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Thread: Single handed sailing Aus to Cal in an 18 footer ............ 1933!!

  1. #1
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    Default Single handed sailing Aus to Cal in an 18 footer ............ 1933!!

    I thought this was pretty interesting.









    I see I missed the last sentence of the article. ........... Sadly she broke free, went ashore, her mast and bowsprit were broken and her hull was 'stove in'. No mention is made to what happened afterwards.
    Last edited by nedL; 07-02-2018 at 09:05 AM.

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    Default Re: Single handed sailing Aus to Cal in an 18 footer ............ 1933!!

    Latvian. If he stayed he may have been interned.

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    Default Re: Single handed sailing Aus to Cal in an 18 footer ............ 1933!!

    Amazing journey.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

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    Default Re: Single handed sailing Aus to Cal in an 18 footer ............ 1933!!

    Wow. I'd love to read a more detailed account. It sounds exactly like what I've always dreamed of attempting in Bucephalus (19') --but have lacked the courage for.

    Alex

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    Default Re: Single handed sailing Aus to Cal in an 18 footer ............ 1933!!

    I have his book somewhere.

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    Default Re: Single handed sailing Aus to Cal in an 18 footer ............ 1933!!

    Not sure why but I tend to think people who do these stunts nowadays are a bit daft, probably just attention seekers and have no admiration at all for them. But a guy who sets out in a converted racing dinghy, no GPS, no epirb, no monetised website, that's something.

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    Default Re: Single handed sailing Aus to Cal in an 18 footer ............ 1933!!

    An excellent story, I read it 40 years ago.
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

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    Default Re: Single handed sailing Aus to Cal in an 18 footer ............ 1933!!

    Could you imagine asking WBF for advice on doing the same? Lolz.

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    Default Re: Single handed sailing Aus to Cal in an 18 footer ............ 1933!!

    20180703_155020.jpg

    Must be due a re read about now. My recollections are that he was pretty lucky to get there. And getting through the convergence zone at the equator is not easy even today by all accounts, let alone that Hawaii to California leg.
    Last edited by John B; 07-03-2018 at 03:01 PM.

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    Default Re: Single handed sailing Aus to Cal in an 18 footer ............ 1933!!


  11. #11

    Default Re: Single handed sailing Aus to Cal in an 18 footer ............ 1933!!

    I have had that book since the 1950's. He was interned but found god and was finally allowed to return to Australia. His name, he made up along with his passport, he was a citizen of the world, like George Dibbern. He constructed his own sextant, which is still in a collection in Sydney, and his only chart was a tracing of the wide pacific made from a world atlas in the local library. It is a good read and quite believable.The yarn is more believable than Johnny ?? in the little yacht "PAGAN" who sailed from Panama to Aus straight after WW2. Paul or Fred Rebell as he preferred to be known, died in an old mens home in Sydney in the 1970's,

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Single handed sailing Aus to Cal in an 18 footer ............ 1933!!

    Harry Pigeon's adventures( quoted as influencing Fred Rebell) is a great read too.
    20180703_160114.jpg

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    Default Re: Single handed sailing Aus to Cal in an 18 footer ............ 1933!!

    Quote Originally Posted by rayman View Post
    I have had that book since the 1950's. He was interned but found god and was finally allowed to return to Australia. His name, he made up along with his passport, he was a citizen of the world, like George Dibbern. He constructed his own sextant, which is still in a collection in Sydney, and his only chart was a tracing of the wide pacific made from a world atlas in the local library. It is a good read and quite believable.The yarn is more believable than Johnny ?? in the little yacht "PAGAN" who sailed from Panama to Aus straight after WW2. Paul or Fred Rebell as he preferred to be known, died in an old mens home in Sydney in the 1970's,
    I knew George Dibberns woman and her daughter, have sadly lost contact with them but there is a manuscript book around, hopefully the granddaughters promise to edit it and get it published will come to something. There is lots of really interesting stuff in there including much on Allan and Shari Farrell that wont have been published elsewhere.

    John Welsford
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Single handed sailing Aus to Cal in an 18 footer ............ 1933!!

    If you want more stories like this try William Longyard's "A Speck on the Sea." Some really gripping stories of tiny boats making enormous passages.

    https://www.amazon.com/Speck-Sea-Wil.../dp/0071440291

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    Default Re: Single handed sailing Aus to Cal in an 18 footer ............ 1933!!

    Quote Originally Posted by rayman View Post
    The yarn is more believable than Johnny ?? in the little yacht "PAGAN" who sailed from Panama to Aus straight after WW2.
    Was that the guy who landed a shark in his cockpit and got a load of damage and drank the sump oil from his engine? That was some read.....

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    Default Re: Single handed sailing Aus to Cal in an 18 footer ............ 1933!!

    I have his book somewhere.
    I just looked for the book "Escape To The Sea" on Abe: $30. I might have to do it.

    Alex

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    Default Re: Single handed sailing Aus to Cal in an 18 footer ............ 1933!!

    Is there an algorithm at work here? The Harry Pidgeon book is $8 and I can't find the Escape to the Sea for less than $200. If you found a $30 copy go for it!

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    Default Re: Single handed sailing Aus to Cal in an 18 footer ............ 1933!!

    $30 plus half that again for shipping from Ireland: https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=30000409155&searchurl=ds%3D30%26b x%3Doff%26sortby%3D17%26tn%3Descape%2Bto%2Bthe%2Bs ea%26an%3DFred%2BRebell%26recentlyadded%3Dall&cm_s p=snippet-_-srp1-_-title1

    I've spent this quarter's mad-money on modifications to my Fliptail 7 and $45 will put me in the red, so if you want it, grab it. Maybe loan it to me when you're done? WBF Inter-Library Loan system...

    Alex

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    Default Re: Single handed sailing Aus to Cal in an 18 footer ............ 1933!!

    20180704_084210.jpg

    the counterpoint... Gerbault gets the French navy to rebuild the boat after leaving the keel behind on a reef. Warship dispatched with engineers to make up new keel bolts etc.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Single handed sailing Aus to Cal in an 18 footer ............ 1933!!

    yes skara, Johnny Caldwell, his book "Dangerous voyage" parts are just a bit too bizarre. He did live to a ripe old age, just passed away a couple of years ago. Just google "Fred Rebell and Elaine" he is pretty well documented. He passed away in 1968, I was close.
    I met the cocky little frenchman Marcel Bardiaux when he visited Auckland in about 1948 in "Les Quatre Vents" (The 4 Winds) a little boat he built under the germans noses during WW2, he lived well into his 80's too. It was a nice little ship too.
    In the 1980's I was working in Darwin and met Sir Harry Piggott who was puttering around the world in his little junk rigged 19ft motor sailer. He was a lovely old chap, at the time I had no idea of who he was. Just google "Henry Piggott and GLORY" He is now gone but Glory sits in a pond in his back yard.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Single handed sailing Aus to Cal in an 18 footer ............ 1933!!

    Some great insight there Rayman. Thanks for that.

    some more I've grabbed over the years.

    Svaap !, between the wars scratching around the world plus some post war adventuring as a millionaire and then philanthropist. The man has hospitals named after him through his work on Filariasis / elephantitus in Polynesia. He seems to have treated his family abysmally.


    Ralph Stock and the dream ship , a Colin Archer ...., great read. Von Luckner , well thats fun too ( not quite on topic)but Lowell Thomas writes some pretty congratulatory stuff sometimes , some mistruths caught up in there.


    Dwight Long , a must have


    Davison , hated that book. The Southseaman , wonderful ...until the ending when they burn the boat because its been seized.
    Erling Tambs in another Archer, the sort of book you read and wonder how on earth they got as far as they did, before losing the boat about 40 miles from where I sit.

    Last edited by John B; 07-03-2018 at 08:52 PM.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Single handed sailing Aus to Cal in an 18 footer ............ 1933!!

    John B, you will find the full story on Henry Piggott and "Glory: in the junk rig assn. For a short time he held the record for smallest circ-nav before Serge Testa. I went around to Sadgroves Quay, Darwin, looking for a workmate, Sir H.P. was snugging down Glory for the cyclone season. we just chatted away about how chubby she was and the rather large mast, it was down and well lashed and he just said he was flying out to the U.K. for a holiday. The yacht was built on a little f.g. hull with enormous fuel tanks, he disliked waiting for the weather. did a lot of the voyage in casual gear and carpet slippers. He chose junk rig because everything was handled from the cockpit.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Single handed sailing Aus to Cal in an 18 footer ............ 1933!!

    Im familiar with "glory" she was based on a 19ft Colvic Watson. There was a 23ft Watson with junk rig recently for sale for very little money, but over width for standard road transport (wrong side of Europe).
    I do not think the essence of adventure has changed much, though we have better means of finding our way than those before, the thrill of raising an island on the horizon must be similar.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Single handed sailing Aus to Cal in an 18 footer ............ 1933!!

    Then there's this bloke……..
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0bDGfTU6iQ

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Single handed sailing Aus to Cal in an 18 footer ............ 1933!!

    I wonder if these small boat adventurers would still have chosen small boats if money/materials were no object or if they just liked small boats regardless.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Single handed sailing Aus to Cal in an 18 footer ............ 1933!!

    I first read an account of Fred Rebell's voyage in French; the editor, Jean Merrien, made the point that Rebell was setting out against the Trades. I've got pretty much the same books as John B. Ann Davison subsequently made a crossing of the Atlantic single handed in a 23ft sloop.
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

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    Default Re: Single handed sailing Aus to Cal in an 18 footer ............ 1933!!

    What's the complaint against the Ann Davidson book? I have not read it, but did recently have the pleasure of touring her recently restored little sloop from the crossing.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Single handed sailing Aus to Cal in an 18 footer ............ 1933!!

    Davison......There were decisions and thought processes I just hated , and there was the fatality. I can't recall much more than that because its years since I read it, but out of the thousands of books I've read over a lifetime ( and I'm a big reader), there have been 3 that have had close encounters with the chop saw. That one , The southseaman ,and one other local book I can't say because the family are friends.
    I never actually cut one up as we can see, but it was close.
    A common theme you find in these older books is that of 'que sera sera', and that mixed with a total lack of skills ( as they often start out) I just find annoying. Sheila in the Wind is like that, The cruise of the Teddy is like that. Some of it is justifiable given the knowledge base and 'technology' of the time , but when I read boating 101 mistakes and errors when just some very basic education or some hands on experience through local daysailing would have avoided a problem, that's frustrating to me.
    So I read these books , some balance out. Sheila in the Wind for example , that man had PTSD after commanding Ghurkas in Burma in WW2 if anyone had it. No wonder he was happy to leave the success of his voyage to fate .
    William Albert Robinson had great skills but a kind of ruthless focus that his family paid for.
    Gerbault had the wrong boat but made it( with some military help), the man literally was a sports and war hero Tennis and aviation. Probably executed by the Japanese later on. edit, wiki says this now.
    Gerbault died on December 16, 1941, in Dili (East Timor) of a tropical fever. His death was not widely reported until August 22, 1944, over three years later. A later report suggests that he had been imprisoned by the Japanese.[5] In 1947, his body was recovered and buried on Bora Bora, where a monument to him was erected.
    Rebell , well there's a massive amount of luck involved in that one clearly.

    So Davisons book makes me quite annoyed and I'd have to read it again to nail down exactly why. Probably not going to happen soon, might give it another decade. I'd be interested in others opinions of it.
    Last edited by John B; 07-05-2018 at 04:56 PM.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Single handed sailing Aus to Cal in an 18 footer ............ 1933!!

    I feel that way about Peter Tangvold's At Any Cost. It seemed in poor taste to name a book that, as he kept killing off his wives, and then he and his daughter are killed in the post script, and then his son ends up dying recently, all at sea.

    Not a very enjoyable read really. Maybe the title is the fault of the publisher.

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