see my article from 27/12/2006!), Grace Kelly, Onassis, Brigitte Bardot, Prince Philip (Duke of Edimbourg, Queen Elizabeth II's husband), John Pertwee, Stirling Moss, George Formby, etc...

We now are in 1954, and the Albatross Marine company, with its 60 employees, produces 150 boats a year! Not only small runabouts, but bigger boats as well, all of them out of riveted aluminium. The British Rail company even built a train station right next to the factory to quickly take the speedboats to Italy and Southern France...

As the sales keep growing, a 4-seater version of the runabout is proposed from 1957... A bigger engine is proposed as optional from 1955 (Coventry Climax, 1220cc, 70hp), propelling the little MkII (created in 1960) at 47 knots (87km/h)!

The little Albatross' performances allow him to win many victories, both in England and in France (Six Hours of Paris). For the same reasons, many water-ski clubs (a sport in full expansion by that time) will use those boats...

The decline...

Unfortunately, the end of the make is near, as in the 60's arrive the fiberglass... Polyester-made hulls are more competitive, easier to make, though cheaper...

The Albatross Marine Ltd. last attempt will be a fiberglass 18 foot boat, powered by a 3,8L Jaguar engine. But the success is not there any longer, and the company closes in 1966.

Archie Peace will even die forgotten by everybody... He was affected since his forties by a multiple sclerosis.

Albatros today

Around 1200 Albatross were built, from which 800 two-seaters (600 MkI), and 400 four-seaters. Only 164 models were equipped with the Coventry Climax engine, which make them the most wanted ones.
We estimate that les than a hundred Albatross still exist as of today...

Sources :
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