Embarking on an adventure – Tall Ship Races on board the „STS Fryderyk Chopin“

Thanks to the cooperation of the Bureau Hanse Sail, the Hanse Sail Association and the Baltic Sail Association, a young Rostock women participated in a unique sailing experience in the Baltic Sea.

Upon invitation by the City of Szczecin to the Lord Mayor of Rostock, Roland Methling, the Hanse Sail Association in Rostock sent the 19-year-old Sophie Kotzian to sail on board the polish Sail Training Ship FRYDERYK CHOPIN during the second race of the Tall Ship Races 2019.

The sail training ship FRYDERYK CHOPIN, which home port is Szczecin, is a steel brig, completed in 1992. With a length of 55,5m it occupies a crew of 53 persons.

Since 1957, Szczecin is the oldest twin city of Rostock. Both metropolises work together in the international network Baltic Sail.

The participation of a German youngster could be ensured by the funding program of the Baltic Sail Network for which ships and special sailing projects can apply for.

Besides that, the Hanse Sail Association supported the project both financially and organisationally.  

Asking Sophie Kotzian what made her apply for the journey, she says: „I wanted to go on an adventure! After finishing school I was looking for a challenge.“

“I would definitely do it again.”

Sophie Kotzian, participant in the Tall Ship Races 2019

Before starting the big journey, the participants had an instructional weekend in May in Szczecin which consisted of team building, first aid and communication courses and preparations for the Crew Parade which took place between the two races in Bergen, Norway.

The journey at sea started on July 17th in Hanstholm, Denmark and led to Bergen, Norway. There the crew of FRYDERYK CHOPIN participated in the Crew Parade for which they were awarded with the Crew Parade prize. From Bergen the second race of the Tall Ship Races started on August 1st and led them to Aarhus where the Chopin won the complete races in Class A.

“I really got an adventure and quite a challenge”, Sophie concludes. Being a crew member, everybody had a turn in the daily tasks: guard duties, cleaning and cooking. Getting up at 4 am? No complaining! Hurry on deck even if your in the middle of a shower? „That’s necessary, if the alarm goes of. Everybody has to get on deck.“

Sophie was part of a 43 strong team, thereof 35 youth. The remaining were instructors and the regular crew (captain, officer, ship’s cook and doctor).

Personal highlight for her was being in Bergen: The wonderful nature and beautiful town made quite an impression. What finally gave her goose bumps was entering the port of Aarhus as winners, “We are the champions” sounding over the deck and fireworks lighting the horizon.

Further information on the funding: https://balticsail.qbus.dev/funding/

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