The 45-metre-long three masted gaff schooner is proud to be the oldest Polish tall ship still in operation.
She was built in the J. J. Pattje und Zoon Dutch shipyard in the town of Waterhuizen located over 30 km from the seacoast. Although the hull was launched already in 1917, the ship was put into service in April the following year. It operated as a commercial freight ship named NORA. To the trained eye, the original name of the ship and her homeport of Nijmengen can still be seen impressed on the stern, partially covered by more modern inscriptions. Her other names include HARLINGEN, MÖWE, VADDER GERRIT, IN SPE, UTSKÄR and NAJADEN. Still in 1920s, the ship was operated by Germans and used in short-sea shipping. The German operator installed her first engine of 100 KM, since originally the ship did not have any. After the Second World War, the sailing ship returned to the Netherlands where she stayed for several years. In 1953, she was bought by Swedes, and so she continued her commercial service in Sweden until 1970s. When in 2011, a Polish company Skłodowscy Yachting expressed their interest in buying the ship, she had already served as a training vessel of the Stockholm-based maritime school for several years.
After a contract was signed, on 30th August 2011, the ship set out to her new home. She was repaired in Gdynia and was moved to Gdańsk. There, on 8th October 2011, after christening, she was put into service under the Polish flag. She moored on the Motława River, since Gdańsk became her first homeport. In 2017, KAPITAN BORCHARDT moved to Szczecin, and the official ceremony of hoisting the Szczecin’s flag coincided with the final of The Tall Ships Races.
The crew nicknamed her the “can”. Although she is not one of the fastest ships, she managed to win at the races. In 2017, she was first among class B ships in two legs of The Tall Ships Races, namely Halmstad to Kotka and Turku to Klaipeda. Although she has not crossed the finish line first and her excellent times were the result of a favourable time correction factor, she succeeded with flying colours. After all, what really counts are the race records and the on-board showcase displaying two sizable cups.
Her patron is Karol Olgierd Borchardt, a famous marine writer who wrote about the early history of the Polish fleet. The ship’s anthem, written by Monika Szwaja and Andrzej Korycki, refers to the patron. Its chorus part must sound familiar to everyone who sailed the “can” at least once:
For as long as white sails are above the deck
We will manage, Captain. Oh yes, we will!