s/y GEDANIA story

The history of GEDANIA begins in 1974 when an original and unusual polar yacht is being build. It is a staysail schooner of length 20,60m, beam 5,20m, draught 2,80m able to carry 200m2 of canvas. The owner is to be Gdańsk Shipyard Yacht Club. GEDANIA was launched in 1975 and after a short Baltic voyage, on the 3rd of July she started a first in history, a 14 months long voyage to the Arctic and Antarctic under the command of cpt. Dariusz Bogucki.

North-West Passage, Panama Canal, Galapagos Islands, Cape Horn were just few of the extraordinary waypoints on the route. The voyage was historic since GEDANIA was the first polish yacht to reach the Antarctic, first ever yacht to reach the Adelaide (Island), first yacht ever to cross the Laubeauf Fjord and first polish yacht on the Deception and King George Islands. On the 9th of September 1976 she came back to her hometown – Gdańsk after 243 days at sea, 32 282 nautical miles sailed, 18 days in icebergs zone and 64 days in drifting-ice zone. The voyage was described thoroughly by the captain in the book titled “Beyond both polar circles with Gedania”.

The steel hull did very well during the polar voyage therefore in 1978 Dariusz Bogucki took GEDANIA on to another polar expedition. This time she sailed to Sweden, Denmark, Jan Mayen, Iceland, Westmann Isles, Orkney Islands. It was second polish landing on Jan Mayen and first visit to Heymaey (main of the Westmann Isles).

Next year GEDANIA sailed, to add some diversity, on the warm waters of the Mediterranean.  In 1980 she came back to the cold North on the voyage that took her around Iceland. In 1981, under the command of cpt. Wojciech Wierzbicki with 6-person crew, GEDANIA rounded the Svalbard in the counter-clockwise direction. In 1982 she took part in the Cutty Sark Tall Ship Race in the Baltic Sea. Next year she sailed to Karlskrona (it being the the time of Martial Law in Poland) and to Great Britain.

In 1984 GEDANIA participated once again in the Cutty Sark Tall Ships Race, this time in Canada. The first leg took the ships and yachts from Southampton, Canary Islands to Bermuda and then to Halifax, Quebec and Montreal. After the crew exchange in Montreal she sailed through the Great Lakes reaching as far as Toronto. GEDANIA visited St Johns on Newfoundland on the way back. At that time, the Pope was there. John Paul II gave his blessing to the yacht and the crew.

In the years 1987-1988 GEDANIA sailed on her longest voyage yet – around the world. The voyage started in Gdańsk, took her round Europe and the Mediterranean, through Sues Canal, Indian Ocean to Australia for the Celebrations of 200 Years of European Settlement. Furthermore, she sailed across the Pacific, through the Panama Canal to Havana and then, finally, home to Gdańsk.

In 1989 the Gdańsk Shipyard Yacht Club (owner) decided to renovate and make necessary repairs on GEDANIA. This is when the story ends. In 1992 the interior, installations were taken apart, the deck and the hull were renovated, new tanks were installed. Unfortunately, due to the lack of founds all the works were ceased.

This situation lasted till 26th of February 2002 when the Sail Training Association Poland became the new owner of the yacht. The renovations began anew.

GEDANIA was renewed and reconstructed. The hull was extended by 3 meters to increase its sailing ability. New installations and tanks required the new interior. Along with it came new deck and navigation equipment.

The new GEDANIA is now occupied mostly by short 7-10 days voyages in Norway, however she went back to Svalbard and the Arctic in the 2010 voyage, which is commemorated in the polar bear sign on her side.