The Dar Młodzieży (Gift of Youth) has set course for the zero parallel. The White Frigate thus commemorates the 100th anniversary of the crossing of the Equator by the first ship under the Polish flag – the sailing ship Lwów, a UMG school ship in the years 1921-1930. The Cape Verde Islands was the last stop before the almost three-week voyage without calling at a port. In Mindelo, the ship and the crew of the Dar Młodzieży participated in events promoting Poland and our culture.
On 29 May 2023, the Dar Młodzieży set sail on an almost six-month voyage, covering approximately 12,500 nautical miles. More than 250 UMG students, including a 23-strong group of Ukrainian students from the National University “Odesa Maritime Academy”, are doing their internships on board the sailing school ship of the Maritime University in Gdynia.
“White Frigate” has visited Bremerhaven, Fredrikstad, Lerwick, Arendal, La Coruna, Lisbona and Cadiz. The ship has participated in two ‘The Tall Ships Races’ events, taking second place overall. Currently, commanded by Commander Rafał Szymański, the sailing ship is on a course similar to the historic one 100 years ago, when Lwów, the sailing ship of the Tczew Maritime School, set sail on the first transatlantic voyage in the history of the white and red flag. The idea behind the voyage was for the sailing ship to reach Brazil, a country with a large Polish emigrant community. Lwów left Gdańsk on 23 May 1923, crossed the equator on 13 August, docked in Rio de Janeiro on 7 September, and later called at ports in Santos and Paranagua.
The voyage was the first bridge over the ocean between the reborn Poland and the Polish community in Brazil. The ship and its crew received an enthusiastic and moving reception in emigrant circles.
The voyage itself has passed into legend. It is enough to mention some of the participants of this voyage: Antoni Garnuszewski – director of the Maritime School in Tczew; Tadeusz Ziółkowski – commander of the Lviv (later commander of the Office of Pilots in WM Gdansk, sailing activist, head of our Olympic sailing team in 1936, murdered in Stutthof), navigation officer and science director, Capt. sailing master Mamert Stankiewicz (the famous “Mean Captain”, later commanding Polish transatlantic liners, killed on the m/s Piłsudski), senior officer Konstanty Maciejewicz (later commander of the Lwów and the Dar Pomorza), radio operator Alojzy Kwiatkowski (later commander of the Dar Pomorza during the war), petty officer Jan Kaleta, sailing master Jan “Waju” Leszczyński.
All of them are firmly inscribed in Poland’s maritime history. Just like their students – later outstanding captains of our fleet – such as Stanisław Kosko (the last pre-war headmaster of the State Maritime School, killed in September 1939), Tadeusz Meissner, Jan Ćwikliński and many others.
The Dar Młodzieży should cross the equator on 27-28 September, then take a course for Horta, a small Azore port. The ‘White Frigate’ will return to Gdynia on 11 November 2023, Independence Day.