“We left our native Poland back in 1987 to sail around the world and we eventually settled in America. Nearly 30 years to the day in 2017, we set off on our second circumnavigation with the Oyster World Rally 2017-19 in our Oyster 56 Shanties,” says Jacek.
“We considered many other boats but once we had visited Oyster and seen the craftsmanship, there was only going to be one outcome.” he continues. “It would have taken us many years to plan the adventure on our own. But the Oyster World Rally takes care of so much of the logistics, so we could just concentrate on maintaining our boat and enjoying the voyage, this time in much more comfort.”
“We bought her just four months before the start of the 2017-19 rally. She was delivered to me in Grenada five weeks before we set off with the fleet from Antigua. And Dobra saw her for the first time just two weeks before the start!
“When we bought here, she was called Duchess and she was already a veteran of the first Oyster World Rally. 24 hours before the start of the rally, we called on King Neptune to rename her Shanties. We were in Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua and the ritual involved offering champagne to the Gods of the north, south, east and west winds. With the Oyster family cheering us on, the champagne flowed over the boat and the ceremony was complete.”
“It was great to see this Oyster going on another big voyage,” said Eddie Scougall, Technical Support Manager at the time. “Duchess served her owner Leo Nagtegaal very well in the first rally. I truly believe that these boats have a soul, and if you look after them, they will look after you.”
Jacek and Dobra’s first Oyster World Rally was nothing if not eventful. They celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary – pearl – on the beautiful Society Island of Huahine in French Polynesia. And of course, it was a unique celebration ‘the Oyster way’.
“Our wedding was a dream – we were married in Liverpool Cathedral in 1987. So in 2017, we timed our anniversary perfectly, landing in the ‘Garden of Eden’ to celebrate with our Oyster friends on the palm-fringed shores of Baie d’Avea.” explains Dobra. “With its lush forests, untamed landscape, quaint villages and crystal-clear lagoon, it was just idyllic.”
The bride looked stunning in turquoise, adorned with perfumed gardenia, bougainvillea and orchid leis on her head and shoulders. Guests were given a colourful lei to wear round their necks – a sign of friendship. Dancing on the soft white sandy beach continued way into the night, with Jacek’s rum concoctions ensuring a few sore heads in the morning.
Originally from Poland, Dobra and Jacek currently live in the United States. They are an adventurous couple who have also lived in Australia, South Africa, and Canada. Dobra is a medical doctor while Jacek is an electrical engineer. As experienced sailors, they have sailed from France to Australia, rounded Cape Horn, sailed to Antarctica, navigated the Patagonia channels and Greenland’s coastline. They have also and spent many years sailing around the Pacific and the Caribbean in addition to their first Oyster World Rally.
Unfortunately, for reasons beyond their control, the couple could only to complete the first half of the 2017-19 Rally. This was ironic as Duchess and her owner had joined the 2013-14 Rally late and only completed the second half of the voyage. So they signed up for the 2022-23 Rally, determined to finally complete the voyage from start to finish.
At the time of writing (mid-February 2022) Dobra and Jacek have sailed over 1,100 nm across the Caribbean, heading towards the Panama Canal for the first stopover of the current Rally. We look forward to hearing about their continuing adventures over coming months and you can follow them on the Rally Live page here.