Experienced and Professional
Unique and "sea kindly"
Round Stern Boats
"Design of pure function"
CAPTAIN ERNIE FOSTER
OWNER OF THE ALBATROSS FLEET AND CAPTAIN OF THE ALBATROSS III
For over 54 years now, Capt. Ernie has professionally fished the waters off Hatteras on The Albatross Fleet boats. He has successfully maintained and improved the historic fleet and built a loyal multi-generational customer base. In addition he has cultivated and trained many of the people in the charter fishing fleet as quite a few have worked his boats.
Capt. Ernie also dedicates a large portion of his time to civic responsibilities, serving on the Board of the NC Coastal Federation, NC Watermen Foundation, Monitor National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council, Dare County Oregon Inlet and Waterways Commission and the Mirlo Centennial Steering Committee. He and his wife, Lynne, also lend their advice to the annual celebration of Day at the Docks and the Blessing of the Fleet.
Capt. Ernie is a founding board member of North Carolina Watermen United, a non-profit organization that represents the needs of our coastal communities by protecting the livelihood of the people who fish for a living and providing a voice for fair fisheries regulations.
CAPTAIN BRYAN MATTINGLY
CAPTAIN OF THE ALBATROSS II
Beginning in the early ‘80s Capt. Bryan worked for 8 seasons as a mate with The Albatross Fleet before getting his captain’s license. He skillfully runs the Albatross II and brings in the fish. He continues The Albatross Family tradition with this son, Sumner, working as his mate during the summer seasons.
A commercial fisherman in our off season, His is a growing voice for the value of local, wild caught seafood and has represented North Carolina fishermen at meetings and conferences along the east Coast. He also serves a Director of the Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative
Capt. Bryan is a talented chef who knows how to cook ‘em as well as catch ‘em! He and Antoinette, his creative wife, an artist and owner of Kinnakeet Clay pottery and gallery in Avon, are behind Hatteras Cat, a rich pet treat made from recycled fish scraps from our catches.
CAPTAIN OF THE ALBATROSS
For many years Capt. Mike owned and operated Scott Boatyard with his wife, Jennifer, who earned her Nursing degree (at the top of her class) once her daughters graduated high school and is now a nurse in our island schools.
He is skilled and knowledgeable about every aspect of boat construction and maintenance. A wooden boat builder of renown, Capt. Mike is an invaluable advisor (and worker!) for The Albatross Fleet.
Capt. Mike is a Near Shore specialist who regularly knows where to find the fish.
But all is not technical in his life. He has planted and tends his own private woodland and is a world class sailor, surfer, kite boarder and fisherman who travels the globe in search of watery adventures.
The three boats of The Albatross Fleet are unique. Custom built to Capt. Ernal Foster's design at the Willis & Sons Boatyard in Marshallberg, NC, they were built specifically for fishing the waters off Hatteras.
They are sturdy and "sea kindly" and have stood the test of time. These boats are equally at home in the shallows of Hatteras Inlet and the Gulf Stream currents.
The boats are meticulously maintained and they are periodically re-powered and equipped with the modern electronics.
These historic fishing vessels are visually striking. Made of atlantic white cedar (locally called juniper wood) they are unique with their rounded sterns and graceful lines and are easily recognizable by their red and white "candy cane" outriggers. Having been completely reworked and fiber- glassed, they are arguably stronger structurally than when originally launched.
The boats are equipped with marine heads and airy cabins with great front windows. You will find them comfortable for both Offshore and Near Shore trips.
They are, in fact, a tourist attraction bringing many visitors to the Albatross Fleet docks to see the last of the traditional wooden working boats that were once found throughout the North Carolina coast.
Round Stern Boats
Round stern boats such as the Albatross were developed along the Outer Banks sometime around the turn of the last century. Most were built here in Hatteras Village and in the Core Sound fishing communities of Harker’s Island and Marshallberg (all three Albatross boats were built there by Willis and Sons Boat Works). Though unusual in appearance today, they dominated the waterfronts of all coastal Carolina fishing communities through the early 1950’s.
The design was one of pure function. The fishermen needed a boat that would allow them to fish gill nets (usually referred to as drop nets or sink nets) in the ocean. With no type of power assist the nets were pulled by hand and this design provided a number of advantages:
(1) Two men stood on the stern work platform with one pulling the top or cork line and the other pulling on the
bottom or lead line. The toe rail prevented them from slipping and they were ergonomically placed directly above their work.
(2) The nets are always pulled from their downwind end, into the waves. The rounded sterns offered less resistance to both wind and water and the slanted angle prevented splash back from waves.
(3) The propeller and rudder are set well forward of the stern. Combined with the overhanging stern platform
this provides considerable separation from the net. (Net entanglement with the prop is a constant concern for it disables the vessel and necessitates a very chilly and dangerous underwater swim).
(4) With the low horsepower engines of those days the boats where not able to outrun the breakers on a rough bar when returning through the inlet during bad weather. Here the round stern offered less resistance when overtaken by a breaker adding some additional safety.
With the development of hydraulic net reels and powerful marine engines the usefulness of the round stern is gone. Those few remaining round stern boats still provide a reminder of the resourcefulness of watermen and of the beauty of combining form with function.
Copyright 2013 by Albatross Fleet
Website by Hatteras Designs