The Albatross was a ninety-foot cargo schooner plying the Chesapeake Bay at the turn of the century, and boats like that usually have a story to them. Whether or not it is worth telling is something for a mariner to decide. The author, unfortunately, is not a mariner. His own seagoing experience consists partly of his days as a cabin boy and, more tellingly, of his great-uncle's skippership of the Albatross. Set between two occasions on which the author, then cabin boy, saw the schooner on the Bay is the story of Great-uncle John Talbott. Owner of the Albatross from 1896 to 1918, his great adventure happened on a snowy winter's night when he decided against all counsel to risk sailing his cargo of coal across the Bay. The crew, coincidentally, fell sick of food poisoning (from Bay oysters, no less) and Uncle John was left alone to sail the boat. He made it safely--to very young reader's delight. Since this is the kind of seascape that went out with steam and the Depression, those of cabin boy age might find it hardy stuff. Otherwise limited to retired skippers from Baltimore.