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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rebell Yell

Every now and then I come across someone who's does something extraordinary. Fred Rebell (1886-1968) is one such individual.

He's best know for his 1931 singe handed crossing of the Pacific in an 18 foot open sailboat. He didn't do it for any love of the sea. He did it because he wanted to go to America and didn't have any other way to get there.

There are some things that really stick out in his life. He left Russia for Germany to avoid being conscripted into the army. Then he leaves Germany for pretty much the same reasons. Eventually, he ends up in Australia. When he leaves Australia, it's on New Year's Eve, under the cover of darkness, to avoid the tax man.

The guy had next to nothing, worked two low paying jobs to save money to buy the boat. Taught himself navigation and built his own navigation tools, as he couldn't afford to buy them. He lacked proper charts and what he did have was 70 years out of date.

He didn't even have the proper papers, so he made his own. (Which didn't impress the US authorities, but hey, he tried.)

Fred Rebell was even a name of his own creation. He literally was a self made man. While his life wasn't a bed of roses, by god at least it was his own.

When I hear someone complaining how they are stuck in their lives and can't do anything, I think of guys like Fred Rebell. Most of us start with much more and do so much less.



  1. Sometimes I think we have too much. Good story, thank you.

  2. Wow, that is quite a story. That man had some stones, crossing the ocean in a boat that size.

  3. and look at mayberry.. he can't afford a boat so he is building one..

    now there one wonders if he will sail it elsewhere to a better place...


  4. I like this guy! An example to us all! One more hero to add to my collection!

  5. Today he would be labelled a "terrorist" and be shipped to Guantanamo for some (non) torture should he screw up and land on Americant soil. Unless he painted himself brown and claimed to be Cuban. The island of Niue is looking better and better...