I think I was 14, when my parents signed me up for sailing camp.
Sailing on the ketch, which was built based on old wooden ship’s boat from M/S Batory, with two masts and gaf rigs turned out to be beginning of wonderful adventure that lasts until nowadays. I was fascinated by contact with nature and possibility of travelling the world, transporting by the power of wind just for free. Next stage of my new passion was obtaining sailing certificates and sailing on my own during short and long cruises. Unfortunately, as I was getting older, I has less and less time for sailing. I was working for big companies, which made me a wealthy man but that also limited spare time I could devote to my sailing passion.
It was July 2015 when I was coming home from yacht cruise, which I organized for my children. I met a person whose story made me think of my life. It turned out that I was chartering a yacht, from the man I used to know only from yacht magazine adverts, Romuald Osmolik. If I only knew back then that this conversation will turn my life upside down. Mr. Osmolik quit his work to have more time for sailing. He built his own small shipyard and he was building there yachts every winter to prepare them for a sailing season for almost 30 years.
I thought it's a great idea for living. I managed to save some money. I developed manual skills and had some technical background.
I successfully completed many big projects for my customers. Maybe it was right time to start doing something for my own? The seed was planting in my head when I was driving home. I could feel awakening of my sailing passion. During one of the stops at petrol station I bought sailing magazine “Zagle”. In the past, I used to read it from cover to cover. I came home and all I could think of, was the idea of having my own workshop where I will be renovating and building sailing yachts. I started skimming the newspaper and I found mysterious article “Book yacht”. In this brief publication, Dominik Zycki, presented YD41 – a yacht that was designed by authors of well-known academic book „Principles of yacht design”. YD41 was supposed to be an example of yacht which was designed with all the principles, included in the book guide by authors. The publication said that if anyone is interested in bringing the theoretical concept of yacht to life, then authors are interested in granting a license to YD41… That was a moment when the idea of having my own small shipyard got confronted with the vision of building a book yacht know all around the world. I believed that someone, who decides to build already advertised yacht with well-prepared design, is doomed to success. I started creating visions in my head: promoting yacht in docks and exhibitions, races, meetings with satisfied customers. The customers which are as well passionate about sailing as me.
That is how I jumped from dream of renovating old inland yachts to serial manufacturing ocean class yacht.
I sent brief e-mail to Michal Orych – YD41 constructor and one of the authors of “Principles of yacht design” book guide. I asked him if it is still possible to discuss licensing rights to manufacture YD41. I was thinking that building YD41 is a great deal. I was afraid that someone else will get it first. I started gathering information how to organize such venture, what is going on the market, what kind of technologies should be involved in yachts manufacturing, etc. I organized many ventures in my career, so I was full of energy and extremely excited about this new challenge. All the emotions reached the point after two weeks, when I received e-mail from Michal Orych. We agreed on the date quickly and in the beginning of September 2015 I was sitting in constructor’s office in Goteborg to discuss possibility of building YD41. ack then I realized what kind of project was constructing YD41. Michal Orych welcomed me and handed me 3D printed model of YD41 hull in 1:1000 scale. When I saw it, I immediately realized that we are talking about very fast unit. Five years later I was able to verify how fast. After negotiating all legal and financial terms, I had finalized license contact for YD41 manufacturing rights. I felt like a winner. I bragged about starting to manufacture the fastest tourist yachts in the world.
My enthusiasm did not last long.
I prepared detailed business plan. When I scrutinized my concept, I understood how complex this venture is going to be. It raised my doubts and concerns when I realized that completing this project might require giving up my career and going into unknown. Thoughts swirled around my head: I had partially promoted yacht design, but it was still a huge financial, logistic, technological and competence challenge. I felt overwhelmed by awareness of difficulties that I might face in the future. There were many doubts. I tried to stop thinking about all concerns that were bothering me. Moreover, I asked one of my ex-business partners to invest in the project. It was supposed to help me handle the project financially. I was afraid of failing my close relatives and partner. My concerns were so strong that there was a time when I was considering breaking the agreement with YD41 constructors.
I do not give up easily, so once the seed was planted in my head, I did everything I could to make it come true. That helped me a lot when I had to deal with dead end situations. I started from organizing production process. I was afraid of building brand new shipyard for such demanding design. I assumed that first unit will be manufactured by one or few subcontractors. I started intensive research. I visited many Polish shipyards. I asked for quotes for specific manufacturing phases. I was looking for technical facilities that will make sure that manufactured yacht will reflect yacht design fully. I was sharing a story of me building perfectly designed, the fastest and the lightest yacht at the same time when I was looking for contractors and suppliers. My story was arousing emotions. Experienced boat builders were nodding with disbelief that 41-foot yacht can be lighter than 6,5 t. I was gathering offers and my contact list was getting bigger and bigger. I drove around 10.000 km and I completed my research. I knew who has technical facilities, I knew the prices and completion dates. I had to make a choice. I kept in mind my two top priorities – time and cost. My partner and I had limited funds. Because we were working on the new project, we did not have chances to get external funds. We had to minimize completion date and keep the expenses as low as possible at the same time. Due to above, I chose small shipyard close to Wroclaw. The arguments for this shipyard were technical facilities and quick initiation of work. Shipyard had brand new computer controlled 5 axis simultaneous milling unit. The milling unit could work on the deck and hull at the same time, which could avoid any mismatches between models and design. New production halls guaranteed perfect conditions for YD41 manufacturing. After detailed negotiations, we made a deal, paid an advance, and started manufacturing the models. Ever since that day, all the works accelerated. The idea started in July. Meeting with designers took place in September. By the end of November, I had the agreement with subcontractor. Everything costed several days of work, hundred hours in the car, thousand hours spent on the phone calls but at the end I knew I successfully completed first stage of the project.
At least I thought so...
When prepayment was paid the subcontractor was supposed to start his work immediately so the YD41 hull model could be completed by January 2016. The team prepared bases of the models from connected blocks of polystyrene foam. Unfortunately, no one started milling the bases. As the time was passing by, I was pushing the subcontractor and he revealed bad information for our project. It turned out that new milling unit was not ready to start working, even though we were told otherwise. Some parts were missing, and operators were not trained to use the mill. Constant pressure, threats and my presence in the shipyard enforced start of the work in January. The situation was tensed. Accurate measures and supervision of specific stages ended with high quality hull model with accuracy determined of 0,5 mm on the 12,5 m length. Despite the delay and weeks of stress, I was satisfied with the result. The team started working on deck model.
Unfortunately, it dulled my vigilance. I put all my efforts on preparing marketing campaign for this project. I hired talented Marketing Specialist, with who I created FORSATIO Yachts brand, logo, and marketing plan. We wanted to report to the world whole manufacturing process and show that we are paying attention to all YD41 details. It turned out that thousands of people are waiting for the outcome of our work. Yacht designers from all over the world, who knew “Principles of yacht design”, were waiting for the result – sailing yacht that will prove rightness of theoretical concept made by book authors. In that time, I was supervising building model of the deck once a week.
Unfortunately building progress slowed down. There was no progress of work for three weeks.
It seems that the shipyard owner lied about new impediments. After few arguments with him, the team started working on our project again. However, the more frequently we were visiting the shipyard, more lies of the owner were revealed. Luckily, I was in touch with Michal Orych, who helped me expand my knowledge of composite materials. That helped me determine easily, technological changes, that owner of the shipyard did behind my back. He used poor quality materials, which allowed him to save his budget. It could impact models and forms in a way that they could not meet our final expectations. Shipyard’s owner lies and delays in the project caused trust issues between me and my partner. Moreover, the whole project was compromised in my partner’s eyes. The costs went high above estimated numbers and we could not see when the work is going to be finished. After violent discussions, my partner decided to give up and demanded repay of his financial contribution. I spent all my savings to continue the investment. I even had to go to debt and start looking for new investor.
The tasks on the deck model went slower and slower. I realized that I will not be able to complete the project with this subcontractor. I decided that all work must be stopped until I find another solution. Unfortunately, other subcontractors offered very distanced due dates and much higher rates. It seems that the project will fail. This would bring a lot of negative consequences to me – going bankrupt and feeling the biggest failure in my life.
I did not give up. I even pretended that everything is fine and covered all the expenses for marketing campaign.
I had many meetings with potential investors. I was also preparing for yacht exhibition in Sweden. I was inspecting more and more shipyards, looking for a new and decent subcontractor patiently. Michal Orych suggested that I should meet Andrzej Arminski – well known polish constructor and boat builder. Moreover, Andrzej is a person who has the same definition of sailing as me – an opportunity to explore the world. I was very excited about this meeting. Andrzej was a legend to me. Mr. Arminski runs his own shipyard in Szczecin. I was hoping that we would like to carry out YD41 project when he sees that it is a dream yacht for all the sailors who want to sail fact and far. I left the meeting very surprised. I felt like someone threw me into cold water while I was asleep. Mr. Amrinski did not agree to carry out YD41 project. When he got familiar with the YD41 story, he looked me in the eyes and told me to rent a hall and build the yacht my myself.
The whole world was spinning around. I was sitting in my car when I started looking for pros and cons of having my own shipyard.
I realized that the biggest obstacle was lack of competencies. Due to that fact I was looking for a subcontractor. Other shipyard had people who knew how to build forms, how vacuum infusion works. They just knew how to build boats. Finding proper hall and buying all necessary tools was not as complicated gathering well trained team. I was tired of inspecting the shipyards. Mr. Arminski stimulated me to change manufacturing method. I started looking for the people who have respective knowledge and experience. I found the hall that met requirements to build YD41. I also found the person who had 25 years’ experience in composite materials. I went to Orust, Sweden, for boat show with YD41 model in 1:10 scale. At the time I could inspect how famous Hallberg-Rassy shipyard works. After boat show, I finalized agreement with new partner who accepted building plan for our own shipyard. It has been a year since I read about “book yacht” – I already had my own shipyard, the team and milled models of all yacht composite parts. There was new episode of perfect yacht dream on.
To fulfill all project requirements, I wanted all building stages to follow all possible norms. In the team there was one person experienced in yacht building. Remaining team members were recruited from employment office and even neighboring prison.
Luckily, yacht designer, Michal Orych was involved in the production process. He wanted to make sure that built yacht is as consistent as possible with theoretical concept. He offered his support and I gave him permission to undermine all details. For following months, we had thousands of phone calls and Michal could see live stream from shipyard though web cameras. We were solving many technical riddles every day. I realized that I need to make my team stronger. I had to expand my contact list to make sure that we have technological support and have more suppliers.
Models, that drove to my shipyard for 400 km, were not ready to be transported thus they needed some fixes after they arrived. Shape and measurements did not change; however, the surface was covered with irregularities, which had to be hand handled. It turned out that it was work for 10 people for 4 months. The team was working hard, putting their blood and sweat on each model. Every day in my pep talk, I was reminding them that we are building the fastest tourist yacht in the world. It was cheering them up every time. Repetitive work with no electrical tools brought the result – irregularities that were visible on the joints of polystyrene foam blocks were slowly disappearing. Shape of the hull, which has been optimized in terms of water flow characteristics, did not change. Surface of the models started shining. I could start planning next production stages.
I was meeting new people and I noticed interesting phenomenon. It came out earlier.
I guess I was not paying attention to it. Big part of the meetings I had with engineers in shipyards, boatswains in the harbors and other people who do things with boats for living, had similar agenda. At first, I was throwing my enthusiasm around, I tried to share my passion for this project with them. I tried to show them my faith in this unique project, the project that will bring joy to all the sailors. I was very naive to hope, that people will get my vibes and I will get some help and support from them. When I was done roles were changed. I heard many allegations to the YD41 designers. Sometimes I got the feeling that all those people were pretty sure that they knew better how to design the yachts than “Principles of yacht design” authors. I heard countless words of criticism. There were time when I started having doubts in what I was building. Things I saw in shipyards were deviating from YD41 design. Also, production standards were deviating from what I saw in HallbergRassy shipyard. That feeling was not the worst part of those meetings. By the end of all those conversations there was something going on. Something that made me think that I might have “looser” written on my face. Maybe it was a mistake to drive to all those people with my one-year-old Mercedes? Usually, I was admitting that I have around 20 years of experience in business. I organized more than one venture. Even today, I cannot understand why all those people were convinced that I do not see their manipulations, unsuccessful fraud attempts or other cheats. As the time was passing by, I heard more gossips that many people in sailing industry wished me bad. They wanted this project to fail. Their wishes almost came true. It almost happened because project was jeopardized many times. Luckily, I managed to bring it to an end successfully. It almost happened, but luckily for me and you – my brothers’ sailors, there are angels and people, who really interested in sailing. They know that sailing is something more than defrauding another looser who decided to build his own yacht.
My persistence and ability to stop myself from saying bad words in difficult situations, helped me to reach to people who became YD41 allies. Moreover, now it turns out that we have more allies than we are initially though.
I will mention all of them in the special section on Forsatio web page, please have a look at those names. These people are special to me, they were working altruistically for YD41 project. Some of them received payments. They agreed for lower payments for the sake of this project. It’s hard to determine how much I learned from those people. They were engaged to teach me a lot. We respected each other and still do it, by being in touch. When I see former team of workers and YD41 fans, I can see that they all share one thing – sailing passion. They all have in common this utopian and romantic relationship with water and everything that is in it. Besides the hard work with those people, I had a chance to share our sailing adventure and sail YD41 in tests and regattas. They are still supporting me and want to help me. I am thankful for this, because without them YD41 would not be launched.
It was a year and a half, since I wrote that first e-mail to Michal Orych, until we could make hull form from the model. We made it through fixing and improving the models and it seemed that it will be smooth sailing. I do not know how smooth could be building prototype of sailing yacht. Despite very detailed project, technologist support, experienced engineers’ engagement almost each day was pleasant challenge. We had few technical questions each day. All the questions required immediate response. For someone not involved in the project it looked like serious technological problems. For me, the manager of this project, they were motivating challenges. In fact, I think that if the production has been completed without any impediments, it would have dulled the team’s vigilance and would have caused smaller or bigger disaster. Luckily, it did not happen to us. We were consequent in following all norms and constructors’ guidelines and it guaranteed that all strategic phases were completed as per initial expectations. We had many milestones during production. Achieving each milestone was occupied with many nerves. But no matter how stressed we were, the relief coming at the end of each milestone was the best prize.
It was a great feeling to observe how yacht is being made, how team gains experience and does its best.
We could not avoid small conflicts, several confusions and other dramas which are happening in stressful situations. We managed to find the way out of all the problems and continue the work. When we are building a house, when walls and roof are completed, it seems that house is ready to move in. We got the same feeling when we were building our yacht. We had completed forms, hull, and deck laminates. We thought that we are very close to YD41 launching. Unfortunately, we were working on the prototype and it required more tests. We also had to make out concepts and solutions for future. It lasted almost eternity. Finally, in the second half of 2018 we were ready for launching. The mast was waiting to be installed since winter. It was time to untick this stage. We were both exhausted and satisfied that we reached to this point.
And this is when impediments started to come. Even the simplest tasks got complicated.
I suspected human error as the cause, but who knows, maybe YD41 was too afraid to get wet yet. You could see YD41 timidity in all minor issues, which became major showstoppers. Road administration postponed issuing permission for oversize transport. Harbor administration did not allow launching. At first, I considered all those impediments as simple coincidence. All those coincidences costed us a lot of money and energy.
When mast producer – Selden Mast shipped us completed mast, we were planning to launch YD41 in Gdynia. So, we transported our handmade, 20 m carbon mast directly to Gdynia. The mast was waiting for launching in dry hangar. Unfortunately, when we received permission for yacht transport, it turned out that harbor administration did not allow for launching YD41 in Gdynia due to summer season. We had to find another harbor and transport the mast to updated location. It also took us some time. When we launched the yacht and transported the mast, it turned out that person responsible for installing the mast – a riger, got sick. It took us two weeks to find another riger willing to take care of this task. It was already an autumn, when we removed all obstacles. We had time to do only few tests (on hourly basis) and we had to put the yacht out of the water.
I was really hoping that no more coincidences will come up.
Hell no! All the following actions were postponing forever. We faced everything: missing packages, weather breakdowns, people designated for issuing specific administration decisions were away. We had to wait until next autumn (2019), to gather all paperwork that we needed to legally exploit the yacht. It was too late to race in the regattas or show YD41 on any boat show. I did not have any news to share with our Facebook community. No one would believe in such unfortunate sequence of events. I felt guilty although I could not trace any action that was unsuccessful because of me. It was end of 2019 season and YD41 did not raise its sails properly. Autumn 2019 was really depressing. I was hoping that we could at least take a photo session by drone. It could be a chance to send a message to the world that Forsatio Yachts still exists. Well, it seems that weather decided to disturb all my plans. I think that weather and Polish authorities were conspiring against me on that time. Only one day was appropriate to take few photos. Unfortunately, it was windless. We shot some sample video, but it did not reflect YD41 character.
The prototype was taken out to the wharf. I was depressed by the situation. I decided to make a lot of plans for spring 2020: launch the yacht as soon as possible, prepare for the season and show the world what I achieved. I guess I do not have to emphasis how my plans got compromised by COVID19 pandemic.
Luckily, the story has the happy end.
After first wave of pandemic, in June 2020, we launched the yacht. We mastered few things and yacht was ready for test and trainings. Our crew took a part in small, club regatta as a part of their onboarding. Zbigniew Gutkowski “Gutek” was curious what are YD41 capacities and he decided to take a helm. When Gutek was impressed with the yacht capacities, I was proud. One of the best Polish skippers confirmed that all struggles we suffered, were worth final, positive result.
I wanted to sign YD41 to the biggest number of regattas. Unfortunately – most of them got cancelled due to pandemic. We decided to compete in „Blekitna Wstega Zatoki Gdanskiej”. This is one of the most popular regatta in Poland thus there are many talented competitors and yachts. 116 units (in different classes) started racing. The weather was windy and waves were high. Our crew didn’t know the yacht very well. On the mast we had the cheapest sails – made from dacron. Luckily, Stanislaw Sawko, took the helm. He didn’t know the yacht well but he managed to give maximum energy from himself, the crew and the yacht. Only three monohull units managed to beat YD41. Those units were professional race yachts with professional crews. YD41 brought to their knees all tourists yachts that competed in the regatta. I cannot describe satisfaction I felt when I saw yacht performance. It looks like I really managed to build the fastest tourist yacht in the world. During this regatta I saw all the people that wished me bad, and it made me feel overjoyed when I saw them loosing with YD41. They were falling behind so badly that they were sailing into different direction.
Because of that success, people were interested in our yacht. Many crews came to visit marina, where YD41 docked.
I received few messages from people who were interested in buying YD41. IT was first big success of the yacht. It confirmed that I was right about all the efforts put in that project. The end of the season 2020 was around the corner. We managed to sign YD41 to small club regatta. “Kotwica” yacht club was the host. We tested two-man crew before double handed ORC regatta. The crew was Michal Kapa and Przemek Zoltowski. They won first race. They finished second race on the second place. We can all agree that training was successful. During this regatta YD41 won its first cup.
By the end of 2020 season, the yacht competed in "Deep Freeze" regatta. Offshore ORC regatta for 120 miles.
I wanted to check what will be the results for YD41 when we use demanding ORC calculations. Michal and Przemek finished the race 30 minutes before yacht that was second on the finish. Despite the troubles, which were effect of short practice on this yacht, the crew fulfilled their promise made the night before the race. Light on the top of the mast shown the directions for other crews in the night. Indeed, after ORC calculations were made, they ended up on seventh position. The race was remarkable. YD41 was far away from other yachts on each tack. To win ORC races on Forsatio, the crew must train harder on YD41. We need to equip the unit in better quality sails. Of course, we need to trust ourselves in Neptune. He made sure that all the benefit from first half of the race was balanced with still air in the second half.
I hope I will not have to wait much longer for new cups and titles in regattas! Anyway, the yacht gave its best shot. I am proud that this yacht can easily sail with an average speed of 7 knots. YD41 can sail to the farthest corners of the world fast and effortlessly. That was the point of YD41 concept and my personal goal to achieve when I started building this yacht.