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Sea Cruiser

A sea cruiser is a sporty sailing yacht that was built in Germany between 1928 and 1949 under the rules of a national construction class. According to the wishes of the German Sailing Association (DSV), yachts built according to this limit value formula should not only be seaworthy and suitable for sailing, but also be fast and beautiful to look at. One goal was to be able to organize regattas at a high level with the well-sailing cruising boats. The yachts should compete against each other as free of charge as possible. In retrospect, today this type of sailboat would be called a cruiser/racer, i.e. a cruising yacht suitable for regattas.

The decision for the new class of sea cruisers was made in October 1927 at the German Sailing Day, which took place for the first time in Vienna. The building and surveying regulations for the new yacht class were ready on December 1, 1927 and the division into nine different types of sea cruisers was so narrow and so diverse that every potential owner could find the right ship according to his financial possibilities.

As the first 80 m² sea cruiser in 1928, the Athena (today Alraune) was built by Abeking & Rasmussen (A&R), a successful design by Henry Rasmussen. The owner was Eduard Schilling, who later became chairman of the Weser Yacht Club. After initial success at the Kieler Woche 1929, the yacht won 86 first prizes in the following years.

Despite the regatta successes of the first yachts, hardly any new sea cruisers were built. The time for the introduction of a new class was very unfavorable, as the sports boycott imposed on Germany after the First World War was not lifted until 1928 and German sailing crews could start again in international regattas. The high price level of the stably built sea cruisers was another reason for the sluggish construction activity. A luxury 30 m² sea cruiser cost 9,000 Reichsmarks in 1928, an 80 m² sea cruiser already 24,000 Reichsmarks, each without an auxiliary engine, construction and acceptance fee.

Attempts were made to classify existing yachts, which roughly corresponded to the new class regulations, in sea cruiser classes by changing the rigging. For example, old 75 m² national cruisers could be assigned to the new 50 m² sea cruiser class by reducing their sail area. This reclassification was used vigorously. By April 1930, 24 sea cruisers were registered; only six of these yachts had actually been built as sea cruisers; the rest had been adapted.

After the National Socialists seized power in 1935, the Navy and Air Force discovered the sea cruisers for their soldiers' sailing training. The sea cruiser was praised as the legendary seagoing ship, which combined the previously contradicting properties of safety, speed and seaworthiness and also offered comfort and comfort on long sea voyages. The seaworthiness and strength of the ships were also exaggerated with the words "The sea cruiser lasts longer than the crew".

The construction list of the Abeking & Rasmussen shipyard in Lemwerder shows how strong the upswing in the class was. A similar development was observed at other shipyards.

From 1928 to 1934, only three sea cruisers of different sizes were built at A&R. In 1935 the shipyard delivered three 100 m² and 50 m² sea cruisers to the Luftwaffe, the navy received two 50 m² and one 30 m² sea cruiser. In the Olympic year 1936, A&R built 33 sea cruisers, including the 150 series Athena II, the 125 series sea cruiser AR (private yacht for Henry Rasmussen, today owned by the Hamburg commercial filmmaker Tom Nitsch, up to the small 30 series. The German Navy and the Luftwaffe alone ordered 21 sea cruisers.

Sea Cruiser KR-Class
  30 qm Sea Cruiser=  6,5 KR-Class
  40 qm Sea Cruiser=  7,5 KR-Class
  50 qm Sea Cruiser=  8,5 KR-Class
  80 qm Sea Cruiser=11,0 KR-Class
100 qm Sea Cruiser=12,0 KR-Class
150 qm Sea Cruiser=15,0 KR-Class


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