Cheers for the White Frigate
This year, one of the most beautiful tall ships in the world, the Dar Pomorza, is celebrating her centenary. Despite her age, the ship looks as splendid as ever and enjoys international fame. She is the landmark of Pomerania, one of the greatest tourist attractions of the region and, above all, a monument of maritime heritage.
Launched on 12 October 1909 by the Blohm & Voss of Hamburg, she was used as a German training vessel under the name of Prinzess Eitel Friedrich. She was then purchased for the Maritime School in Gdynia in July 1929, to be a worthy substitution for the training barque Lwów. The achievement of the Dar Pomorza under the Polish flag is really outstanding: she has circumnavigated the globe, made 105 voyages, made a total of 310 calls at 140 ports and covered the distance of 509,804 nautical miles. Nearly 14 thousand future officers of the Polish Merchant Navy have been trained on board her. She has twice won The Tall Ships Races (Operation Sail), thoroughly deserving to be called a living legend. A museum afloat since 1983, she is the symbol of Polish maritime history.
Even though no longer under full sail, the White Frigate is as beautiful as ever. In 2008, repair and maintenance of the vessel was completed at Gdańsk Shiprepair Yard (Gdańska Stocznia Remontowa S.A.). However, it was not only the Dar Pomorza that has been preparing for the celebrations – meetings and ceremonial events have, in cooperation with the CMM, been prepared by the Polish Nautical Society (Polskie Towarzystwo Nautologiczne), the Dar Pomorza Society (Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Daru Pomorza) and the Gdynia City Hall.
The celebrations will culminate in a symbolic naming ceremony and a historical session on 10 October. And even sooner – on 15 June – there will be a centenary meeting on board Dar Pomorza, with official addresses, a concert by a children’s musical group, book launching and the Polish Nautical Society Award ceremony. During the meeting of the largest sail ships in the world, The Tall Ships’ Races Gdynia 2009 (2-5 July), the Dar Pomorza will also have a role to play. She will act as host and on 5 July as parade stand. Assisted by a few tugboats, she will be taken to the roadstead, from where the guests invited on board will be admiring the parade of more than a hundred largest and most beautiful tall ships – race participants.
Because of her age, the White Frigate is unlikely to sail to sea, but as a real gem moored at the Gdynia Port she is likely to entertain a record number of visitors to her hospitable board. To honour Dar Pomorza participation in The Tall Ships’ Races and her centenary, the Gdynia City Hall is to issue a commemorative coin with her image.
Long live the White Frigate!