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Family Photos of USS Albacore Haul-out


Floating the Portsmouth-built USS Albacore onto what is now relatively dry land was an extraordinary feat in 1985. Today Albacore Park is among the most popular visitor sites in Portsmouth, and yet, the sight of a beached submarine never fails to turn heads. In honor of that original effort, offers this candid record of the great Albacore “haul-out” with photos from the personal collection of David Hancock. (Continued below)


As a son-in-law of Joe Sawtelle, the maritime history enthusiast who orchestrated the preservation of the Albacore as a museum, David Hancock was on the scene from concept to conclusion. David sent us these photos in 2011 to honor the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Albacore Museum.

Click for more Albacore haul-out photos and click here for 1985 reporter's notebook

David Hancock writes:

“As you may know, I worked for Joe for over 25 years and was very involved in the Albacore project. I built the access bridge to the park, designed the visitor center, and was on hand for the haul-out and the lagoon filling. I spent several sleepless nights (as did many neighbors) keeping the pumps running while the man-made pond slowly lifted the Albacore to a height that would allow it to float onto its cradle. This was quite an undertaking, as huge an undertaking as the road cutting and railroad trestle removal. I have attached some personal photos which may highlight the scope of this amazing project. Only Joe could have pulled this off! That is me on the access bridge with my [then] two-year-old son Jacob, one of Joe's eight grandchildren. That’s Jake again [final photo] in front of quite a pile of earth.”

© David Hancock on

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Friday, February 23, 2018 
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