Interview with Pete Pela on luxury tallship, the Royal Albatross
Ever wondered how the Royal Albatross came to be? We have the story behind the it and what it takes to run a tight ship (pun not intended)
There are yachts and then there are luxury tallships that take your breath away. Having sailed the seven seas, the Royal Albatross now welcomes guests on board to enjoy an experience like no other. It may be hard to believe but according to Pete Pela, the owner and Managing Director of Royal Albatross, before she graced the open waters or the silver screens the tallship was far from the head turner that she is known to be today. We sit down with Pete Pela to learn more about the Royal Albatross, her humble beginnings and the expansion of diverse product offerings in the near future.
Tell us some of the changes/improvements you’ve made to the Royal Albatross during the refurbishment
To meet both the authority’s requirements for sailing in the world’s busiest port with 149 passengers and the standards of a luxury tallship, I had to rebuild the ship from an empty hull up. The list of changes and improvements are endless but needless to say her displacement weight when we started was 178 tons. Afterwards, it was 276 tons! That’s roughly 20 tons for each year of the project and covers every aspect of the ship from the tip of the masts to the bottom of the (new) keel.
What attracted you to the Royal Albatross? Was it love at first sight?
Certainly not, she was a bit of an ugly duckling so far as tall ships go but I saw the potential to transform her into a beautiful swan! It might sound corny but it’s true.
What are some of the worst and best memories you’ve had onboard?
Tearing apart a perfectly good sailing ship was pretty tough, but that was always with a vision of creating a unique vessel and then using her to create a unique business plan. As an innovator and entrepreneur, overcoming and achieving these challenges was as good as it gets!
Do you have any plans to add more to your fleet of yachts/ships?
No, but never say never!
What are the highlights (and low points) to running Royal Albatross?
There have been plenty of challenges when it comes to employing the right people especially putting together a team that fits, but I’m glad to say we’ve finally got a fantastic team both onboard and in the back office. Hosting Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal on board was a highlight. And her very complimentary words about the ship was a proud and inspiring moment as is hearing guests say “wow” nearly every day!
Anything new and exciting in the pipeline for the company?
We are continuing to build up our sailing itinerary, now averaging four to five short sails per week with the rollout of our Sunset sail products. For the remainder of the time, the Royal Albatross will be opening in August as a floating Bar and Restaurant at her home berth at Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore.
Any advice to new yacht owners shopping for a boat?
Believe the saying that the best day of a yacht owners life is the day you buy it and the day you sell it!
Tell us something about the Royal Albatross that not many people know about?
There are 22 species of Albatross bird, one for each sail onboard the Royal Albatross ship. The Royal Albatross is one of largest of those species and generally regarded as the most beautiful
What is the best time of the year (and day, if it’s just for half a day) to rent a yacht and why?
With no seasons, Singapore has warm temperate weather year-round with light winds and calm seas which make our tall ship perfect for a yacht charter for family cruises, weddings, company gatherings or event venue.