It’s said that in the 1880s, seven of the 10 boatbuilders on Man-O-War Cay in the Bahamas had the last name Albury. The Alburys built smacks, sloops and schooners from their home island in the
Abacos, and in 1952, Willard Albury, with his father and brother, started building wooden, outboard-powered runabouts and skiffs. Willard Albury’s boats became known for their simplicity, strength and seakindliness, with fishermen from all around ordering his hulls.
Don Albury is Willard’s son. Together with his dad and brother, Don grew Albury Brothers Boats into a company that now produces fiberglass boats from 18½ to 33 feet. As of 2003, demand for Albury Brothers boats was so high that most production moved to Riviera Beach, Florida. Today, the flagship Albury Brothers 33 is a far cry from the wooden schooners of old. It can carry 14 people, and with twin 350-hp Suzuki outboards, it reportedly tops out above 44 knots. In 2015, the Albury Brothers business had to expand to meet a 30 to 40 percent increase in demand.
But still, a piece of the Albury Brothers history remains in the Abacos, where the family continues to build its 18.5 model. The company says that no matter whether owners order a hull that’s built in the United States or the Bahamas, “you will receive the same great boat.”
First memory of being on a boat: Because I was born and raised on one of the Abaco islands, I have always had access to boats, and my parents and family would often take me out in the boat to go fishing, swimming and picnicking. So, I really do not have a special memory of one time or a first time that I was taken out in the boat.
First boat you skippered: A 16-foot wooden runabout. The first boat I owned was a 13-foot Boston Whaler.
Current boat: I now own a 20-foot Pursuit. Even though we build Albury Brothers Boats, every time we have one, someone always wants to buy it and we end up selling it.
Favorite boat: I had two favorites. One was an 18.5 Albury Brothers boat that was built in 1992, and the second one was an Albury Brothers 23-foot classic design.
Your dream boat: I would really like to own an Albury Brothers 27-foot.
Most rewarding sailing experience: Sailing in the regattas in George Town on Great Exuma back in the 1970s.
Scariest boating adventure: When my wife and I were off camping in our boat, and in the middle of the night, a terrible thunderstorm came down and the anchor drifted while we were asleep. When we finally woke up, we were almost on the rocks. We had to think fast to save the boat.
Most memorable experience aboard: Going off in the boat camping and fishing for a few nights with family and friends.
Longest time you’ve spent at sea without setting foot on land: Two weeks. I was off crawfishing with my uncle on a 34-foot fishing boat.
This article originally appeared in the June 2018 issue.