"The waves on the Baltic Sea are short and biting," says sailor Zbigniew "Gutek" Gutkowski. At the same time, this experienced athlete and captain indicates that his heart is always associated with the Baltic Sea.
Zbigniew “Gutek” Gutkowski, yacht captain, motorboat captain, sailor, scuba diver tells how to sail in the Baltic Sea and how to start sailing adventure. The first Pole to take part in the VELUX 5 Oceans Race, Vendee Globe and Transat Jacques Vabre.
Pomorskie.travel: Despite the fact you are sailing all over world, today we want to talk about the advantages of Pomorskie reservoirs. What are the waters in Pomorskie region? Do they favour sailors and where is the best area for sailing?
Zbigniew Gutkowski: Our Pomeranian waters are just perfect for sailing. Not only that the weather conditions are favourable, the marinas and places where they are located are extremely attractive. The Main Town in Gdansk, Sopot pier and centre of Gdynia, Hel – a dream come true. Joy for the body and spirit. The Gulf of Gdansk is extremely kind to sailors, and You add the views of the panorama of Pomorskie beaches … Pomorskie Saint Tropez!
The Pomeranian season usually begins with the long weekend in May, and the first regatta on the Gulf of Gdansk is the sailing cup of the Tri-City. Unfortunately, the sailing season lasts quite briefly. At the end of October, there are already visible empty places in the three-city marinas, yachts are pulled ashore for winter rest. It is not so busy and loud in the pubs and bars. For me, as flesh and blood sailor this is a fairly sad sight. It makes me sad even more due to the fact my Globe stays on water. We strive to sail all year round. Even during the winter.
Pomorskie.travel: What is about sailing that attracts so many people?
Zbigniew Gutkowski: Sailing is not just a sport. It’s a way of life. Many families spend the season on yachts, sailing not only on the Gulf of Gdansk and the Baltic Sea, but also travel to other parts of Europe. Recreational sailing can be practiced by anyone, regardless of age. It’s a sport for everyone from 5 to 105 years old.
Starts in regattas are very satisfying, but above all they should be treated as good fun, the opportunity to meet in a wider sailing group. I am happy that everyone can participate in our Pomorskie regattas, without unnecessary tension and “pressure” on the result. Yes, good deposits are important, but sailing is not only a sport. It’s an adventure, passion. If someone catches a sailing bug, he will always remain “infected”. It is an incurable and beautiful “disease”.
Pomorskie.travel: Recreation – recreation, but there is also this sport dimension of sailing …
Zbigniew Gutkowski: Sports and recreational sailing are very different. First of all, equipment and financial outlay. Not mentioning Olympic sailing, where there is still an age barrier. Recreational sailing is a pleasure. We sail our speed, try to avoid storms, we can safely moor in some port. Freedom.
The regatta governs by other laws:
- Meeting the conditions of race commissions
- A budget that is sometimes unimaginable for the average person
- Team selection
- Technical preparations. And many other issues that must be met to qualify for the regatta.
All these preparations and problems make many nights before the star sleepless. And then the competition, squeezing the maximum performance from the yacht, continuous analysis of weather maps, lack of sleep, cold, wind, water flooding the deck … And the most frustrating is the lack of wind.
This does not mean that amateurs cannot take part in prestigious regattas such as the Rolex Cup, Sydney Hobart, Heineken Regatta, Fastnet or even our native SailBook Cup series, which return to our calendar after a year of break. Here, the only limit are financial resources.
Pomorskie.travel: Lack of the wind is the worst. And what weather conditions are those that favour sailors?
Zbigniew Gutkowski: Stable and good wind. For me, the best wind speed is between 20 and 30 knots. Such wind strength allows you to use all the advantages of the yacht.
Pomorskie.travel: How to start your adventure with sailing? Where we should go? What predispositions should you have?
Zbigniew Gutkowski: Adventure with sailing can be started at any age. It depends what You wants to achieve. Be a competitor or have a yacht and sail?
If you are thinking about competitive sailing, choose a sailing school. The best age to start learning is around 10 years. And here, above all, there is a big role of parents and their financial commitment. Unfortunately, sailing is not a cheap sport, so without the support of your loved ones it is practically impossible. Practicing this sport without the help of family and later sponsors does not exist.
It is different if a mature person wants to learn this beautiful sport. The first point is to purchase of a boat and the support of friends who already have sailing knowledge. Lots of sailing with people who show how nice sailing is and above all how to do it in a safe way. Always remember that water is not our natural environment and in this area we are just a guest. Security above all.
Pomorskie.travel: How do you sail today?
Zbigniew Gutkowski: I am currently engaged in typically commercial sailing. These are the starts in our Pomorskie regattas. Everyone who wants, can try their hand on my beloved Globe, which is a very brave boat. Of course, I still have the ambition to start in the next loner regatta around the world Vendee Globe 2020. And when this goal will be achieved, the Ocean Race (former Volvo Ocean Race) will be the icing on the cake.
Pomorskie.travel: Your favourite sailing destinations in Poland and in the world.
Zbigniew Gutkowski: Of course, my heart is connected with the Baltic Sea. The Baltic Sea is a very demanding reservoir. Often the weather conditions do not differ from the cold waters of the South. With one exception: the waves on the Baltic Sea are short and biting. In my opinion, if you learn to sail in the stormy Baltic Sea, you will manage in the Southern Ocean. The Baltic Sea is a very good training reservoir for further sailing trips.