Gdynia Maritime University’s school sailing ship has been honoured with one of the most prestigious sailing awards in the world. Rafał Szymański, the captain of the “Dar Młodzieży” was presented with the Sultan Qaboos Sailing Trophy at the closing of the International Sail Training & Tall Ships Conference 2023 in Dunkirk.
The trophy is funded by the Sultan and the Government of Oman in collaboration with the International Sail Training Association. The award was presented by Azza Hamoud Al Busaidi, the Chargé d’Affaires at the Embassy of Oman in Paris, together with representatives of the Oman Navy.
The history of the Sultan Qaboos Sailing Trophy dates back to 2011. The award has been awarded to organisations, individuals or persons that have an outstanding impact on the training of young people in sailing. Before the Dar Młodzieży, the trophy was won by the Norwegian frigate “Christian Radich,” the Belgian frigate “Rupel,” and the Danish frigate “Skonnerten Jylland.”
“It was a great surprise and an honour, as after the Janki Bielak medal, this is the most valuable award for sailing training,” said Rafał Szymański – Captain of the Dar Młodzieży.
“It is amazing that after many years, our frigate the “Dar Młodzieży” has been appreciated for the work it does in educating young students of the art of sailing, “, commented Captain Dariusz Jellonek, Director of the Maritime Operations Department. “The State of Oman is one of the main sponsors of sailing training for young people around the world. It is estimated that around half of the institutions responsible for the education of sailing amateurs benefit from the funds allocated by the Sultan of Oman.”
The Director of the Maritime Operations Department, Captain Dariusz Jellonnek and the Captain of the “Dar Młodzieży”, Captain Rafał Szymański, took part in the three-day conference “International Sail Training & Tall Ships Conference 2023” in Dunkirk, France. The principal theme of this year’s conference was “Training Young People at the Heart of Sail Training and The Tall Ships Races”. Among the topics discussed were the possibilities for sailing training for young people from all over Europe and the problems faced by organisations involved in the education of young people.
“One of the main topics of the meeting was the organisation of next year’s Tall Ship Races and a summary of the passing season. During the conference, we also discussed the safety of sailing ships “, added Director Dariusz Jellonnek.
In 2023, the Dar Młodzieży took part in two Tall Ships Races events, finishing second place in the general classification. The training ship was also awarded the “Bermuda Trophy” – the award for the fastest sailing ship in the Tall Ship Races. During the current 248-day season, 118 secondary school pupils and 361 students from Poland, Belgium and Ukraine have taken part in seafarer training onboard the “Dar Młodzieży.”