Alpine Corsair 

The two-seater Alpine albatross, known as the Corsair (not to be confused with the first hydroplane of the same name, built by albatross marine), is three inches longer than the Continental, and has the same style slipper stern as the four-seater Alpine albatross, but is two feet shorter.
It was originally powered by a Sunbeam Alpine engine and this model was first shown at the London Boat Show in January 1962. The bigger power plant required more room in the engine bay thanthe Continental, some more substantial cross-members and some more structure in the engine bearers, plus a bigger bonnet.

The engine is mounted with the flywheel aft; the same way as the four-seater slipper, but the opposite to all the other Albatross models, and so the propeller also turns the opposite way to the other albatross models. The dash is a flipped late Mk3 dash with no glove box, so the steering wheel is on the left-hand side which better balances the boat in the turns. To all intents and purposes, the boat is a Continental hull from the seat back forward, as well as the aft bottom sheet, except it is three inches longer. There were no albatross engine castings, but albatross did make a special thrust box to take the propeller shaft loads. It did however feature an albatross four branch exhaust and custom inlet manifold for the twin SUH4 carbs, and it needed a different P bracket for the different shaft angle. This engine configuration also allows the fitting of a clutch, which have been retro fitted to some of the boats.

The corsair is the only albatross to have bucket style seat backs, and it is the only model to have the water header tank mounted in front of the engine on the bulkhead. It also houses the fuel tank in a separate compartment behind the seats with the fuel filler cap located on the side deck behind the driver. We’re unsure exactly how many were built, but we know where five of them are today. The prototype corsair was an altered continental hull without the bucket seats. It had a hump on the bonnet like the four-seater slippers and it started life fitted with a Mercedes 190 engine from a car Archie crashed. This was not a success apparently, and its engine was later changed to a Holbay 1720 engine.

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A tribute to Jonathan Harrison - 03/05/2023

a keen water and snow skier, with a great love of boats. I first met Jonathan when I was searching for my first albatross. He was kind enough to give me some of his time and knowledge, and show me his prototype slipper which he was looking to sell. His passion and knowledge especially of the slippers was second to none. I believe his father purchased their slipper at the London boat show after their little Mk3 had an unfortunate exhaust fire and was no more. 

For many years now Jonathan has encouraged the next generations to come to love albatross boats through his passion for them. He has managed to build a fleet of Slippers and a Corsair, as well as some two seaters in recent years on the isle of Anglesey; his spiritual home. Jonathan sadly passed away the other day, but will always be remembered as Mr Slipper. Let's hope he gets to continue water sking in the next life. 

Thank you Jonathan for all you gave to the albatross boat story.

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Laying up for Winter 11/11/2022

Albatross in snow

A few simple tasks at the end of the season ensures that your boat won’t deteriorate whilst in storage over the winter.
When the boat is hauled out of the water, it should be thoroughly cleaned off inside and out using soap and fresh water before being dried off with a chamois leather and the water sponged out or sucked out (with a wet vac) of the cock pit and engine bay.
If there is any likelihood of freezing, drain the cooling system by undoing one of the jubilee clips and pulling off the water pipe on either cooling pan – the water will fill the engine bay, where it can be pumped / sucked out.
Ensure all the bilges are free from water and oil. Take out the floors and seat bases if necessary. You might even want to take the front hatch off to inspect the bow tank.
Remove all fuel from the fuel tank and fuel bowls, as the petrol will not be any good next season, and this will also prevent the carb jets from clogging up.
Protect the engine by spraying it with a light oil (DW40) or lightly coat it with grease
Remove the seat cushions and store them in a dry place
Remove the battery, and charge it up.
Remove the propeller to prevent it from freezing to the shaft and uncouple the shaft from the engine.
Ensure the trailer or storage chocks are dry. Any damp surface, or moisture retaining material will attack the aluminium.
If the boat is stored in a garage, no special precautions are necessary, but it is advised to lift the bonnet lid to allow more ventilation.
If the boat is stored in a damp environment or outside, remove the spark plugs, pour a small amount of oil into each cylinder while slowly turning the engine by hand, and replace the spark plugs afterwards.
Where dampness is to be encountered, it is most important that an air space should be maintained between the cover and the painted hull. If a damp cover should be allowed to lie on the boat, blistering and peeling of the paintwork will result. Allowances for ventilation should be made to reduce the effect of excessive condensation

Chasing fifteen, and one legend 


Paris six hour 1955

Mr Mallet on his way to second in the 1955 Paris 6 hour in 181 


181 the first Climax Albatross back on the water after rebuild.

Mk2 albatross

What we drove to Denmark to buy.

Back in 2015 out of the blue I was sent an email with some pictures of an albatross with no

 engine that had a jet drive fitted to her and to top it off she was in Denmark. The email

 was asking if I was interested in buying the boat, and I would normally not have given it

 much thought as firstly there was no engine or trailer, and she was in Denmark which is

 not exactly around the corner.  But I looked with interest at the photos to confirm what

 sort of albatross she was before I moved on, and while looking at the photos, I realised I

 had found a unicorn in Albatross terms for the second time in my life.

When I first started my Albatross journey, I was scouring the internet for a boat having

 had double knee surgery. There were a few boats available and as soon as I could drive

 again I went to see three boats in Cheshire; a Slipper and a continental that was ready to

 run and a Mk3 with the wrong engine in her. But I had seen some pictures of another boat

 which was much more a wreck sitting on a pallet covered in snow and for some reason I

 was only thinking of her. She turned out to be A1; the 

Climax stage 3 and the first A series which was also the works race boat Z10 at the time. 

A series albatross


I had never thought I would ever find a rarer Albatross than A1 but

 this email from Denmark had all the potential to be just that.

At the first National boat show in December 1954 at Olympia in

 London Albatross Marine were displaying two boats; a standard

 sport and a super sport. The standard sport and the super sport

 shared the same hull and engine a Ford e93a making 39 HP, the

 difference being that the super sport was fitted with an Aquaplane

 head which slightly increased the compression ratio and twin SU

 carbs compared to the standard sport that had just the one Solex

 carburettor. They were approached by Walter Hassy of Coventry

 Climax Ltd who was asking about the power to weight ratio and is

 repeated to have said ‘how would you like double the power for half

 the weight?’.

At the time Climax had a new engine in a race car; the fire pump

 derivative of the FW (feather weight) engine. It had been modified

 to go to Le Mans in 1954 in a Keif car and compete in the thermal

 efficiency challenge. Their challenge had come to a premature end

 with the failure of their jack shaft gear, up until that point they had

 shown good speed and promise.

The FWA was an 1100 cc alloy overhead cam engine that was a lot

 lighter than the ford and also ran higher compression ratio. The

 engine would deliver 68 HP at 5200rpm when eventually fitted to

 the Albatross.

A plan was hatched between Walter Hassy (climax) and Archie

 Peace (Albatross) to have a go at fitting a Climax FWA to a super

 sport albatross hull. There would need to be several modifications

 to make it possible to fit the engine in the engine bay of the boat as

 the engine was higher that the Ford E93a due to its overhead cam

 and a smidgen longer. They would also need to make some new

 engine castings to enable the drive to be taken off the front end of

 the engine while stopping the thrust entering the engine.

To accommodate the engine, the engine bearers needed to be more

 substantial than normally found due to the increase in power. The

 central cross frame located where the boat sits on the aft trailer

 bunk would have to be moved back to accommodate the extra

 length and the square cooling pans would need to be shorter

 consequently. Then the engine lid had to lose its toolbox and the

 front cross member and the middle crossmember would also nee

d a wedge shape formed into it to accommodate the cam cover.

 Also, the scoops would need to be pushed outboard ever so slightly

 to allow the front SU H4 carb neck to poke up through the bonnet

 lid skin into the inside of the scoop.   


This all made for a very tight package; the water pipe that comes

 out of the back of the head rubs nicely on the bulkhead behind the

 ski hook. For cooling they would modify the water header tank

 from the E93a by bunging up the hole that would normally have sat

 on top of the Ford head and then bolting on a floor pan neck to the

 side of the cast tank to allow a tube to come out the side of the tank

 now and across to the head. The rear bottom sheet would also

 increase in thickness from !!!! to !!!’to make the whole boat a bit



They also decided to up the Prop shaft from ¾ to 1 inch diameter

 and make a more aggressive pitch three blade prop.

We now know from the handwritten Climax records that there were

 fifteen FWA engines delivered to Albatross in the period 1955 and

 1956. No FWA engines were ever delivered after that, and albatross

 only started receiving FWE 1220 cc engines like found in the Lotus

 Elite in 1958 and they were first fitted to the Continental model

 then installed into the new A series model in April 1960, (A1, Z10).

So now the guessing starts. If there were fifteen engines, we think

 there must have been fifteen boats. Over the years I have come

 across a few titbits that have answered were some of the fifteen

 would have gone. 

Climax Mk2

Reference Denmark

1. First off there was an article in December 1955 Motorboat

 magazine which talks about the prototype boat that had been

 Denmark we will never know.

2. The same article also features a boat with a different windscreen

 and some photos of the engine bay which was bound for Sarawak 

Climax FWA

The only photo we had of a climax in a Mk2 before we found the

 Onassis one.

3. The forefather of British water skiing was a chap called David

 Nations who was based at Ruislip Lido; now a silted-up lake to the

 west of London. David did a lot to try and promote Water skiing in

 the UK and in his book, he makes reference to a hotel owner on

 Lock Fine in the Highlands who was promoting water skiing who

 needed two Albatross to pull him up because he was so big.

 Anyway, he bought one of the Climax FWA albatross for his hotel

 and it was subsequently used for the British ski championships in

 1956 at Ruislip. 

Onasis albatross

Alexander in his Climax Mk3

4. Recently we found a picture of Aristottle Onassis’ son, Alexander,

 sitting in an albatross that has a different windscreen. Now this

 boat is clearly not a Mk2, but in fact a Mk3 and in the photo we can

 see she is fitted with the FWA. This would make sense because we

 know that Albatross stopped making the Mk2 in 1956 and moved

 on to the Mk3. For those that don’t know the difference you can

 find all the specs on our boat types page. But you might ask how I

 can tell from the photo; and what gives it away is that the ski hook

 is a much thicker metal on the Mk3 than the Mk2.

So that’s four of the fifteen that I have some reference to. In 

albatross world we never ever say never, and with that in mind

 there is the possibility that some of these boats still survive after

 sixty-seven years, but no one has ever contacted us in the last

 fifteen years that we have been doing this to say ‘Hi, I have one of

 these’. In fairness the Mk2 had the dreadful 6 volt, positive earth

 battery system which turned the boat into a 12.6 foot battery in

 saltwater and caused corrosion due the electrical discharge

 (contrary to popular belief that it’s because it’s an aluminium boat),

 combined with the fact you would need to have taken the engine

 out of the boat to do an oil filter change as it was locked in by the

 chassis rails, the chances of the boat and engine being in good

 health are greatly diminished. Then of course you had the car

 fanatics from the 70s and 80s who would buy a boat simply for its

 engine so the chances of finding one get slimmer by the day, but

 just maybe there is one out there.

So, I get this email from Denmark asking if we would be interested

 in this albatross boat that I said send me some pictures, more out

 of interest than anything else, but for some reason I had a strange

 feeling about this boat I had not yet seen.

The guy sent the photos through and just to make me laugh she was

 red; a highly unusual colour in albatross world but A1 had also

 been a good deal red also when I found her.  There was not that

 much to look at other than a box of bits which luckily contained

 some screen brackets and the Bullfrog light in it, along with some

 cleats and rear vents. She was sat on a trailer you would not want

 to tow around the yard let alone 500 miles home. On looking at the

 external pictures you could see there had been a wet exhaust fitted

 to the starboard side of the transom. Normally in a Mk2 these were

 stainless steel instead of alloy and had been retro fitted badly, so

 this rang bells. Sadly, next to it was a dirty great jet drive sticking

 out the back of the transom which also passed though the rear

 bottom sheet. 

Mk2 albatross

Not your normal Mk2 chassis rails.

On looking at the photos of the inside, the rear sub frame was no

 longer there, along with the rudder bottom and top bearings as well

 the steering quadrant and quadrant mount, the fuel tank had long

 gone too. This was not a great start. They had also cut into the deck

 beam that the bonnet hinges on.

As I moved forward in the boat the was a dirty great water pick up

 pipe in the engine bay just behind the driver, more on this later.

 The front cast bow cleat found on the early boats had long since

 gone and there was a fuel filler cap hole cut in the foredeck. The

 bonnet was off the boat and laid on the ground in the photo and it

 had lost a bit of its middle cross member, but it screamed at me

 this is a climax Mk2 because there was no toolbox and no front

 cross member, as well as that, there was a perfectly formed cut out

 for the cam box of a climax. On looking inside the engine bay, the

 chassis rails were totally different form anything I had seen in a

 Mk2 and slightly resemble the chassis rails in the much 


You may well ask how I know this is the work of someone not

 albatross, and it’s a fair question but after fifteen years of playing

 with albatross I think I have quite a good feel for what is albatross

 and what is not. So, my mind raced and I went back and read the

 article from Motorboat magazine dec 1955. The engine lid was

 exactly the same. Now I have had people contact me from all sorts

 of countries including Sweden, Portugal, Spain, Luxembourg,

 Malta, Norway, France, Italy, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Kuwait,

 Thailand and so on, but this is the first Albatross I had ever come

 across in Denmark and it’s a super rare, one of fifteen at best, Mk2

 Climax boat and to top it off the article from Motorboat and

 Yachting December 1955 says ‘‘The prototype of this model has

 been running throughout the season. It has been raced in this

 country, Italy, France and Denmark. With the engine turning at

 5800 rpm a maximum speed of 40 mph with the driver only

 aboard has been achieved. A total of 200 hours has been completed

 and no adjustments or replacement have been necessary.’’

So, lightning does strike twice. I had just found a second Prototype

 albatross and one that was arguably rarer than A1 Z10 - that’s what I call fate.


Now the guy wanted quite a lot of money for what was in effect

 most likely less than one hundred pounds in scrap metal. Factor

 into that we would also need to drive to Denmark, and you guessed

 it he was at the top of Denmark, so as far away as you could get. I

 looked at ferries to Denmark from the UK but they all seemed to

 have stopped for non-commercial freight, so it was going to be a

 long drive up to Denmark.

We finally agreed a price that would make most of your eyes roll in

 disbelief. This was going to be a very expensive find compared to

 the £150.00 I had paid for the wreck of A1 some years earlier. We

 were going to have to take a trailer with us, so we borrowed the

 combi trailer from under our little Lapwing sailing boat and headed

 to Dover. It was going to be a step too far to make it in one day, so

 we decided to use Kiel in Germany as a staging post and spent a

 night there before going up into Denmark and then another on the

 way back to break up the journey.

I look back with fondness as to how easy it was to travel back then.

 We had a nice but long trip through France, Belgium, Holland, and

 then Germany to our Hotel; the Kiel yacht club - a building that

 had very large oil paintings of pre WW1 motor yachts all over its

 walls that struck me as super interesting paintings from a time I

 know little about. Being out of season we got a great deal staying in

 Kiel and I wish we had more time to have had a good look around

 this German city that is so steeped in history.

The next morning, we set of for Aarhus which was going to take a

 few hours to reach and finally get to see this mythical boat at last.


It’s not the most scenic of trips up the centre of Denmark in the

 rain, but by lunchtime we arrived at the yard and found the owner

 Nico. His father was most upset he had not told him we were

 coming because he really wanted some proper English teabags as

 he informed me that they only got the second and third pick of tea

 leaves as apparently the English always get the first pick and as

 such their tea is not great, every day is a school day kids.

And finally, there was what we had driven two days, for so far, to

 pay a lot of money for a wreck of an albatross - but a very special


Nico had been kind enough to take out the jet unit which was of no

 interest to us, and we had a quick look around her and were

 amazed that she was not more bent considering the hard life she

 had had. We loaded her on to our dinghy trailer and strapped her

 down. The trip up had taken longer that we had hoped not helped

 by a late start and getting a bit lost on the way out of Keil, so we

 were keen to get back on the road and head south.

It was not until we got about an hour south and pulled into the

 services to fuel up and check the bearings on the trailer that I was

 no longer able to control my curiosity and it was then that I had a

 good crawl around her.

It was interesting to geek out a bit and see that there were such

 distinct differences from all the other early boats and some of them

 were quite perplexing. For example, all windscreen side brackets

 have two holes in the front section that are used to bolt them

 through the deck but this boat had only one, and you might think

 that the brackets are from elsewhere but there has only ever been

 one hole drilled in the deck that matches the bracket, why I have no

 idea. The boat in effect from the ski hook bulkhead forward is a

 totally standard boat bar the brackets. There is the nice shelf under

 the dash that is found on these early boats and a very simple dash

 lay out. There had been a few more gauges fitted to the dash, but I

 would fill those holes up. What we did not really know was this

 boat even fitted with a rev counter. The standard dash would have

 been a fuel gauge only plus a charge light, an oil light, a light

 switch, a two position key and a starter button but we know you

 could spec more gauges if you wanted.


Aft of the ski hook bulkhead is where it got interesting. We have

 talked about the bonnet lid, and this was what screamed climax

 most of all. The cut out for the cam was in the correct place and this

 would be verified later on when we put an engine back in her. It

 was clear that this was a factory-made hood by the fact that the

 metal and the workman ship all matched the rest of the boat, as

 well as the riveting. The riveting is the best give away as to if

 something is not right as Albatross had quite a particular way of

 doing it. There was no sign that there ever had been a toolbox at

 the hinge end of the bonnet and again that would be confirmed

 when we later stripped her of paint. 

MK2 climax bonnet

The cut out in the centre of the cross member for the cam cover, the

 one on the right is a later Hack.

The transom was interesting because the rear vent covers were off,

 and you would expect to find two holes in the bottom face of the

 starboard one which would be for the bracket to support the dry

 exhaust of the Ford e93a, but there were none. Then there was the

 place that a wet exhaust would come out and that was in the correct

 place again but had been butchered at a later point.

Inside the engine bay the water pickup was on the driver’s side and

 there was no pickup on the passenger side like you would expect to

 find on an early boat. The engine bearers are much

 more substantial and a totally different shape than you would find

 normally and there was a little round score on the bulkhead behind

 the driver with looked to be where the weight of the driver had bent

 the bulkhead back on to the starter motor, again another difference

 as the Ford E 93a starter is on the passenger side.

It would become apparent later on that the cooling pans which have

 square ends in the early boats instead of the radiused ones found in

 most albatross, were in fact shorter than you would normally find

 in a Mk1 or 2, and that the cross member that sits above the trailer

 bunk was in fact further back and this is because the Climax is a bit

 longer than the Ford E93a. I also hope this will answer some of the

 questions regarding ‘can I fit a Climax to my Mk 1/2/3?’ that I get

 asked a lot. Of course, anything is possible but there are more

 problems than you may have realised. The other one that we found

 out later was that the scoops were a touch further apart than on all

 other boats and the reason became apparent because the SU carb

 neck needs to stick through the bonnet and into the scoop because

 there is not enough height under the bonnet to accommodate it.

We made our way back to Kiel for the night before crossing back

 through the Tunnel and getting back to home.

Now this was a project that was going to take some time, as I was

 going to have to amass some very specialist bits. First off was to

 find the Albatross climax parts. Which I cannot remember if I had

 already done. The only bit I kick myself for is that the article in

 1955 talks about a welded steel sump and I had one of them some

 years before and sold it on, and the inlet manifold in the picture

 was a very early climax one that is talked about in the Climax book

 that Mike Costain, the ‘COS’ in ‘Cosworth’ 

climax FWB

EARLY INLET MANIFOLD ON Z10 but with the heater tub cut off

came in to the climax dyno room and put a big hammer on the inlet

 manifold while they were testing an engine. Why?, because it was a

 single casting for the twin H4 SU carbs, and was frothing the fuel at

 a certain resonation. Climax changed that design and came out

 with the stick men ones we know now with the O rings and

 Thackery washers.

Anyway, I had also had one of them which had run on Z 10 but the

 heater element had been cut off and again I had sold it; hindsight is

 such a wonderful thing. There were also a lot of other bits to find or


  1. Climax albatross castings
  2. Climax engine (should be FWA) Most likely will build FWE
  3. Fuel tank
  4. Seat base
  5. Cockpit floor
  6. Engine mounting bars (I would need to make them as I have no idea what they look like.)
  7. Rudder
  8. Rudder quadrant
  9. Steering pulleys
  10. Steering shaft
  11. Steering bearings top and bottom
  12. Steering cone
  13. Steering wheel
  14. Glove box back
  15. Quadrant holder
  16. Hose kit
  17. Header tank from an E93 a and custom bracket
  18. Seats
  19. Trailer
  20. Total electrical system


You start to get the idea about how encompassing this project was

 going to become and we haven’t talked about any of the holes in the

 boat yet.

I set my brother-in-law to work with the paint stripper to remove

 sixty years of paint. The bottom had been painted in copper based

 antifoul and it needed to come off so we could find all the rivet

 heads in the back sheet and drill them out and remove the sheet.

 The copper in the antifoul had attacked the sheets quite badly and

 we were going to have to address the corrosion in the front sheets

 later on. 30L of stripper later we had a bare aluminium albatross

 wreck. Time for a good jet wash, and then it was time to take off the

 rear sheet. 

Albatross speedboat

Bottom off

Climax albatross

Having drilled off the rear bottom sheet we were able to see that the

 rear deck and transom were unlikely to make it, but the rest of the

 hull looked like with a bit of TLC we could bring her back to life.

The first job was to get her really clean and remove as much

 corrosion as possible, so I took the shell to be media blasted and

 they worked a lot on the front bottom panels where it was worst.

 When she came back, I still had to use a round cutting head on the

 dremel in places to clean the really deep pits out. We then set about

 drilling out all the dead rivets; at a guess two thirds below the

 waterline and replacing them. I then I used Devcon liquid

 aluminium epoxy like a filler all over the front sheets. When this

 had gone off, I sanded it back to the alloy surface, so I had filled all

 the pits up and the sheets were like need again. Devcon Is very

 expensive but is by far the best you can buy, and this is not a job

 you want to do twice. We folded up a new floor and again this is a

 little different as the Climax boats had a slightly thicker back sheet,

 we skin pinned this on to the hull that pulled a very loose structure

 together. Now it was time to have the rear deck and transom of and

 remake them along with one of the rear steering sheave supports

that was badly damaged. I had a steering quadrant support

 bracket, so we reused that and drilled it off on the new transom. At

 this point there was no tunnel hole as I was unsure as to where it

 went as I know the engine angle was different in the climax boat. 

Albatross rebuild

Going back together.

  1. We took the boat apart again and I decided to remove the chassis rails and cross member and some other associated bits so I could get in and straighten the hull and deck as much as possible. The side decks were the most bent bits of the boat, and with the metal being so thin as the early boats were, it was very hard getting the panels straight as they had stretched a lot. The other reason to take all the bits out was to clean them up much more easily, as well as re glue and rivet them back together in a way that would see them do another sixty years because they’d had a hard life. I gave everything in the engine bay a good polish and you might ask why as they were bright but not polished when new, and the reason is that it’s much easier to keep in good order if it’s polished up and she had long ago lost her brightness. When we connect things together, I sand the surfaces that touch each other with 40 grit and apply Sikaflex 291i, then skin pin the two bits together and let it go off. We then remove the skin pins one at a time and rivet the pieces together the next day. I have found this creates a very strong mechanical bond and also keeps water out of the joints which in time will lead to corrosion between the surfaces. Having put the chassis rails crossmember and steering arms in I then moved on to putting in the new transom, as well as the new rear deck. The whole structure at this point felt safe again and not like a blancmange. Its amazing how much the smallest bits contribute to the overall rigidity of the boat.
  2. Next up was to put the rear sheet on I had pre polished the inside and the pans then scratched up the mating surfaces. I put the pans on the bottom sheets before I put on the bottom which is different to how they were built were the bottom sheet was held in the jig and then the pans were installed followed by the chassis rails and support structure followed by the sides and transom. Having glued and riveted the rear sheet on It felt like a massive milestone, but we still had some very challenging things to address. The first were to drill the holes for the rudder bearing and shaft, normally I would just lay the old sheet on top, mark of the position from it onto the new sheet and then just check with a string line it was in the centre, but because that part of the old rear sheet had been removed when the jet drive had been fitted it was not going to help us. The other problem was the shaft hole position, and Charlotte came to the rescue on that one by pointing out half a counter sink mark in the centre of the old sheet, right at the front of the cut out for the jet, which we worked out was the front bolt of the tunnel casting. We made up a template for a tunnel and did a lot of measuring and it was squeaky bum time, but dived in and cut the hole for the tunnel which turned out to be perfect. Thank God she found that half counter sink.  

Alloy riveting
  1. Marking the tunnel

  2. We still had some bits to go back inside, mainly the rear subframe assembly that had gone with the installation of the jet. We did some welding on the dash and filled up the extra holes which meant we had to settle on a dash layout that had a rev counter and oil pressure gauge, but was as close to what we thought it should be. There is no fuel gauge, and the oil gauge could be swapped for a fuel gauge, but oil pressure is of more interest to me.
  3. Now it was time to fold up a new floor seat base and glove box back, after fitting them we felt like we now had a boat.
  4. There were still lots of bits to address, and I had been slowly working on them - like getting a new fuel tank made and some seats. All the bright bits had been sent off for refurbishment as soon as we got them home. Some of the more specialist bits I was lucky enough to have, like the right header tank that I had swapped with a guy who had an early continental for an A series climax header tank. The bow cleat on the early boats was cast and maybe was brought in by albatross. A lot of them I have seen have one arm broken, so some years earlier I had repaired a broken one with filler and had it re cast. Strangely in all my years I have never sold one of these cleats, maybe because you have to get in the bow and hold the nuts to get the broken one off, anyway ours had long gone and so I was grateful to have them on the shelf. We decided to just put a backing plate and flat plug where a deck filler had been put into the foredeck. On the new rear deck, we had to fit a new flag holder and fuel filler neck as they were non existent.
  5. Next up was the engine installation which was interesting. I had a donor engine and had managed to find some castings. We lowered it into the engine bay and pushed a shaft up the tunnel hole while hanging a new P bracket on it, and surprisingly it all seemed to work, but it was very millimetre critical. We put on the bonnet and again it appeared to fit but we would end up having to re skin the bonnet as it had a lot of corrosion and had had some big holes cut in it.
  6. There was very little longitudinal room for the engine and the top cooling hose rubs on the crossmember below the ski hook, but even the starter Bendix lined up with the mark on the bulkhead. Now there were two things I was going to change. Firstly, the original engine had been hard mounted i.e. with no rubber, and I didn’t fancy that, and the exhaust had been dry -  I know how loud that is and how much heat it would create in the engine bay, so I was going to hide a small water pump and water inject it like the later boats.
  7. We made up a card engine mount for the drive end and used a continental Mk1 back plate that we cut the legs off. We then made a steel mount from the card template and four feet that were steel tubes with rectangles welded to them and pointing inboard which we then bolted on the plates to the engine and popped her back into the boat. After what seemed like an eternity of manovering we tack welded the feet to the mounts and pulled the whole lot back out. 
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  1. Marking out the engine mounts

  2. We then took the mounts off the engine and welded them on to the feet properly, and then it was back in again to sort out the P bracket mounting which was the last really tricky job, when that was done we were able to work out a shaft length and get one ordered up.
  3. Originally the boat would have been three colours but partly down to cost of paint, and partly down to wanting to show her off her craftmanship I decided to go down the polishing route, but in case we decided to paint her later on, we chose to paint the inside of the cockpit in the baby blue so it would be quite easy to paint the rest of the boat without having to de-wire her and take all the complicated bits apart again.
  4. Polishing is just labour intensive, noisy and dirty, but the end result is very pleasing, so after a fair bit of graft we ended up at something quite special. In the back ground I was building up the parts to make a fully balanced FWE climax and that was slowly coming together. We had found an original trailer through a deal that was unexpected, and had stripped it down had it blasted and hot zinc sprayed before we re-assembled it with new Iroko bunks and Mini wheels and sprayed her Massy grey.
  5. Now it was Meccano time. Charlotte did all the wiring and a lot of the bolting back together and all of a sudden 181 was back and alive. We popped her in the water at Bosham to see if she would float having set ourselves up for a crazy September with her first public showing in a purpose dug lake at the world renowned Goodwood revival where we had such names as Derick Bell, Author Peter James, and Guy Martin come and have a sit in her. Having pulled her out late on the Sunday there was time for a quick polish up and then we packed up to be in Monaco classics on the Wednesday.
  6. She came away from Monaco classics week with best in show award which I was very happy about and from there we went to Windermere for Charlotte to race her in the Porritt cup, 
Monaco classics
  1.  and that marked the end of a crazy year for 181. I hope Mr Mallet would be proud. We are very proud that he brought her home in second in the first Paris six-hour race in 1955. In January 2016 181 became Charlotte’s wedding present and continues to live on strongly.  
Because there was so much work there is a video to go with this article below.

25/03/19 - Hooray! Summer is on the way

After what feels like a long Winter, it suddenly looks like spring has sprung, the clocks will be going forward this weekend, and the evenings will be getting longer - which means we can soon go and play around on the water. We now have two race meetings confirmed for this year, Windermere in July and Oulton Broad in August run by the new powerboat racing association. 

We are also trying to organise a weekend rally, to see how many Albatross we can get together for some socialising and messing around in boats. More details to follow, but let us know if this is something you would be interested in doing.

Finally, to give you a little motivation, here are some photos of a couple of our friends enjoying an Albatross on Lake Como.

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18/09/18 - Bank Holiday Racing on Oulton Broad 


The August bank holiday Monday was a dry but breezy day, which meant the water was choppy which is always less than ideal for racing, but fortunately, it did seem to ease off as the day progressed. We had 8 Albatross arrive for scrutineering, which is a decent turnout and we were all deemed to be fit for racing before registration.


After the briefing, and clarification of the starting procedure (which has caused confusion in the past) we launched and headed for the pontoon.


As the day is shared with the LOBMBC club racers, the Albatross racing is run in between the sports boats, the juniors and the hydroplanes. We were first to go in the starting order, so when we were given the signal we were released from the dock to go and do our timed laps, to get our start handicaps. We had one new driver this time, so after he was given some land based training, Mike was required to do two laps at speed before the rest of us joined in.

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With our handicaps published, and all the other boats having done their test runs, the klaxon sounded and the red lights came on which signaled two minutes to the GO, and meant we were released from the pontoon.


Tim in his 100e Mk3 was first to start on 0.00, who made use of the calm waters before the rest of the boats started. One by one the rest of us filtered in at our allotted start times. It was a tight finish, with Tim just keeping the lead, followed closely by John Hardman in second and Simon Pocklington in hot pursuit in third. There were two casualties of that race, Harvey, who had a fuel pump issue, which was able to be fixed for the second race, and a more terminal problem for Mike who sadly had to end his racing debut there when his propeller shaft uncoupled from the engine and hit the rudder (but he had been flying up until that point, and he will be back to fight another day).

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The second race saw six starters, Tim Riley sticking to the same strategy of taking the tightest line around the buoys while the rest of us caused carnage in his wake. This time, John Hardman was a man on a mission, driving like he stole it, and spraying everyone he overtook in the face, but sadly it wasn’t enough to take Tim on the line. I came third, followed by Richard Hepper in fourth and Simon in fifth.


The third and final race was down to only five starters, as Richard decided to call it a day with his boat which wasn’t performing as well as it should have, but it was still all to play for the front runners. Clearly, with the trophy on his mind, Simon Pocklington was driving like a man possessed (possibly at the expense of his engine – which ended up spewing oil all around the engine bay) and very nearly pipped Tim for the line honours, but had to settle for a very close second, with me in third place and John Hardman in fourth. 

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So it seems that the slow (well, slower than a Climax) and steady (or accurate buoy turns) wins the race! Fantastic result Tim, and well done.


Overall results were Tim Riley in 1st, who won the Archie Peace Memorial Trophy and the first place Mk 3 100e boat.

2nd was John Hardman and third was Simon Pocklington.

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Thanks as always to the members, organisers and volunteers of Lowestoft and Oulton Broad Motor Boat Club who allow us to race alongside their members, whom without, none of it would be possible, and of course the racers and their support crew.


Next year might be different with the departure of the RYA as the governing body for powerboat racing, so I guess we will have to wait and see what happens over the coming months.  


03/03/2018 - The Infamous Albatross trailer

We often get asked about trailers. We have seen many different trailers under albatross boats over the years. They come in lots of different shapes and sizes; some with longitudinal bunks, some with rollers, some have bow winches, and some have spare tyres, and recently we saw one with enough ratchet straps to lift a jumbo jet to secure the boat to the trailer.

Below is a sketch of a MK 3 trailer and it's dimentions.

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In this article we will try and set out the Dos and Don’ts, and explain why some things work while others don’t work so well.

Albatross designed and made their own trailers for the good reason being that there was nothing available on the market which suited what they wanted. An albatross on a correct trailer is weighted nicely on the hitch, but is also light enough so that one man can lift it and push the boat around. We regularly launch and recover Z10 on our own with no car. 


Let’s start by explaining the key points which make an albatross trailer work and why.

  1. The frame is made of angle iron and there is only one weld on each of the longitudinals where they return on themselves after there three bends.
  2. The basic trailer is made up of six main metal parts; two longitudinal girders, two straight axel cross members, a front bunk support and a nose triangle. The other metal work supports the rear bunk and the mudguards and everything is bolted together. The only modification we do to a trailer is to let in a piece of box steel between the longitudinals at the front end, which is just long enough for us to weld a jockey wheel bracket on the side and bolt the hitch on top. 
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Most people think that the suspension units have been put on the wrong way round and that they need to buy the biggest units possible. WRONG. The unit’s swing arm should in fact face forward so that the wheel is in front of the rear bunk. Why? Well, if you turn the units to face backwards the nose will become so heavy you will struggle to lift the boat, because, in effect you will have changed the canter lever. Secondly, your swing arm should be parallel to the road when the boat is on it, not at 45 degrees, this allows it to do its job and absorb the road surface imperfections. You should buy the lightest units possible. We recommend Peak dynamics suspension units which are a copy of a good old Bramber unit. 

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Now we move on to size of units. Why is biggest best? It’s not! You have a very small light boat so if you fit massive units they will have no movement when you drive over a pot hole, and therefore the hull will take all the impact force. Ideally you should look for a unit that is appropriate to the weight of your boat and trailer frame which should give you correct suspension.

If you can find yourself some good old 10 inch Mini wheels they are the best because they’re nice and wide in trailer terms, and you can run a lower pressure which gives you more give in the ride, and you can finish them of with a chrome hub cap. Failing that, go for normal 10 inch trailer wheels. 

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We have seen so many plastic mudguards on boat trailers we could cry, and I hear you ask “why? they do the job fine.” Yes, while a plastic one might stop the mud very well, and to my mind it just looks all wrong on an albatross trailer, but the main reason is that you will probably all use the mudguards to stand on to get in the boat at some point, and that’s when they will break.

The bunks are made nowadays in 50mm Iroko hard wood as it is very strong and is unlikely to rot and the placement of the bunks is very important to the boat. If you look inside the engine bay at the drive end of the engine you will find a cross member which is there as a strengthener to the hull when towing, and the boat should sit on the main bunk at this point. The front bunk supports the hull under the front bulkhead and the nose should sit above the nose triangle. You may now feel that the boat is too far forward on the trailer but this is not the case let me assure you. 

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We find lots of people like to put in a front nose stop with a winch, which is not a great idea because the angle iron of the trailer is designed to flex. If you have the front strap positioned between the windscreen and the bow light pulling the front bunk up to the hull then the trailer can flex from the front bunk forwards and absorb the shock correctly. If you have a nose stop post, most people tie the boat to it which firstly, damages the paint, and secondly, the trailer will still flex during the journey, but the boat and the front bunk will pound each other now, and generally the hull will come off worse.  You really don’t want a nose stop.

The reason we don’t have longitudinal bunks or rollers like a lot of new trailers is that they are commonly used with a winch. An albatross is like an aircraft; very light and strong but it does not like to be point loaded. There is very little support in front of the front bulkhead in an albatross and if you were to winch her on to a trailer you will roll in two great marks into the alloy and the hull will be miss shaped, this is also why rollers are a bad idea for an albatross as they are not supporting the cross members correctly.  

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The ears on the bunk are there for two reasons, firstly they stop the boat from falling off the trailer on a steep slipway, and secondly, they force you to float the boat on and off the trailer, thus avoiding damage to the hull.

The trailer should have four eyes welded to the trailer, the front two just behind the front bunk, and the rear two just in front of the rear bunk. We make a padded strap which will save your paint work but we also strap in a slightly different way than you would expect. First off, the front strap goes between the back of the light and the windscreen. The rear one goes across the bonnet between the front of the scoops and the ski hook.  Our straps would look too long to most people but they are designed to hook on one side, go over the boat and pass through the eye on the other side before going along the longitudinal of the trailer to a ratchet connected to the eye of the opposite strap (i.e. rear strap passes through rear eye and on to ratchet connected to the front eye and vice versa). This is to keep the ratchets well away from the paint and hull. Our straps are marked front and rear as they differ in length, and the tails are cut so when tightened there is nothing to flap about or come loose. 

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Tailboards can be a real pain to attach to any boat so here are some tips. We try to make things simple, so on most of the models you can use our tailboard brackets which bolt on to the back of any board, then you just drop the hooks in to the rear vent holes and pull a piece of bungee down and around the rudder which is quick and simple and means no more finding an old bit of rope to lash it on that then damages your paint. We do something slightly different for the A series, by resting the board on the rudder, and tying a bit of string on either side to the trailer ears, before securing a bungee cord around the board and the rudder.

16/01/2018    2017 was a different kind of year..

What with us not doing so much albatross, and no racing, it was a funny year, but we did manage to do some fun things nonetheless.... here is a brief run down of what we got up to....

Lago di Como - June


We always look forward to our trip to Lake Como, but this year was a little different to previous years after several drop outs and other things, we were down to just 3 boats. Since neither of the other two boats had been before, we decided to go anyway, and we were pleased we did. Although it was a less structured trip than we’ve done before, it was easy to organise activities for 8 people as we went along. Of course we indulged in the wonderful Italian cuisine at several different restaurants. 

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We took a trip down the Lecco side of the lake and saw some things we hadn’t seen before, we spent an afternoon waterskiing and messing about on the water and relaxing, after being treated to Paola’s delicious lunch, and the real highlight for me was the Firework display on Comacina Island which we were very lucky to be able to watch from a Venetian water taxi (thanks to Erio) in a prime spot right next to the island. It was just magical. We were also very grateful once again to Tommy and Ingrid, who very kindly invited us to moor outside their house, where we were joined by two Italian Albatross and the president of the Riva historical society, and we were offered Prossecco and aperitifs, and also a tour round their neighbour’s garage which was like a small museum. 

albatross runabout waterskiing

We were blessed with gorgeous weather, some might have said it was too hot, but we coped. As always, we are truly grateful for the kind and generous hospitality of the Matteri family who look after us so well.


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Thames Traditional boat festival at Henley - July


It was a rather last minute decision, as we weren’t sure if Aluminium boats were allowed in, but after some email exchanges, we were made to feel very welcome. We decided it was best to have a static land based display, although it would be great to go on the water, the engine needed some tweaking, and I don’t think this was the place to do it. We’ll aim to get on the Thames next time – we’re thinking with a waterskier in tow to really wow the judges! I’m sure the Thames authority doesn’t mind that sort of behavior. Despite the intermittent rain, we enjoyed chatting to inquisitive people and the sunny intervals. The atmosphere was good and there was plenty to see. I think this event will continue to grow each year and we loved being a part of it.


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Goodwood Revival 2017 - September


After a successful Weekend at the Henley Traditional Boat Festival, we thought that the Climax Mk2 Albatross might make a good addition to the Goodwood Revival since she is in period, being from 1955, and also because she has the same engine as quite a lot of the race cars going round the track.


It turned out that the people from Goodwood were ahead of us, because they had already dug a lake, and were trying to find an Albatross to put on it. Great minds and all that…


I have to say, the spectacle which Goodwood put on over the revival weekend is simply amazing, and it is wonderful to see so many people who come from all over the world dress up and get in the spirit. It’s also very refreshing to see just how much people love seeing all the classic and historic vehicles, and also watch some really exciting racing.


Perhaps next year, if Goodwood were to dig a slightly bigger lake, we could get a few Albatross together for a little demonstration (at speed).  Just a thought!



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Monaco Classic Week 2017 - September


We lifted the boat out of the little lake at Goodwood on the Sunday evening, in the rain, after the general public had been towed out of the muddy car parks, brought it home and gave it a good shampoo, jet wash and a chamois off. The next morning she had a thorough clean and a re polish, before applying another coat of sealer. Among other jobs which needed doing, we packed the car and prepped to leave for Monaco.


This time, we weren’t taking a 1957 VW splitscreen pickup, we were taking the good old faithful Golf GTI – which is a bit more reliable and a bit more comfortable. We left home after dark and got to the Portsmouth ferry port for 2200, with the ferry not due to leave til 2315. We had a good chuckle with the check in guy who said the crossing might be a little rough with the force 8 – 9 wind. Fortunately, we were tired, and the cabin was cosy.


We awoke just outside of Le Harve ahead of schedule, only for us to have to wait for the assistance of two tugboats to guide the ferry in because of the strong winds.


Once docked, we made it through passport control and on to the road by 0900. Even the sun came out. An added bonus for this trip was the purchase of a Sanef road toll tag, which you can get online and stick to your windscreen. Then you can drive at the tolls with the ‘t’ symbol on and the barrier simply lifts and you pass through and you’re billed at the end of the month – no queues, no fumbling for loose change, and no having to wake up your wife (or making your wife get out of the car because you’ve stopped too far away from the ticket machine!). It was all going too well, and an hour in to the journey, we hit a queue of red tail lights. Oh great. Someone must have crashed. We slowly crawled past Rouen, until up ahead we could see some blue flashing lights. The traffic looked like it was stopped on both sides of the motorway – it must be a really bad accident. As we finally got to the blockage, there were lines of lorries parked up on three of the four lanes on both sides of the motorway, and we suddenly realized this was not a crash, it was a workers strike. There were loads of people sat on the central reservation jeering as we drove by. I can’t believe we were held up for 4 hours because of that.  What a joke. 


We were finally on our way again at 1400, and we were still an hour away from Paris. We had a long way left to go. The rest of the drive was easy, and going through tolls was a highlight, especially as you can drive through some at 30kph. We got to Lyon around dusk and we carried on driving down towards Marseille before eventually stopping in a service station at 0100, about an hour out of Monaco. We filled up with fuel, pulled into a quiet corner and slept until about 0600. We made use of the nice showers, coffee and breakfast before getting back on the road. At Nice we took a right turn towards the coast road and took the scenic route in.


We arrived on the quay where there were plenty on Rivas yet to be launched, and we were greeted by Steve from Monaco Yacht Services, and Aurilio and Marina who as always, do a great job of organising all of the motor boats for Classic week.


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We craned the boat into the water, and went to fill up with fuel. The man at the petrol station actually laughed when he peered over the edge of the pontoon to hand us the hose. Probably the smallest boat to fill up in Monaco harbour. 23.40E later and the tank was full. Then we made our way to the Yacht Club to register and collect our evening invitations and other wonderful goodies. Most of the beautiful sailing yachts were racing outside the harbour, but the waves were pretty big from the storm the previous day. Not ideal Albatross conditions anyway. We thought we’d go and have some lunch before checking into our hotel. I remember the hotel being quite a challenge to find last time, but this time, there were a few road closures for road works which made it all the more difficult. We managed to get there in the end. Fortunately it’s only a fifteen minute walk down to the harbour, so once the car is in the hotel car park, it stays there for the week. The cocktail reception evening at the club had been cancelled for some reason, so we found a little local Italian restaurant for dinner instead.


The next morning was beautiful sunshine but really windy, which made for great sailing weather, but again, not so good for the Albatross.  There were no planned activities for the motor boats so there was no need to worry. We arrived at the yacht club to meet our Riva friends Antje and Udo and their two boys, Tommy and Ingrid, and Erio and Paola, then we went to the rowing club for some lunch which was delicious. As we were walking around the harbour, we spotted a little Sunbeam sail boat which John recognised as the one which he’d seen parked outside our local pub at home the week before – it’s a small world.

After racing, the sailing boats made their way back in to the harbour where the beer started flowing and they prepared for the crew party which is always great fun and consisted of an enormous paella, and a buffet of barbequed tuna, lobster soup and a variety of amazing desserts and of course a live band and lots of dancing. 


MCW2017 regularity course

The Friday dawned a much less windy day, but the swell was still very big. It was the day of the Regularity test for the motorboats. The briefing was at 1030, and they gave us a map which showed a 7.2 nautical mile course around two buoys which we had to navigate twice at 15 knots. The boat closest to the optimum time would win. We would be starting in numerical order, which meant we were first to go at 1231. After the regularity competition, all the motor boats would go to the bay past Cap Ferrat for a picnic which was prepared by the yacht Club and given to us in beautiful hampers. Aurelio decided it would be better for the RIB to take our hamper for us, which I’m glad he did as there isn’t much room in the Albatross. The waves were so big we could barely see the rounding buoys as we set off over the start line but we were equipped with our GPS and a Radio just in case. I think everyone thought we were a little bit crazy as we headed off into the distance in our tiny boat. Round the first mark, we tried to locate the second buoy, got it, let’s go… but we also had to navigate some huge waves from passing super yachts. There was one rather scary moment where we held our breath, but we managed to find a way out of the waves and back on course. Round the second mark then back through the line and round the whole course again. It was a long way for our little boat, but she did us proud. I think we were a little slower than the optimum time, but better to drive according to the conditions than trying to kill ourselves. We finished around 30 minutes after starting, a little windswept and salty, but still smiling. However, after waiting around for all the Rivas to finish meant bobbing up and down for longer than we would have liked, and so we decided to call it a day. Aurelio gave us our hamper and we headed home to the marina for lunch.


MCW2017 Hamper

The evening entertainment was the formal dinner in the yacht club, probably the highlight of the week with as much Moet as you can drink, and a buffet of pretty much everything, a rather amusing photo booth, a great live band and a dance floor.


The following day was the Concours d’elegance which we thought we may as well participate in since we were there, but we didn’t think we stood a chance with all the Riva’s and Cris Crafts. We exited the harbour, waited for our call, and then headed back to the harbour wall where the Jury were sat. We waved and smiled and had our photo taken by the press boat, and then we milled around in the harbour to wait for the really beautiful and touching tribute to Carlo Riva.


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The evening do was a buffet style, like the crew party, with more music and dancing.


Sunday morning was the prize giving, where we were very surprised to be awarded with the first prize in the concours d’elegance. We received the prize from Sir Robin Knoxx-Johnston who was the head of the jury and said he really liked our pretty little boat.


MCW2017 1st prize

After the prize giving, we went back to Monaco yacht services to crane the boat out. It was so windy that it wasn’t a good day to go outside the harbour. Instead, we took a walk around, and went to the Jaques Cousteau museum which was fantastic. It had an amazing aquarium inside, and lots of interesting information and artefacts from Cousteau’s adventures.


That evening we went out for a meal in a local restaurant, and the following morning we collected the boat, said our goodbyes and headed for home.



The King is dead! All hail the new Queen!


It Is with much sadness that we announce the demise of albatross racing. After a change in the licencing structure by the RYA they have abolished the event/day licence. This was done some weeks ago without any form of consultation, and despite reaching out to them several times they have no desire to find a satisfactory solution for us and they aren't too keen to meet us for a chat.

So after five years of fun we have to try and find another way to race these great boats and keep the legacy alive. Any ideas or suggestions would be gratefully received. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Oulton Broad and Windermere racing clubs who without their support we would never have been able to race, and of course, thank you to all of you who have supported us over the years.

Late last year I was diagnosed with a relatively serious health condition and which lead to an operation this year. But I am still feeling the effects and so have taken the hard decision to step away from the business and do some other things. So your new contact will be the very capable Charlotte who has a huge knowledge bank on albatrosses. 



LOBMBC - Albatross Race report - August 29th

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Our Annual event on the broads ended up being a one day event this year, with just the racing on bank holiday Monday. A few Albatross owners had more important places to be (such as family weddings), and a couple of hectic months in the run up to August, meant that we took the decision to have a year off organising a big Albatross gathering. It was a shame, and we’re sorry if any of you were looking forward to it. We have a few different ideas in the pipeline for next year, which should be good fun – so watch this space.


We made the journey up on the Saturday to Wroxham, where a boat which John had kindly been lent to race by Harvey, was parked. We had to make a few minor adjustments to make her race legal, such as fitting a kill switch, buoyancy bag and a battery isolator kit, but nothing too complicated.


After that we drove to Aldeburgh for Fish and Chips before we tried, with no luck, to find a room for the night. We ended up sleeping in Chez Golf on the spit, and woke up to a sea view before heading off for breakfast with a couple of friends. After lunch we drove back to Beccles to our hotel and checked in.


On Monday morning, it was clear and dry (finally!) and we drove Z10 to the pits before coming back to the hotel where Tim would meet us with Harvey’s boat. Thank you very much Tim. Once in the pits, we got scrutineered and entered, and then waited for the action to begin. This year, we were ahead of the game, and managed to launch before the briefing which meant that we weren’t running around like headless chickens as in previous years. And also, it was really nice to be dry for a change.


The practice run proved too much for Tim’s engine, which needed a little bit more work. Such a shame since he had put so much effort into her, and she went so well last year. John’s boat also had a few issues, but they would be easily sorted with not too much effort.


While the sports boats and hydroplanes did their practice runs, bonnets were up and tools were out, and the entire Albatross fleet managed to miss the klaxon which was the 3 minute to the start. With the low sun and the not-so-clear clock, it was difficult to see which lights were on or not, and so on the GO, every single Albatross was still tied to the dock and a very angry looking man announced that we were all late for the start. How embarrassing. With that, everyone left the dock and started, and actually, through all the confusion, we still managed to put on a good show for the crowds. As expected, we were thoroughly reprimanded after the race. We’re very sorry, and it won’t happen again.

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Race two was much more organised, having made sure we all knew our handicaps and the starting procedure. Richard Evans was first to cross the start line and the rest of us had to wait a while before we got to start. Ted and Charlotte were providing great racing at the back, and chasing down the other boats one by one, and there was some drama when John Hardman managed to pull out his kill switch on the turn. It was a very close finish, with John Harman taking the flag, followed by Richard Evans, then Charlotte then Ted.


So it was all to play for in the last race. We were all racing to take home the trophy; Simon Pocklington was trying his luck for the hat trick, Ted was in flying form after his win at Windermere, and Charlotte was keen to show what she was made of. Again, Ted and Charlotte had to let the others have a few laps before starting and then chased them down. The thing is, now everyone has race experience, there are less mistakes, and so less opportunity to overtake on such a short course. Charlotte caught Simon, and Richard, and eventually managed to catch Ted, which left only John Hardman. But sometimes having too much power, some excellent racing tactics and too tight a turn, results in a nice pirouette at the bouy. A real heart stopping moment for the crowd, but which meant John Hardman took the win, with Ted second and Charlotte in third.


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Congrtulations to John Hardman for the overall win, Richard Evans for winning the MK trophy in his MK3, and Charlotte won the OOD’s Driver Of The Day.


Thanks once again to LOBMBC for hosting our racing, and to every Albatross who came. They are real crowd pleasers and it’s so nice to see these boats being used. Thanks also to all those who came to help and support, we really appreciate it.


That’s all our Albatross racing over for this year, but we hope to see as many of you as possible out on the water next year.


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Windermere Motor Boat Race Club - Regatta Day

Better late than never!

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The first of the two race days on Windermere this year was held on Saturday 16th July, hosted by the magnificent Windermere Motor Boat Racing Club at Broad Leys.


Winderemere Motorboat Race Club has to work very hard to put forward a strong case to the Lake Authorities, who in turn grant the club with a speed exemption for only two days per year in which they are allowed to race. Albatross Marine were very lucky to have been invited back after last years successful event in September.


We made the long journey North on the Wednesday evening, hoping to get to Richard Charnock Services late that night, and then to Windermere for Thursday morning. First stop was to Low Wood to see our friend Paul, and to make sure his Albatross was in race condition. No doubt it would have been put to bed after racing in September and not looked at since. We were correct. We spent the morning changing the coil, solenoid and key (which needed changing) to eventually decide that all the problems were probably distributer related. Fortunately, I happen to carry such things around with me. She fired up and we put her in the water to test – and after a bit of tinkering, she was running really well. Success.


Next job was to service David Porritt’s Albatross, which I had been very kindly lent to race by Penny and Tim, David’s wife and son, so Friday was spent cleaning and prepping Albi for racing, as well as giving her an oil change and trying to revive the fuel pumps. After a fair bit of faffing, we figured out that the problem was in the only bit of wiring which we didn’t change during her restoration, and was easily fixed.


Saturday morning dawned sunny but breezy; which is not ideal for powerboat racing, but probably more preferable than rain. We arrived at the club for Scrutineering and a lot of form filling out before the briefing. Things seemed to run smoothly this time, and I think because we knew the drill from having raced in September, we were a bit more relaxed.


The Club had five races around our three Albatross races, plus a timed practice run of five laps to determine our handicaps. Racing started promptly at 1200 and had to be finished by 1645.


The starting clock was being a little temperamental during our practice run, which meant waiting around while that was being fixed, but once that was sorted we were off. The Albatross course was five laps of a short triangle in front of the club, and with the cross wind, made for some exciting and close racing, with everyone almost crossing the line together.


The problem with these old boats is that when you start them up and run them in, you don’t really want to be hammering the engines when they’re cold. This means that the first few practice laps are often slower than they would be in racing – not on purpose, but because we don’t really want to damage the engines. So, I think everyone managed to bust their handicaps, which would usually result in a penalty, except if everyone does.


The first race was really close, and was won by John Hardman, followed by Paul Brown and then Charlotte Fildes in third.

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In the second race, numbers were down due to a break down and a kill cord which wasn’t plugged in properly, but the racing was extremely close and pretty exciting to watch from the shore. The wind picked up which made jumping off waves quite easy (and always makes a great action photo) and Ted managed to storm through to take the win in another photo finish.

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The wind eased off for the final race, to our relief, which meant that the waves were less of an issue and Ted put on an excellent display yet again to take the win and the overall title.

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Thank you to all those that helped make the Regatta race day possible, all the hard work paid off and a great day was had by all. Thank you so much to WMBRC for inviting us to race on your race day, making us feel so welcome and well done to the OOD and timing team for getting through the day so well even with timing gremlins. I’m pleased to announce that WMBRC has also just been granted another two race days for 2017 and 2018, and if we’re lucky, we might just get another invite.


Thank you also to the Porritt Family, firstly for letting me race Albi, and also for presenting the David Porritt, Windermere Albatross Cup to our winner Ted Huckle. We miss seeing David in his Albatross, and we hope this is a fitting tribute.


The day was finished off by a lovely meal at a local pub. Thank you to everyone who came and raced and supported. These events wouldn’t work without you and your love of Albatross’.

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If it wasn’t a challenge it wouldn’t be so rewarding. 

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Its 6 am and I’m sat on the balcony in Lezzeno looking over lake Como towards the Villa del Balbianello. An early morning boat has sped by on the other side of the lake towards Menaggio , there is a cool breeze  brushing over me and it’s a little cloudy, so not too sure if the sun will burn through this morning. I think it will. The weather has been a little bit of a mixed bag over the last few days, but that certainly hasn’t spoiled our fun, and you would still find it hard to come to a nicer spot with kinder people.

We have been so lucky to have been looked after so well by the Matteri family; Francesca, Erio, Paola and Stefano , along with Gardino and Matti from the yard. Grazie mile. What a great bunch of people . If you have not made it to our event on Como you have missed out. Charlotte and Francesca did a great job of organizing this year again, and a special mention must go to John Hardman who managed to sniff out a great bottle and restaurant from five miles away.

Charlotte and I had arrived in Lezzeno on Monday last week to fit two rebuilt engines and try and have a few less stressful days to ourselves, which was much needed. It’s been a challenging year as the business has grown, which is great, but has left us with little time to try to sort out our own boats. I have to say this is just what we needed. 

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The rest of the guys all rocked up on Thursday, some having tried their boats on other European lakes with mixed success, but all in one piece and ready for the weekend activities.  Friday rolled in and we launched the boats in glorious sunshine, and before I knew it we were all tied to the dock of a hotel down the lake tasting the local tipple, which was greatSome spent a little too long tasting, and the chef had gone home, so we had the hardship of having to walk twenty meters to the sister restaurant where we had a great meal. Sadly, some rather big black clouds rolled in and it started to rain, and when I say rain, I mean pour. So we drank a bit more and I borrowed a brolly to go and put on the tonneau cover.  It stopped after a while and we made it to the boats. Now some of us carry chamois in the boats - just in case of rain - as its not nice to sit on a wet seat, but we watched one chap use his lovely lady’s cashmere jumper to dry the seats, a very kind gesture until she realised what he was using. Too funny. We had planned to go to another restaurant that night, but we were a little too full from lunch, so made our way to our hotel for a light snack.

Saturday arrived and it was dry. We all launched early and tinkered with the boats and I loaded the mother in law in the back of Ski School 2. We were off in convoy to Como. All was going so well until we coughed to a stop and I was forced to disembark the mother in law mid lake to be able to fix the problem. Of all things, a slightly loose fuel bowl which was dripping on the exhaust and frothing the fuel for the rear two pistons. I cured it by hanging on to it for the next 10 miles while Charlotte drove and she ran like a dream again. As Como came into sight, we kept left of the international runway on the lake and made our way on to the sea plane docks. Now with all the rain that they have recently had in Italy, the lake has come up nearly half a metre in height, and Como town is a little wet in places. So while we tied up to the dock we were not able to get off them without the help of another boat. It was incredible to see the water up on the road. 


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Next on the Itineray for the day was a tour of the lake by sea plane, and it was my first experience. We were packed into little planes, a group of four and three groups of two. We climbed on board in the hangar, taxied across the road into the Lake, and cruised to the runway before a quick test and then took off. Wow, it was good . The pilot pointed out a few of the famous locals Villas and houses; Versace, Bernescoli , George Clooney, Richard Branson and the list goes on, but the sights we saw were truly breath taking and a fantastic way to see the lake from a different perspective.  On our return we had a guided tour of the hanger and the planes there. The oldest flying plane is from 1936. Many thanks to Erico, the owner of the hangar, for a looking after us so well (and who also has an Albatross).  

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Francesca had made us the most fantastic picnic which we picked up in the boats and started to make our way up the lake to our friends Tommy and Ingrid who we met at Monaco Classics last year. We tied up to the dock and the bouy infront of their house and we were greeted so kindly with Prosecco and cakes, and introduced to Piero Gibellini who is the Italian President of the Riva Historical Society. All was going well until our friend Pier Marco decided to try his hand at the old rowing gig. Now I have been stupid enough to try this once myself on the Thames and spent most of the time trying not to capsize as it is inherently unstable. So sure enough, the inevitable happened and over he went, much to everyone’s amusement. I went down on the dock to try and help tommy get the gig back out and as we were tipping the water out, the sliding seat fell from the gig in to the lake. Tommy and I jumped in to try and rescue it with no such luck, but I did manage to fill my ears up with water. 

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Having extracted myself from the lake, Tommy was insistent on making me wear a Riva shirt and taking a photo. The next thing I know, there is a storm coming, and we have to leave, so yet again I failed to get Tommy in an Albatross.  Tommy, we will be back and then we will try again. Thank you so much for hosting us and I am sorry it was so brief. We dashed off up the lake back to the yard just before the heavens opened. 

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For dinner Francesca had booked us a water taxi and a trip to the Comacina Island restaurant. They only have a set menu and have been serving it there since1947 (I can only tell you what my wife made of it as I was in bed trying to get the water out of my ears).  It’s a 6 course meal of traditional Italian food, nothing fancy but cooked beautifully. The ice cream with banana liquor was a big hit (some had three helpings) and the finale which was a traditional ceremony where the host burns the coffee in a pot with sugar and brandy (with the lights out), whist chanting in Italian, which apparently purifies the Island from the curse pending on it. It tasted better than we thought it would.

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Sunday dawned and we made our way leisurely to the yard before heading to the Molinari boat yard around the corner.  Euginio Molinari is one of the most famous names in powerboat racing; having held numerous speed records and been world champion a number of times in different classes.

What I did not know was that he made wooden boats in the 50’s and early 60’s like Riva, making about 20 a year -They look similar to the Riva Super Floridas. There were race boats and engines everywhere and while it all looked a little unloved, we were very privileged to have the opportunity to see something that I doubt many English people have seen before. 

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On returning to the Matteri yard we were presented with a wonderful buffet lunch of Pizza, Parma ham, melon, salad, bread, fruit and Prosecco. And for dessert, they had made a cake decorated with Z10 on one and the other with the Italian and British flags with ‘Albatross’ written on. Amazing! (Apparently, Zio in Italian means ‘Uncle’, which they all find funny because Z10 looks like Zio).

To see the vidio click on the link

After lunch I fixed Ski School 2’s leaking fuel bowl and we headed out on to the lake and off to see the Island, some of you might have seen the Video on Facebook of my good wife driving (I’m not allowed to any more) We spent some time cruising the lake and trying to take in the beauty of this place, it truly is spectacular.

 As the sun set we headed back to the hotel to change for an evening of fun at Crotto del Misto. Now the food is really good there and while a few of us ordered the fillet steak, there was some unrest at the table as a select few at one end managed to order a Florentina. The chef literally brought out half a cow which was cooked to perfection, and a couple of people were left a little disappointed by the size of their fillet compared to the florentina which gave us all much amusement.

And that’s it. All over far too quickly; Como has passed for another year. Great people, new friends made, great food and wine…. Why are we coming back to the UK Charlotte? Ah yes, we have Windermere in a few weeks and racing at the club which I hope many of you will join us for. There will be an Albatross dinner afterwards if you would like to join us it’s not too late you may never get the chance to race on Windermere again so take it while you can. Then there is the British classic motor boat rally based from the Windermere club at the start of August which is always fun and has a few albatross, followed by our final event curtesy of the Lowestoft and Oulton Broad racing club over the August bank holiday. So dust off the boat and come and join us for some fun. See you all soon John. 


Ahoy there

Are you going to the Windermere motor boat racing club to race your albatross on the 16 of July? Great see you there!

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We have been kindly invited back to the Windermere Motor boat racing club again this year for their summer race day on the 16th of July, and we hope to have as much fun as we had last year.

The Chairman of Racing, Will Wood, is organising the day again and has asked me to get some numbers together of people that are likely to attend. It will be a similar format to last September, with three races for the Albatross’ on a short course.

There will be training in the morning for anyone who has not raced before and the Albatross’ will be racing for the David Porritt Memorial Trophy this year. Sadly David passed away last year but his family have kindly offered me ‘Albi’ to race so I am looking forward to beating you all.

It’s handicapped racing, which means that the slowest boats start first, so it doesn’t matter what engine or boat you have. Ted, remember not to beat your handicap time and you’ll stand a good chance of coming away with some silver ware. There is a ticketed gala dinner at the club on the Saturday night and we need to know if anyone would like to come. Asap

Please email to confirm you place 


A new wife, a new computer and an exciting new year.

Well it’s been a fun start to the year but the website has suffered a bit and it’s been too long since my last update. Firstly, I must start by thanking my new wife for putting up with me, but luckily she seems as keen as I am about albatross boats. 

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2016 is shaping up to be a very exciting year. We will be off to Lake Anacy and Lake Como again for a second year as the guests of Erio and Paola of Cantiere Martteri . We have changed the itinerary to take us to some new exciting places which should be a lot of fun, so if you have ever fancied a trip to Como give us a call as we have one or two places left…. but be quick. (16th-20th June)

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Next up, on Saturday July 16th we are delighted to be asked to return to Windermere and race with the Windermere Motor Boat Racing Club for a second year. There will be a new trophy presented for the event in memory of the late, great, David Porritt. This is such a privilege to race on the lake which is normally restricted to 10 MPH.  It’s never too late to come and race with us, we will be happy to give you all the support and help you might need. 

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Our annual August pilgrimage to the Broads (Sunday 28th August) is currently a work in progress, but we will keep you all informed ...  Think Swallows and amazons, but on the broads.

And, don’t forget we will finish the bank holiday weekend (Monday 29th August) with our annual races on Oulton Broad and with any luck the sun might shine on us this year (please!!) and allow us to finish with a great night of fireworks.

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On another note, we are very busy building boats and exploring new areas. We are attempting to get an original albatross gearbox to work again and build a new one, as well as changing a bottom on a continental, and building a Climax race engine. We’re also doing two complete 100e engine rebuilds, which is a first for us. All very exciting. We hope to see you out on the water very soon. John & Charlotte 

The Passing of an Albatross Legend !

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It’s with great sadness that I was informed to day of the passing of David Porritt. David will be well known to many of you that have been on Windermere he was often seen zipping around in his Climax Albatross Albi . David was always very welcoming to us and a life time albatross fan. Having started off with a Mk3 that he trailed all around Europe often holidaying in the south of France with her back in the day, before buying Albi from her first owner in the late sixties .  David was a keen racer and he and Albi were known as the fastest Combo on the lake. David joined us at Oulton broad in 2014 and that was to be his last race in Albi . Over the winter we did a ground up restoration on her for him and delivered her back to Windermere , David was unable to race with us at Windermere this autumn being on holiday so kindly offered Albi for me to be able to race , as well as opening up his boat house for us to use as a base on the race day. David will always be remembered as a true gentleman with a heart of gold I am so glad to have known him and he will be best remembered for flying along in Albi on the lake! He leaves his wife Penny and two sons. There will be a service on Friday the 6 of November at midday in Windermere .


Wonderful Windermere

The last month has been a roller coaster to say the least. Wednesday arrived and we packed up the bus, hitched up Z10 and started our trip up north. After a short meeting at the services at Chasewater, we carried on and got to our bed for the night at Preston. Thursday started wet, but all in all, dried out and we made our way the final bit of the trip to Windermere.

First stop was Low wood to see ‘Lil squirt, a Climax A series which Paul has been telling me for the last six years that he must get around to making her run again . So we thought it was time we gave him a hand. The engine was out already, but we took the sump off and gave it a good clean out and took the fuel tank out, I hate old smelly fuel. We replaced a few parts, fitted all the race bits that were needed to comply, gave her a good clean out, and blow me she ran ok. I was surprised she fired up with those HT leads she had, but having no spares, they would have to do. Paul put her in the water for a little run and blew out the cobwebs. She sounded pretty sweet. Cinderella would go to the ball.

Sean was the first to arrive on Friday for a little fuel system fettling and then we made our way over to the club to prepare Albi, the boat I would be racing.


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By the end of the day we had all except one of the boats lined up on the foreshore and it felt a bit surreal. I never thought I would get the chance to race on Windermere, and yet we were here and ready to go. We headed to an Italian in Bowness for an informal Albatross dinner that was a lot of fun before retiring for the night.

Saturday dawned perfect sun, and with eight albatross boats to race it was time to get ready. We had been kindly lent the use of a boat house on the water just along from the club where we decided to make our base, so after setting up we had to be Scrutineered and signed off before the briefing with the fierce Alison, our officer of the day. 

Alison our OOD

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 Before we knew it, it was time to go out and qualify. 

Our short course in yellow and the long in red taking in our course as well 

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The course at Windermere was a triangle instead of a sausage, and was somewhat longer than the course we were used t at Oulton Broad. The other big difference was that if you did a race lap faster than your qualifying lap time, you would be busting your time, and be penalised with another lap of time on your race finish time, and as such make it very hard for you to win . The slowest qualifier was Paul in his 100e powered Campbell Albatross doing an average lap time of 1.11 . The fastest qualifier was myself in Albi with a start time of 3.15 after Paul had set off, which would give me time to have a cup of tea and a chat with that handicap. The one bit I had not fully taken in after qualifying was that Ted in Z13 had complained that his throttle cable had slipped and he was not getting full throttle. So after a slight adjustment, that was sorted and we were ready to race

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Paul led us into race one, followed by lil squirt one minute and five seconds later, then Richard thirty seconds after that, and then the rest of us in quite close succession after that. The star of the field was Ted in Z13 doing a best lap time of 50.36 and winning on the water, but sadly, after his throttle cable adjustment, he was running 3 seconds a lap faster than his qualifying time, and the computer nicked him back to 4th.

Results for race one were:

  1. Paul Senior
  2. Simon Pocklington
  3. John Fildes

There were some notable casualties being lil Squirt who had lost her spark and retired, along with Z10 who somehow had lost all of her throttle linkage, and I was forced to miss race two in Z24 while trying to fix Z10.

I am a little unsure as to what happened in race two as I spent all of it it in the bilge looking for Weber spindle nuts which had rattled off  (I’m brazing them on this week - every day is a school day).

 Albatross racers gather in milling area waiting to start

albatross racing Windermere

So the results of race two were:

  1. Paul  Senior
  2. Ted Huckle
  3. Richard Hepper                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ted in Z13 flying  
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I managed to find some nuts, and was lent one, thanks Sean, and then it was time for race three and we were all ready to go out. Simon’s boat would not start (it usually helps if you connect the dynamo) so his friend David found some jump leads and a battery and he started, but now he had the problem of how to off load the battery and leads? So Simon thought it was DONUT Time! 

albatross racing Windermere

On each pass of the jetty he managed to offload first the battery and then the leads. But this brought out the wrath of Alison our OOD as he had been doing his donuts in our milling area which was a big no no. I’m not sure Simon has been told off in many years, and he was a little shocked, but he is a big lad and got over it pretty quick.

Race three was in sequence with Paul in Z12 leading and Ted going off last. After a great ten laps, Ted crossed the line fist, he was flying - but again he had busted his time and was nicked back to sixth with Mr Donut Pocklington taking the win.

Race 3

  1. Simon Pocklington
  2. Paul Senior
  3. Charlotte Clay 

Paul Seionor Our deserved overal winner 

albatross racing Windermere

And this gave us an end result for overall

  1. Paul Senior                     Z12 Mk3 100E
  2. Simon Pocklington        Z18 Climax A series
  3. Ted Huckle                      Z13 Climax A series


We packed up in the sunshine and had a lovely drink on the lawn with the commodore before prize giving. A big congratulations to Paul on his win, it was a truly dominant performance. The club laid on a great evening of entertainment for us and we laughed the night away. I must thank the people who made it all possible. The Commodore Mr Phillip Fairhurst, Ex Commodore Mr Peter Hart, Mr Will Wood ,Mrs Carole Shaw, the Scrutineers, and finally, Alison our very patient OOD. Thanks Windermere for a great weekend and for all of you that turned up to support us, we loved it and just hope one day we might get the opportunity again. Thanks for a great years racing, John and Charlotte 


Madness and Monaco

We set off late on Sunday night with the bus fully packed up with everything we could possibly need in which would give us the best chance of being able to fix any unexpected problem with either the bus or the boat. As we made the short trip down the A27 to the ferry port at Portsmouth, Charlotte was not happy as I had tried to save some money on the ferry ticket by saying that the bus was less than 183cm in height, but even with all our stuff and us on board we were in fact 184cm. So, time to roll the dice and see whether we could pull off the first hurdle.

Z10 waiting to board the ferry.

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We arrived at the ferry port with no problems, and my fears about the height of the bus were put to rest when the chap at the check in was more interested in the bus and the boat than whether it was within height regulations. This was really to set a precedence for the rest of the journey, as wherever we went, people were nice and friendly to us and our combo of bus and boat. I should point out that that the bus is a 1957 VW Splitscreen making her 58 years old, and the boat is from 1960, making her 55 years old. The reason for the Kombi pick-up, is that Albatross Marine back in the day had a ‘57 bus which they used to deliver the boats all around Europe.

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Albatross Marine Pick-up in 1957.

We boarded the ferry, found our cabin and fell off to sleep. The adventure had started.

Early Monday morning we arrived in Le Harve to nice sunshine, we left the ship and headed off on the open road. Once we had managed to find our way out of the town it was a few miles down the road when Charlotte asked if we had enough petrol.  We hadn’t filled up since the M25 on the way home from Norfolk the week before, and we’d done over a hundred miles since then. With no tank gauge, all we can do is guess, but we do know that 150 miles is about the limit of the tank.  We fired up the sat nav and asked it to take us to the nearest petrol station. All good in theory, but not so much in practice. We somehow managed to miss two stations without actually ever seeing them and then ended up on a country road in the middle of nowhere. I was becoming a little nervous by this point so we stopped, drained some fuel from the boat and put it in the bus. As we were finishing, an English biker and his wife stopped to see if we were ok.  I recognised them from the night before in Portsmouth at the ferry port. They asked if they could help and we explained, only to find that they were having the same trouble. We headed back towards the motorway, and the next 20 or so miles were pretty tense.

I have to say I was nervous about the bus. She is an old girl and while she made it to Norfolk and back fine, this was a much taller order, with more stuff, another body on board and a bloody long trip. Would she overheat? Would the gearbox be ok? What if it rained the whole time? (She is not that waterproof) I had lots of concerns, not to mention running out of fuel!  A station sign finally came in to sight and I was very much relived.  We pulled in and filled up, and from this point made sure to meticulously record the millage to know when we must stop again. It felt like a good time to grab some breakfast so we rolled in to the carpark, dropped the side and tucked in to our first French breakfast. 

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Breakfast in the sunshine in France.

Our next hurdle would be navigating around Paris which always seems to catch me out. The last time I did this we ended up going right through the middle, and the time before that as well, and although I’m sure it is the most direct route, it’s definitely not the fastest. This time we were equipped with a road map and we thought we’d try and find our way around using the good old fashioned way; following the signs. There was some tension in the bus about this as the Tom Tom shouted that we’d gone the wrong way and was demanding that we made a U turn, but I stuck to my guns and followed the signs, and would you believe it, we managed to get around and on to the A8 Lyon bound without even a glimpse of the bloody Eiffel tower.

There were many fuel stops and tolls in our day but the bus kept on trucking. Auxerre and Dijon passed by and, at dusk, Lyon was within our sights. I’d decided that if we could get south of Lyon we would have done very well and could have an easier day tomorrow, so I pushed on. Not too far south of the city we pulled into a fuel station which for some reason was shut , and my first mistake of the day was that I’d not really thought where we were going to spend the night, but I was tired by now and ready for some rest. We agreed that here was as good a place as any to stop, found a small corner of the carpark without lighting and pulled up. The boss had been clever enough to bring along our sleeping bags and as it was cold, we both climbed in to them in the cab. I am not sure how we did it, but I now know it’s possible for two people to sleep in a single cab.  We must be bloody contortionists, but I did manage to sleep and awoke around 0630 to a bit of light. I have to say we were both a bit cold and decided to get back on the road and drove until the sun came up.  About an hour later on the way towards Aix Provence, we pulled in to another service station, filled up and went to find the showers.  It was about now I realized that I was no longer smelling very fresh, and that a shirt change might be a good idea. Only problem was that I’d forgotten to pack any clean t shirts.  I shouldn’t have been concerned as seven euros bought me a nice red t shirt and another two euros got me some smelly soap. I felt much better after my shower and change of clothes and breakfast was my next order of the day. Blow me down, they did a cooked English breakfast in these services; we had fallen on our feet again. How could I resist. Shortly after, we were back on the road. We passed Aix, followed by Marseille, and soon it was time to turn off and head towards St Maxime. The VW had done a super job up to now, but we were on a totally different type of road as we made our way over the last of the mountains and down to the Med at last. I had hoped, that being September, we wouldn’t have the usual slow train of cars trying to make our way in to St Tropez, but I was left disappointed as we crawled in to the sea side town.

Now, any of you that have been to St Tropez will know there is limited parking to say the least, and trying to find a place for the bus and the boat was not going to be easy. Domestic bliss was not to be as we discussed the possibility of going in to the big car park on the harbour which happened to have a big sign that said no caravans or boat trailers. The boss was having none of my “it’ll be fine”, and as we passed the entrance my heart dropped. Maybe it had been a bad mistake to try and come here? Then I spotted two coaches parked at the exit of the carpark, so we rolled in alongside to take stock. Out of the rear view mirror I could see that the third exit barrier for the carpark was broken and we would fit into the lane the two coaches were blocking. We unhitched the boat, rolled her back behind the coach and then I carefully reversed the bus in to the gap, re-locked the boat to the bus and voila! We had our free parking spot. 

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Free parking in St Tropez


 After a nice walk around the town and the port, checking out all the boats, we were off again.  I really like the coast road along to Nice, and once we’d crawled our way back to St Maxime, the road freed up a bit. We chose to stop before St Raphael and check out the temperature of the sea. It was picture perfect and really felt like we had arrived and could start to enjoy our trip. 

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Taking a dip in St Maxime.

After a little bathing we got back on our way, passing through San Raphiel and Cannes (past the boat show which was tempting to stop at) and on we trundled until we reached Antibes. We parked up for the night and went and had a nice evening meal with my friend Jim, known to some of you as Sham works, who was alo kind enough to also give us a bed for the night. This was gratefully received after our less than comfortable previous night in the bus.

Wednesday had arrived and Monaco was calling. We made our way through Nice and only took one wrong turn in Villefranche.  Beulieu passed by and before we knew it we were in Monaco making our way the wrong way around theF1 race course and straight up to a barrier blocking our way. There was clearly a lot of work going on around the harbour in preparation for the up and coming Monaco Yacht show. The guy at the gate was not too sure what to make of us, but was more than happy to open up the barrier and usher us along the dock, past Stars and bars where I was looking forward to having a juicy burger for lunch, and on to Monaco yacht services who would launch us. You can see from the photo, the huge plumes of smoke rising from the hills near Menton as a hill fire raged and turned the sky grey , we were then treated to flight after flight of firefighting aircraft fly over us until the end of the day. 

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Craning in at Monaco.

On arrival we were greeted by our friend Aurelio who was in charge of all the motor boats. It had all changed since I was last in Monaco and the club has moved sides of the harbour to an amazing new building. We were asked to launch and go to the other side of the harbour, which at first looked like a bum deal as all the Rivas would be moored on this side and it was what I had known from two years ago. On reflection it was by far the best thing that could have happened to us, as we were given a mooring spot right outside the amazing club and next to all the fabulous sailing boats, and most importantly in the thick of all of the action. We got our registration out of the way and picked up our freebies and all our invitations for the evening activities.

We took the ferry back across the harbour and I got my Juicy burger at Stars and bars before setting of in the bus to find our hotel. This started off as quite fun with a drive down the main straight and in to sandivot. I can’t say I gunned it too hard up the hill and in to casino square, but was an experience. Then the trouble started. My phone had died the day before and would never come back to life again, and the sat nav could not locate the address we had. The other iPhone thought we were on Mars for all the help it was. Having lapped the same bloody section of road too many times, I stopped and asked a police man (there are a lot of them in Monaco).  I’d been one street out each time I had turned up the hill, and as a consequence the clutch in the VW was now starting to struggle and was grinding first and second. Having failed to pay any interest in VW mechanics this was worrying.  Would the bus get us home from here? We found the hotel and checked in.  I parked the bus up in the underground carpark but I could not find reverse at all without a lot of grinding. Not good! This left me with things to think about over the next few day as to my best option. We changed quickly and made our way down to the club for what would set a precedence of a fabulous welcome party with lots of free food and drink, a live band and the boss got to strut her stuff while sipping a glass of very nice Champagne.

The next morning we awoke to a glorious sunny day and headed down to the club. The sailing boats were getting ready to go out and we could see the sea state was quite churned up from the storm that they had on Tuesday. We prepped Z10 and headed out of the harbour. I know from last time that it’s always horrid in front of Monaco as the chop comes from all directions and you really struggle to find a comfortable path through. We headed towards Nice so I could show the Boss some of the sights and as we headed that way we saw a large power boat not too far in front. I sped up and got in it behind it to find flat water which was great. We passed Cap Die and Beaulieu bay and before we knew it we were off the hotel de cap Ferrat and in to the bay of Villefranche.

The bay of Villefranche.

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We had a nice little tour of the bay and headed back to Monaco to an amazing lunch put on by Monaco yacht services on their dock with all of our Riva friends.  After lunch we made our way back out of the harbour to play with some of the Rivas that were now leaving the dock for an afternoon of fun.

Some of the Classic boats racing in front of Monaco

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We headed for the sailing yachts and as we buzzed up and down in front of Monaco with two Riva’s when we spotted a helicopter with floats which looked a little strange. I pointed it out to the boss and then it came towards us and followed a Riva far off to our port.  Then all of a sudden it seemed to have spotted us and he was over us in a shot. This lead to a rather mental twenty minutes which ended with him being about ten feet in the air just in front of us, to the extent that I started to think this could be dangerous as we hurtled towards him at some were near 50 mph with two Rivas.

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Playing with the Rivas in Monaco

We moored up in the harbor and cleaned up Z10. I was pleased with her, having hardly been used since the rebuild and only used in anger by the boss at Oulton Broad, she was holding together well and not leaking at all which was great. With less than three hours running I was still a little concerned for the hull and the engine after such major surgery over the winter.  She looked right at home on the dock with the much bigger shiny varnished boats

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Z10 and friends on the dock.

Thursday night brought another party with more fabulous food and dancing and we sang the night away with friends from far and wide before trying to relocate our hotel in the small hours of the morning. Boy this Monaco place could be a lot of fun.

Friday dawned another sunny day, and to our relief the sea had calmed down somewhat.  I was determined to try and get myself a warm spiky lobster that I’d not had in years, so we set off for Paloma beach restaurant on St Jean. We had attended a briefing in the morning and been told to be back for 1430 to take part in the maneuverability test, so I knew my lunch would be restricted on time. As we arrived, I picked up a Jet Ski buoy and moored up.  You are meant to anchor off the beach in deep water, but since we are only small, it wasn’t a problem.  We called up the restaurant and asked them to send out their boat for us. We were brought ashore and they were kind enough to find us a sun lounger. Having sampled the local Rose and taken to the water for a swim a few times I was ready for my lobster lunch. I was mortified to find no lobster on the menu and I had to settle for giant prawns.  I have to say it was to die for and at this point that the boss decided that as good as the salad was, she rather wished she had been a bit more adventurous with her choice of dish. We had a little chuckle as three Rivas turned up and tried to moor on the buoys next to us, but were told to anchor further out which they decided against. Could our new tag line be ‘Albatross gets you into places Rivas can’t?’ Time was ticking so we headed back to the boat and Monaco in a hurry to make our slot for the maneuverability test.

Somewhere on Youtube you can find my last attempt at this in 2013. It is not a test that suits the Albatross well as you must come alongside a dock, stop and tie up, then leave and reverse back 100m. All well and good in a boat with a gearbox but a 100m paddle backwards was probably more entertaining for those watching!

We arrived on time and spent the next hour and a half watching the Rivas and other boats doing their tests. They had added a new part which was to throw out a life jacket and do a man over board drill as well. Finally, it was our turn, and time was now limited as the sailing boats were starting to return from racing. We set off quicky, passed between the two buoys and shortly after the boss chucked out the life jacket, I turned away from it as she kept pointing at it and I did my loop, coming back to it very slowly.  The Boss cleanly collected the life jacket from the water and we proceeded to the jetty. Charlotte put out the fenders and had the lines ready.  I lined us up and shut down the engine.  We coasted in to the dock space and she tied us up. Not too shabby if I say so myself. On the nod of the official, we untied, and the boss brought in the fenders while I proceeded to paddle the boat backwards at maximum speed,  conscious  of the sailing boats being held back waiting for us to finish. We were through the buoys, the engine fired in to life and we were done!  We headed back out of the harbour and off towards Menton for a play and to see a bit more of the area which was a lot of fun. We buzzed a few superyachts moored in the bay before returning to our dock and packing up for the day and tucking in to a cool beer that a nice chap was offering out from a tray at the top of our dock. That night the yacht club hosted another fabulous party which not everyone was lucky enough to get invited to, so we felt very privileged to be there. It was sponsored by Moet and there was a lot of Champagne swilling about and I have to say we gave it our seal of approval. I would go as far as to say Albatross Marine can highly recommend the drinking of Moet Ice Imperial after a hard days boating. That night we dined like kings, drank with Princesses and had a bloody good time.

Saturday was upon us, and being the last official day of boating it seemed to have come around way to quick. Today way the day of the concourse elegance, as well as the grand photo of all of the boats taking part in Monaco classics week 2015. We had been asked to turn up at 0845 for this, which was a bit of a struggle, but we managed it just. There was then about an hour and a half of waiting for everyone to get sorted out and assume their positions in the harbour. As motor boats we were asked to go around slowly in a circle, but due to fact that we don’t go slowly very well, we chose to hang on to a buoy.  You can find us in the top left of the picture behind the tiny sail.  

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The official Monaco Classics photograph

After that we headed out of the harbour with our friend Erio in his Aquarama, and Tommy in his super Florida, and went for a blast towards St Jean. At one point, Erio being as much a little boy at heart as me, gave it the beans, and I could not resist in doing the same. We were both heavily reprimanded by our better halves for being silly, but it was a lot of fun and I think we had impressed Aurelio and his wife who had come out in the boat with Erio. We decided to go back to Paloma Beach for a drink and while I tied up on the buoy, Erio came to give us a lift onto the dock. We tied up and there was no fuss like the day before about mooring, as they were far more interested in seeing his beautiful Aquarama. We chatted away while staring out towards Cap Die, struggling a little bit with three different languages, but I think the penny had dropped for Aurelio who could finally see that the smallest boat in Monaco had a very big heart.  We were able to grab a bite for lunch before embarking on the concourse d’elegance. I was trying to think how we could make an impression on the judges which is quite hard in a very small boat when you’re up against so many beautiful Rivas, and when you’ve forgotten your period costumes. Many of you will know me as a perpetual joker and I thought it would be funny to open up my shirt and pretend to sun bathe on the engine lid (sunbathing Riva style).  I thought it might make them smile, but the Boss was having none of it. 

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John sunbathing Riva style

So we set off in to the Harbor when she spotted something in the water. ‘What’s that?’  I passed and picked it up to find it was a boater hat, perfect after a little shake off.  We had our look and did our pass of the judges, waving furiously with our best smiles before making lots of noise as we accelerated out of the harbor for one last blast.

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The concourse d’elegance

On the final night we arrived on the quay to find the longest table I have ever seen for 450 people, seating 225 on each side.

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The last supper

I have to say that the Riva guys made us feel so included and warmly received. We have made many new friends and I would like to make a special thank you to Otto and his family for putting up with us for a second final Monaco dinner.  We laughed the night away. What an event. The morning brought the curtain down on the event. 

We’d left Z10 in the water hoping to have one last day of fun, but it had rained so heavily overnight and was now a little grey and angry, I felt our time on the water was over. We only had the prize giving to go and then it was time to pack up and roll out. I’d been asked if we could go to Como to collect three Albatross engines for rebuild which I was happy to do, but a little concerned about the clutch on the bus.  I had a look on google, and worked out how to adjust the clutch before going down in to the underground carpark to crawl under the bus and wind up the cable. After a bit of huffing and puffing I got five turns on the nut. I jumped in and managed to get in to third gear in less than 50m of car park without a grind. I was feeling very pleased with myself as I reversed the bus back in to the spot that had been her dry home for a few days. We packed up the room, loaded the bus and walked down to the club. Z10 had survived the storm of the night perfectly, yet the dinghy to our right had 9 inches of water in her, that’s a lot of rain. We gathered for the prize giving in a splendid room which had been displaying all sorts of amazing items that had been auctioned off the day before. As the ceremony began, we tried in vain to tune our ears in to the speeches and announcements in French, understanding too little while clapping furiously. Then, all of a sudden our names were read out! I looked at the boss as we made our way up to the stage, a little confused and rather wishing I had made more of an effort in my attire, to pick up what turned out to be the prize for best motor boat Monaco classics 2015. I was blown away.

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The prize giving

After all the ceremony had finished and we’d said our goodbyes, we made our way to Z10 and had one last blast out of the Harbour, straight in to big rollers. Our time was done for another two years.

We pulled the boat out thanks to Monaco yacht services, and washed her down, and I went to get the bus. I was relieved to find the gear change was a lot better with no grinding .We had one final lunch in Stars and Bars and then set off on our way to Como

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Ready to leave Monaco

The bus ran well as we climbed our way East out of the principality towards Menton and up on to the A8. The wind was very strong as we passed San Remo and trucked on toward Genova. The trip up towards Milan passed without incident except from one bizarre section of motorway where we had a few miles of thousands of frogs jumping across the carriageways. At one point I stopped for fuel, and on my return to the bus, Charlotte said that some man had just stopped his car in front of us, got out and announced that we came second in the maneuverability test and that he enjoyed our backwards paddling. I asked if he’d said anything else and was told that’s all, then he had then walked back to his car and drove off. All a bit odd- had she dreamt it?

Just south of Como we rang the hotel in Lezzeno where we had stayed during the summer. We came off the motorway and navigated through Como again and headed towards Bellagio. As we got on to the tight twisty roads on the side of the lake it started to rain, and got harder and harder. Then to make it worse, my windscreen wiper failed and I was struggling to see, but we managed to make it to the hotel and as luck would have it, the garage had two free spots. Perfect. We backed the boat in by hand and then reversed the van in and I started to chamois both of them off. The van is not is that water proof, and we find it’s best to dry her off at every opportunity. The boss collected the room key and we settled in to our lake side room and took in the magnificent view of the lake through the rain storm.

Monday morning was overcast and after breakfast we decided to leave the bus and walk with our tools to the boat yard. I was not that keen on taking her down the drive as she might not ever come back up again- it’s that steep. We were greeted warmly by the Matteri family and then we set off to start taking the engines out of two mk3 albatross boats. The weather was improving and it’s really not a bad place to have to do a days work. The Italians all disappeared for two hours over lunch and on their return they put a Riva in the lake and we made our way behind the island on the other side. 

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Riva on Lake Como

We arrived at a villa to find a private slip with train tracks at the side and a continental sitting there; the things that dreams are made of. Having launched the boat and secured her to the back of the Riva we slowly made our way back across the lake and on to the dock outside the yard where we pulled the boat and proceeded to pull out the engine, along with the other two engines. I was starting to feel quite tired by now, and no one had offered me a glass of Champagne or a canapé in the last 24 hours. What was going on? 

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3 engines ready to be loaded up

The decision was made to load all the engines in to the boot of a large Fiat and take them up the hill while I brought the bus to a car park closer to the yard and then set about loading the engines on to the bus. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned, the old girl dropped another two inches and I started to wonder if the clutch was going to deal with all this weight? I parked the bus back in the hotel garage and decided to have a go at another five turns on the clutch cable as I’d had a few grinds on the way back. Then it was time for a shower before we were collected by our Friend Erio for a fabulous supper by the Chef supreme, Paola. God the Italians know how to cook. We were lucky enough to be delivered home again by the local doctor who had also dined with us. Next morning we said good bye and set off.

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Ready to leave Como

The bus now felt very laden and I was aware that I had more than likely over tightened the clutch because she was slipping in the low gear pull offs. With nowhere to stop on the lake roads, the air was blue with me cursing myself until we finally found an unmanned fuel station in Como which gave us the opportunity to fill up as well as back the clutch nut off two and a half turns and also fix the wiper that I had forgotten about. We drove by Milan as I got use to the extra weight of the engines and before we knew it we were in the Aosta valley and on our way up towards Mont Blanc, which I thought would be the biggest test for the bus yet. The road seemed to rise for mile after mile, and eventually we reached the barrier and then we were in the tunnel. We made it through and in to sunshine where it was

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The bus below Mt Blanc

time to stop and take a picture of the bus and the mountain . As we made our way down the French side, we discussed the possibility of popping in to Geneva and having a look at the Little cup. I know it’s a sailing event but the boats are very cool and we decided to go for it. On reaching the Swiss boarder we slowly made our way through the chicane, only to find the old girl would not accelerate. We had run out of fuel. I drained the boat fuel tank in to a can and then transferred it in to the bus and she ran again, only to find there was a gas station 50 meters around the corner. We took the opportunity to brim her and our can back up. Our navigation was a little like in Monaco, and the iPhone was hopeless, leading to me going with instinct and memory. We parked up in by far the worst place I have ever parked the bus and boat, not too sure if we had just driven the wrong way down a one way street, but we went and checked out the Little cup and the lake which was really nice.

The Hydros team, Little Cup, Lake Geneva

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Lake Geneva

Our exit out of Geneva was more hazardous, as somehow we ended up going straight through the middle. They really need some yellow boxes, but our day was improved by a lot of hoots and waves of approval and people taking photos of us. Eventually we managed to escape back on to the motorway. The time was getting on and we found a service station with an Ibis hotel and got a much needed bed for the night. The bus had done really well today.

We awoke to drizzle and set off with a lot of miles to do.  It was about 300 km to Paris, and just south of Dijon the heavens opened and it rained like I have never seen rain before, to the point that no vehicle passed our 57 year old bus for the next half an hour on a French motorway. The water started coming in from everywhere. We were bailing out the cab continually, the front safari windows leaked from top and bottom, the air box leaked from above, and we ended up with one chamois draped along the bottom of my window creating a river along it and then a waterfall dropping down to the door base. This went on for several hours, but we kept on trucking towards Paris, the miles falling. The time was now 4.30pm and the traffic was building. God the French are bad drivers, but we got around Paris with a few near misses and it had stopped raining which was nice, and off we headed for Caen. The road seemed to go on forever but at 8.30pm we rolled in to Ouistream where we stopped for a much needed Pizza. On arrival at the ferry port we were informed the ship was running an hour late, but this gave me the opportunity to dry the bus off again, much to the amusement of the cars parked around us. Fortune clearly favors the brave, and we got on board without another drop of rain. We docked at Portsmouth at 7am and after the short drive home we unloaded the bus. She rose a lot when the engines came off and it felt like she had taken a big sigh of relief.

Finally home

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I was not too sure that I had made the right decision when I bought her, but she had done an amazing job, been much admired, and made us very proud. This has to have been the most amazing journey I have ever done and we had so much fun. A special thanks to Monaco yacht club for a truly world class event, Monaco yacht services for the craning and hospitality, and our Italian friends Erio, Paola and Francesca at Matteri boat yard for their generosity and kindness. Now it’s time to pack up once more and head for Windermere for another weekend of fun at our last race event of the season. John 


Fabulous Fritton and Albatross Racing on Oulton Broad August 29th, 30thand 31st August 2015

 Marine is pleased to announce another weekend of fun activities on August bank holiday weekend. Due to popular demand, we’ve added an extra day and we’re based at the prestigious Fritton Lake set in the Somerleyton Estate for two days before our racing takes place on Monday 31stAugust on Oulton Broad.

Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th August will be set on the freshwater playground of Fritton lake. Activities including slalom courses and time trials, race training and speed displays from all types of Albatross and classic Hydroplanes should keep everyone entertained. Not forgetting the Annual Albatross dinner on Sunday night at the Fritton Arms. We are also encouraging entrants to attend in period dress from the year their Albatross was built.


On Monday 31st August, for those who wish to cruise the Broads can be craned in at South River Marine (the original Albatross yard) in St Olaves. (Please note that you need a Broads licence before going afloat on the broads - can be purchased online).


For those who wish to race, Oulton Broad Racing Club are hosting an afternoon of racing which will include an Albatross class. Racing consists of a practice run to determine handicaps, followed by three 10 lap races. The winner of the Albatross class will take home the lovely silver Albatross model known as the Archie Peace Memorial, kindly donated by the Peace family whose father designed the original Albatross. Race fans will be able to watch all the excitement of the racing from the shore.


Don’t delay – Enter today!

Make sure you book your place for the event and dinner as there is no entry on the day.

Email To book your place , space is limited so do not be disapointed book today.

Some rooms are still available.

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The Italian Job!

Well, we are finally back from what has to be the best Albatross trip I have ever been on and I’m still struggling to take it all in.  Let me start by saying a massive thank you to our hosts, the Matteri family on Como, all of you who came along and made it so special, and last but most importantly, Charlotte who put it all together at our end.

We set off from Portsmouth on Monday night and boarded the ferry at 11 pm with the view of getting an early start from Le Harve the next morning. 

The Start

On arrival we were greeted with sunshine which was really nice and by some miracle we were first off the ferry. Our aim was to get down to Lake Annecy and stop for two nights R and R before heading across to Como.  Anyway the road trip went well, we had a little rain on route but we arrived in Annecy at the public slip at about seven pm. I chose to start the holiday there and then with a refreshing dip in the lake. 

albatross Annecy

God it felt good. I then set about trying to find somewhere to stay but found out that there was some kind of festival going on which meant all the hotel rooms appeared to be booked up. I decided to have a quick look at google and I could see a hotel on the east side of the lake in a bay. I rang, they had a room, and we set off to them. We had landed on our feet as this little bay that the hotel was set in was just amazing. We checked in and walked out of the hotel to the lake to find that there was a public slip right there in front of us, someone was clearly looking down on us as it could not have got any better.

Wednesday started with a little bit of a clean up of the boat in gorgeous sunshine before we launched in to the amazing coloured water 

albatross Annecy


and set off to the town of Annecy about 20 kilometres away. We had the most fabulous time going in and out of each bay and got lots of friendly waves as we passed other boats. I had looked last year for somewhere to moor in Annecy itself and as an outsider I thought it looked limited. We went in and had a look but left with no luck and ended up in a marina about half a mile outside the town. This was no hardship as we had a beautiful walk back in to town for some lunch. In the afternoon we decided to explore the lake some more and went all the way to the South end. It is simply stunning. We returned to our hotel, pulled the boat out and packed her up for the trip to Como and then sat in the sunset sipping cocktails. What a perfect day. 

albatross Annecy


Thursday morning at breakfast we received a text from Simon and Julie telling us that they’d arrived on the lake late last night. After a quick word with the waiter we discovered that they were in fact in the hotel next to us.


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A little later, Ted and Sheena, another Albatross couple on their way to Como also turned up. We helped Simon and Julie launch and watched them head off down the lake before

Simon and Julie at Annecy

Ted and I set off in convoy to Como. We headed back to Annecy along the road and I rang Ted as this was not the way I had wanted to go, but to be fair it was a lot better than the detour my satnav took us on around Milan! Sorry Ted. The highlight of the trip had to be the Mont Blanc Tunnel. I never expected to take a photo of an Albatross with the ice from the end of the glacier in the background. 

Albatross at Mount Blanc

It took longer than we had thought to get to Lezzeno on Como, partly down to my detour through back  roads in northern Italy, and the very narrow winding road around the lake, but we arrived around 7pm and popped straight in to the boat yard to drop off the boats and Teds very large trailer and received a warm welcome from Paula. Then it was of to the hotel for a drink and a swim only to find Sean and Suzie Roberts had arrived already along with the Hardmans, The party had started. We arrived at the yard around 9am on Friday to find two more Albatross had arrived from the UK 

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and craning had already started. It might look odd in the photos but it made sense. 

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The boats and trailers were all lowered in to the boathouse from heaven with more Rivas than you would know what to do with. 

Launching at Erio Matteri

We had a relaxed first day and launched just after lunch and set of for a blast about. What strikes you instantly is how big the lake is. To give you an idea, it goes 20 miles north from where we were before you even reach the river, and nearly the same south down to Como. And then you have a whole other leg down to Lecco. In the north you can see the snow caped mountains with Davos and St Morritz in the distance. Opposite the hotel was the villa del Balbianello which you will recognise from Casino Royal. The water is crystal clear and very deep. The mornings are glassy and the wind comes in a little in later in the afternoon. We had arrived in boating heaven. 

villa del Balbianello

I decided that I would make use of the hotel moorings and park the boat there for the night as they send out a launch to collect you. We all sat down for dinner at the hotel where some were meeting others for the first time and the wine flowed freely. Too freely, clearly in one case.  After a great Italian meal we retired to bed. At 3.30 am we were awoken to the sound of my phone ringing. It was Sean. I answered in a daze to be told that my boat was nose down and sinking on the mooring. Dressing in a rush I tore down stairs (waking other guests, sorry) to be met by Sean and a mag light. But on closer inspection the only thing sinking was my sense of humour. The boat was fine (thank god!) and NOT SINKING, but thanks for the concern, and we returned to our respective beds .

Saturday was upon us and I seemed to need three espressos to be able to function after the antics of the night before, but by 8am I was in the hotel launch and heading out to Z8 and off to the yard to meet the others. It was a glassy morning and one of the few times I had the boat and the lake to myself and it was a really wonderful opportunity to try and take it all in. Simon’s boat was craned down and we got all of the boats launched and by 9.30 we had set off up the lake in convoy with a 720 hp Riva tritone. It was all going well until Captain Tim’s boat decided to boil it’s water about 10 miles out, and then John’s boat decided to breakdown. The Riva came to the rescue and both boats were towed to the nearest marina while Charlotte and one of the Italian guys swapped places in Z8 so I could lead the way down the lake. It was about now that I wished I had listened a bit more to the event planning that Charlotte had been doing over the last few months. So I said to the guy ‘where are we going?’ he replies ‘To a musum’. ‘Is it far?’  ‘No, just a few more miles’. ‘What sort of musum is it?’ I ask. ‘A boat one’ he replies, ‘In an old factory’. My brain went in to overdrive…. Is this the one I’ve heard about? The one which is the mecca of boat museums which I’ve always wanted to see but is not open to the public…. could it be?? 

We arrived at a rusty looking dock 

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with a line off to the side which looked like a really bad place to tie up an albatross, but with a bit of work we tied off fore and aft and made it work. Then arrived the Riva with the two broken boat crews in.

We were greeted by an incredible spread of Prosecco, coffee, fresh fruit and cakes laid on for us by the museum. We were surrounded by big old warehouses which we were told were once used for making silk. On entering the first warehouse we were met with hydroplane after hydroplane. It was just the stuff of little boys (and big boys) dreams. The museum has every type of boat, and they restore nothing so everything is how they were given it. We did find a very unusual albatross Mk3 with a rather unflattering alloy screen and a roof that I had seen photos of but never touched before. For me the highlight was finding a set of Skimaster waterskis which were made by Albatross in the day. 

albatross at museum

I can’t speak highly enough about the museum. It is out of this world and somewhere I will never forget. Francesca had very kindly been to the local market to collect us some snacks, and with a fair trip back we headed back down the lake. We decided to head over to the marina where the two broken boats were to see if we could help out.  Some of the others went off and explored the lake on their own and we all ended up back at the yard around 3pm ending what had been a brilliant day. I took Z8 back to the hotel and we moored up and I really hoped I would not get another phone call in the night. We went to a different restaurant at 7.30pm where we were greeted by Merle’s gang who were staying there and we had another merry night.

Sunday dawned and it was off to the yard to organize the morning activity of going to see the fabulous villa del Balbianello. Sadly, you can’t tie your boat up there, so we had to go in a water taxi in two trips. You will know this villa from where Daniel Craig (James Bond) is recovering near the end of Casino Royal.

James bond garden

I have to say I am not that keen on guided tours but we paid out 15 euro and spent an hour seeing the house and gardens which have been gifted to the Italian national trust by an Italian explorer. It had all of the bits from his expeditions and really was most fascinating. Then it was back to the boatyard for a local meal laid on for us by our hosts which was out of this world. That was toped off by a small awards ceremony which was lead by the ever capable Sean and Charlotte

Merl and her award

The afternoon provided much entertainment and we were joined by three local albatross owners and their boats. Everyone proceeded to race around outside the yard having lots of fun. 

Erio trying to get this chap wet

In the evening we had yet another great meal in a local style restaurant in Bellagio. Five courses was amazing, but I did rather roll out of the door and back home. On Monday it was time to pack up and say our goodbyes. We had originally planned to go to Como by boat, but decided it would be best if we got on the road

Nigel ready to leave

As everyone slowly left it all began to feel a bit surreal. Had we just done this? Or did we dream it? It’s still only just starting to sink in. We drove through the night and changed ferry locations leaving Caen at 8am to return home by 4pm very tired but happy.

Now for the twist; we had sold Z8 the week before we left for Como, and had been paid, so I was very relived to get home with her in one piece. The next day was a very long day as we repolished her and gave her a good service before delivering her to her new owner. May he have as much fun in her as we have. 

z8 of to a new home

Thank you so much Francesca, Paula and Erio. You are the best and without you none of this would have been possible. Ferdinando (Gianalberto Zanoletti’s son) for showing us your fabulous Museo della Barca Lariana. The (very smiley) Yard boys who helped us in and out as much as we wanted.  All of you who came and made it so special, and finally Charlotte who made it all work. Next up this year is the albatross weekend in August at Fritton where I hope we will have a good turn out of boats. It’s not too late to enter, and then to finish off the year, don’t forget we will be racing at Windermere on September 26th – not to be missed! I look forward to seeing you all soon. John 


A day to remember from 2014 to inspire you in 2015 


With the wonderful weather we’ve been having this year I have been out in a few peoples Albatross’, but sadly I have only made it on to the water once with Z10. So, on Tuesday after a morning of sanding, I decided to venture down to Bosham harbour with her.

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 Blue sky and flat water; It couldn’t have looked better! The tide was well on it’s way out, so I got on with it and launched. I started to pootle down the harbour as my plan was to go and watch the International Moth Worlds at Hayling Island Sailing Club. 

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As I approached Hayling it became evident that there wasn’t much sailing going on due to lack of wind, which was a little disappointing. I decided to head out of the harbour anyway for a play.

As I was still tootling along the side of Hayling just coming out into the bay, a RIB with three people on board appeared in my rear view mirror. He was going a little bit quicker than I was and he soon passed me. I gave him a wave but he hadn’t noticed me. We soon reached the limit of the harbour and by now the RIB was about one hundred yards in front of me. He lit up his twin 90 outboards and shot off at great speed. I thought that it might be a bit of fun to try and catch him but I had to wait until I also reached the limit line. I gave her the beans and she chocked at first (quite common with the webers if you spend a long time with the nose up in the air at slow speeds.) However, in a matter of seconds she cleared her throat, and I was off in hot pursuit.

Having just given her a service I wasn’t keen to go balls to the wall straight away, so I checked the oil pressure and all was well travelling at about 4000 rpm. I had caught the RIB up and was now alongside. He seemed less than amused and went a little quicker, so I thought it was time to give him a blast of the new trumpet that I’d fitted (new four in to one race exhaust). I brought her up another 1500 rpm and he was dust! It felt miles too good. I am clearly still a little boy at heart.

I was now at Chichester bar beacon and it was decision time. One of my goals has always been to take the boat to Cowes on the Isle of white, but I was under no illusion that this is asking a lot of my fifty five year old Albatross, amplified by the fact that I am more than aware of what is right with her and what is likely to become a problem. I spotted a black silhouette in the distance just coming round the east end of the island and thought that it looked a little strange; she looked too old to be a war ship! Anyway, I noted her presence while still pondering my next move. I glanced left and surveyed the west wittering beach which was packed wall-to-wall with people and thought a fly by would be a bad idea; too many shallows and hidden sand banks for my liking! So I looked right again. I had been around the front of Hayling and into Langstone harbour once before in much worse conditions and it had been ok, so that was that, I would go to Langstone harbour mouth and if it was not working out just turn around and come home.

I set of at about 2250 RPM which must be in the low twenties, but she was skipping along quite happily. Haying bay was being kind to me, and the offshore breeze, what little there was of it, helped to keep the sea nice and flat. The silhouette was now passing down the side of the island and growing in size with what looked like two tugs in front of her, but I could still not make out what she was.

Langstone entrance was now starting to appear on my left and it looked like decision time all over again. I knew I had a battery charge problem as the light had not gone out all day, but having had this problem last time out I had made sure to charge the battery up the night before, but there was a tinging noise which was a little worrying coming from the engine bay; I thought that we had found it on shore last week to be the new battery tray with its battery retainer springs that was just resonating at times, but now I was not so sure. I thought it best to lift the bonnet and have a look at what was going on in the engine bay  (I always dread this having seen so many problems over the years, but all looked fine. There was no water or oil leaks, so life was looking up.) My only concern was that I’d left my life jacket in my sailing dinghy on the Hoe, and because I had been in a bit of a rush to make the tide I grabbed my girlfriend’s one on the back seat of the car. I had presumed wrongly that hers would do me fine, but it was only as I went to try it on that I realised it was three sizes too small for me and that with the best will in the world and lots of sucking in of my belly it was never going to do up. This left me a little concerned but I thought at worst I could stick my head through it and hang on to it if needs be.

I had gone to Monaco Classics in 2013 and we’d covered some long distances which had given me a lot of confidence in the boat, but there were two of us then which made dealing with any problem a bit easier. Now I was out hear on my own, which was good as I could only bring harm to my self, but not great if anything were to go wrong, and as such my brain was always thinking what if she stops? Where will I end up?

I decided to go and look at the big ship which was now off Ryde on the Island, and was now clearly grey, so must be a war ship and would be coming into Portsmouth. Portsmouth is not that easy to get to on this side of the Solent. You can choose to go between the forts ‘No mans land’ and ‘Gillkicker’, but that’s a long way out, or alternately, there is an inner channel. Between ‘Gillkicker’ and the shore there is the remains of the world war two submarine nets, and while I doubt it would be a problem for Z10 and her tiny draft, I really didn’t fancy finding out.

I continued on my way, now travelling parallel to the South Sea shore line but maybe a quarter of a mile out. The big grey ship was one I can clearly remember from my child hood as one of the three carriers Ark royal, Invincible and Illustrious. I have to say I was not sure which one she was, but there were now Helicopters flying over her as well as the tugs in front and it looked like they were firing water up in the air. Seeing her made me think back a long way to when I first moved to Chichester and my first school. A few classes under me had been George Salt who I later taught to sail in my teens. His father had been the captain of the HMS Sheffield; the first British warship to be sunk since the second world war during the faulklands war.  She had been hit by a French exercise missile and had burned for six days and I remember seeing the pictures on TV each night. Seeing one of the carriers that was part of the task force always made me a little emotional. I knew the Government had chosen to scrap them and I thought that maybe Ark Royal had gone but I was not sure on which of the other two had survived.

There! Wahoo! I had spotted the concrete poles which marked the nets just of to my left, thank god for that. Five minutes later and I was safely through. I aimed at Horse sands fort in the mouth of Portsmouth. 

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The unnamed carrier had turned maybe five minuets earlier and was aimed at Portsmouth. She had two tugs firing water canons up in the air in front of her and the sides of the decks were lined with service personnel. What a sight! The Helicopters buzzed overhead and I felt proud to be English. Out in front of 

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the tugs were the Marines in their RIBs, clearly to act as guard boats, and I had no desire to be mistaken for a suicide bomber. My next decision would be whether to cross in front of her or wait for the convoy to pass me buy and go behind. Now, crossing in front of any ship is something to be taken very seriously. If you break down you will stand a good chance of being run over, or if the ship has to take evasive action she may stray out of her deep water channel and could run aground which would be rather expensive! (and is why you have 2-4 Million liability cover in you insurance policy.)

My other problem was that she was still moving relatively fast; my guess was 20 Knots, and to clear her and all of the entourage I was going to have to cover a good half a mile in less time than I would have liked. The closest guard Marine boat was now clearly visible on my left, no more than a few hundred meters up from me. It was now or never, so I went for it. I opened her up from 2250 RPM to 4000RPM and shot forward. The chop was now a little bigger as the north wind blew it out of Portsmouth harbour. I needed to get under the lea of Gosport and fast. As I passed a guard boat I gave them a wave and looking a little shocked, they waved back. That was good, I thought at least they might not shoot me now. I was square on to the carrier, and out came the phone. Driving with one hand I opened up the home screen and found the camera, pointed it in the direction of the carrier and pressed away while half looking for the next bit of chop, I held little hope that any of the shots would be of much good but fingers crossed I might get one. I was now clearing her and the west of her most westerly tug which made me feel quite relived that nothing had gone wrong. Spitbank fort was fast approaching on my nose 

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and I decided to back down the throttle and go between the fort and the land. I noted they had built a big viewing platform on this side of it as well as hanging two Scarab style boats from it. There were lots of people up on the deck enjoying the sun and looking out at the carrier as I sped by.

I was now under the Gosport shore. Was it time to turn back or time to press on? I did the dreaded bonnet lift and looked in always fearing the worst. There was a little water but with a ting of blue – Antfreeze! In the chop some excess had come out of the header tank, nothing to really concern me. I started to weigh up my thoughts. Although it had been a little choppy at times, the wind being out of the north west would make it smother on the way home. In an ideal world, if I was going to make the jump I would stay up under the lee-on-solent shore and then head along towards hill head. But I was not too sure about depths in there and that concerned me. There appeared to be a strung out line of sorts between Portsmouth and Cowes with sailing and motorboats taking the straightest line to get between point a and b. The chop didn’t look too bad so I thought why not? It’s not going to get much better than this. I suddenly realised that I hadn’t checked the fuel, and didn’t know if I’d have enough to get there. I’ve never had much luck with albatross’ and fuel tank senders and gauges, so I rely on the good old garden cane with a few markings. The only drawback with this method is that to do a dip test I would have to stop and lie on the engine cover. Now this is fine, but because I had charging issues I was not keen to stop the boat so this would involve lying on the engine cover with the kill cord detached and the boat running, which isn’t a great idea. I headed inshore to find the flattest bit of water to carry out this fool hardy operation. On dipping the tank I was pleased to see that I hadn’t used more than a litre or two which was very reassuring. In the back of my mind was one other external problem; I had left Bosham on a falling tide, but left the car and trailer on the sea road. While I do not have to pay a car parking fee and the car and trailer are close to the slip, if you leave it too long your car is likely to get very wet.

I followed the line of sailing cruisers and made sure to wave as friendly as possible at each one hoping that if I had a problem they would be so kind as to come and rescue me. I was now out in the middle of the Solent and while it was flat, I was feeling a little vulnerable. I could make out Osborn bay in the distance on my left and the East Cowes headland sticking out in to the water. Of to my right coming from Hillhead was a whole host of sailing boats coming across the Solent towards Cowes in what I thought was Classics week. I was now closer to Cowes than I was to Porsmouth so at least I was getting there, and with the wind direction, if I had a problem hopefully I would drift on to the island shore.

Osborne bay was now abreast of me and it looked like the XOD class were racing in there. The Cowes committee boat loomed on my right.

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I gave them a wave which went unnoticed and I was nearly there. Up ahead was a very tall black sail and I just could make out the name ‘Artemis’; an open sixty boat. I pressed forward for a closer look having not seen her out on the water in some years. Cowes harbour was now firmly on my beam and it was looking like I had made it. I creped up towards Artemis and got the trusty camera phone out again taking some shots as I approached. 

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This was now the choppiest conditions I had experienced all day. A RIB shot across the bows of Artemis and I took the opportunity to follow her into Cowes in her flat wake. Down went the peddle hard to the floor and I turned the wheel. I was now in pursuit of this RIB in passing giving all the corporate guests on Artemis a rude wake up with my trumpets. I had over done it and Z10 leapt out of the water as I tried to cross over the ribs wash and in to the calm behind the boat. Z10 launched in to the air and I backed off the throttle. Thankfully I was now in the calm some two hundred meters behind the big RIB. 

On my right, the Royal yacht squadron loomed large and there was a sailing yacht manoeuvring in to there small marina. I brought the throttle back and started to pootle in to the medina. Just ahead of me was the RIB I had followed in and thought it might be an idea to ask them were the best place would be to pick up some fuel. The island sailing club slipped by me and the red jet was doing his U turn to get onto his dock. The mermaid stood tall on the front of the max axkin house, The red jet was now along side its berth and I was nearly alongside the RIB. They waved kindly at me and I waved back so now was the time to ask were to go for fuel. I tried to hear what they were saying but the one draw back with the exhaust and doing too much riveting for a living is that I now appear to be quite deaf! There was no option but to turn of the motor. o well hear goes ! They were kind enough to inform me that I could get fuel at Lalows just after the marina  which was by now less than 100 meters away. I thanked them and went to start the boat but she wouldn’t. Oh Shite!!!!!  I opened the bonnet and played with the battery terminals that I never tighten and pressed the solenoid. She cranked over but would not start. Thinking it’s all a bit hot in there and maybe the fuel had just evaporated, I pumped the throttles on the webers and tried again. Still no joy, so I pumped again and she fired. Phew! Although, now I had a different problem  in that she was going way to fast. I franticly tried to lift the throttles up to slow her with no luck, when I noticed I had knocked the throttle cable sheave out of its holder and it was putting on more throttle than I wanted. I popped it back in to place and the drama was over. I headed to the fuel dock. I had made it! whooooooooooooooooooooooo.! I tied up and took stock for a moment at what I had achieved.

The tide was out in Cowes and the fuel dock was a long way down from the pumps which were on the upper level. I wondered if I should move in case a bigger boat wanted to come along side, decided against it and made my way up the ladder. On entering the kiosk there was a chap and a lady engaged in banter about who had eaten all the chocolate bars. Chocolate sounded good, I needed some sugar.

The lady asked what I was after and I said a few litres of petrol please. I then started to explain my trip to them. They came out to have a look at Z10 and to be fair wile they seamed impressed, seeing her little hull,  I’m sure they thought I was nuts! The chap invited me in to the yard to see a 1930s gentleman’s motor launch that they had rebuilt some years earlier. It was like walking back in time in their shed with old six meters and old XOD boats neatly stacked in the side.

I walked back down the dock and down the ladder. I had asked the lady to call out the litres and I refilled Z10. Having given her tank a dip, I was somewhat surprised to find that I had only used about three litres of fuel which seemed like far too little. She called out 5 liters and I re dipped her tank. There was way too much in there, but better have a bit more as they had been so nice to me. I settled at seven litres, a can of Coke and a Mars bar. After having said goodbye and making my way back down the steep ladder I sat on the dock to try and take it in a bit. There were boats coming and going from the marina on my left while on my right from the east Cowes side, the red funnel car ferry began to move off from her mooring on her way back to Southampton (no doubt laden down with holiday makers returning to the main land). I was still in a bit of disbelief as to what I had done, but I started to think about the return journey. Would she start again?

She’d been a little hot so I had left the engine hood open to try and get her to cool down a little. This must have been the longest she had ever run time and distance wise, and she had done an amazing job. Thinking of the car on the sea road in Bosham I decided to get on with it and head home. I untied her from the dock, waved good by to the fuel lady, pumped the throttle twice and turned the key. She fired straight up. Phew! I pointed her out in to the channel and closed the hood.

There was a sailing yacht coming down the channel at me and I turned left to run along side her while dealing with the queer looks from the crew stowing their fenders. Off to the right outside the harbour were fleets of day boats taking part in Cowes classics 

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which were finishing and starting to flood in to the harbour. They were too busy talking amongst themselves about their races to notice me passing and waving at then. I came to the edge of the harbour and turned hard right. There were too many racing boats for me to open her up until I passed through them off the East Cowes headland and then I was finally free and off towards Portsmouth.


The trip back to towards Portsmouth passed quickly and with the gentle breeze and rising tide made for a pleasant smooth ride. I had aimed for the smallest of the forts in the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour after leaving Cowes and now she was coming up on my port bow fast, I moved Z10 a little to starboard and now aimed her at the hole in the anti-submarine net of Southsea and a few minutes later we were through and into Hailing bay.

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As I re-entered Chichester harbour I was greeted by some of the foiling moths that were still out practicing after their Worlds race but I did not stick around long as the tide was rising fast now and I was concerned that my car would float away.

I tootled up the harbour at a painful eight knots and made my way in to Bosham reach, and before I knew it we were home.

Z10 had done brilliantly and was more than capable of the trip and probably one far longer just like it said in the hand book. In hindsight, I should have had some flares and a VHF on board which I have now invested in, but all in all it was a great day out.  I just wished I had parked elsewhere so I could have spent longer in Cowes . Later in the year while in Poole, we made the trip to Christchurch quite happily and again she proved herself a more than capable sea boat. I hope you all have a safe and fun summer in your albatross boats, and have a few mini adventures like myself. John 


When was your boat built?

I always get asked if I know when a boat was built or told that a boat was built in year so and so. So this is a good opportunity for me to try and give you a little knowledge and let you know what I know. I am not too sure where the MK2 started, but in truth I believe the Mk1 came out first and was followed by the Mk2 which became known as the super sport while he Mk1 was known as the standard sport. I think they ran side by side in production up to the number 241. After this, the Mk3 came along, so if your boat is numbered 242 or higher you have a Mk3. 

albatross boat dates
albatross boat dates

 We know that the Duke of Westminster was given a Mk2 at the Aluminium exhibition in 1955 and I was lucky enough to get these letters from the palace last year which shows Albatross Marine took his first boat back in exchange for one of the newer boats with the new Anglia engines ie a Mk3. I happen to know the number of his second boat which is in the very early numbers of the Mk3 boats. So Albatross Marine had made 240 or so boats in Jan 1956, and by Jan 1957 they had made 400 as the cutting shows for the 1957 boat show. 160 Mk3 boats built in a year is good going. I hope that helps you date your Albatross.

albatross boat dates



August Bank Holiday Weekend 2015 Rally at Fritton Lake and 

Soutriver Marine



Albatross Marine are delighted to announce this years August Bank Holiday Weekend Rally is to be held at Fritton Lake in the Somerleyton Estate.


Due to popular demand, we have extended the event by one day, basing ourselves at Fritton for the Saturday and Sunday, and South River Marine in St Olaves (the Old Albatross Yard) on Monday for a cruise on the broads before Racing at Lowestoft in the afternoon.


We have put together a provisional programme of activities for Fritton, including time trials, slalom courses, race training and demonstrations, as well as just cruising the lake and waterskiing in the evenings.


South River Marine have been kind enough to let us come back once again on the Monday. We’ll have an Albatross display in the yard in the morning and we’ll also be craning boats over the wall for those who wish to have a cruise down the broads before racing takes place at Lowestoft in the afternoon.


We are holding our annual Albatross Dinner at The Fritton Arms on the Sunday evening where we hope to see as many of you as possible. Places are limited, so please let us know ASAP if you are attending.


This year, just for a bit of fun, we hope to get as many of you as possible to come in period dress from the year your Albatross was built. Prizes will be awarded to the best dressed.


We have secured all the rooms at The Fritton Arms so for those who would like a room please email and let us know ASAP. There are also some fabulous lodges available down by the lake go to for more info.


If you have any other questions, please get in touch.


Looking forward to seeing you there


albatross weekend


Albatross weekend and Frriton Lake calling !

August Bank Holiday Weekend Rally


Albatross Marine are delighted to announce this years August Bank Holiday Weekend Rally is to be held at Fritton Lake in the Somerleyton Estate.



Due to popular demand, we have extended the event by one day, basing ourselves at Fritton for the Saturday and Sunday, and South River Marine in St Olaves (the Old Albatross Yard) on Monday for a cruise on the broads before Racing at Lowestoft in the afternoon.



We have put together a provisional programme of activities for Fritton, including time trials, slalom courses, race training and demonstrations, as well as just cruising the lake and waterskiing in the evenings.



South River Marine have been kind enough to let us come back once again on the Monday. We’ll have an Albatross display in the yard in the morning and we’ll also be craning boats over the wall for those who wish to have a cruise down the broads before racing takes place at Lowestoft in the afternoon.



We are holding our annual Albatross Dinner at The Fritton Arms on the Sunday evening where we hope to see as many of you as possible. Places are limited, so please let us know ASAP if you are attending.



This year, just for a bit of fun, we hope to get as many of you as possible to come in period dress from the year your Albatross was built. Prizes will be awarded to the best dressed.



We have secured all the rooms at The Fritton Arms so for those who would like a room please email and let us know ASAP. 



If you have any other questions, please get in touch.



Looking forward to seeing you there

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 Happy new year Windermere calling 

Well 2015 is just about hear and while most of your boats will be tucked up for the winter  we are working away putting the finishing touches on a set of events for all of you in 2015 . We have struck a partnership with the CMBA and are reliably informed that you will be able to attend up to three of these events next year at an increased fee. This partnership is designed to give you guys more opportunity to get out and use your boats as well encouraging you to support the classic boat scene in the UK. We also are putting together some other events for you Windermere motor boat racing club have applied for two race day exemptions `for racing in front of their fabulous club Broad Leys, and they have been kind enough to include us in their application for us to have three races and a qualifying on one of these days. So in time we will know if they have been successful fingers crossed the too dates they have applied for are June and September.

We are also putting together a European road trip to Lake Como Italy Were we have been invited to hold a rally as there are six albatross on the lake already, with a stop in Lake Annecy for the night and a trip out on the lake next  day before we set of for Como more info to follow .

Then we have the main event of the year the albatross the albatross weekend at Oulton broad we are planning to make this a little different this year and are just waiting for a few bits to be confirmed before we can announce what the program will be but it’s looking very exciting so keep checking back to keep up to date with all the goings on.

Have a very happy new year, and see in 2015 John and Charlotte 


Fabulous  Falmouth

Well we managed to find some time last weekend to go and have some fun at the CMBA Falmouth rally organized by Tim Parr. Having spent a night kipping in the car on Bodmin moor, we were a little worse for wear on Friday morning on arrival in Falmouth, so it was off to Sainsbury’s for Breakfast. We cleaned the old girl up in the car park and then it was off for coffee with fellow albatross owners Ted and Shena on their Trusty Mother ship. We were a little late arriving at the Museum, but bearing in mind the thick fog we guessed that there wouln't be too much going on. Fortunately, the fog was lifting and no sooner had we arrived, we were told to launch and we were off to Helford.

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We went in convoy with Albatross owner Mr Tarry (THAT’S NOT AN ALBATROSS Mr Tarry), and Mr Boggis. We were most grateful as the fog was still quite thick and I think we would have got a little lost without them. We arrived and were taken ashore for a great lunch in the pub. My battery had played up on leaving Falmouth and I had got a jump start.... Now was she going to start again? No! Luckily the kind ferry man sorted me out and we chased the boys back home to a great fish supper.

albatross falmouth

Saturday Morning was upon us, and after much bailing from Charlotte we were off up to the Pandora Inn for lunch. There were three Climax A series albatross with us and we all had a super fun blast up there. Geoff took this great shot of us that I have lifted from the CMBA forum along with another two, Thanks Geoff. After lunch we followed a few others up river but not before we had tried to keep up with Geoff in his supper fast Stapley -here is a little video. 

I was super pleased to find myself topping out at 47MPH two up - a new record.   As we got further and further upstream, boats turned around and headed home fearful of the depth, but having always wanted to reach Truro by boat, I was determined to push on. We were finally rewarded with this great shot of the Cathedral.

albatross falmouth

We just managed to get on the dock and out of the museum before the doors were locked behind us.

On Sunday we headed up river again to the Smugglers and had I little picnic and of course some more blasting about before heading off to Mylor for lunch (we decided to head in to Feock creak for a look first). After lunch we all headed back but we decided to take a little detour in to St Mawes and all the way up the creak which was really fun, and then it was time to haul her out and of to the pub to review the weekend. I have to say it was my first time and I would highly recommend it to anyone, thanks Tim.

albatross falmouth

In the morning I picked up a message to have a look in the regional paper, so stoping of at Exeter we were pleasantly surprised to find ourselves on the front cover of the Western Morning News. What a great weekend and I hope to see more albatross boats there next year. Now time to prep for Poole. John 

albatross falmouth


Race day

Well let’s get the bad out of the way first; it could't have been a wetter day if I had been the star at a swimming gala. I had fifteen boats signed up to race, but starting with a slipper owner on Friday who had found a problem with his boat I lost a total of five boats, mainly on the day, which was really disappointing.  I am trying to build three events next year for you guys. If you own an Albatross we would really love you to come and join us and share the fun. Enough said.

Albatross racers in the wet pits Aug 25/8/2014

albatross racing

Racers making their way out to the start 

albatross racing

Race 1

Simon Pocklington                Z18

Glynn Norvall                              Z1

Pascal V Heuvel                     Z2

Fastest lap 40.64 Simon Pocklington Z18

albatross racing

Race two

1.Richard Evans                             Z16

2.Pascal Van Den Heuvel                           Z2

3.Charlotte Clay                              Z8

Fastest lap 34.14  Simon Pocklington Z18 

Race two winner Richard 

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Z8 Charlotte Clay leading richard in race two. Sadly, she saw the flag and lifted off too soon, only to let richard and Pascal through.

albatross racing

Race three

1.Glyn Novel                          Z1

2.Simon Pocklington         Z18

  3.Richard Hepper                 Z15

Fastest lap 38.14 Simon Pocklington Z18

albatross racing


Congratulation to Simon. He has now raced for three years, having had problems in the last two years, he finally got it all together this year well done. Overall winners

Archie Peace trophy

1.Simon Pocklington Z 18

2.Glynn Norvall Z 1

3.Pascal Van Den Heuvel   Z 2

100 E trophy

1.Pascal Van Den Heuvel Z 2

2.Richard Evans Z 16

Thank you so much to all of you that came along and made it another great day see you all next year. Ps 

Thanks for the great photos from Emily at

albatross racing


A day on the broads report

Let me start by saying a huge thank you to everyone that came along and supported us. None of this would be possible without the loan of the old albatross yard South water marine by Steve Evans.

albatross weekend 2014

We set up on the Saturday with the help of Sean Roberts  (your back drops were much appreciated, as was all of your help) and  have to say I was surprised how well set up went with a bit of help. I am always surprised how early you guys choose to show up, so it was really nice to have a little time to chat to new faces and hear new stories. By late afternoon we had a good few albatross boats for night storage as well as three boats on display. We were lucky enough to have Scamp II (possibly the nicest Mk2 Climax continental) thank you Rod and Hazel. Jerry was kind enough to bring his lovely lotus 11 over so we could shoot some pictures of her next to Z8 for a magazine article which will come over the winter. And here is a teaser; not too shabby!

albatross weekend 2014

I had to leave the yard around 5pm to go to Oulton Broad but people were still arriving with their boats.

I arrived at Oulton Broad to do the final few checks on Roostertail as I had only delivered her the day before.  After a few teething problem she was all set for her day on the broads and the day was done. I returned to the hotel and was delighted to see so many of you that were staying there propping up the bar. It staggers me how social the event has become and I have certainly made many new friends.


7.30am sharp and I was off to the yard to let in our star attraction, Rooster (the ex-Toby Sutton hydro plane built by albatross in 1953.) This was only possible thanks to Tony from Pleasurewood Hills Park giving up his day to bring her along and
Roster in the shed fired up

show her of for us. Thanks Tony.

 Steve and I set up the crane and we were off and craning. Over the next two hours fifteen boats went over the wall 

albatross weekend 2014

and one arrived by water (there’s always a Welshman to confuse you) and by 11am we were all set to leave for the lunch stop.

albatross weekend 2014

Sean Roberts was kind was kind enough to bring his rib along this year to act as a guard boat which was much appreciated but gladly not needed. Only Richard and Emily had a problem on the way down which was quickly fixed by Big Sam (poor sealing fuel bowl). 

albatross weekend 2014

Apart from a small brush with the law (except from one very smug Tim) every one arrived at the lunch stop without incident.

albatross weekend 2014

We also managed to get filmed by ITV Anglia on the day and it was shown a number of times over the next two days on the news segment which was very exciting.

Lunch went off a lot better than last year and I even managed to eat something this time. After Lunch most people set off on the round trip via Reedham, but much to my surprise, many of the boats chose to go for a spin on Braydon water this year and I understand they all had a great time. The return trip was a little less enjoyable for poor old Glynn and his brother as they were the unlucky sods that ended up towing the luckless Jeremy back this year, and this being his third year in a row that he needed a tow so he became the owner of our new trophy for the most luckless boat, The bent Prop trophy. 

Image description

Please don’t win it again next year, I hated giving it out.

The rest of the boats returned to the yard without incident and were all hauled back over the wall and tucked up in the shed for the night. That is all apart from Tim from Bristol who had been the star on ITV decided to throw himself of his boat at the dock and go for a swim. Each to their own! Then it was off to Dinner!

Where did you all come from?

This year we were blessed with Albatross owners from Norway, Luxembourg, Holland and all over the UK. In total we had thirty six. The star of the night was Eddie from Swansea who left Albatross Marine for a three week break in 1956 and never came back, but he has a great memory and told some great stories.  I was so pleased he and his wife were able to come along and share the weekend.  I am just sorry we didn’t get you in a boat but I promise I will get you in one in wales next year Eddie. 

albatross weekend 2014






Albatross weekend on the broads 2014 

Less than a week to go now folks it all kicks of at the old albatross yard at 9.30 am you can find the full itinerary on the racing page and for all of you who have not been before here is the address and post code you need .Look ford to seeing you all there. John

South River Marine
Reeds Ln, Great Yarmouth, 
NR31 9HG

albatross racing


Blast from the past 

Thanks for a great email Andrew 

Hello, I came across your web site and was taken back to the days in the 60s when my father used to race an Albatross Continental with a stage 3 Coventry Climax around the inland circuits like Nottingham, Summercoats and Chasewater. I think he even raced once at Oulton Broads. We also kept a cruiser at Horning Ferry and I was allowed to drive the Albatross around the northern broads (at age 10 years, far faster than I should have). I remember he had a bad crash at Nottingham when he lost control at the finish line when trying out a new solid rudder (the previous week he had the riveted version split open and caused a less spectacular crash). Fortunately he just broke a few ribs but the boat hit the landing stage and flew about 20 ft into the air and was a write off. He continued racing for a couple more years but I don’t think he enjoyed it so much after the crash especially as the deep v inboard/outboards started to dominate.

If you ever come across it, his last boat was Z44 "Nut Rocka". Prior to that he had a Ford 100E and a Coventry Climax one that crashed, all with the same name.

albatross climax continental
albatross climax continental
albatross climax continental
albatross climax continental


Windermere BCMBR nearly here  !

Well its that time again were some of us alby owners head north to enjoy the lovely lake Windermere. It's a bit of an Albatross festival of the North so why not come and join us. There is an entry form below, don't be shy come and join us and have some fun. 

Albatross windermere
Enter file download description here


'But I'm not on Facebook!'

All those of you who don't use Faceook are missing out on daily updates, photos and little anecdotes.... Well, fear not! You don't need a Facebook account to view the Albatross Marine Facebook page. Just google us or click on the link below and you can keep up to date. And for those with a facebook account do not forget to like us. Thanks John 


Only in Italy !  Pavia to Venice


I have been thinking about how to make more events for all you guys to come out and enjoy your albatross boats. Anyway this little jornt was proposed to me the other day. And I thought that looks like fun. It would be a long day but just imagine being able to drive a flotilla of albatross boat around Venice at the end of it. 


Oulton broad fun not long now !

Summer is on us at last finally and I am sure lots of you will have been out enjoying your albatross boats. It has been a very busy year so far for us at Albatross Marine which is great, but boating has suffered a little bit and I really need to do some work on my own boat.

Oulton broad is less than two months away so any of you thinking of coming and joining us for some fun please send in your entry form. You can find all of the info about the weekend on the racing page. Just to clarify:

1.You do not have to race; you can just come for the day on the broads and watch the racing on the Monday if you like.

2. Racing is handy capped so you do not need to own a rocket ship to win.  There are two trophies to win, one for overall winner and one for first 100e boat.

3.You do not need a boat. Feel free to come and say hello and share your albatross stories of past and present.

I look forward to seeing you all soon John 

albatross racing



Mad May 

Thank god May is behind me! It was a challenging month where I tried to do way too much, but finally got to finish some things that I have been trying to get done for some time.

One climax continental just about finished after a lot of fabrication and an engine rebuild: check 

The old back end bottom !


albatross bottom repair

New back end bottom!

Image description

One albatross continental bought for a customer with a fire pump engine changed for a new one and fitted. Just needs a water test (fingers crossed) check. 

albatross continental

A series climax total rebuild and polish. Just finishing off final bits and hope to go to Beale park with her:check 

Albatross A series

Rudders that got started in November finally finished: Check 

albatross rudders

Bullfrog lights with LENSES finally ready to go: Check 

albatross bullfrog lights

Let’s hope June is a bit easier. Thanks John 


The last racing Albatross at Oulton Broad? 

I got this great email last week and thought I should share it with you.

"Dear Mr Fildes,

I trust you will forgive me contacting you with some Albatross nostalgia.

My interest in the marque was re-enlivened following a trip to Christchurch last year and observing an Albatross carrying the Z1 racing number.This led me to reminisce on the glory days of Albatross in the early 60's when the works boats Troutbridge and Fanta regularly raced at Oulton Broad.

Though Norwich based, my parents purchased a 'summer retreat' on Oulton Broad around 1959. I was an enthusiastic spectator on a Thursday evening from then onward.

Although there were faster boats, the elegant lines of the Albatross hull greatly appealed. I was extremely fortunate when in 1965; my parents bought me a Coventry Climax powered two-seater to mark an academic achievement. Archie Peace was already a very sick man but remained a perfect gentleman and was amused to see a 15 year old let loose in such a boat.

The Company was by then winding down, I believe production ceased in 1966 however the works remained open for maintenance and repair a while longer.The increasingly vigilant enforcement of Broads speed-limits made regular use of the boat a cat and mouse affair. So as soon as I was old enough I commenced racing. The few remaining members of the Albatross team generously let me have all that was left of their specialist race kit, propellers, steel P-brackets etc.

I was also fortunate in having a couple of friends who were engineers at the Lotus works at Hethel just outside Norwich. The 1220 Climax had been widely used by them since the late 50’s so they were able to add some expertise (and parts!). Substituting the S.U. carbs with two twin-choke DCOE Webers and a barely legal exhaust system coaxed quite a bit of power from the unit.

Though adequately quick, the dainty Albatross was a white knuckle ride when racing in the wake produced by deep-V hulls powered by big 6 cylinder Mercury outboards or even bigger Ford V8's, even for a reckless 17 year old! Mid way through the 1968 season my Albatross was sold in favour of a dedicated race boat.

University, career and married life cut short my racing career however I can proudly say I was probably the last person to race an Albatross at Oulton Broad prior to the excellent renaissance for which you and your colleagues are responsible. I wish you all well with your future endeavours.

Yours Sincerely

Brian Gedge (Albatross No. 58, Godiva)"

albatross racing


Albatross spotted in Dale

Good luck to the Walkers' in Pembrokeshire with their new Albatross 

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Albatross Boats Return to Thrill the Crowds at Oulton Broads 

in August 2014


Albatross Marine is pleased to announce another weekend of fun cruising, socialising and racing on the Broads on the August bank holiday. This will include a factory tour with the opportunity to see these splendid boats close up in the factory they were made, and you’ll also have the chance to chat with some of the people that built these extraordinary craft.


Sunday 24th August will be a social day for all classic boats to enjoy the scenic splendour and fun of cruising the Broads.


Albatross Boat Show


We will be holding the first Albatross boat show which will be the perfect opportunity for anyone who wishes to buy or sell an Albatross. For those who have an old Albatross as a ‘project’ that isn’t quite finished, this will be a great chance to pick up some helpful tips and advice. Please contact us to book your boat place.


On Monday 25th August Oulton Broad Racing Club will host a day of entertaining racing which will include three races for the Albatross class. The winner will take home the lovely silver Albatross model known as the Archie Peace Memorial, kindly donated by the Peace family whose father designed the original Albatross. Race fans will be able to watch the racing from the shore or on the water in their boats. There will also be boats displayed on the land for closer inspection and a chance to talk to their owners.




Saturday 23th August 2014

For those of you arriving on Saturday, you can leave your boat at the yard between 2pm and 5pm.


Sunday 24th August 2014 - Enjoy the Broads

09.30     Arrive at old Albatross yard in St Olaves where you will be met by your host and given a tour of the old works.  

               Albatross boat show opens.

10.00     Start to launch.

11.00     Set off to Breydon water.

13.00     Lunch at The Fishermans Inn, Burgh Castle Marina

14.30     Make your way on to Breydon water (you will be able to open up your boat here)

15.30     Set off back to St Olaves via The New Cut

16.00    Collect your ice cream from us at Reedham on the way back to the yard. (You can leave your boats at the yard overnight)

19.30     Meet at the Ivy House Hotel for dinner at 8pm for a night with the men that built the Albatross. Please remember to make your reservations ASAP as places will go fast.



Monday 25th August - Race Day

You are free to launch in the morning and have a cruise up the broads again.

12.00 Pits open for scrutineering

16.00 First timed runs

16.30 First race of three, 9 lap races

19.00 Firework display 





To register your interests please contact: John at or 07899 097615


Useful information



Broads licence 

Licence will cost you £22.50. For more info click on the link



There is plenty of accommodation in hotels and Bed & Breakfasts in the area.

Try    or



Classic video of Albatross Racing





When is chrome in fact not chrome?

I feel it’s my duty to point out that there should in fact only be two pieces of CHROME on an albatross!!! Can you spot them in the photo below?

albatross bright work

Did you spot them? They are the steering wheel centre and the badge, the rest in fact are bright anodized as to original specification of 20 microns and this also goes for the side rails. Please do not ruin your boats bright work with chrome. If you would like to get your bright work re worked back to its former glory. I am pleased to announce that I am now able to offer a restoration service so please feel free to give me a call to discuss your needs.


Classic Boat Magazine Albatross Feature.

Please check out Classic Boat magazine this month as there are six pages filled with albatross. Thanks Dan for the great photo of Z10 in Eze sur Mer, South of France, September 2013

climax albatross classic boat



Water skiing and Albatross. 

A lot of us have forgotten that waterskiing would never have taken off all over the world if it had not been for Albatross and David Nation; the father of water skiing in the UK. I came across these photos the other day and thought of him. Lochearnhead water ski club was the home of skiing in Scotland for many years. They must be hardy up there! I bet it was cold! Roll on summer. 

Albatross water ski windermere
albatross water ski lochearhead


2014 is Here!

Time to think of the summer which will come around fast and hopefully be full of fun and good weather!

So it’s also time to think about sorting out your Albatross. I am working on a number of new meetings and races, so as soon as I have more info I will keep you posted. I have an incomplete database of owners and their boats which I'd love to get as upto date as possible. If you own an Albatross and would like to be kept up to date with what’s going on, please send me an email with your boat number and details. I need to say thank you to my new assistant Charlotte, who is slowly sorting the English spelling and grammar. (That should keep Mr Potter happy). I am of to the London boat show to meet Classic boat. The CMBA have a great display there again so please support them if you can, there is even an Albatross to see. 


albatross boat show


One in, one out

The Climax A series that I had in build went to paint on Monday, her engine and all her parts are now finished so it's just a wating game to get her back and screw her together again. In the meantime, I've picked up another one on the way home. It's going to be a very busy winter!

Albatross climax A series
Albatross Climax A series


Lord and lady 

I was lucky enough to be sent this lovely photo the ther day of two Albatross' on the rear deck of the model of the Dockers Yacht Shemara which is beeing re built in Portsmouth at the moment. I have put a bit up about her below.

Albatross Mk3 moder



The 65 metre superyacht so beloved by Lord and Lady Docker in the 1960s has been rescued from decay and is to be completely rebuilt in Britain by British Businessman Charles Dunstone.
Shemara, was built in by Thorneycroft in Southampton and launched from there in 1938.
In 1943 while working as an anti submarine training ship with the Royal Navy she used her sonar to locate HMS Untamed a missing submarine that had been lost with all hands.
Shemara became famous in the 1950s for the many lavish parties hosted by Lord and Lady Docker who then owned her.  The gracelessly gaudy pair entertained the nation, through the pages of the tabloid newspapers, with a succession of fancy cars, mink coats and champagne receptions on board the yacht.
In 1954 the nations eyebrows were raised when 45 Yorkshire miners were invited to Southampton for a cocktail party on board Shemara. "We had a riotous day,'' said Lady Docker at the time.
In 1965 Shemara was put up for sale for £600,000. After a great deal of legal wrangling, the superyacht passed to the ownership of reclusive property tycoon Harry Hyams of Oldham Estates for £290,000.
He left her sitting in Lowestoft for twenty or so years where, according to rumour, crew prepared lunch for Hyams each just in case he arrived, which he never did.
The yacht was refitted last in 1992 and in the past year was sold to Charles Dunstone who founded Carphone Warehouse.  Dunstone is an avid sailor who enjoys racing sailing yachts and Shemara would make a fitting mothership for him to attend and race in superyacht sailing regattas around the world.
Shemara has now arrived in Portchester for a complete rebuild that could cost millions of pounds.  Ironically the firm that has won the contract to rebuild her is Testbank, an organisation based at Trafalgar Wharf, a site once occupied by the Vosper Thorneycroft Group whose being emerged from the same firm that originally built the yacht



Lots going on

Well I have put together two new pages for you guys. There is now a 'History' page which will no doubt need more work, as well as a 'How To' page that will hopfully answer your questains in video format. 

I was lucky enough to be sent this photo the other day of Mr Wasey, the owner of 'Gay Jane', shortly before his death in 1961, showing him standing on the back of the boat and you can clearly see the maker tag.

Albatross Gay Jane


Permission to buzz the tower

Yesterday Z10 and Z12 waking the dead in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat !


Albatross France


                           All packed up and ready to roll

Well I am still recovering from Oulton Broad Albatross weekend, but I have got the boats together and serviced ready for Monaco classics. Thank you to all of you that came along and made it a great weekend. I hope to have some dates for you before Christmas, as well as being able to add another one or two events in 2014.

Now we have the long drive south to Monaco. What will they make of us with the shiny varnished boat? I will let you know. John  


albatross boat



                              We are now on facebook

See all the photos from the albatross weekend at our facebook page  


      A little more fun from the weekend 


                                  A little of the fun we had 

                        Starts off with qualifying, and racing starts around three mins in. Thanks Malcolm



                                        Thank You



Well where do I start? Thank you all for coming along and making this bank holiday weekend totally fabulous.

There are so many people to thank for helping me pull it all together. Steve from South River Marine you have been a total star. Tony of Rooster Fame for giving up your weekend to display Rooster. Darren and Jeremy for giving up their time to display their boats in the park. Mr Roberts for helping us get to the pub among other things, Debs for all her running about and Puds for helping to pull yesterday together.

The Racing would not have been possible without all of the great people that give up their time to make Lowerstoff and Oulton Broad power boat racing club work, from the scrutineer to the OOD to the chap with the mobility scooter that towed all of the boats to the ramp and back. John and Sue I would be lost without you.

And finally, all of you that came along with or without a boat and made it a great weekend. The weather was very kind to us and it was great to see all the racers complete all the races with no one dropping out at all. Mr Bailey gave us a scare, but I think the crowd were quite impressed with his skills of recovery.  Pascal who came from Luxemburg showed that a well sorted 100E boat is very capable, coming in third overall and wining the 100E trophy. The results for the racing are.

                          Race One                                                     Race Two


                            1.Cas                                                             1. Simon

                            2. Lloyd                                                          2. Richard

                            3. Tony (First 100E)                                       3. Pascal     (First 100E)

                            4. John                                                           4.Duncan                                                                                                         5. Duncan                                                      5. Cass

                            6. Pascal                                                        6. John

                            7. Simon                                                         7. Glynn

                            8. Richard                                                       8. Wayne

                            9. Glynn                                                          9. Tony 

                       10. Wayne                                             10. Lloyd 


                        Race Three                                                         Overall Race results    


                       1.Richard                                                                    1.Cass

                       2.Glynn                                                                       2. Richard

                       3.Pascal (first 100e)                                                    3. Pascal     (100E winner)

                       4.Cass                                                                        4. Simon

                       5.John                                                                      =5. Duncan

                       6.Duncan                                                                  =5. John    (equal points with Duncan)

                       7.Simon                                                                       7. Glynn

                       8.Lloyd                                                                        8. Lloyd

                       9.Tony                                                                         9. Tony

                     10.Wayne                                                                     10. Wayne


Albatross racing



                  Racing, Mugs, T shirts, Hoody's, Seats. 

Well he albatross weekend is nearly upon us and its all go at albatross marine. We have now added a display of three albatross boats at the fare on monday ,thank you to the guys that have so kindly offered to display there boats. So lets hope we have a great weekend there are a good  number of entries for the racing . Any way its open to every one for the details and times please check out the racing page , and racing should start on monday around 3pm .

    I have loads of new bits coming on line at the moment . Personalized Vin plate coffee cups email me your boat number and its put on the cup . There are three new Albatross marine T shirts and two hoody's , they can all be found on the parts page

    Finerly Seats I will admit it has taken some time and i thought I would never get there at times but I am so pleased to have finerly sorted it out origanal style but modern construction so you get the best of both worlds. Prices start at £315 for  Mk3 seats   

albatross hoody


Albatross weekend nearly here 

Well less than two weeks to go now untill the Albatross weekend. We are based out of the old yard on the Sunday and racing is on the Monday. All Albatross owners are welcome, so come and join us and enjoy the fun

Albatross racing



           Some new bits coming on line this month 

Rear flag poles now in stock for 2014. The albatross calender now in stock. New stainless steel steering cables .Vin plate mugs, let me have your boat number and we'll get it printed on to your personalised mug. Mk 1/2 bow cleats need finishing -  find them on the parts page . 

albatross steering
albatross vin plate mug
albatross parts


Wonderful Windermere 

albatross a series


                                        100E Engine 


For any one needing a 100 E albatross engine this is just the job. You get all the albatross bits + an engine. please give me a call as this one has just arived and will not be around long. 

albatross engine
albatross windermere



Poor Man’s Crane

What do you do? You think that you have a nice together Albatross but it could do with a few rivets? After all it has been twenty years since you had to do too much. You pop it in to Albatross marine and ask to have it back in a week and a half.   

Albatross riveting

So I am sure you are a bit disappointed when you received some pictures on Monday morning explaining that 95 percent of the bottom rivets’ are shot and a lot have lost their heads. 

Albatross riveting


A week and a half later you get your boat back with 1700 new rivets and a freshly polished bottom, and you go waterskiing.

Moral of the story: do not put pot rivets in an Albatross. They are very poor quality compared to the real thing! 



     News update for the albatross weekend on the broads.


                               Rooster is coming home!

      Toby Suttons Famous three pointer hydroplane built by Albatross marine will be the star at the day on the broads.


albatross racing

Rooster is coming home. First build in 1953 by Albatross marine she went on to dominate hydroplane racing on the East coast for many years.  

Having been languishing in an Essex museum for many years, she was bought out and restored by Tony at pleasure wood hill, and now she is ready to hit the water once again. Tony hopes to relaunch her and give her a run infront of the old factory.

We now have over ten entries for the racing including one from Luxembourg, but we are still looking for more. Please remember it is handicap racing -  so it is not important how fast you albatross is... and there are two great trophies to be won.

Archie Peace trophy
Albatross Mk3 Trophy



  Lock up your wives and girlfriends; The French are coming!

I have been getting lots of photos from racers all around the country who have been out testing their boats. The boys from London were out on the docks testing their two Mk3 boats, as well as the new Corsair which by all accounts is flying. I have had a few run on Ive Lake with different props (see corner pic for results) and now we have confirmation that our friend from Luxembourg is going fast this year. I very much lookford to seeing them soon. 

Albatross racing


Arrive with the right equpment ! 

Well summer is upon us and I have managed to get on the water a few times to test the webber's which are showing great numbers but proving hard to get right at tick over. 

It is now just under two months untill the race weekend so I hope to see lots of you there. John 



                                       100E castings


Fresh in 100 E sump front cover and drive, inlet and exhaust manifold, toped off with an origanal H2 carb, dash pot still beeing polished. All the parts have been cleaned and are ready to fit. Give me a call if this is what you are looking for but be quick it will not be here long.  

albatross 100e engine castings


Royal Mail I could throttle you !

Late last year the Royal Mail were kind enough to lose a Hand throttle I had sent out. Not having any more, I had no choice but to make some more. Today they are finished and I get to try again to ship one out.  Thanks Phill for your patience. 

albatross Throttle



Time to release the beast !

Well I finally got around to doing some work on my own boat last week. I popped the motor and had a good look in the bottom, as well as getting around to ceramic coating the exhaust ports. I have been playing with choke sizes and I think I'm nearly able to see her doing more than 50 MPH. There is also my new two blade propeller to test out, so watch this space for results. All I need now is for the sun to come out again. John 

coventry climax fwb


Barn find of the year.The racing Corsair

As we are all aware, there are many myths and miss truths about Albatross boats, so I was some what surprised to find this on my email the other week. Bearing in mind that I was led to believe that they only made three. Well I can now say I think that there must have been six. The rarest thing is that the boat is totally original - no nasty holes or missing bits it is all there. WOW!  

Albatross corsair


Bonjour Monsieur

We are very pleased to welcome our first truly international competitor. Last year we had Brian make the long trip down from the highlands of Scotland with his brother, and I very much hope to see them again this year, but now we have a fantastic Albatross owner who is making the trip across the channel from Luxemburg to come and have some fun on the Broads. So I say thank you Pascal for your commitment and we all lookford to welcoming you to sunny England. 

albatross racing


New links 

I have just added a few new links to the links page. Where you will find lots of great stuff now on some of our new freinds sites. Enjoy 


The best things take time to make!

Well it has taken the best part of a year to get here. I ordered a P bracket from another supplier a year ago along with a cuttles bearing. I was a bit disappointed to find that it had been bored out off line, the countersinking was from all different directions and it was in fact for a Delta not an Albatross, so not the correct shaft angle.

All I can say about the cuttles bearing was that it started life with ½ inch shaft hole and had been drilled out to ¾ off centre so I set out to do a bit better .

As you can see I have had a proper pattern made and they are cast in the best AB1 Bronze and have been machined by a professional. The Bronze cuttles bearings are custom made for me as a copy off the original. Any way you can find them on the parts page be quick as they are flying off the shelf, five in a week.

albatross P bracket


                               Albatross Boats go back home!

        And racing on Oulton Broad 

Albatross racing

Albatross Marine are pleased to announce a weekend of fun and racing on the Broads to include a factory tour and the opportunity to see these splendid boats close up in the factory they were built, as well as the chance to chat with some of the people that built these extraordinary craft.

Sunday 25th August is a day for all classic boats to enjoy the scenic splendour and fun of cruising the Broads. Monday 26th August for those who wish, Oulton Broad Racing Club will host a day of entertaining racing which will include an Albatross class.  There will be prizes for all classes, and in the Albatross category the winner will take home a lovely silver Albatross model known as the Archie Peace Memorial trophy that has kindly given by the Peace family whose father designed the original Albatross.


Race fans will be able to watch the racing from the water in their boats, and there will be boats displayed on the land for closer inspection and a chance to talk to the owners.


Itinerary - Sunday 25 August 2013 - Enjoy the Broads

09.30        Arrive at old Albatross yard in St Olaves. you will be met by your host and given a tour of the old works.   

10.00     Start to launch the boats.

11.00     Set off to Breydon water.

13.00        Arrive at The Berney arm inn for lunch.

14.30        Make your ways on to Braydon water were you will be able to open up your boat.

16.30        Set of back to St Olaves by the new cut. (Where you will be able to leave your boats          over night)

19.30        Meet at the Wherry hotel  lowerstoff for dinner.


Monday 26 August - Race Day

You are free to launch in the morning and have a cruise up the broads again.

12.00 Pits open for scrutinering

16.00 First timed runs

16.30 First race off three 9 lap races

19.00 fireworks end the day 

Oulton Broad Racing Club will be putting on a day of entertaining racing to include Albatross

Class racing


To register your interests please contact: John at or 07899097615


Useful information





Broads licence  will cost you £22.50 for more info click on the link



There is plenty of accommodation in hotels and Bed & Breakfasts in the area.

Try    or


Classic video of Albatross Racing

                                     The Archie Peace Memorial Trophy 

Archie Peace trophy

                          The Albatross Marine MK Trophy for 100e boats 

Albatross Mk3 trophy

Albatross Racing comes home again more details to follow 

                                25/26 AUGUST 2013 Oulton Broad 
albatross racing


A letter from the Palace. 

albatross prince philip
albatross hrh phillip


His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh watersking. 

prince phillip watersking

The second Royal Albatross a Mk 3 seen at the Henley sale in 2002 

royal albatross


Well I am sure I am not 100 years old, so maybe it is about

 an Albatross.. More to follow.

Albatross boats


Every Albatross owner’s nightmare. After a great deal of research later, I am now able to offer original style Albatross

fenders. They are made in authentic white canvas and come with a press stud fitting to fit your boat - but let me know if

you would like an eye instead. If you would like to order some, you will find them on the parts page. 

albatross fender

Feb 12/2013 Summer in New Zealand 

albatross boat

Well just a quick note to say while all of us in the UK have been freezing in the snow or washed away by the rain, our

cousins in New Zealand have been living it up in the sun. To say I am jealous would be an understatement. Have fun


albatross boat


Well Happy New Year all 2013 is upon us. Last year was a total roller coaster ride for me, but all good. I hope to have some race dates for you in the next month to put in your diary. And I am hoping to have many more of you at the event. I think it is fair to say that

everyone had a good time last year, just remember to leave your

dogs at home. 

I have had three boats through the doors for rebuild

at the tail end of last year and the last one left between Christmas

and New Year, so it has been super busy. There are more and more

parts coming on line, so if you are after something that you cannot

see give me a call - it might be being made.  

There are lots of new boats coming on the market for sale that will come up on the site in the next few weeks, so if you are looking for a boat and cannot see what you are looking for please give me a call. John 


Last of the summer wine !

I have been putting A12 back together for her owner as she has been in a barn for twenty

years, so I was pleased when the sun came out to day and finally got to test my handy

work out. 

Albatross A series

The Next Level

In an attempt to get the climax boats to go even faster, I am playing with Twin Webber DCOE 40s that should give more power at the top end. It has taken a while to get the inlet manifolds made that are on the offset, and to work out the linkages but I am nearly there and ready to test. So i will keep you informed as to whether it works out. John  

Climax Albatross

After ten years of being prodded and poked in two diffrent museums, Albatross two,

the last of the A series ever built, returned to the water today. Dry as a bone inside and

she ran very sweetly after a few days of TLC at Albatross Marine works. I wish the new

owner lots of fun in her, great to see another back in use. John 

albatross boat

                                    Albatross Marine

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the lowerstoff and Oulton broad racing club for putting on a fabulous racing event for us, also I would like to thank Steve from South river marine for allowing us to look around the old yard. The Peace brothers for providing the beautiful Archie Peace memorial trophy. All the ex employees of Albatross and their families for all their great info and stories. But most of all, thank you to everyone that made the effort to make the long journey to come and support the event, I think every one went away smiling and I hope to be able to build on what we have started and come back with many more boats next year. Over the next few days I will put up more photos and videos.

Please find your friends with Albatross boats and tell them and inspire them to come and join the fun. Now it’s time to rest for a few day see you all soon.

Some phots from the weekend

Race one

                   Introducing the Albatross Marine Mk trophy


For the first boat powered by E93A or 100E engine over the line.

Albatross Mk trophy

Schedule of events on Monday the 27th for the racers and fans 

Pits will open in the car park at midday for the racers and the sooner that you have passed scrutineering the sooner you

 will be able to get on the water. There is pontoon space for you at the club, the timed round will start at

 approximately four o’clock and be followed by three races of nine laps with the overall winner taking home the Archie

 Peace memorial trophy. 

Image description

          Racers training in the lakes 

  Four of the entrants were on hand to train for the inaugural Albatross race over the weekend in the    lakes 

          Caspar killick Z10 Albatross Marine works driver looking pleased with him self after a training run.

Image description

                         Long days and night but race time is nearly here ! 

                               Sorting out race numbers.

Image description


  Stop Press Stop Press Change in of rules you can now keep    

     your glass windscreen you do not need a plastic screen.


                                                    Albatross Marine 

                                          Entry form 26/27 August 2012

                                                           Day on the broads and notice of intent to compete for the Peace Memorial trophy







Boat name:



Boat Model:



Engine type:



Do you require Boat storage a night: Yes _________________No ________________

Two nights secure storage out of the water in the marina is available for Saturday and Sunday night. For a small charge to the Marina.


Evening Meal

I have moved the evening meal to The third crossing please could you indicate if you will be attending the meal on the Sunday night at 730pm, and how many will be in your party, You get a free drink on arrival.

Attending:                      Yes                      No                         Number to eat :


To Confirm your entry and to get your race numbers

Please send £ 5.00 to Pay pall account or make a check Payable to John fildes


Smugglers lane



If you have any questions please give me a Call 07899097615 

Albatross racing back

on the Broads after 40 years



Albatross Marine are pleased to announce a weekend of fun and racing on the Broads to include, for the first time in forty years an Albatross Class.  (See old footage via link below)

Sunday 26th August is a day for all classic boats to enjoy the scenic splendour and fun of cruising the Broads and on Monday 27th August, for those who wish, Oulton Broad Racing Club will host a day of entertaining racing which will include an Albatross class.  There will be prizes for all classes and in the Albatross category the winner will take home a lovely silver Albatross model known as the Peace Cup and kindly given by the Peace family whose father designed the original Albatross.


Race fans will be able to watch the racing from the water in their boats and there will be boats displayed on the land for closer inspection and a chance to talk to the owners.


Itinerary - Sunday 26 August 2012 - Enjoy the Broads

9.30        Arrive at the pay and display car park Oulton Broad. Where you will be met by your host.

10.00     Start to launch the boats.

11.00     Set off to St Olives.

1.00        Arrive at The Bell St Olives for lunch.

2.30        Leave for Braydon Water were you will be able to open up your boat.

4.30        Set of back to Oulton Broad.

7.30        Meet at the Wherry Hotel for dinner.


Monday 27 August - Race Day

You are free to launch in the morning and have a cruise up the Broads again.

Oulton Broad Racing Club will be putting on a day of entertaining racing to include Albatross

Class racing.

The day will start for the racers with a handicap round followed by three races.



To register your interests please contact: John or 07899 097615.  More details found on


Useful information





Broads licence  will cost you £22.50 for more info click on the link

Accommodation; There is plenty of accommodation in hotels and Bed & Breakfasts around the area.  Try    or

Classic video of Albatross Racing