The 10 metre Rasmussan design was made famous in 1937 when Captain Schlimbach at the age of 60 sailed the yacht “Stoertebekker III” single-handed across the North Atlantic from Lisbon to New York in 57 days. Captain Schlimbach described sailing “Stoertebekker III” – like a cradle in the soft hands of a kindly mother.
Carl Seeger, an engineer with a love for wood and yachts, started the Abeking & Rasmussan design yacht we now know as Saraband. With his qualifications as an engineer in a refinery it gave him lots of experience in moulding. He decided to build his own yacht from drawings he acquired through Uffa Fox- Thoughts on Yachts and Yachting. He purchased and shipped out Oregon logs from Canada, which allowed the planking to be done in full lengths. He commenced lofting in 1946 and in 1947 he married and started a family – his project had to take a step back.
Arthur Webb took a keen interest in the project and in 1947 purchased the yacht at the stage where the vessel was framed (Spotted Gum) and the keel step completed, ready for planking with the wood supplied by Carl Seeger. The vessel was transported to Queenscliff/Geelong where the shipwright Gil Albutt completed the planking and fit out. She was launched in 1950 and named Saraband by Arthur Webb. Arthur Webb QC was a prominent member of the yachting fraternity – he was a member of numerous clubs such as Royal Brighton, Royal Yacht Club of Victoria, Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Cruising Yacht Club of Australia and a founding member of the Queenscliff Cruising Yacht Club. His lifelong interests where around ocean racing and restoring wooden yachts.
1960-1967 she was owned by Ken Novits, a member of Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron, and sailed in many regattas; Melbourne to Devonport, Queenscliff to Waratah Bay and many Bay races. During the 2015 & 17 Wooden Boat Festivals we had many visits from sailors that had sailed her over this time.
In 1987 Saraband was in a sorry state berthed at Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron. Being a lover of wooden boats I recognised her beautiful lines beyond the state she was in and that she needed to be saved. I have been able to restore her back to how she would have been on her launching day in 1950. I relaunched Saraband in August 2014 in Airlie Beach. She had undergone a major refit – all new spars including new Douglas Fir mast. I reverted the rig back to a Bermuda sloop, new sails, new rudder, all bright work, new coach house, hatches and total refit down below all in Mahogany.
Saraband’s career spans 66 years and has taken her through all aspects of sailing. Racing in Melbourne and Victoria (including Melbourne to Devonport races) and cruising up to North Queensland , Hamilton Is Race Week and the odd yacht regatta. In 2014/15 we sailed from the Whitsunday’s to Hobart for the Australian Wooden Boat Festival. Saraband proved again that this design is very seaworthy.