ALAMEDA -- She'd conquered the Northwest Passage during the summer, one of the most dangerous sailing routes in the world, considered a watery Everest. Yet deep trouble loomed large when she hit the Bering Sea.
Solanus, a 48-foot yawl sailing under the Polish flag with a seasoned three-member crew out of the Yacht Club of Poland on a year-and-a-half-long expedition, ran into a series of fierce and bitter storms in October, chilling Solanus to her steel ribs, roughing her up with gale-force gusts up to 50 knots and waves so fierce the masts were touching the water. She lost her electrical systems, engines and even GPS.
"We still had the stars, though, and we could navigate like the old days," her captain, Bronislaw Radlinski, said Tuesday through an interpreter, happy to be enjoying a sparkling, clear day in the Bay Area while the boat was docked at a guest berth in an Alameda marina, not even halfway through her global journey.
"It's really a treat to have Solanus visiting here," said Chris Owczarek, vice commodore of the San Francisco chapter of the Yacht Club of Poland, which meets in Alameda -- one of only a handful of chapters around the world. The local club is hosting the crew as they clean the boat, make some repairs and collect supplies for their next leg toward South America. They plan to head out today.
Owczarek served as interpreter Tuesday, filling in the gaps of the crew's spotty English, and helping them out withother tasks.
"My job today is tracking down a laundromat for them," he said. "We have a small Polish sailing community here, but everyone is trying to help them out with different needs, even taking them sightseeing in San Francisco."
The original Yacht Club of Poland was founded after World War I when Poland had regained its rights to the sea, Owczarek said. There are about 18 smaller chapters in Poland, one in London, and another in Germany. The San Francisco chapter formed in 2001. There are currently about 26 members.
The local sailing community also stepped up to help the adventurers, Owczarek said. The Oakland Yacht Club offered a guest berth for the Solanus when she arrived last Sunday, and the Encinal Yacht Club provided accommodations for a reception.
Part of the expedition's mission is to visit various Polish communities around the world, Radlinski said. But there's another reason too. "We like to sail," he said.
Solanus had been prepped for the trip during the past couple of years. Her bright-red hull with yellow trim is made of steel -- wood or fiberglass would never have made it through the icy conditions in the Northern Passage, Owczarek said. She set sail from Gdansk May 16 with a main crew of three seasoned, hearty sailors: Radlinski, who is 59, Roman Nowak, 61, and Witold Kantak, 71, all tanned with deep creases around their eyes from squinting at shining seas. They've added crew members along the way -- Jarek Pietras, 30, is on board now -- and they hope others will join various legs of the trip.
Today, they'll head to Los Angeles, then make a stop in San Diego, then Acapulco. "We have to be in Chile by the end of January, to catch the weather window to go around the Horn," Radlinski said. They plan to return to Poland in August.
To learn more about Solanus' expedition, visit The site is in Polish, but online translator functions can help decipher the text.
- - - - - snip from Polish to English translation website - - - - -

11/14/2010 - Yacht Solanus doarł to San Francisco.The crew was greeted on the water already by the local Polish-American Polonia and yachts.

03/11/2010 - Solanus with a four-boat crew on board has left the House in Vancouver. Solanus Polonia delivered their yachts in Vancouver.

10/25/2010 - The crew joined Jared Pietras, who participated in the "Greenland Arctic cruise in 2003."

23/10/2010 - The Vancouver team arrived in the warehouse, which is on the first day Solanusie trip (16/05/2010) Cpt. Bronislaw Radliński, Roman Witold Nowak and Kantak.
At the pier on Granville Island in downtown Vancouver waited numerous Polonia. relationship Kuśmidra George, the relationship of Michael Radoszewskiego.

18.10.2010 - Tired but happy sailors sailing yacht Bydgoszcz "Solanus," sailed to the port of Victoria in Canada. Around 14:00 after customs clearance, local Polish community welcomed the crew of the Solanus' flowers, fruit basket and a smile. 

10/12/2010 - Solanus sailing sails all the time is coming to Vancouver. For about 500 miles the first time since a long time relaxation. From Nome Solanus flows mostly in stormy weather, but the crew transmitted information, that feels good and greets. In Vancouver, more parking, which will be related, among others the need for repairs (mainly electronics zamokniętej during storms), review of the yacht by the insurer, and of course meeting with the Polish community. At this point, cordially greet and thank Mr. Jerzy Kuśmidrowi, who coordinates the Solanus stay in Vancouver.

10/03/2010 - Captain Radliński communicate by telephone: "For the first time we Nome day without a storm (they still had two such days - editor. AB). The wind came up to 10 degrees on a scale Bouforta. Twice we had the spreaders in the water. We came up with the biggest wave of Down Grid, the one with theengraved cruises Solanus. We could not run a generator and recharge the batteries. Hence the connectivity problems. Greetings to all, especially our families. Each sending SPOT-A (the position of the boat - AB), is also a greeting. Feels good, though we are tired. To Vancouver was still a little way. "

09/24/2010 - After two days of stopover in Nome for the fueling of the fuel and water and necessary purchases Solanus sailed on his way. The Western Hills to Nome Solanus crossed over 7300 nautical miles. Next episode, in Vancouver, has more than 2,000 nautical miles. The captain wants to sail Radliński non-stop.

22/09/2010 - Solanus arrived at Nome. Here you can leave the board and will go to the Polish Monika Witkowska and Damian Chorążewicz. Vancouver to succeed in the composition of the crew that is on the first day Solanusie voyage of Cpt. Bronislaw Radliński, Roman Witold Nowak and Kantak.

09/20/2010 - This morning Polish time (17.56 hrs local time) Solanus crossed the Arctic Circle has passed the same imaginary border "pass" the Northwest Passage. SMS Solanus:NORD WEST PASSAGE DURING FLUID BEFORE WE DO NOME Ariel. Recall that in the stage of the Northwest Passage part: Cpt. Bronislaw Radliński, Roman Nowak, Witold Kantak, Monika Witkowska, and Damian Chorążewicz

09/09/2010 - Solanus Tuktoyaktuk left and headed to Nome. As the captain of Sweden Borje decided to overwintering yacht "Anna" in Tuktoyaktuk on board Solanus returned Monika Witkowska.

31/08/2010 - Solanus Cambridge Bay leaves today and headed for the distance of about 750 nm (nearly 1,400 km) Port Tuktoyaktuk. The accompanying Solanusowi Anna Swedish yacht, due to poor health, he had to get off the crewman. Therefore, Monika Witkowska "sit in" on Anne and Captain Borje help in overcoming that stage. In the near future Solanus in principle should not have ice cream and navigation in a 4-bed composition should not be a problem for the crew. Mutual assistance in the Arctic is a normal thing. And, to sail in two boats is always livelier.

29/08/2010 - Solanus arrived Cambrirge Bay. 90 miles from the port came across a compact field of ice, but luckily arrived at the port.

25/08/2010 - Gjoa Haven. Solanus is standing in the bay at anchor, Gjoa Haven (only takes a tiny waterfront tourist boats and commercial) in the company of three other boats. As well as the Swedish yacht (Anna and Ariel) Finnish yacht anchored in overcoming a Northwest Passage from west to east. 4 yachts in the bay, where Amundsen kotwiczył are sensational for residents and tourists. As the captain reported Radliński, Solanus went from ice cream with a slightly porysowanymi sides. Due to the robustness Solanus paved the way for Swedish yachts "rozpychając" pack ice. After a brief rest and the addition of catering, especially vegetables, Solanus moves on his way. There are still over 3800 nm (7,000 km) to Vancouver.Njablizszym port would be Cambridge.

For now, continue the path is free of ice, but the sailors encounter fog and strong storm winds. Only in Alaska opływaniu starts in that part of the polar winter.  

Captain Bronislaw Radliński thank Mrs. Wieslaw Siódmiak, the owner of the bakery "7 Siódmiak" for the bread that still tastes the same as three months ago in the Western Hills. Just him even more than a month. Sailors from other boats during the visit Solanus are full of admiration for this bread.

Information for fans of Monica Witkowska. Monica has damaged the laptop and we can have a temporary problem with the transmission of information on the blog.

15/08/2010 - Solanus arrived today to Pond Inlet. The crew received from Captain Anthony Bigaj maps of ice and after examining them decide on their choice of future. Radliński captain said that they intend to leave tomorrow morning local time. Time difference - 6 hours. Due to the high mountains, which obscures the communications satellites, "GPS Locator" position of the boat can be communicated regularly.

08/04/2010 - In Solanusie when in Ilulissat engine was repaired. Damian joined the crew Chorążewicz, who also took part Greenland Arctic cruise in 2003. The remainder of the expedition will be attended by Cpt. Bronislaw Radliński, Roman Nowak, Witold Kantak, Monika Witkowska, and Damian Chorążewicz.

07/28/2010 - With the rest of the expedition had to resign if Jacek Mrowicki, who returned to the Polish. During a trip to the glacier has renewed an injury - broken left knee ligament.

07/18/2010 - Solanus arrived at the port of Ilulissat.

07/13/2010 - The crew, after examining the maps of weather and ice flowed from Nuuk at July 13. 17.00 and chose a course on Ilulisat.

07/09/2010 - Conclusion of the third phase of flight, "Sea Trail Polonia 2010-2011." 
Solanus crew composed of Captain Bronislaw Radliński, Roman Nowak, Witold Kantak, Bigaj Anthony, Barbara and Krzysztof Kowalewski Kowalewska flowed together the section from Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland (19 June) to Nuuk, the capital of Greenland (July 9).

During the trip, the crew met the first icebergs, swam in the surrounding glaciers, and visited ports Paamuit Qaqortoq in the south of the island, survived many adventures of sailing and, of course, met with the Polish community in Greenland. As usual in such moments, in memory of meeting Captain Anthony Bigaj gave guests the book "Port of Bydgoszcz. 

The end stage is the exchange part of the crew left the board: Anthony Bigaj, Barbara Kowald and Krzysztof Kowalewski. In the remainder of the expedition (Nuuk-Vancouver, which include the Northwest Passage) will participate Cpt. Bronislaw Radliński, Roman Nowak, Witold Kantak, and embarked in Nuuk, Witkowska Monika and Jacek Mrowicki.

27/06/2010 - Crew Solanus: Greetings from Qaqortoq in Greenland. The road from Reykjavik - superexpres. Just after leaving we had to tack on a little NW. Then KAPE Faravel course. 3-6 with a good wind direction. Only yesterday, "we got" 8B, also from a good direction. Daily Record - 144 miles. But by midnight flauta and the engine and enjoy the fjord and icebergs reached the harbor. Stop 2-3 days. Then - Nuuk, the capital of Greenland.

16/06/2010 - The crew of the yacht Solanus met on Wednesday, June 16, with the Consul General of Poland in Reykjavik Ms. Danuta Szostak. During the meeting, the master of Bronislaw Radliński discussed the route and purpose of the expedition, "Polonia 2010-2011 Maritime Trail," and Captain Anthony Bigaj handed book, "Port of Bydgoszcz. On June 17 the crew will participate in the Independence Day celebrations - the biggest national holiday in Iceland. In Reykjavik, the exchange part of the crew. Odo returned to the country Mikułan, Stanislaw Guzek and Kazimierz Stasinski. At the third stage from Reykjavik to Nuuk (Greenland) boarded Bigaj Anthony, Barbara and Krzysztof Kowalewski Kowald. The crew completes stocks this step removes small technical faults, and in his spare time he visits the most charming corners of Iceland. We met with great interest the Poles living there. They, and especially sailors Olgierd, Luke and Isabella's kindness is immense. With the settlement of the case becomes very simple.

06/14/2010 - June 13 evening, a boat moored in the port Solanus in Reykjavik. During their visit in the city crew will meet with the Poles and will be visiting the island.

28/05/2010 - Solanus sailed from the port of Skagen. Crew: Bronislaw Radliński - captain, Roman Nowak - I officer, Stanislaw Guzek - second officer, Witold Kantak - III officer, Odo Mikułan and Kazimierz Stasinski

27/05/2010 - Solanus called at Skagen. Here, an exchange of crews.
The first stage Expeditions from Gdansk - the Skagen, it's time to check the boat and equipment. Zaształowanie also time for more than 2 tons of food. Solanus after the load is heavier by more than 4 tons (food, fuel, equipment), and his immersion is higher by about 20 cm.
"Along the way," Solanus called at Kolobrzeg, to remove minor problems with the propulsion system. Also docked in Copenhagen, where he supplemented by maps and then to the Elsinore.

16/05/2010 - began the trip, "Polonia 2010-2011 Maritime Trail." From the port of the crew sailed the Western Hills composed of Bronislaw Radliński - captain, Roman Nowak - I officer, Stanislaw Guzek - second officer, Witold Kantak - III officer, Anna Tataruch, Sobacka Violetta, Marek Nowak

04/05/2010 - final preparations are underway for the trip, "Polonia 2010-2011 Maritime Trail." For more information about what is going on - also the site

02.07.2009 - Bydgoszcz Solanus boat returns to the sea routes!. After a three-season boat repairs, he returned to his keji in Gdansk - the Western Hills. Press Releases: Express BydgoszczGazeta PomorskaTVPPhoto Gallery

11/27/2005 - s / s Solanus returned after 14 years to Bydgoszcz in order to make extensive renovations. Renewing a boat may exclude from the navigation at least for one season.

Technical Data

Technical s / s Solanus
Basic data:
construction site: Rolling Stock Repair Works in Bydgoszcz (now PESA Bydgoszcz SA)
Year built: 1992
launching place: Gdańsk
owner: Sailing Section Regiolanego Bydgostia Rowing Association in Bydgoszcz
Yacht type: J-80
Material: Steel
Hull length: 14.5 m (47')
maximum width: 3.56 m (11.5')
Length waterline: 11.93 m
boat weight: 13 t
ballast weight: 5 tons
Draft: 1.95 m (6.3')
Total sail area: 79 m2
seal: 23 m2
mainsail: 40 m2
Bezan: 16 m2
Number of beds: 9
Engine: "Perkins' 37 kW
Fuel tank capacity: 500 l
Water tank capacity: 600 l
Additional equipment:
Radar: Raymarine R70RC Plus, the antenna - Raymarine 18 in 2D. 2kW
GPS: Garmin GPS 128
Navtex Target Pro-Plus
Radio: VHF Sailor RT 2048 VHF
EPIRB: 406 MHz EPIRB McMurdo