Polish (Poland)English (United Kingdom)

From the concept to the Route Record

Świnoujście –Gdynia –Świnoujście

Prepared: Marian Kula

This idea arose in my mind quite early - in 1973, when it was already close to complete my own catamaran of international class "C", which was designed in 1970 by Norbert Patalas – the designer from Gdynia. I must admit here, that it was the first catamaran in Poland equipped with a wing mast made in Experimental Glide Plant in Bielsko. In order to show the advantages of the catamaran "Mata Hari" I came up, with an idea, that it should meet the challenge of sailing the 200-mile route along the Polish coast no matter what direction, from east to west or vice versa. I knew that the purpose of this catamaran is a bit different, but when the hulls' builder Kazimierz Maik made it a bit harder and heavier I stated that there is nothing against trying that route.

NI wrote to the World Speed Record Committee in England, administered by the RYA (World Sailing Speed Record - Sponsored by John Player - Administered by the Royal Yachting Association) to send me rules that would assist us in writing our own rules. In those years, there was no such record formula, only a record on a particular length, so-called 500m. speed record. I received such rules from England consisting of a two page “scrap of paper” shortly.

However, these rules could not be adopted to my idea in any way, except the only beautiful sentence:

The boat can only use the crew's muscle strength to use all mechanisms and devices. The use of different methods of mechanical and hydraulic transmission is not prohibited”

and it has been so up today. This sentence appears in all modified regulations and we can say, that is the ancestor of English rules, which I have never ventured to change. As I wrote; Regulations of Sailing Record Route: Gdynia to Swinoujście, or: Swinoujście to Gdynia, is nearly unchanged and used to this day.

The idea could be achieved in 1982, when the crew of my yacht ( "Kneź 'ex' ADMIRAL -later 'Nauticus" and Hadar) joined Tadeusz Ejchstaedt - sailor, employee of Navimor Advertising Dept. He became a driving wheel of the entire project. He convinced PHZ Navimor to patronize the whole project, included the newspaper "WYBRZEŻE" ("COAST") with a very favorable project editor in chief.- George Ringer, who appointed editor Henryk Spigarski on behalf of the newspaper. Next Zenon Gralak the most favourable for sailors and sailing editor as well as Norbert Patalas a designer joined us, with whom we worked perfectly.

PHZ Navimor founded a magnificent silver cup, which was adapted for the needs of a record. It was a chalice which was made by a company, which made cups for a visit of the Holy Father in Poland. They made one more cup, which was adorned with the Record logo (also made of silver.). Wojciech Kaliski won the cup after two years and got it on a permanent basis. It was lost somewhere, which came out, when we wanted to borrow it from Wojciech Kaliski to make a new one based on it. Up till now we do not know what is the fate of that first cup. The logo of the route record was by the graphic artist of “The Businessman” magazine Mr. Janusz Wesołowski.


In 1983, the event started as "Sailing Record Route - "NAVIMOR"-WYBRZEŻE CUP.

But it was not easy. I suggested my home "Kotwica"(" Anchor") Yacht Club to help me and participate in the "Record", as the closest Club. I was sorry when the Club did not agree to participate in the ready event, to which they brought a little and benefits for the Club were visible. Not having the consent of my club I turned to Captain. Zbyszek Szpetulski (he was then Commander of AKM-Academic Marine Club of the Maritime Academy in Gdynia). Cpt. Szpetulski agreed easily and no wonder ready event, where he had nothing to do was like the proverbial from heaven.

I knew Cpt. Szpetulski because we competed at the regatta on "Wojewoda Pomorski" and "Admiral" and perfectly understood each other in terms of sailing racing.

So I was doubly hurt , when in the article "On the Go! For the first time for(?) sailing record... " Zenon Gralak wrote:

The Organisers to which greatly honoured and full of initiatives Academic Maritime Club the Maritime Academy in Gdynia, have developed special rules for this innovative event in breaking the sailing record."

I boiled with anger and already in 1983, "Record" returned to its place- to the Club KOTWICA. The club agreed only to:

The establishment of documentation (reports, quotes, start time, etc.) by Cpt. Marian Kula. Simultaneously we understand that the participation of our Club will be treated in this respect. In addition, we can provide Club facilities for the event of awarding Transitive Cup ceremony.”

Later on, it was easier. To establish the so-called.” time zero” to which the next successive pretenders will be measured, I persuaded Captain, John Pinkiewicz from our Kotwica Yacht Club, who is a sailor open to such ventures. He quickly agreed and on 2 nd Speptember 1983, he covered the Świnoujście – Gdynia route in 41 hours and 17 minutes on the club yacht “Hetman”with the crew of nine. Thus he became the first champion making the history of the Record.


Cpt. Pinkiewicz did not enjoy his record too long, for already on 20th September Cpt. Janusz Nadolny - Zawadowicz from AKM Gdańsk with a 10 - member crew on board the yacht "Wojewoda Pomorski" covered the route from Swinoujście to Gdynia in 30 hours. and 35 minutes, breaking the initial” “Hetman’s” record by many hours. Since this record tough competition started.



This year enjoyed the greatest interest: the biggest number of applications was received and attempts done. The greatest number of records was broken this year, too.

The Association of Opal Class Yachts showed great interest in the record, and they turned to the Record Committee with the proposal to classify and reward yachts of that class separately beginning with 1984.The Association stated in their justification, that the “Opal” class yachts, due to their purpose and owing to the sharper competition, could not simply stand the rivalry with the typical regatta yachts.

The Record Committee accepted the proposal and taking into account the presented arguments decided to classify those yachts separately, founding an additional cristal cup. Changes in the Rules were made and the Opal class was separated from all the other competing yachts. So, on the route from Gdynia to Świniujście and in the opposite direction, the fight for two time records and two transient cups was going on, which in turn became the possessions of the given captains if the records set up by them were not broken in two years. Three records were noted in the Opal class – see the List of Record Holders. The last and not broken record holder so far is the yacht “ Komandor II” from the Gdynia “ Kotwica” and the skipper who received the cristal transient cup as his possession is the skipper Kazimierz Klugman. It was handed to him by the editor-in chief of the weekly “Wybrzeże” Jerzy Ringer. Skipper Kazimierz Klugman held the record unbroken for two years and according to the rules could become its owner for ever.


When three years ago, i.e. in 1982, a new original sailing event was organized under the auspices of the Foreign Trade Enterprise “ Navimor” and the weekly “ Wybrzeże”, the goal of which was to break the route record along the Polish coast that is from Świnoujście to Gdynia or from Gdynia to Świnoujscie – many of our sailors were very sceptical about the news. Who would want – they said-to take part in such a game? At first, it seemed, that the beautiful cup made of real silver, founded for the record holders, would not encourage the skippers and crews very much for such sport competition.

It proved quite soon, that it was not so bad. After the first start of cpt. Jan Pinkiewicz on board the “Hetman” from the Gdynia “Kotwica” next yachts began to apply more often willing to show off their fast sailing. The editor Zenon Gralak wrote in “Głos Wybrzeża” on January 13 th, 1986:

It can be stated today, that the event, which was thought up, gained full recognition of our sailing world. It has become an essential element of the sport competition under sails, greatly enriched and made attractive, generally not very eventful sea regatta life”

It must be said, that during three seasons over 30 crews participated in breaking the record. The best time of passage from Świnoujście to Gdynia was corrected seven times, as this direction is optimal for the record sailing with the wind from west to east.

The proof, that the record echoed widely among Polish sailors, is the news that the windsurfer from Cracow, Wojciech Tworzydło sailed the route Świnoujście – Gdynia from 14 th to 21 st July, 1985, his time was 7 days, 1 hour and 40 minutes. He could not be allowed for the record as the rules did not for see the participation of the surf board. Taking safety into consideration, we predetermined that, the smallest yachts which could participate would be yachts of 6.5 m length overall, imitating the seaworthiness of the MINI – TRANSAT class yachts, which could match difficult conditions of sailing on the unpredictable Baltic Sea.

NWojciech Kaliski was the undoubted record holder and the class for himself in the history of the record. The record of his catamaran ALMATUR III was not broken for two years and Kaliski became the owner of the most precious trophy – the silver cup founded by the Foreign Trade Enterprise - NAVIMOR. The sensational time of ALMATUR III 19 hours, 42 minutes was so excellent, that it was broken only 15 years later by Roman Paszke’s catamaran ALKA PRIM.


It was an exceptional year for the Route Record, for after the finished sailing Championships of Poland in 1987, the captains of several yachts taking part in that regatta, agreed to hold the regatta on the way back to Gdynia about the Route Record. The following yachts applied for the regatta: KNEŹ ( cpt. Władysław Beyer ) from the Polish Yacht Club in Gdynia, KAPITAN-II (cpt. Edward Kinas), NAUTICUS (cpt. Krzysztof Matla), HADAR (cpt. Marian Kula), and TORNADO (cpt. Tadeusz Siwiec). The four last yachts from the Navy Yacht Club “KOTWICA” (ANCHOR). The crews, tired after the trials in the Polish Championships, decided it would not be allowed to use spinnakers. The wind was from NW with force up to 7º B scale. Several sections of sailing without the use of a spinnaker, when the wind veered off became very difficult to keep the yacht on the course, as 80 metre genoas constantly wrapped up around stays. The competition of the three yachts KAPITAN, KNEŹ and HADAR was very fierce. They sailed for a longer section close by, the reason while the fastest TORNADO stayed behind is not known. KAPITAN and HADAR, to keep navigability in full wind ut up additional 80 m surface genoas on the same stay in the second slot ( headstay luff system “Tuff Luff” ).They carried 160 m² on the stay itself plus 40m mainsail which gave 200m² of total surface. HADAR caught up with KNEŹ quite fast, although she started to go away a bit. KNEŹ could not put up an additional sail an the stay, as she had the so – called “fairing” of the stay with one slot which left her on the lost position in relation to the other “KOTWICA” yachts.

HADAR covered the route of 200 nautical miles in absolute time as the fastest 15 minutes after HADAR came KAPITAN II and 20 minutes after KAPITAN, as the third, KNEŹ crossed the finish line in Gdynia. However HADAR did not become the record holder but KNEŹ, because cpt. Beyer protested KAPITAN and HADAR for dishonest use of additional genoas on stays of those two yachts. Cpt. Kinas and myself admitted cpt. Beyer’s right, who deprived of the additional sail, went slower but in spite of this overtook us on the considerable section of the race. We recognized, that the crew of KNEŹ deserved that record. So in the result, the yachts KAPITAN and HADAR were disqualified, and the second on the finish line was NAUTICUS and the third TORNADO.

HADAR started several more times for the record in the “wrong” direction from east to west. Once up to Ustka we even broke all the records, but right after Ustka the wind “died” and we had to use our engine to reach Śwninoujście for the Polish Championships. All the attempts for the record were occasional, on the go. Never did I participate on my catamaran “ MAT HARI”, either but that is another story.

There were no attempts of breaking the record in the following years and only some liveliness happened in 2003 when the first single handed sailor applied.


In 2003 we received an application from the skipper Zbigniew Szafranowicz, who persisted in participating as the first single handed on his own monohull “MORKA”.

His determination and rational attitude to the subject of single handed sailing, broke the usually hard hearts of the Route Record Committee, who changed their Rules at the meeting to approve of the start of the single handed sailor on route along the Polish coast, of course well and safely prepared for sailing. And this way the skipper Zbigniew Szafranowicz onboard the yacht “MORKA” became the first record holder in single – handed sailors for the category with quite good time of 28 h and 6 m.

Next several years no attempts of breaking the record were recorded.


And finally 2009. In August and October we received two applications from Roman Paszke on catamaran “GEMINI – 3”. We were waiting for a long time for breaking the barrier of 10 hours and we wondered when it would take place and who would do it.

“GEMINI-3” crew in their first attempt in August slightly improved the record of the trimaran “INSGRAF” Exploder 25 class, twice shorter ,but in their second attempt in October broke their own record from August in excellent time of 8 hours 55 minutes. It was on 25 th October, 2009.It is not an easy record to break, unless somebody from the outside does it. I have in mind here “BANQUE POPULAIRE” a mulitihull from abroad, which is the holder of several world records and is considered the fastest multihull of the world.

After 27 years of setting up ,the Route Record registered in our Polish sailing for good in spite of the fact that on its way to realize and next during the time of its lasting the initiative came across disfavour and misunderstanding. Sometimes it was necessary to wait for many years to set up the next record.

have known that one day the time will come when my dream will transform into activity that modern yachts specially built to achieve great speeds will start this event which was intended exactly for the modern design “hi-tech” design yachts such as Wojciech Kaliski’s trimaran and catamaran or Roman Paszke’s catamarans, and enthusiasts like them, who will be able to achieve enormous speeds reducing the time to impossible limits. Records are not regattas and they are not born on demand. Such is the magic of the Route Record.