George Dibbern

his Lifehis Questhis Te Rapunga

Adventurer ~ Sailor-Philosopher ~ Free Thinker ~ Self-declared Citizen of the World

The definitive GEORGE DIBBERN web site.
Devoted to his life, family and friends; to his book, Quest; his ketch, Te Rapunga; his passport and flag; his biography, Dark Sun: Te Rapunga and the Quest of George Dibbern by Erika Grundmann.

Included on this site are photos and information for which there wasn’t room in Dark Sun nor in Quest, or which I have acquired since publication of the books, as well as articles, reviews, newsletters, feedback, etc.

From 1993 till 2003, with the support of Dibbern’s family, I researched and documented the adventurous and committed life of George Dibbern, a fun-loving vagabond, visionary and controversial sailor-philosopher with views well ahead of his time. I examined what motivated him, the sacrifices he made and what became of the family he left behind in Germany. The ensuing biography, titled Dark Sun: Te Rapunga and the Quest of George Dibbern, is a timely and inspiring chronicle of what one man can accomplish when he thinks for himself and acts upon his convictions.

My goal to bring about an affordable reprint of George Dibbern’s much sought-after book Quest has also been met. The process took several tries and in the end I self-published, but to see the new Quest take shape has been very rewarding.

In addition, my long-held vision of a restoration of Dibbern’s ketch Te Rapunga is being realized! Twenty years after my husband and I made our first research trip to Australia, I received the news that the boat had been purchased by an a group of wooden boat and local history enthusiasts, backed by an eco-tourism company of Bruny Island, Tasmania. The restoration of this historical boat will, they feel, be a way of bringing attention to Dibbern’s life and philosophy, so applicable to these challenging times. The progress of this new adventure will be recorded in the Restoration segment of this site.

The “George story” seems to be never-ending, and new findings continue to appear. In the early years of my research, there was nothing about “Dibbern” on line — except for fine bone china. That has changed substantially and thanks to the generosity of people who have known him and have sent memorabilia as well as anecdotes, newspaper clippings and photographs, the Dibbern collection continues to grow. It will be up to the Dibbern families to decide where the collection will ultimately be housed, but in the meantime, for anything you might want to know about George Dibbern, this is the place to visit.


Latest Blogs

February 8, 2019 — Te Rapunga restoration - latest videos

Bruny Island Coastal Retreats have released a set of videos about the restoration of Te Rapunga.

October 8, 2018 — Te Rapunga in my hand

A few weeks ago I received a small “package” from Andrew Denman, whose company Denman Marine in Kettering, Tasmania, has been contracted to complete the restoration of Te Rapunga. Read more

May 14, 2018 — New Look and New News !

An update of the George Dibbern web site was long overdue. Coincidentally with the move to modernize came the fantastic news that Bruny Island Coastal Retreats in Tasmania, Australia, along with a group of wooden boat and local history enthusiasts, had bought Dibbern’s ketch, Te Rapunga with the intention of restoring her. Read more


Bruny Island Coastal Retreats
has undertaken
Follow progress here.

Reader comments for Dark Sun

I am still convinced that this is not a “sailing/yachting book” proper. I think you did an absolutely wonderful job in pulling all this wealth of information together and arranging it in a very readable form. It really is the story of every human, isn’t it? I mean it’s about dreams and reality (and the resulting conflicts/discrepancies) in life. One spends one’s life in trying to make the discrepancies smaller; that seems the underlying purpose for most of us. […]

I really wanted to thank you for having written this book. No one else would have or perhaps could have. And you did it so well. It’s priceless for my family, of course, but it’s also of tremendous value for anyone—not just sailing folks—who is interested in these very basic but confusing issues regarding struggles in life everyone has in some form or another.

- Dr. Bertram Ploog  (New York NY USA)
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