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Krystyna Chojnowska-Liskiewicz: the first lady of the oceans

The First Lady of the oceans

Poland's Krystyna Chojnowska-Liskiewicz, a shipbuilding engineer and yachting sea captain, was the first woman to single-handedly circumnavigate the world.

The race for the title of the "First Lady of the Oceans" began for the Polish sailor on February 28, 1976 in the Canary Islands. She sailed aboard the "Mazurek", a beautiful Conrad 32 type ocean sloop constructed in Poland, with the length of 9.51 meters (31.2 ft), width of 2.70 meters (8.86 ft) and the total sail area of 35 square meters (376.7 sq. ft) (the sailor's husband headed the yacht's construction team).

The route led from Las Palmas towards Barbados, then on through the Lesser Antilles, the Caribbean and the Panama Canal to the Pacific Ocean. After that, it followed through Tahiti and Fiji toward Australia. From there, Krystyna Chojnowska-Liskiewicz headed west across the Indian Ocean toward Mauritius and the southern coast of Africa, and later north along its western coast. She completed the "grand loop" on March 20, 1978 at 16o 08.5' N latitude and 35o 50' W longitude. On April 21, she entered the port of Las Palmas after sailing 31,166 nautical miles and 401 days of solitary navigation, met with applause from friends and journalists. She arrived in Poland on June 18, 1978.

The race for the title of the "First Lady of the Oceans" was won by the Pole, although two other sailors had entered the race: Anne Gash of Australia and New Zealander Naomi James, who sailed aboard the Express Crusader. The achievement of the Lady Captain was recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records, while the "First Lady of the Oceans" was admitted to the elite group of members of The Explorers Club in New York.

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