Image oh Luka's latest position (nov 18) courtesy of the expedition website (click to enlarge).
Tomek and Wacek 'wrong-way' voyage update: The Horn...Amen!

Posted: Nov 27, 2007 06:43 am EST
( On the boat: 265 Days, 05 Hours, 54 Minutes, 31 Seconds. East to west single-handed, non-stop, around the world - Tomek and Wacek are closing in on the Horn - against the wind and with some issues to fix.

"Again 'down', again dragons on deck, again this 'd ... mn' gasket leaks, and transmission overheats," Tomek frets.

"Before passing Horn against wind and current, I have to have a working engine, otherwise I will lose my most important asset in this round; the ability to dodge. Otherwise what would remain is only to put out the mouth in the way of the coming fist of the giant, without the possibility of protecting the throat..."

This dispatch was the last word from the Captain - four days back.

The Plan

"I do not intend to be a hero, at least not for such reason. I still have to take all this apart, take out the zimering and somehow seal it better, and then figure out a more effective oil coolant. How beautiful life would be now, if we were passing Horn from west to east along with the wind and current, like a normal, wise man would do. From west to east one can only sail too quickly, but then it suffices to throw over the stern some cables, with something at the end..."

"We will have to somehow go against the wind and current which will be backing us down, and Luka is almost five meters around the hips and 'climbs up' reluctantly."

"Thanks to Krzysiek from Long Beach, I found a perfect place for dodges"; a well hidden bay where we can wait out the fast-moving fists of wind and waves, 10 nm north from Horn. When only our friend wind will tire and turn, then we will move. But in order for this operation to succeed, we have to somehow sail the narrow canals to the sheltered anchorage and then safely sail out of it. From the above its clear that no matter what caused the leak I HAVE TO BE ABLE TO FIX the damn gasket. Amen."

March 6th 2007 at 12:28 (GMT-08:00), Tomek kicked off his trip around the world single-handed and without stops from East to West. The voyage goes 'the wrong way' - that is against the prevailing winds.

Where you normally would adjust the sails a couple of times a day at the most, going against the winds makes for a far more stressful and demanding journey. But hardship is the Polish' middle name and so Tomek has sailed against nature around infamous spots such as the Cape Horn and Cape of Good Hope. Why? For no reason at all - but to fulfill a lifelong dream.

Polish Tomasz Lewandowski grew up trailing about the Jeziorak lake in Poland. His desire to sail the world alone is as old as he is. At 20, he fixed up Luka an old 7,5 m long sinuate yacht built from straw. It took one year to transform her - in his eyes at least - to the 'Princess of the Jeziorak'.

In the mid 80's, Tomek bought materials for Rudy, a 12 m long yacht he planned to build. Marriage (as usually happens in such circumstances, notes the website) put the vision of a sea-worthy yacht on hold, and Tomek found himself a responsible father building a new house instead.

After some years a hurricane" struck Tomek's life. The marriage and the home vanished, leaving Tomek with nothing left but an old dream. He left for America in 1990 and worked in New Bedford (MA) fishing for scallops, and later on the Kodiak Island (Alaska), and the Bering Sea. Soon, he was the owner of a small construction company in Seattle (WA) and Mammoth Lakes (CA).

That's when he met Beata: The very first time I met Tomek, he said, one day Im going to sail the world alone and then Ill tell you all about it, she said. For the next years, Tomek would drag Beata around marinas looking at yachts. "Close your eyes and imagine, thats my Luka standing there, he told her. "She was not there yet, but she already had a name," Beata says.

Late June in 2003, Beata came home to find that Tomek had left her for another woman. He was in Santa Barbara, CA, and it was love at first sight. "A week later Tomek called...either he missed me or maybe he wanted to show off his new fiancé ...who knows?" Beata reports. Of course I went to CA right away, to see my new rival ;-)

Go to the expedition website for the rest of the story - about the first night onboard Luka, the Mikado 56' that finally seduced Tomek - and the long road before her maiden voyage around the world with Tomek, Wacek - and Beata at the keyboard back home.