Dar Pomorza Centenary
One of the most beautiful tall ships in the world – the Dar Pomorza, launched on 12 October 1909 at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg – has lived to celebrate her 100th anniversary. Initially a training vessel, first German and then Polish, she is now a museum ship. The centenary celebrations took place throughout 2009, but the peak event was on 10 October. The exact centenary has already been celebrated by the Polish Maritime Museum (CMM) in Gdańsk a few times this year, says its director Jerzy Litwin, Ph.D. There was an official gala on board in June already, prepared by the Polish Nautical Society together with the CMM. The Dar Pomorza centenary was also highlighted during The Tall Ships’ Races Gdynia 2009 in July, during which the age-old White Frigate did the host’s honours. The opening ceremony of the meeting of the largest tall ships in the world was held on board her and she was also the stand from which guests of honour could review the closing parade of the largest and most beautiful sail vessels.
The climax of the celebrations, however, was the October ceremony of flag hoisting and ship’s christening renewal. The honourable guests gathered beside the ship at Nabrzeże Pomorskie in Gdynia included representatives of the Blohm & Voss shipyard. As the Polish anthem was played by the Navy band, they all witnessed the blessing and hoisting of a replica of the first Polish flag on Dar Pomorza, followed by the christening renewal ceremony performed by Ms Barbara Szczurek, the wife of the mayor of Gdynia. A hundred years back, the ship had been christened by the daughter of Grand Duke of Oldenburg, who upon marrying Kaiser Wilhelm’s son became Prinzess Eitel Friedrich, giving the same name to the vessel. This event was followed by a historical session hosted by the Gdynia Maritime University, during which, apart from the official addresses and congratulations for the owner of the vessel, awards were given to people who had made special contribution to the glory of Dar Pomorza.
Despite her age, the tall ship looks great and even though she will not sail to seas any more, she still flies the Polish flag as a museum ship. “Dar Pomorza” is a symbol of Polish maritime aspirations. We are proud to have the tall ship of such accomplishment as the Gdynia branch of the Polish Maritime Museum in Gdańsk, Jerzy Litwin adds.
Dar Pomorza was purchased for the Maritime School in Gdynia in July 1929, so her ties with the city are eighty years old. Flying the Polish flag, she has circumnavigated the Earth, made 105 voyages and 310 calls at 140 ports and covered a total distance of more than half a million nautical miles. Fourteen thousand future officers of the Polish merchant fleet got their training on board her. She was twice the winner of The Tall Ship’s Races. The ship – Dame of the Polonia Restituta order – has always been the pride of Polish people.