Sailing Rebels Leave Cancer Astern

wonderful sea and waves (
wonderful sea and waves (

After a successful cancer therapy the true challenge for many is to properly re-start their life again. Goal of the Sailing Rebels is to recharge batteries, build up mental strength and increase self-confidence for young adults with or post cancer. Their straightforward motto: f*ck cancer, go sailing.

Marc Naumann has been through it twice, his brain tumor is now hopefully gone for good. Despite chemotherapy having knocked him about heavily he finished his law studies – and is currently working as a skipper. He has set up an organization called Segelrebellen (Sailing Rebels), and this is their concept.

Segelrebellen organising sailing tours for adults with/post cancer

Each year more than 120.000 adults (aged 15-60) in Germany alone fight cancer. Close to 85% manage to survive due to excellent medical support and treatment. Once out of hospital their personal – and sometimes solitary – struggle continues. Getting back into a normal life after an exhausting chemotherapy is extremely difficult. This is where the Segelrebellen come into play. They enable fellow cancer-struck folks to take some time out and get a feeling of pure life again while sailing.

Far away from day-to-day worries, the sailing duties and routines open the mind for new ideas, plans and hopes. Main aim is to dramatically increase self-confidence again, so life ashore can be tackled with renewed energy.

Sailing tours

Once on a boat and cruising, this is not a holiday trip for the fainthearted. It is not about relaxing, swimming and enjoying local food (well, it is also, but not only).

Sailing and its challenges should be the kindling idea, the starting point for taking personal responsibility about ones own life. Tackle the adversities, rebel against unhappiness, fight obstacles to get back to a healthy and happy life. And hence the preferred cruising options are one-way trips – “we are not going back to where we have come from, we are moving forward” is the idea behind it.

not always sunny sailing (
not always sunny sailing (

A couple of days sailing in rough conditions is also on the agenda. Work in and as a team, defy not so sunny conditions and get safely into the next port. Also here the objective is to show participants that they can achieve their goals. And that day-to-day worries can lose their scariness once you get at them properly.

The tours are not, of course, all about rough and uncomfortable sailing. Amazing sunsets, endless sea, turtles, dolphins, glorious sunny sailing days, excellent food and company… Well, everything that sailing is about and opens the heart will hopefully be part of those trips.

Safety, health and emergencies

Sailing is a challenge for post cancer folks but it does not bear any additional major risk. Participants do need to have a stable health condition, however, there is no need for an advanced level of fitness.

Cancer often needs to be battled for months. People having successfully done so are usually also ready to tackle anything coming up on a sailing boat.

All people on board either still struggle with cancer or have recently managed to get rid of it. Everybody is aware of that. This allows participants to not only talk about it, if need be, but also to help each other or pass on some advice.

The future

beautiful sunset at sea (
beautiful sunset at sea (

Currently, yachts for planned cruising tours either need to be chartered or a friend allows the Segelrebellen to use it for free. Future planning includes owning a yacht. Destinations are England, Ireland, Norway, Iceland, along the Atlantic Coast, Spain, Portugal, Azores, Canary Islands or the Cap Verdes. They can be reached with a set of consecutive one-way passages. And who knows, maybe even crossing the Atlantic might be an option then.

The vision also includes that current and future participants maintain close contact and build up a tightly knit community to carry this idea and project forward. Additional skippers can be trained, so the yacht of the Segelrebellen can continuously sail towards new and challenging destinations.

Costs and funding

Living under sails can be a pretty low-budget life. To keep operating costs on a rather low level the yacht(s) will be prepared for self-sufficiency by tapping into nature’s energy supply (sun, wind, water). Also, anchorage grounds are preferred over staying in marinas, and hopefully one or the other fish will volunteer for being dinner. Ideally the Segelrebellen’s yacht will move all of the year and not spend too many weeks tight up in a berth.

Still, some funding is needed to get properly started, keep moving and get people on board and back home again. The overall financing model is based on three pillars, which will help being independent from one major financing source:

– sponsors (larger investments)
– donations (running costs, sailing gear, sailing scholarship)
– participants (individual travel costs).

Typically all participants would pay for their own arrival plus running costs of their stay on board (food, diesel, harbour dues, etc.). The latter currently being something like EUR 250,- per week. In case of financial distress a so-called “sailing scholarship” can possibly be arranged to cover for some or all of those costs. That, however, only if sufficient donations have come in so far.

Maiden voyage

The Segelrebellen’s maiden voyage has been completed. A crew of five (plus skipper Marc) have had a challenging but unforgettable week in The Mediterranean. To get updates on the Segelrebellen, please visit Segelrebellen directly.

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