Almost there! Tomek and Wacek's around the world single-handed and without stopover voyage East to West started March 6th 2007 and has bagged both Cape Horn and Cape of Good Hope against the wind. (Click to enlarge)
Tomek and Wacek 'wrong-way' voyage update: Almost there - here comes the danger part

Posted: Feb 11, 2008 07:40 am EST
( January 6, on day 306 of their voyage, Tomek and Wacek passed Cape Horn at last. "Were sailing," was the triumphant message. On their 341 day out, here comes the danger part: seems the Polish sailor has rigged a distilling apparatus on board. "Tomorrow we will fire up..." was the last message. One week ago.

The sea is calm said the report of February 2nd. "Maybe we will jump into the water today, scrape a little, again we are overgrown on water line," reads the log.

And then the sailor goes into detail about his moonshine system: "It looks like all the yeasts died. Based on what I know from instructions of the home distiller, which I got many, the yeasts had to die from excess of alcohol."

"I stuck it with dough, but this changed nothing"

"The second day after mixing the mash, I tightened the distiller, I put in a tube with a bit of water, and then for a few days everything gurgled beautifully. But the last two days the gurgling in the tube slowed, yesterday I suspected the cork was not tight, so for certainty I stuck it with dough, but this changed nothing."

"I blew solidly in the tube, suspecting that it is stuck, and then it gurgled for a moment, but this was only pressure leveling, after my blow. A moment ago I unscrewed the cork, the mash smells like bad wine..."

The next day, Tomek said the distillatory was almost ready; mounted with a large crab pot. "Pressure cooker seemed too small; we have almost 25 L of mash to heat up," the Captain reported. "I drilled a small hole in the lid, I put ending to the hose, I stuck a gasket on the lid edge. We will use 3 pairs of grip-tongs and a few little clamps to tighten the lid; it must be air-tight..."

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 (the ship dog) - and Beata at the keyboard back home.