Cruising – Baltic Sea: ‘S/Y Zawisza Czarny’ 3-mast Schooner

70 NM – Crew 
140 ft 3-mast Schooner
Bay of Gdansk (Poland)

Must have been 17 years old at the time, it was in Autumn. My first offshore trip. It was about a weeks time cruise.

Funny (or not) enough we have left Polish port of Gdynia to face a Force 9 storm and come back running it. It was a lon time ago so I do not understand now why have we left again to be cought in a Force 10 and come back again. The storm was mentioned on TV as the strongest there in 30 years… Was it responsible of the captain to go out in such weather with a boat full of young people where some of them had no experience on boats at all neither the mental capabilities to deal with their fear and seasickness?

It was the first time I have experienced offshore sailing, first time to be in a storm, very strong one, one of those you´d rather not go out at all. I remember water mist ewherwhere and surprise on the arrival back in the safe haven when it started to clear out – it was during a day, not a night as it seeed to me all the way. Clouds were thick. Safety line has saved my life. Water that got into my boot, eventually numbed my leg as I did not realize the cold. With one hand. On another occasion I lifted up a cousin sliding on the wet deck deck towards the void behind the edge of the ship… ‘Be careful, olways hold on’ I said and smiled. Non of us relized at the moment that she could have been gone in couple seconds later.

The memories are over 10 years old now and seem like a blurred, but intense dream. It was at that point when I have fallen in love with sailing and with the challenge that it may throw at your fears.