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STS Pogoria's Story

In brief …

POGORIA was created for the Iron Shackle Fraternity thanks to the efforts and initiative of Cpt. Krzysztof Baranowski. The Fraternity was a marine education and sail training organisation created in 1971 by Cpt. Adam Jasser and in the following years had its own TV Show - “The Flying Dutchman” hosted by Bohdan Sienkiewicz. The Fraternity’s symbol, four crossed shackles, sometimes mistaken for crosses, can still be found on POGORIA’s hull. Officially she was built for the Committee of Radio and Television in Gdańsk Shipyard (formerly named Lenin Shipyard) and she was launched on 23rd of January 1980.

POGORIA is the very first tall ship designed by the polish naval engineer Zygmunt Choreń, who is now known as “the father of tall ships” having designed more than 20. She was a prototype for ISKRA (Polish Navy), KALIAKRA (Bulgarian sail training ship) and OCEANIA (an experimental survey vessel for Polish Academy of Science - PAN).

POGORIA’s debut in the Cutty Sark Races (nowadays The Tall Ship Races) was under the command of Cpt. Krzysztof Baranowski with the crew from the Iron Shackle Fraternity, on the leg from Møn (Denmark) to Karlskrona (Sweden). She took the line honours leaving other A-class ships far behind. This victory was very important for POGORIA because since her launch she was under scrutiny. In the rising economic crisis such high expenses were questionable. Many have thought that she was a luxurious mega yacht owned by the Head of the Radiocommitee – Maciej Szczepański. Newspapers reported that there was a horse stable on board, a harem of exotic girls and original Malczewski’s and Kossak’s paintings aboard.

POGORIA was saved from being sold to the highest bidder by a long, made up by Krzysztof Baranowski, sea voyage to Antarctica. The idea of the voyage was so the ship will be taken from the prying eyes of the critics and to show her worth. As the tall ships of old, POGORIA was to become a cargo vessel, transporting provisions, equipment and people to PAN’s polar station on this difficult and dangerous voyage.The voyage, from Poland to Henryk Arctowski Polish Antarctic Station on King George Island took place between 7th of December 1980 and 10th of April 1981. During those 132 days POGORIA travelled around 21000 nautical miles, crossing Drake’s Passage and making, due to the strong storm and broken transmission, failed attempt to round the infamous Cape Horn. The highest southern latitude recorded in the logbook was 62o10’ S. The voyage, although a great sailing achievement for the first tall ship designed and build in Poland, was not economically unjustified. Even though PAN paid a fraction of what it would pay to a regular cargo vessel the storage area was too small.

From September 1983 to June 1984, POGORIA was used for the ‘Class Afloat’ project of Cpt. Krzysztof Baranowski, in which 30 Polish students, who were the winners of a one-year nationwide competition, were given the chance to combine traditional high school education with a long-distance sea voyage. The 278-day trip from Gdynia to Gdynia, Poland, was planned as a clockwise circumnavigation of Africa, with a loop around Bombay and Colombo. From 1985 until 1991, POGORIA was under fulltime charter to the Canadian Educational Alternative of Ottawa and Montreal, working with Canadian floating school (with breaks only for maintenance). She had a Polish crew of 9 and 20-40 Canadian students together with their teachers.  In 1987-88, she sailed around the world. Around that time POGORIA was given by the polish government to the Polish Yachting Association. In 1992, for the purpose of organizing the “Operation Sail” in Gdynia, the Gdynia Yachting Foundation was founded. The Foundation, with the financial help from the city of Gdynia, took over the maintenance and repairs of POGORIA and, later 2/5 of the ownership. In 1993 the Sail Training Association Poland is established and takes over the ownership rights from the Foundation as well as management. The very next year POGORIA crossed the Atlantic to take part in the Marine Festival on the Great Lakes in Canada and USA. In 1996 she sailed to the Mediterranean and participated in the Cutty Sark Races from Genova to Naples.

Since then, POGORIA took part in every Cutty Sark Tall Ship Race and in 1999, in Aalborg (DK) she received the Cutty Sark Trophy, the highest reward a tall ship may win.  In the following years, POGORIA crossed the Atlantic two more times, in 2000 as a part of the Tall Ship Races 2000 from Cadiz through Bermuda, New York, Boston, Halifax to Amsterdam, and in 2004.

From 1999 she spends summers participating in the Tall Ship Races on the North and Baltic Sea and the winters on the LigurianSea sailing in short 1-2 weeks voyages