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Zawisza Czarny - what does our name mean?

To start, allow us to teach you how to pronounce it. Zavisha Charny may be a close enough representation in English, when you pronounce the "char" as in "charm, and "y" as in ready.

Zawisza Czarny was a Polish knight who lived in the years 1375 to 1428. He was famous not only for his skills and bravery, but because he always keept his word - no matter what. His name became synonymous with the word "trustworthy" in the Polish language. That's one reason for the name - seems like it doesn't have much to do with sailing. But wait, there's more...

Poland had a very dramatic and often tragic history. The major reason for it was our location: just between Russia from the east and Germany from the west. From the South we had either the might of the Ottoman Empire trying to invade the Christian Europe or the Austro-Hungarian Empire. As a result of this unfortunate location both World Wars have been fought on Poland's territory. Not only this. By the end of 18th century, the Russian Empire, Prussia, and the Austrian Empire signed an agreement, based on which they divided Poland into 3 pieces, invaded our country, and took it out of existence for 150 years. Poland, however, always lived in the hearts of the Polish people.

At the end of World War I, Poland was reinstated as a country on November 11, 1918 and gained access to the Baltic Sea. Be patient - we're getting closer to the sailing part. After World War I, Poland was a devastated country and the recreation of the state and it's structures was a formidable task. At this time Polish Scouting groups were created. One of the sections of the Polish Scouting Organization was devoted to a propagation of sailing.

By 1934, the Polish Scouting Organization had purchased an older three masted gaff rigged, 37.5 meter OAL, schooner as a main training vessel. They named her "Zawisza Czarny". You see we're sailing now! Unfortunately, "Zawisza Czarny" did not survive during the German agression against Poland in 1939 that ignited World War II. In 1952, the old "Zawisza Czarny" was replaced with a new three masted, steel schooner. "Zawisza Czarny II" is now the flagship of the Polish Scouting Organization and the largest sailing vessel in any Scout organization in the world. She proudly carries the number PZ-1 on the main sail. S/Y Zawisza Czarny has taken part in many international events. One of the most important was The Peace Cruise in which Zawisza Czarny took a number of young people from various countries aboard and sailed around the world.

For us, the name "Zawisza Czarny" has a lot of meaning: the famous knight, the first Polish sporting sailing vessel, and a reflection of Polish history. For a Canadian sailor it could be something like "Bluenose" but with a more meaningfull name, like Henry Hudson, John Davies or Alexander Mackenzie. Now, if we haven't bored you to death, we hope you know a little bit more about our name!

We regularly participate in many local regattas and sailing trips on Lake Ontario, Georgian Bay, Florida, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. We also organize famous shanties festivals.

Latest Successes

In addition to many successes in local regattas on Lake Ontario, our latest major achievements in racing include:

  • Repeated participation in the Chicago-Makinac Race and Lake Ontario 300, each over 300 miles. Numerous first and second place finishes on s/y “Jaeger” and s/y “Husaria”,
  • Canadian Championships in the popular and difficult J-24 class in 2007 and 2009, first in Ontario every year since 2006,
  • Participation in World Championships in J-24 class in 2006, 2009, 2012 and preparation for 2014,
  • First place in Operation Sail, Charlestown to Boston in 2010 on s/y „Fazisi",
  • First place in the Heineken Regatta in 2007,
  • Organization of the annual and popular long-distance race in memory of our good friend and great sailor Mark Gosieniecki,
  • Organization of the annual regatta "Zawisza Cup".

Tourist cruises we recently organized include:

  • 2013: Spain, Balearic Islands, 1 week cruise,
  • 2012 – 2013: Trip on s/y “Husaria” from San Francisco via Panama Canal, Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Halifax, Toronto to Chicago,
  • 2012: Wagner Rally – British Virgin Islands,
  • 2011: “Sail Croatia” – 2 weeks, 5 boats, 70 sailors participating,
  • 2010: “Sail Greece” – 1 week, 8 boats, 80 sailors participating,
  • Cruises on “Zawisza Czarny”, “Pogoria”, “Fazisi” and „Kapitan Borchard”,
  • Numerous cruises in the Caribbean.

In recognition of our 15 years of activity, we received a special award from Polish Yachting Association (PZŻ). Several of our sailors have also received the gold badge of merit from the PZŻ.

We actively work with other Polish clubs, particularly ones associated with the Polish Yachting Association of North America (PYANA), as well as with other clubs and sailors in Poland.

Head Executive Board

Marta Skibinska Commodore
Walter Golab Past Commodore
Lech Truszkowski Vice Commodore - Organization
Irek Zubko Vice Commodore - Regattas
Krzysztof Luczak Secretary
Andrew Muszyński Treasurer
Jerry Bulkowski Boatswain

Our club is a member of:

Proporzec i Godlo

Club's Statue (in Polish)



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"Zawisza Czarny"

In 1996 a group of Polish sailors from Hamilton, Ontario decided to create the first Polish sailing club in Canada. We were already sailing in Canadian clubs, but we dreamed of sailing based on Polish teachings and traditions, and with our Polish friends. We chose the name "Zawisza Czarny", referring to the rich Polish historical traditions associated with this knight, as well as the great Polish tall ship.......