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Famous floating bar sold – and staying at its iconic harbour home

PUBLISHED: 12:10 08 April 2020 | UPDATED: 18:20 08 April 2020

The Albatros in Wells has been sold. Picture: Brad Damms

The Albatros in Wells has been sold. Picture: Brad Damms

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A famous floating bar and restaurant, which has attracted thousands of people to the heart of Wells, has sold.

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 AndersonThe 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

But anyone with a sinking feeling that The Albatros, a former Dutch sailing ship, will sail away from its spiritual home need have no fear.

For the vessel, which was put on the market for £165,000 in December after its former owner, Ton Brouwer, decided to retire, is set to stay at its familiar quayside berth.

Ownership has transferred to William Richardson, who owns and manages Will’s of Wells coffee shop, located at 1, The Quay.

The family is understood to be keen to retain the Albatros in her current berth, and have arranged for her to return home in early autumn after maintenance and renovations have taken place after the Covid-19 lockdown.

Ton Brouwer, the former captain of The Albatros in Wells. Picture: Ian BurtTon Brouwer, the former captain of The Albatros in Wells. Picture: Ian Burt

Plans for the boat’s future use are not confirmed at this time.

Robert Smith, the harbour master in Wells, said: “The Albatros has become an iconic part of the landscape at Wells and a lot of people were asking what would happen to it and really wanted it to stay where it is.

“It is quite iconic and people love it. We will work with the new owners to retain the Albatros at her current berth.

“Wells Harbour Commissioners congratulate the Richardsons and send their best wishes for a successful future.”

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

The 32m-long North Sea sailing clipper was owned by Mr Brouwer for 40 years and, in 2005, he transformed it into a cafe, bar, restaurant, music venue and B&B.

Hailing from Holland himself, Mr Brouwer bought the Albatros in 1980 during a trip to Denmark and restored her over a five-year period between 1983 and 1988.

The craft – originally built in 1899 – was subsequently commissioned as a sailing cargo vessel once again, 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.

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 AndersonThe 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

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, but has not made a commercial sailing trip since 2008.

The Albatros Wells bound for Belgium on October 11, 1990. Picture: SubmittedThe Albatros Wells bound for Belgium on October 11, 1990. Picture: Submitted

The Albatros (correct) loaded with oak in 1991. Picture: SubmittedThe Albatros (correct) loaded with oak in 1991. Picture: Submitted

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

Skipper Tonn Brouwer on board The Albatros moored at Wells Quay in 2001. Picture: Natasha LysterSkipper Tonn Brouwer on board The Albatros moored at Wells Quay in 2001. Picture: Natasha Lyster

The tide spills onto Wells Quay leaving the Albatros surrounded by water. But the sea did not breach the town's defences. Picture: Chris BishopThe tide spills onto Wells Quay leaving the Albatros surrounded by water. But the sea did not breach the town's defences. Picture: Chris Bishop

The Albatros leaving Wells on October 12, 1990. Picture: SubmittedThe Albatros leaving Wells on October 12, 1990. Picture: Submitted

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