ByGeorge Dibbern
IN the Te Rapunga, a two-and-a-half-ton ketchrigged craft as innocent of auxiliary power as Slocum’s Spray, the author ot this record, a German ex-seaman trained in square-riggers, left his native Kiel in 1930 for the life ot nautical vagabondage that he has followed ever since. Unlike the master of the Spray, he undertook no voyaging alone: he had one permanent companion, an eminently able seaman, and at times he also carried landlubbers, including some who paid their way. After a passage to England, a late autumn crossing ot the Bay of Biscay, and a year of thrashing about the western Mediterranean, he set out to revisit the South Seas by way of Panama, our West Coast, and Hawaii, whence we follow him to Samoa and through variegated adventures in the Tasman Sea. As a chronicle of small-boat sailing in wide waters his book is entirely irresistible to such of us as keep track of the vast literature of this subject. As an account of what he conceives to be his real quest, his primary adventure, it may be found somewhat less generally irresistible. This primary adventure is of the mind and of the soul, and the record of it takes the form of introspective moralizing on the great questions of religion, morals, individual responsibility, reincarnation, human brotherhood, internationalism, war and peace, marriage and sex — the meaning, the justification, and the rewards of human existence. The moralizing is an odd, sometimes exciting mixture of profound and naive, original and trite, disinterested and merely self-defensive. w. F.