ALBATROS is a charming contemporary classic, beautifully built for a very experienced yachtsman who has also enjoyed a long career in the project management of the build of large sailing and motor yachts. Using this experience, a charming and characterful yacht has been created that is always the prettiest in any harbour. She is set up to be easy to sail and comfortable to spend time aboard. Every so often we come across a unique and special yacht which we know will provide her new owner with enormous pleasure and pride of ownership.
From the start I have been very critical on detailing. I have tried to stick as much as possible to detailing common round the 1930’s for yachts. This has led to the yacht what ALBATROS is today. Sticking to common solutions from the 1930’s was not always convenient as it was sometimes difficult to find parts fitting the desired style. Wherever possible and not hampering her classic appearance I used materials and techniques from nowadays. I think that ALBATROS proves that a modern classic deserves a place in the sailing community which is so strongly dominated by the all-white production yachts without any form of soul of itself. I can ensure you that taking care of and sailing ALBATROS is very rewarding and “when coming in port she always heads for the boys”.
Before I started thinking to build a new classic style yacht I had been looking for at least 3 years to purchase a classic yacht. I visited many events where classic yachts gathered but besides the beauty of these classics I saw also a lot of work. I simply could not ignore the related maintenance and restoration requirements which comes with the purchase of an older classic yacht. There was little chance that I could do a restoration myself, time wise and money wise, a side my job and family requirements. When it became clear that my good friend and composite expert Johan Vels would withdraw pretty soon from his yacht building business I decided that it would be THE time for making a decision.
On advice from Johan I contacted Cees v Tongeren from v/d Stadt Design to discuss the options. We finally came to the conclusion that a classic with now a day’s materials and building methods would suit my plan best. I was inspired by the story of the Bristol Channel pilot cutters but also the yachts designed by William Atkin and John Alden from the 1930’s.
The design brief was to design a classic yacht rather than a classic workboat, in way of style placed in the 1920-30’s. Above the waterline as classic as possible but underwater a more modern hull with fin keel. Low maintenance was another important requirement because I do not hate working on a boat but I prefer sailing a boat. I therefore decided for a composite boat, epoxy and glass fibre inner and outer skin and red cedar core for the hull and foam core for the decks.
After a wile there was a, to me, acceptable lines plan of which I built a block model so that I could get a good idea of the shape. In the months following I adjusted the shape to my desire and went with the results back to Cees. With this input Cees could finalise the design and in cooperation with Johan the construction plan. The hull was built by the team of Johan Vels which had at that time more than 30 years’ experience in building yachts in composite.
In the following 5 years I completed the boat to what she is now, a classic looking gaff cutter with teak exterior details. The interior is simple but functional, taste fully painted in light colours in combination with varnished mahogany joinery.
I paid a lot of attention to the mounting and sealing of the bronze through hull fittings and screw on items. You will not find one place on board ALBATROS where at fittings the core material is not replaced by epoxy inserts and sealed with Sikaflex rubber compound.
The spars are hollow Oregon made by Brasker. The rig is simple with strops around the mast and kept as light as possible by using partly modern materials as Dyneema and a carbon fibre gaff. Due to this set-up, in combination with a 11,9 mtr waterline length, 10,5 ton displacement and a base sail set of 107m², in other words 10m²/ton, it is no surprise that she sails very well.
During the preparation and study time before the build of ALBATROS started I came across a few sentences about beauty written in the book “Elements of Yacht Design” by the famous Norman L. Skene. He wrote in the early 1900s “Beauty is a valuable quality in a yacht, a never ending source of satisfaction to the owner and a tangible asset when he desires to sell. The external appearance must be in accord with the particular class of service for which the yacht was designed, and no matter how severe the conditions which she must meet, it is never necessary to design an ugly boat.” These words have been always in the back of my mind during the build of ALBATROS, I hope you appreciate the result!
Berthon Yacht Sales
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