Norfolk’s famous Albatros floating bar sets sail from Wells harbour

The Albatros as she leaves Wells Harbour before heading to Maldon in Essex for a major refit and ref

The Albatros as she leaves Wells Harbour before heading to Maldon in Essex for a major refit and refurbishment Picture: Robert Smith - Credit: Robert Smith

A famous floating bar and restaurant, which has become a north Norfolk landmark, has left its mooring in Wells Harbour to undergo a refit.

The Albatros as she leaves Wells Harbour before heading to Maldon in Essex for a major refit and ref

The Albatros as she leaves Wells Harbour before heading to Maldon in Essex for a major refit and refurbishment Picture: Robert Smith - Credit: Robert Smith

The Albatros has left her long-standing home in Wells Harbour and set sail for Maldon in Essex to undergo a major refit and refurbishment.

The former Dutch sailing ship, which has been taken over by William Richardson, of Will’s of Wells coffee shop, was escorted out of the harbour early on Tuesday morning.

Robert Smith, the harbour master in Wells, who captained the pilot boat which guided the Albatros out to sea said the boat’s departure had gone well.

He said: “It all went well, it went as smoothly as we could have wished for.”

The Albatros as she leaves Wells Harbour before heading to Maldon in Essex for a major refit and ref

The Albatros as she leaves Wells Harbour before heading to Maldon in Essex for a major refit and refurbishment Picture: Robert Smith - Credit: Robert Smith

Mr Smith said because it had been a while since the Albatros had sailed, he and the harbour team were keen to make sure she left the harbour safely.

After escorting her about a mile-and-a-half out to sea, she then set sail on her own.

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Mr Smith said; “[Albatros’ departure] has left a big space but no sooner had she sailed other boats are using the space in the meantime. The harbour has changed for a while but it’s not for ever.”

The latest refurbishment, which is expected to be completed in early 2021, marks the start of the latest chapter in the 32m-long North Sea sailing clipper’s history.

The Albatros, a 120-year-old carog ship, is moored next to the Quay at Wells in Norfolk and is used

The Albatros, a 120-year-old carog ship, is moored next to the Quay at Wells in Norfolk and is used as a restaurant, bar and B&B. Picture: Stuart Anderson - Credit: Archant

Built in 1899, the craft was previously owned by Ton Brouwer, who bought her in 1980 during a trip to Denmark and restored her over a five-year period between 1983 and 1988.

Following the refurbishment the ship was subsequently commissioned as a sailing cargo vessel, travelling all over Europe and the North Sea with its captain and crew.

It was during this time that Mr Brouwer sailed to Wells more than 100 times and decided the Albatros would be central to his next chapter, albeit in situ.

In 2005, he transformed it into a cafe, bar, restaurant, music venue and B&B.

Albatros returns to Wells harbour. Captain Ton Brouwer on the Albatros. Pictures: David Bale

Albatros returns to Wells harbour. Captain Ton Brouwer on the Albatros. Pictures: David Bale - Credit: Archant

Since docking at Wells, the popular attraction became famous for its Dutch pancakes and catered for hundreds of visitors every day during the summer months.