The Dar Pomorza (English: Gift
of Pomerania) is a Polish full-rigged sailing ship built in 1909
which is preserved in Gdynia as a museum ship. She has served as a
sail training ship in Germany, France, and Poland. Dar Pomorza won
the Cutty Sark Trophy in 1980.
History in detail
The ship was built in 1909 by Blohm & Voss and dedicated in 1910 by
Deutscher Schulschiff-Verein as the German training ship Prinzess
Eitel Friedrich, named for Duchess Sophia Charlotte of Oldenburg,
wife of Prince Eitel Friedrich of Prussia. Her yard no. was 202, her
hull was launched on 12 October 1909. In 1920, following World War
I, the ship was taken as war-reparations by Great Britain, then
brought to France, where she was assigned to the seamen's school at
St-Nazaire under the name Colbert. The ship was in 1927 given to
Baron de Forrest as compensation for the loss of a sailing yacht.
Due to the high costs of refurbishing the ship, she was sold in
Still bearing the name Prinzess Eitel Friedrich, she was bought by
the Polish community of Pomerania for £7,000, as the new training
ship for the Polish Naval Academy in Gdynia. She was given the name
Dar Pomorza, which means "the gift of Pomerania". In 1930 the ship
was repaired and fitted with an auxiliary diesel engine. The
experience gained during rebuilding works enabled Danish
shipbuilders of Nakskov to build a sail training vessel for their
country, the Danmark (still in service). Worth noting is the fact
that the ship made her first voyage under Polish colours named
(temporarily) "Pomorze" (Pomerania). According to rumours, the name
may have been changed in effort not to name a training ship after a
lost one. The same German-written name bore the German
pre-dreadnought battleship Pommern, lost (with all hands) during the
Battle of Jutland in June 1916. The mentioned first voyage was one
under tow of two Dutch tugs ("Poolzee" and "Witte Zee") with a party
of Polish and Dutch runners aboard, starting on the 26th of Dec.
1929 from St. Nazaire, and ending on the 9th of Jan. 1930 at Nakskov,
the ship narrowly escaping destruction in a gale off the Brittany
coast. That first voyage of the ship under Polish flag became later
famous through some accounts, including one written Mr. T. Meissner,
the ship's first mate.
During the following years, rebuilt and converted into training unit
fitted i/a with an auxiliary Diesel engine, she was used as a
training ship, receiving the nickname "White Frigate". In 1934-1935
she traveled around the world (via Panama Canal). During that famous
voyage she i/a called at many ports as the first ship ever under
Polish flag. In 1937 a special voyage took her around the famous
Cape Horn; thus she became first ship under Polish Colours to round
the famous cape. In 1938 she took part at the famous meeting of
Baltic sail training ships at Stockholm, regarded as the predecessor
of all the post-war Operation Sail meetings, winning i. a. special
respect the skipper of Norwegian sail training vessel Christian
Radich. During World War II she was interned in Stockholm. After the
war she was brought to Poland and used as a training ship again.
In 1967 she made a 'second debut', calling at Montreal, Quebec,
Canada, during the Expo-Fair and winning general respect for her and
her country. In the 1970s she took part in several Operation Sail
and Cutty Sark Tall Ships' Races, winning her first race in 1972,
taking the 3rd place in 1973, the 4th in 1974 and winning the 1st
place and Cutty Sark Trophy in 1980. In 1976, during the famous
Operation Sail '76 in USA, her retiring skipper Kazimierz Jurkiewicz
was officially greeted by Mr. Kjell Thorsen, the skipper of the
Norwegian "Christian Radich". The "Dar Pomorza" has been one of
several Blohm & Voss-built tall ships, most popular in the world.
Her importance to the World's maritime heritage is her origin - she
is the younger sister of the (still existing) Grossherzogin
Elisabeth, the World's first purpose-built sail training ship. As
well, she is the first ship ever to carry the Polish Colours around
the world in one voyage (1934–35), thus becoming incomparable to any
other existing unit of her sort.
On the 15 September 1981 she undertook her last voyage to the
Finnish harbour of Kotka, finishing it 13 days later. On 4 August
1982 she was decommissioned and festively replaced by the Dar
Młodzieży as a training ship.
Since 27 May 1983 she has been a museum ship in Gdynia (next to the
Błyskawica). She is part of collection of National Maritime Museum
in Gdańsk. In October 2009 the Dar Pomorza celebrated her 100th
"birthday". The celebration included her second christening by Mrs.
Barbara Szczurek, the wife of the Mayor of Gdynia.
Her speed under sail averaged 5 knots, with a 17 knots maximum. Her
auxiliary engine was one of the type used in German U-Boats, and her
horn, installed after the war, was from the German battle-cruiser
Gneisenau, scuttled on 27/28 March 1945 at one of the entrances to
the harbour of Gdynia.