Malgorzata Czarnomska, 28, from Poland (near Warsaw) has been the Captain of Polish Class A vessel, Fryderyk Chopin, since April 2012. It is a major achievement for someone so young to take charge of a Class A vessel, especially when considering 'Gosia' as she is known by most, only took part in her first Tall Ships race just ten years ago on board Polish vessel Kapitan Glowacki.
Gosia has faced several challenges on her journey to become Captain but has demonstrated that determination and hard work can pay off. She explains: "It was very difficult to become Chief Mate as that is the first position where you are required to start commanding. I think being female meant that I was judged even more with my decisions called into question leaving little room for error. It was very black or white!"
Fryderyk Chopin will be competing in The Tall Ships Races 2012 with 50 crew and trainees on board. About one third of the young trainees have never sailed before. So how does a Captain prepare trainees for life on a Tall Ship as well as a Tall Ships race?!
Gosia explains: "When trainees join the ship we start focussing on sail handling skills and safety. We ensure they can all go aloft safely and test them on their knowledge of lines which they have to know before we leave port. We don't mention the race to begin with as they will learn soon enough how intense that can be!"
Gosia will be taking-up the position of Chief Mate for the race with a more experienced Captain joining the ship tomorrow. She promises that Fryderyk Chopin is a typically competitative ship so she could definitely be a contender for the first Race Prize Giving ceremony in Lisbon and one to track.
The Tall Ships Races 2012, Presented by Szczecin and organised by Sail Training International is taking place in the following host ports:
St Malo - Thursday 5 to Sunday 8 July (race start Monday 9 July)
Lisbon - Thursday 19 to Sunday 22 July
Cadiz - Thursday 26 to Sunday 29 July
A Coruña - Friday 10 to Monday 13 August
Dublin - Thursday 23 to Sunday 26 August
Behind the scenes insights on Twitter @tallshipsraces and Facebook