Blonde one’s on-board

How it happened – preparation

Just great… without any practice as a sailor (not including two romantic trips or fishing on Hel and one won the regatta, when I tried not to disturb and I served as ballast) I’m taking part in the longest sea regatta on Baltic Sea… And that bloody 600 miles – how much is it anyway? Talk normal, will ya? Jeez…

I decided to act as a cook – don’t want to a just a tourist. I’ll be a cook. Yeah, well, whatever. I hoped there would be no food poisoning. A fridge is so tiny and there will be three huge guys, Miriam (12 years old) and I… In the Internet, I’m searching simple food, easy to do at sea… Not very helpful, if I have to be honest… Most of them are rather suitable to do in the marina. No meatball from Biedronka. The crew has to be healthy… So, shopping… Fruits, vegetables, eggs… How much bread do I need for five people for five days? The jars… We’re buying jellies and fast foods… My father, the captain, recommended us to buy biscuits… Of course, we’re buying… Whew, it’s done.


Saturday, July 19th, 2014 – start

Sopot. It’s like before the war… The sounds of the orchestra… brass band… ;) Some commemorative photos… Miriam is our spokesman… It’s nice, some little talks with the crew from Polled – we’re joking about what we’re going to do and when… Hmmm… I think I started to feel the fighting spirit…. Ha! Our goal is to get to the finish line, says the skipper. Nah… We want to win! We’re getting the spying device from Yellowbrick. Thanks to it our families can see where we are. It’s a nice gadget, I would like to implant such a thing to my child, permanently… Well, whatever…

It’s hot, we’ll start in a minute, light breeze, Generał Zaruski – such a beautiful boat… And where’s the start line anyway? Couldn’t they set themselves in one line? We look like a shoal of sharks, waiting for the victims… START!!! Well done, according to the skipper. We go like stink, though the wind is rather light. They even let me to steer…. Cool…

Wait… What the hell is power? And why do we have to go back? Heeeeeeey! I feel that we were the leaders… We have to give up? How? NOOOO! We’re in Gdynia… We eat dumplings… On the shore… And we have lockers full of jars… We were supposed to eat meatballs with sauce… Ehhh….


Sunday, July 20th

We took the food back to our home. Breakdown… We track our rivals in the Internet… It’s sad… There’s a chance that the damage will be removed tomorrow… Consultation. We can go even if we have no chance to win? YEEEES – say the crew.

We will start in the second leg if everything is going to be fine. Will we make it until Wednesday? We have 2 days less than the others. The Mytshirtdress presents us a limited T’shirts edition, especially for the occasion of the 7. annivesrary of the Warsaw Uprising. Maybe we shall do that for them? For the insurgents? Memory of them? For those who fought for freedom? We will put white-red band on our shoulders? Yes! There’s another reason for us to sail in the regatta… Will organizers allow? We have the agreement! We pack our stuff again. The jars are waiting…


Monday, July 21st

Without the sound of orchestra, or fanfare. We’re leaving Sopot at 3.50 p.m. The wind is blowing, northeast – I’ve heard from the skipper – somehow, the boat is rocking hard… Why? Because of Baltic Sea? The wave strikes straight into our hull. It sounds like we have an accident with a moose or a truck… Boom, boom, splash, splash… It’s not so bad… Janek is the first one who looks sick. I’m asking everyone, what if I will have a close encounters with the Neptun (that’s how they call seasickness, I used to call it with a name of exotic bird from Łazienki), Without the sound of orchestra, or fanfare. We’re leavign Sopot at 3.50 p.m. The wind is blowing, north-east – I’ve heard form the skipper – somehow, the boat is rocking hard… Why? Because of Baltic Sea? The wave strikes straight into our hull. It sounds like we have an accident with a moose or a truck… Boom, boom, splash, splash… It’s not so bad… Janek is the first one who looks sick. I’m asking everyone, what if I will have a close encounters with the Neptun (that’s how they call seasickness, I used to call it with a name of exotic bird from Łazienki), and someone will do the same thing from the leeward? They say that I will find a way… Jeez… It’s hard to stand on your feet, not to mention to tilt overboard… Brrr…. Maybe I will avoid it somehow? Where’s Visby?


It’s getting dark, the lighthouse in Rozewie is behind us…. It’s beautiful… Sky full of stars… There’s no land, it’s strange… Alone among the stars… And those lights in the north? What is that? Is it Gothland? No… just a tanker… The watch… It’s nice to sail with the skipper and Janek, who doesn’t want to go to the cabin, oh no… It’s rocking hard… Just like a roller coaster…. boom, boom, splash, splash… Up and down… I’m going to dress something warmer… It’s getting cold somehow…


Yeah, I knew that I should have sat in the bow cabin, when the waves surrounded us and splashed in our hull. I welcomed the Neptun together with Jacek…. Yeah, we made it… A lots better… But I feel sleepy… There’s no way I will go to the cabin… The stern one’s busy, the bow one’s is unproriete… I sleep in the mess – the only possible way. Maybe „sleep” is not appropriete word… My eyes are closed… I can hear and feel everything more intense… No, no, no no… I don’t want anything… No, no, nooo, don’t wake me….


Tuesday, July 22nd

Our skipper sleeps… In the STERN? That’s curious, why not in the bow, if he has no seasickness? No? Wait… Miriam is sleeping in the bag on the floor. Of course, she said to me that the seasickness need to be sleep! Michał is on the watch. Janek is in the bag in the cockpit. The more sun is shining, the more he is buried in it… „No, no no, no… I won’t go on board”… He also said: no,no,no,noooo…. don’t wake me… But I feel much better. Though the wave is still doing boom, boom, splash, splash… Now I remember I was supposed to be a cook… I’m making a tea with ginger and fresh mint… It works wonders… I’m trying to convince Michał to try it, he said that he’s going to visit Neptune for coffee soon… The tea calms the stomach…

The sun is rising… Where is Visby? Hey, Michał, biscuit maybe? The first meal for the start… It tastes like the best meal made by Magda Gessler. The skipper wakes up and he says that we have to eat… No, no. No, I know I made delicious roast, but those biscuits… It’s strange, because we all eat them, except of Janek, still „no,no,no”, doesn’t eat…

So, we’re sailing… The sun is warm, the wind is about 8 the knots, that’s great… We’re getting out of the biscuits… I decided to serve a dinner about noon. A porridge with meatball in sauce… But hey, we need to throw them overboard… Chinese chicken than… It’s not bad, we can eat… Yummy… But Janek still does not eat, anything…

We can see Gothland! Some strange kind of birds is flying over us, they look like penguins… Miriam and I are joking that everything is different here, in Sweden, even pinguins are flying… It’s great to see the land once again. It seems to me that it’s been a week on the sea… ;) Lights, cars… Cool – there are people out there!!!


Wednesday, July 23rd

2:00 a.m.


We’re mooring…



9.00 a.m…. Morning… Bath…. So nice… I can forget about my manicure, but I can wash my hair at least… Some breakfast. Scrambled eggs… Inestimable Jacek greets us with champagne J We’re exchanging hugs with the crew from Polled 2, just like between family members. It’s so touching.. We cannot believe that they didn’t have any waves at all. Someone lost a rudder… Oh my… It’s great that we’re here anyway. Well, right on time!! We have a half an hour to clean the yacht and explore the island. The second leg begins at 12.00. We’re all over the Visby working like hell. We were laughing with Miriam, that we will see Visby after we return, now we’re just taking pictures J Beautiful town… 600 pln per clogs? Ok, I’ll get them next year… We wanted to have some photo all together, but when we asked the first Swede, if he do a photo, he said „no”… Hmm… In the tourist guide is written, that the people here are friendly… Well, if they have flying penguins… Our skipper is looking for McDonald, because he needs to use Wi-Fi… The wall, the church with the boat of good thoughts… Some souvenirs and ice cream. The end. We didn’t manage to come for a photo all together, because we’re stuck with paying for the ice creams – they don’t accept credit cards (western civilization, huh?) :)


We are first and punctual at the start line with large ferries next to us… Home… We can see how Barnaba is struggling with the mainsail… Damn, we are the lucky ones, anyway… The weather is just like in Greece… Oh, maybe not exactly… Suddenly, the wind stops, almost completely… Something amazing… Hanky-panky is not working… actually, we’re standing still. And where’s the other island? Slowly, we can see it from the distance… I love to chat by the radio with other crews… Funny, but they’re not always decent.. There’s something strange about the wind… We’re standing still and we can see how Polled is going ahead, because he caught up for some blast of wind… This is illogical, because he is closer to the mainland… But here is Sweden… Even penguins fly…

But the crew is in good shape. Even Janek. We’re eating a watermelon out of the fridge (great to fight with the heat) and pasta with pesto… It’s awesome… Even the watches started to make sense. We do sleep well under the deck. We’re reading books… Real luxury… We sleep in the bow!



Thursday, July 24th

The view is getting boring to me… We’re on the north side of Gotska Sandon and we cannot hear the other participants. Emptiness… Awful, blue-green algae… And heat! Will we ever move again? Finally, we passed that creepy island… I thought that we’ll stuck for good…. And this is the North? It’s like in Croatia… There’s no other crews from our race and it just started to blow a little bit. We are happy as children, because our skipper manages the bath in the sea… You can see the Faro, and we are so happy, that we can chill ourselves in the sea, that we almost get a laughing fit. We are clinging to the steps and the yacht slide with 3 knots of speed – some of us almost lost some parts of our wardrobe :)


The wind is getting better. Finally, something’s happening! As we dried our clothes and ate risotto with tomato and tuna sauce, we’ve heard the command – put the spinnaker!!!

Hooray! One of my favourite sails. Flying under the spinnaker is like a memory of a childhood and flying kites…

Well, I know what these beautiful, red links are made for. We sit with the skipper and Michał is navigating… Miriam is reading a book and, in the meantime, we sing every song that comes to the mind. Our version of the Christmas carol „In the silence of the night” is real hit and our voices carry all over the sea…


Friday, July 25th

The wind blows more and more. Thanks to our spinnaker, we fly with more 8 knots of speed all over the time. Awesome. The boat is not rocking anymore, because the wave are from the back… It’s great, but we’re a little bit tired. Michał and I stay on the watch and the skipper is going to sleep. We are supposed to wake him up if the wind increases to 20 knots or something disturbing… and there you go… „Łukasz, I’m sorry to wake you up… but there are two ships and probably they’re heading straight on us”… The skipper is checking the situation… No, it’s ok, they will pass us by… Half an hour later… „Łukasz, what are those explosive, mines…” and so on… Suddenly, the wind is starting to blow really hard… 19 knots, 20…. I’m waking Łukasz up – we need to roll the spinnaker down. Alarm, all hands on deck, only Miriam sleeps. We can see the storm ahead… Because we’re tired, we confuse the right to the left side, I tie the eights on braces (I’m proud that I can do it) and Michał decides to put the spinnaker down on his knees… That was close and we could have lost both Michał and spinnaker. I will always remeber, that we have to put the pinnaket in the cockpit, and no eights on braces… Eh.. It was hard… But you can see Rozewie… and Hel!!!


Saturday, July 26th 

At 2.00 a.m. I can see the Grand Hotel, it’s beautiful! Hooray, maybe we still can catch up for the cinema at the pier? But wait… The wind is getting weaker and weaker… We put the spinnaker on, desperately trying to catch any blow, we are trying to convert the spinnaker for gennaker and detached the boom, the whole crew waved it, so we can move with 1 knot of speed! One mile left to the Sopot and we’re standing still. We rolled the spinnaker, it’s useless now… But, slowly, we going ahead… The morning breeze slowly leads us to the port… 5.42 a.m. Sopot… We did it!!!


Only Polled came here before us, other participants are still on their way… We cheered everyone. Till the end. It was wonderful! Extreme, crash course of sailing. Nearly 1200 km… With a short break… The rally at the Baltic! And the „blonde on-board” experiment… The next year, I’ll ask them again. Maybe they will take me with them ;)


Monika Kwiatkowska