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

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 dropped in [to the Squirrel Cove Craft Co-op] to say how much I am enjoying Dark Sun. What a tremendous job you have done. I do feel I know George Dibbern and would have appreciated him. I am going to try to find a copy of Quest as I am still not absolutely clear on what he termed his philosophy, and maybe it wasn’t altogether consistant or even coherent, though the basics of individual human freedom and the goal to be a citizen of the world are in my view admirable if virtually impossible to achieve. It is frustrating to watch freedoms being whittled away as security diminishes, and yet how can it be otherwise with the sheer growth of human numbers and complexity of technology. Yes, I share many of George’s frustrations! Perhaps my greatest frustration is watching the environment going down under a relentless onslaught of excess. Suffice it to say, this book provides lots of food for thought. A man of his turbulent times, Dibbern was also ahead of ours perhaps.
- David Williams (Victoria BC CD)
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