What’s in a name?
Everything! It’s your identity so I wanted it to represent key values about our ship. The Royal Albatross is a rare sea bird species and the 2nd largest of the 22 member Albatross family. Similarly, the ship is large and it has 1 sail for each of the 22 species. Like the ship, the Albatross, with its giant wingspan, covers great distances at sea elegantly and effortlessly. Historically, it’s regarded by sailors as lucky to sight one (although I generally believe we make our own luck!) but a little bit of fortuitous assistance always helps!
Tall Ships were never designed to be luxurious, to operate in tropical climates, and entertain lots of passengers; especially taking into consideration modern day safety requirements! As I quickly found out, the challenge of combining the traditions of a sailing ship with the latest technology, equipment, and luxury fittings, was not a project for the faint-hearted. It has, however, resulted in a ship like no other, incomparable and perfectly matched to the demands of Singapore’s unique requirements.
Although The Royal Albatross was my first maritime (ad)venture on a relatively large scale, I surrounded myself with experts, specialists, and craftsmen who contributed and taught me so much on my journey to create a very special lady. What I had to learn for myself, however, was how to take determination and patience to a whole new level. Besides money and sheer hard work, these qualities transpired to be the essential ingredients for enduring what felt like a never-ending reconstruction.
Fortunately, along with the road, I found the passion to fuel my energy and now 6 years later; not only is The Royal Albatross a one-of-a-kind; but she exudes a presence and opulence from the moment you step on board. She is also an expert in her own right now… in sharing and making extraordinary memories on our client’s special day. In fact, I would say she is unsurpassed; but then I’m a little biased.
I hope you are able to enjoy her for yourself one day and in the meantime, find time to browse through this blog to gain a sense of what is differently possible.
– Who was “Royal Albatross”? –
From Windy to Royal, she was a young American gal.
Originally built in 2001 in Charleston, South Carolina, USA, the Royal Albatross started her working life as Windy II operating alongside her older sister Windy at Navy Pier in Chicago. Primarily she was used for day trips and occasionally for longer cruises on Lake Michigan and the other Great Lakes. She also participated in the regions Tall Ship festivals and Tall Ship races during the summer months.
After 7 successful seasons, her Owner Captain retired giving Tall Ship Adventures Pte Ltd the rare opportunity to acquire this classic traditionally rigged Tall Ship with a view to relocating her to South East Asia. In 2008, Windy II began her epic 15,000 km journey from Chicago and the moderate climes of North America to the tropical island of Singapore.
Now she’s a lady of unmatched splendour and grace. Upon Windy II’s arrival in Singapore, it soon becomes apparent that extensive work and expertise would be required to adapt the ship to operate in the region’s tropical climate and meet Singapore’s stringent safety requirements.
The new owners felt, however, that these improvements alone would not be sufficient to make the ship successful. They also needed to be able to accommodate the high expectations and demands of discerning Asian clientele who might find the spaces and comforts on board such vessel restrictive.
True to boating building tradition, the work was twice that expected with 360,000 man-hours being invested over 6 years redesigning and refitting the ship to the highest possible standards, transforming Windy II from a basic sail training vessel into a Superyacht of unmatched splendour and grace.
She was finished in 2015 complete with her new identity… The Royal Albatross.
– From the Golden Age of Sail to the 21st Century –
Tall Ships were the only form of global transport during the Golden Age of Sail in the mid-19th century. They were the equivalent of today’s container ships, passenger cruise ships, and warships. They harnessed the wind to carry large cargoes over vast oceans for international trade but were also naval warships to protect the interests of their sovereign states.
The Royal Albatross is no longer equipped for trade or warfare, but is still sailed traditionally by manually pulling on nearly 200 ropes to hoist and lower her 22 sails. Her 650m2 of the sail is made from Dacron canvass of which the 4 on the foremast are square sails. These 4 sails are the ship’s main horsepower and are what classifies The Royal Albatross as a Barquentine Tall Ship. The techniques used to sail the ship are the same today as they were over 200 years ago with the crew having to climb into the rig to prepare the sails and using the ropes from the deck to sail her.
The Royal Albatross’ sails and rigging are new, designed by master rigger Jim Barry, the man behind the Tall Ships featured in the “Master and Commander” and “The Pirates of the Caribbean” movies.
The ship’s wooden interior, including all the unique woodcarvings, were hand-carved by the ship’s crew, originally employed as craftsmen to rebuild the ship and later trained as sailors. Adding to her unique character, the wood selected for the interior is a local Malaysian hardwood called Kempas believed to be over 100 years old.
Most of the ship’s equipment is new and state of the art including its fire fighting, safety, satellite communications, lighting, AV and navigational systems. Unlike our ancestors, however, all the crew wear high-tech climbing harnesses, enabling them to work aloft up to 28m above the deck, while officers wear head-sets for communication during sailing.
– Team activities on Royal Albatross –
Team building with Rig Climbing
Our guests experience a spectacle when our crew scale Royal Albatross’ masts and climb into her rigging to set sail. All 22 sails are operated manually from the deck using nearly 200 ropes and pulleys. In fact, the phrase “learning the ropes” originates from hundreds of years ago when Tall Ship crew had to learn the purpose, function, and position of every rope to become a full-fledged sailor.
Climbing the rig is not for the faint of heart. It requires skill, deftness, and physical fitness to deploy the sails while underway. Naturally, safety is our number one priority so our crew wears high-tech harnesses to keep them secure as they work aloft 28m above the deck.
Feeling adventurous? Guests and corporate groups looking for a thrilling, once-in-a-lifetime challenge can try their hand at climbing Royal Albatross’ rig under the strict supervision of our experienced crew. Rig-climbing is also featured in our unique team-building programme, as part of a series of activities designed to focus on different aspects of the participant’s personal skills, development, and team-working ability.
Bond for success
The close team work necessary for operating a Tall Ship has always, and continues to, provide a wonderful framework for team building activities. Away from the office, guests soon forget workplace politics as they focus on the unfamiliarity of the Tall Ship.
Under the guidance of professional facilitators and our crew, guests work in teams to achieve the objectives of activities designed to help guests discover hidden strengths and talents, to appreciate the value of others and, of course, the value of working as a team.
The activities are nautical based and make the most of the Tall Ship environment including hoisting the sails, learning some of the ropes, navigation, knots and rig climbing. Our activities are fun, unusual and challenging with an educational focus.
5 program levels are available, 2 alongside and 3 at sea ranging between 3 and 8 hours with level 5 involving raft building.
Room to indulge
If your event needs to accommodate very large numbers or staggered arrival times, your guests can enjoy the sea breezes at the Waterfront Pavilion while overlooking our home berth at Resorts World Sentosa. The Waterfront Pavilion can also be used as a welcoming or holding area for parties waiting to board The Royal Albatross. With a capacity of 250 seated and over 400 reception style, it is a stunning building with its own private lawns and a perfect complement to an event on board The Royal Albatross. Additional sailings can easily be arranged to support larger groups at the Waterfront Pavilion and or The Royal Albatross used to host the VIPs’.
Our teams of professionals are well able to ensure a seamlessly integrated event for both venues.