Around 1870, a Mr C. W. Burton began operating a pleasure yacht service off Hastings beach with the Albertine. The service proved popular leading to a further vessel, the Livonia. The yachts were hauled up the beach opposite the Queens Hotel.
A competitor appeared in the 1880s; Messrs. G. & W. Dunne, Breach and Sinden with the Skylark. Both the Skylark and Albertine 'spawned' further boats (the New Skylark (1886) and a larger Albertine (1885)) together with the Moss Rose (1888).
Both companies merged in 1887 giving rise to Messrs. Dunne, Burton and Philcox. The New Albertine joined the fleet in 1891. She was the largest beach-launched passenger vessel at the time, carrying 130 passengers.
The Skylark fell foul of another vessel off Yarmouth in 1903, leading to the loss of six lives (three of which were her entire crew) when the yacht was cut in half.
In 1924, it is recorded that the New Albertine was laid up on Hastings Beach, her career over.
The yachts were a popular sight off Hastings and featured in many of George Woods' photographs.