Photos reveal the Albatros undergoing major refit

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

The Albatros in the moored in Wells harbour before she left to be renovated. - Credit: Archant

A beloved North Norfolk ship which over the years has become a landmark in her own right is undergoing a major refurbishment.

In August, the Albatros left her long-standing home in Wells Harbour and set sail for Maldon in Essex in order to undergo a complete refit and refurbishment having been bought by new owners.

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

Now, several months into the renovation, the interior of the Dutch vessel has been gutted, the masts have been taken down and the ship is undergoing a facelift which will eventually see her made seaworthy and return to Wells ready to become a cafe and B&B.

Rob Richardson, who bought the boat from its previous owner Ton Brouwer in April 2020, said he and his sons, one of whom runs Will’s of Wells Coffee, began the process of renovating the Albatros themselves.

The main hold of the Albatros during rennovations

The main hold of the Albatros, in the midst of a major refurbishment. - Credit: The Richardson Family

She then travelled down to Essex where she was handed over to a team of specialists led by Jim Dines at Heritage Marine, who started the hard work of bringing the Albatros back to her former glory - a mammoth task which includes stripping the 32-metre-long ship back to her superstructure, replacing all the rigging and renovating the captain and first mate's cabins and facilities.

The main hold of the Albatros

An alternative view of the main hold of the Albatros which is currently undergoing a major refurbishment in Essex. - Credit: The Richardson Family

Mr Richardson said after initially deciding to buy Albatros "on a bit of a whim" the project had turned into "five times" what he thought it would be and would cost in the region on £200,000.

He said the whole project had been made possible by the support from Wells Harbour master Robert Smith, without whom he "would not have been able to do what we are doing now in terms of renovation and return to Wells".

Blocks removed from the Albatros.

Blocks removed from the Albatros. - Credit: The Richardson Family

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Allowing for any delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit,  he hoped Albatros would be back in Wells by early summer, where she would be able to operate as an extension of Will's of Wells coffee,  a small B&B with the potential to also serve as an exhibition space.

Mr Richardson said: "I want to get her back to her former glory and sail her again. We can't sail her commercially but we can sail her privately," he said.

Steel rigging removed from the Albatros

Steel rigging which has been removed from the Albatros, ready to be replaced with fresh. - Credit: The Richardson Family

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