Don Al­bury comes from a long line of Ba­hamian boat­builders dat­ing back to the 1880s.

Soundings - - Contents - Photo by Jim Ray­croft

I t’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 sea kind­li­ness, 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 350hp 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 23foot 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.

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