The Dar Młodzieży docks in Westerplatte
It has been 10 years ago since the Dar Młodzieży last visited Gdansk - the place where it was built. After a long absence, the pride of Polish sailing ships and training vessel of the Gdynia Maritime University tied up at the quay in Westerplatte, Gdansk on 9th July at 9:30 a.m.
for what was the eighth visit of the white frigate to Gdansk. She was welcomed by crowds of local residents and tourists, who made use of the opportunity to visit Poland’s most famous frigate for free during its two-day stay. The Dar Młodzieży was brought to port in Gdansk by Captain and Master Mariner Artur Król, PhD, who also commanded the ship during her last visit to Gdansk in 2011.
Gdansk residents will have more frequent opportunities to visit the ship from now on. Bogumił Łączyński, Director of the Ship Operation and Seamanship Training Department at Gdynia Maritime University, announced plans to strengthen ties between the Dar Młodzieży and the city of Gdansk: We want to strengthen our links with Gdansk - the city of origin of the most beautiful Polish frigate. We have plans for the Dar Młodzieży to return to Gdansk at least three times a year, when it will open for visits - for example, during the Dominican Fair.
The Dar Młodzieży recently celebrated its 39th birthday. The Polish flag was raised on the training sail ship for the first time on 4th July 1982 in the Pomeranian Quay in Gdynia. Still today, the quay in Gdynia remains her permanent berthing point. Successor of the Lwów and the Dar Pomorza, the training sail ship was built from start to finish in the Gdansk Ship Yard. The design of what was a type of ship that was unseen before in Polish ship building was the work of Engineer Zygmunt Choreń, a junior ship designer at the ship yard in Gdansk and a sailor who had just taken part in regattas around the world. He was supported veterans of the first ship name “Dar”, long-serving Ship Captain Kazimierz Jurkiewicz, the ship’s last Captain Tadeusz Olechnowicz, who would later go on to be the first captain of the Dar Młodziezy), as well as members of the crew of the ship known as the “white frigate”.
The history of the Dar Młodzieży’s role in Polish maritime education spans all oceans and continents of the world, where the ship took part in the most prestigious world-famous regattas and rallies, navigated the most difficult waters, and contributed to writing the great history of the Polish flag. Royalty, heads of state, many of sailing’s greats, and thousands of admirers of the white sailing ship have graced her decks.
The Dar Młodzieży has called to harbour in Gdansk 8 times. On 1st September 1988, the ship docked in Westerplatte for the first time where it took part in commemorations of the outbreak of the Second World War. Severn years later, in 1995, the ship visited Gdansk again, and in 1997 a rally of sailing ships organised on the occasion of the Jubilee of the Millennium of Gdansk.
In 1998, whilst moored in the Gdansk Repair Shipyard, the ship took on board Polish president Aleksander Kwaśniewski and Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio. For president Kwaśniewski, it was the second encounter with the ship that year, after he welcomed onboard Portuguese politicians during the the EXPO world exhibition in Lisbon. The Dar Młodzieży strengthened Poland’s presence at the event as its ambassador, at a time when the country was actively looking to garner support for its application to join NATO and the Dar Młodzieży.
The frigate berthed once again in Gdansk Repair Shipyard on 22nd June 1999, taking part in the christening of the Gdynia Maritime University’s new training vessel, the Horyzont II. The Dar Młodzieży would wait another 12 years to return to Gdansk, when in 2011 she berthed under the command of Captain and Master Mariner Artur Król, PhD, who also captained the ship on its recent return to Gdansk in 2021.