Making waves – 10-month voyage around the world to celebrate independence

PAP/Adam Warżawa

A three-mast sailing ship called the Gift of Youth (Dar Młodzieży) will set off on a 10 month voyage around the world on Sunday to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining its independence.

The ship, which was built in the Gdansk shipyard, will take 1,000 18-26 year olds on a rotating basis after they won a competition to take part in the sail.

The young sailors will be ambassadors of Poland in the 18 ports they sail into during the different legs of the trip. The participants were chosen through a two-stage competition. They were first asked to prepare a video or send in photos about cultural, social or geographical aspects of Poland as a whole or its regions, which are important to them.

They then had to sit a written exam, testing their knowledge of Polish history and sailing.

The Independence Sail “Rejs Niepodległości” was symbolically inaugurated in Kraków on Poland’s Constitution Day - the 3rd of May 2018. Dar Młodzieży will sail out of Gdynia heading for Lisbon on Sunday, then south, along the coast of Africa and around the Cape of Good Hope.

The journey, which is under the patronage of Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki, will continue across the Indian Ocean, visiting Mauritius, Jakarta and Singapore. Next, Dar Młodzieży will sail into the ports of Hong Kong, Shanghai and Osaka, prior to crossing the Pacific Ocean to Vancouver, San Francisco and Los Angeles. 

The ship is scheduled to reach Panama before the 22nd of January 2019 - the start of the “World Youth Days”. There the participants will have the opportunity to take part in events and meet Pope Francis, before embarking on their return voyage to Gdynia.

Dar Młodzieży was built in the Gdańsk Shipyard and set sail for the first time in 1982, as a training ship of the Gdynia Maritime Academy. Since then, it has visited the furthest corners of the globe - Australia, Asia, Europe, North and South America. 

It regularly participates in tall ships rallies and races, such as l’Armada de Rouen, Sail Osaka, World Cup Pokal and Hanse Sail Rostock. Dar Młodzieży is over 100 m long and the area of its sails is 3015 m2. It can accommodate over 160 crew members and trainees. 

The “Rejs Niepodległości” is being organised by the Gdynia Maritime University, the Salesian Missionary Voluntary Service – Youth for the World and the Ministry of Marine Economy and Inland Navigation.