Since I was a little boy, the name SEERAUBER has excited me, for my boyhood dream was to one day sail my own “little ship”, named Seerauber, around the world
Well, the reality is I have probably left it a little late, given I am approaching my 68th year on the planet but, as they say in the classics, “stranger things have happened”.
Why the name Seerauber?
Well, when I was about 8 or 9, my uncle, Mr Carl Massy, owned a property at Dalgety ,near Cooma in the NSW Monaro district at the foot of the fabled Snowy Mountains. He had as one of his employees a German man, Helmut , who had emigrated to Australia after World War Two with his family, and I became very friendly with their son Gunther.
Over a number of visits he started to teach me rudimentary German and in the process, I acquired a small red covered German-English dictionary. As my tuteledge continued, I espied that the English term sea rover was, in German, seerauber, so that is where the dream began.
If you you have visited other pages on my "voyage" section of my website, you will have seen or read that my two former yachts were Tringriz (Roberts Spray 33) of 33 feet length and HaCienda (Hans Christian 43T) of 43 feet.
WELCOME TO THE "POCKET CRUISER" NAMED SEERAUBER!
These then are the vital statistics of a Bruce Roberts Tom Thumb 24:
* L.O.A. -7.26 m (23'10")
* L.W.L. - 6.71 m (22' 0")
* BEAM - 2.92 m (9'6")
* DRAFT - 1.22 m (4'0")
* DISPLACEMENT - 3,590 kg (7,900 lb)
* BALLAST - 1,360 kg (3,000 lb)
* CONSTRUCTION -STEEL ( 10mm keel, 5mm hull, 3mm decking)
* MAST HEIGHT - 34'6" above deck
* SAIL AREA - (main ) 201 sq feet (genoa) 196 sq feet
No doubt you are now also wondering why I have purchased a vessel just half the size of HaCienda?
As Lin and Larry Pardey, of Seraffyn and Taleasin cruising and writing fame say, “go small but go” .
One of the basic facts of cruising life I did learn in the 5 years aboard Tringriz and HaCienda that whilst every additional foot of boat length gives you more room, it also ups the costs accordingly.
Seerauber is built like a beer can and with her long keel and ample beam, she hopefully will make a great little cruiser.
In correspondence with the original designer of the Tom Thumb 24 , Grahame Shannon, he had this to say:-
" Hi Tony,
That is very interesting. I had a look at your web site. I drew the lines for the Spray 33 (see also Tringriz, our Spray 33) when I worked for Bruce Roberts in 1978. I definitely did the sail plan, interior plans and lines for the 33 in both steel and GRP.
I designed the Tom Thumb 24 in about 1983 as a bit of a joke. I had designed other steel boats and used to get a lot of people asking "why are there no small steel boat plans?". I used to give the standard answers (too heavy, can't make the plating thin enough without distortion, etc.). Then I had the idea that if we designed her like a GRP boat with a monocoque hull, frameless, using interior plywood furniture as stiffening, that the weight would be within reason. After a few calculations, I saw that this would work.
I thought "Let's give them what they want" and drew up a list of requirements, including full keel, bowsprit, standing headroom, and inboard diesel, with a "shippy" look.
I drew up the plans over about 8 weeks with assistance from John Woods, who also had worked for Bruce Roberts when I did. Then I placed an advert in Cruising World offering plans for $99 with a small line drawing. Response was amazing and within a year we had sold 300+ sets of plans. Then I sold the rights to Bruce Roberts, and he has sold many hundreds more, I don't know how many exactly. He also designed the similar Tom Thumb 26 based on the 24.
I designed other frameless steel boats, notably the Amazon 29 and the Opal 28, neither of which came anywhere near the TT24 in popularity. In fact until I designed the Walker Bay 8 dinghy, the Tom Thumb 24 outnumbered all of my other designs put together in terms of boats built.
Not only did the plans sell better than expected, the boats turned out well and we received many reports of her good sailing characteristics. I got out of the plans business in 1986, not because it wasn't doing well--it was--but because my software product, Autoyacht, took off. It became so successful that I quit drawing boats for about a decade. The company was sold in 1993 and I went back to designing, concentrating on custom yachts, mainly power, but a few sailboats as well. There would be more if I could find any clients!"
The Striking Viking
As you can see from the external photo's and the model, she was originally called "Striking Viking" and striking she is!!!
Whilst I have renamed her Seerauber, you can see that I have the seafarers nervousness about that action so I have left "The Striking Viking" emblazoned on the logo- I hope that keeps King Neptune content!!
She was built in Williamstown Victoria in the man's backyard, then sold as a hull to an owner in Lakes Entrance in 1996. The gentleman I purchased her from, Mr Don Modra, sailed her back from there to Adelaide with his son. He was telling me that on the passage home, they had up to 25' waves (the coastline from Geelong to Warrnambool is not called "the wreck coast for nothing!) and she took them all in her stride. As I said earlier, a great little sea boat and correspondence I have had recently with TT24 owners in Europe and America bear this out time and time again.
On the 6th May 2005, she had her sails run up in Sydney waters for the first time and she is now moored contentedly in Little Lovett Bay, a beautiful little bay on the western side of Pittwater.
Who knows when a dawn scene such as this may be pointing Seerauber's bow to a foreign land?
She is now berthed at Akuna Bay Marina in the upper reaches of Coal and Candle Creek, about an hour north of Sydney.