To the delight of the young trainees on board, the Sail Training International Friendship trophy was yesterday (Sunday 2 October) presented to Pogoria, the Polish “Class Afloat” vessel. Also awarded Youngest Crew (with an average age of 23 years and 1 month), Pogoria has been a fantastic example of sail training for young people.
Who better to tell us about life onboard, than three of the trainees:
Zuzanna Stępińska, 15
“On the first lesson, we have a physics test today. Unfortunately, when I take a pen, the sail setting alarm yells. We are leaving books and sheets of paper and climbing the yards quickly. We go over physics formulas in the meantime. It’s a regular day on Cpt. Baranowski’s International Class Afloat, which combines a regular school with sailing. Student of this school under sails are the chosen ones from whole Poland. These 15-year-old teenagers have shown that they are unusually athletic – they won the sports competition – and they had helped people as volunteers for a whole year. The best ones began their school year on STS Pogoria.
Cpt. Baranowski’s International Class Afloat 2016 is very special. It is the first time that STS Pogoria has sailed on the Black Sea and she will take part in the SCF Black Sea Tall Ships Regatta 2016.
We are really excited, because for the majority of us this is the first time at sea. It ain’t easy! Discipline and order are the inherent aspects of our life onboard. Shoes must be set straight, berths must be cleaned up and teeth must be always brushed. These are only few examples of our ”musts.” Teachers and mates put an enormous effort to teach us everything we need to know here. We are usually sleepy. It happens sometimes that because of our trespasses we mustn’t go out in the harbour and no one is ever tough on us, but if anyone would ask us if we would like to change this school for a regular one, the answer would be: NEVER!”
Barbara Matusiewicz, 15
“June 18, 2016
I had been waiting for this day for a long time. After months of voluntary work, swimming, healthy lifestyle, running and studying English, I heard my surname read on competition preliminaries. I succeeded! I got aboard Cpt. Baranowski’s International Class Afloat! Competitions were very hard, because I wasn’t the only person who wanted to get into this school under sails. After running 400 meters, swimming 50 meters, three pull ups and writing English exam, I was waiting for a result. Fortunately, the result was positive. Soon I can start a two-month sailing trip combined with a regular school and the SCF Black Sea Ship Regatta. I don’t know anyone aboard but I’m sure the bonds of friendship with the people I’ll meet there will last forever.
September 14, 2016
It’s hard here, but as the Captain says: ”It has been easy so far!” The daily watches aren’t easy but refraining from sleeping during the lessons after the watch is even more difficult. At sea we have six lessons every day. Only in harbours we have ”weekends.” All the time something new happens. We’re learning ropes’ and sails’ names. They all seem to be the same but they are for different purposes. Only 10 days have passed but I already feel that one of the biggest adventures in my life has just begun.”
Jan Sachse, 15
“Another day on STS Pogoria. Today’s wake up song, performed by one of the mates, was very nice. As usually, I calculate how much time I have for my morning routine. It looks like I still have five minutes for morning protracting then a minute to get dressed, three minutes to brush my teeth and a minute to go up for a warm up with our math and physics teacher. Afterwards we have breakfast and lessons. Normally I would start moaning when I hear this word, but not here! Aboard STS Pogoria, in Cpt. Baranowski’s International Class Afloat lessons aren’t that common. All teachers have their own stories full of various experiences. For example Mr Kazimierz, who has been with the Class Afloat Project from the very beginning, is a former journalist and works as a lecturer in the USA, or Mr Lukas, a biology and chemistry teacher, who is a paramedic. With such teachers lessons cannot be boring! When we finish “school” our cook and the galley watch are ready to serve some great dishes. After we have finished eating – let’s do the homework. That’s the only common thing that exists here.
I just opened the books when the bell rang.
“Everybody come on deck, sail setting alarm,” can be heard onboard.
A mate is shouting commands:
“Quickly! Pick up your safety harnesses and come on deck!”
“Everyone gets to their stand and waits for a signal!”
“Everyone’s ready?” asks the mate.
“READY!” a group of 15 years old sailors shouts back.
Then a bunch of commands are issued and we begin doing our job.
OK! The alarm is over. Now let’s finish the homework and… hmmm… Today the cook is organising a music event. Awesome! You never get bored here, especially at night, when you have a navigational watch. Sometimes it’s hard not to fall asleep, but the sky looks amazing and if you are lucky you may notice some dolphins. This is a regular day on STS Pogoria. Ahoy!”
So today is the penultimate day of the Regatta here in Varna, and the end of the SCF Black Sea Tall Ships Regatta 2016. Lifelong friendships have been made and it will be an emotional farewell as the ships make their way back to sea tomorrow (Tuesday 4 October). Undocking starts at 11:00 local. The Parade of Sail will start at 13:00hrs, and will be easily visable from the beach and heading north east along the coast for 3.5 miles. Before that, though, there are more concerts to enjoy in the port and a firework display to celebrate the end of a fantastic event, beginning at around 21:30hrs.
PAO Sovcomflot (SCF Group) is one of the world’s leading shipping companies, specialising in the transportation of crude oil, petroleum products, and liquefied gas, as well as servicing offshore upstream oil and gas installations and equipment.
The Group’s fleet comprises 148 vessels with a total deadweight of over 12.8 million tonnes. The company is registered in St Petersburg with offices in Moscow, Novorossiysk, Murmansk, Vladivostok, Yuzhno Sakhalinsk, London, Limassol, and Dubai.
The Group offers a wide range of vessels in the market segments most demanded by major Russian oil and gas companies. With its own technical development and unique approach to advanced technologies, Sovcomflot has the ability to meet the most demanding customer requirements, providing effective transportation for oil and gas companies.
The Group is the title sponsor of SCF Black Sea Tall Ships Regatta 2016. Previously, it was also the title sponsor of the similar event held in 2014, as well as a presenting partner of the Tall Ships Races 2009.