THE "SEEFAHRTKREUZER" CLASS
During the “Seglertag”-meeting in the state hall of the Vienna Hofburg in October 1927, aside from the big entertainment program, the question of which basis a new class for coastal and offshore racing should have, was discussed very controversially. The only yachts attempting to fulfil this purpose were the “Nationale Kreuzer”-class, but they had proven unfit.
Opposing parties were most of the German sailing clubs under the lead of the NRV and a team of 7 experts deployed by the “Deutscher Seglerverband”. The sailing clubs pleaded for a new so called ‘KR’-formula, similar to the International Rule which put the most important measures of the hull, the rig and the sail area in a mathematical relationship. Resulting from the calculations was a ‘KR’-value instead of ‘mR’-value. The 7 naval architects of the expert committee argued for classes with corresponding limit measures for length, depth, displacement, sail area, etc. Interestingly it was the committee arguing that a mathematical formula would first and foremost serve them as naval architects and not the owners, because these wouldn’t know what they’d get. The committee argued that architects always look for loopholes in the rule, in order to design the fastest yacht possible, the problem being that this leads to extreme designs which only favour speed. In an article written for the “Freundeskreis Klassische Yachten”, Klaus Kramer quotes the chairman of the commission Harry Wustrau: “Every measurement formula practically puts the buyer in the hands of the naval architect. It is wrong to say that the buyer gains the freedom of building whatever he wants. On the contrary, he will have to build what the naval architect wants, because every naval architect must have the ambition to exploit the formula in such a way, that produces the fastest yacht.”
Racing in the
It is a different story with the establishing of limit measures, because they decide the room, speed, seaworthiness and comfort relatively independent of the designer. “If we”, continues Wustrau, “muster the courage – finally, now – to set per-class limits to width, displacement and spaciousness as great as possible, based on proven designs and at the same time limit length, draft and rig-height as possible, then the results will certainly be solid and useable cruisers. The naval architect then has the thankworthy task to draw the fastest yacht around these requirements and limitations.”
The spokesman of the KR supporters, Erich Laeisz, agreed in the end under the condition that the sailing clubs asking for considering the compensation of different rigging types of two masted yachts, as well as the establishment of sail height being taken into account.
Racing in the
This compromise did not only save the following ball-night, but it lead to the construction regulations for the “Seefahrtkreuzer”-class-structure, devided into 30, 40, 50, 60, 80, 100, 150 and 250 sqm. This started the success story of the “Seefahrtkreuzer”-class.
For us AR as a Seefahrtkreuzer has been the perfect racer-cruiser: great comfort as well as great balance and performance. Although she is often thought to be a 12mR yacht, she is not. Her 45 mm planking makes her tougher and heavier, and already her yawl rig can’t compete with a 12mR sloop, yet she is 10 times easier to handle with a small crew. She has not only won ‘Das Blaue Band der Elbe’ amongst other prizes before the war, but has been racing successfully under our skippering, gaining 1st place in some of the big classic yacht races in German waters.
The photograph below features AR’s mizzen-staysail, a very welcomed, effective and often race-handicap-wise not counting ‘extra’, but of course it is also a beautiful sail when cruising.