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Polish Sloop Sets Sail For Chicago

July 21, 1986

NEW YORK (AP) _ The Polish sloop that arrived late for the Statue of Liberty party got a small but spirited sendoff when it left New York for Chicago.

The Stomil, which reached New York on July 8, left Sunday for the Erie Canal as horns blared, a cannon boomed and a fireboat sprayed geysers in the air.

″Bon voyage and Godspeed 3/8″ a woman shouted. A half-dozen pleasure boats and police launches bobbed at its side and a police helicopter whirled overhead.

The Stomil’s itinerary on its roundabout trip home includes stops in Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago and Montreal.

The ship’s engine was damaged in the voyage from Poland and its crew spent two weeks waiting for wind in a becalmed Atlantic about 500 miles out of New York.

When it finally reached shore, the Stomil was welcomed by sympathetic mariners and Polish-Americans who set out to find the boat a new engine. Help finally came last week from the Volvo North America Corp., which donated a 35- horsepower motor.

The Stomil’s captain, Barbara Gajewska, marveled at the reception the Polish sailors had received.

″I would like to say thank you very much for all the people who have helped us ... for all the people who were so friendly,″ the captain said Sunday. ″I had never expected that our problems would be solved so good.″

Mrs. Gajewska is the second captain of the voyage. According to plan, she and her crew of seven men replaced the original captain and crew, and will be replaced in Montreal by a third captain and crew.

At the New York pier Sunday, the Stomil’s crew exchanged last-minute handshakes and hugs with wellwishers, many of whom spoke Polish. The sailors were outfitted in Operation Sail T-shirts and sported caps bearing the insignia of the New York Police Department’s Pulaski Association, whose members are Polish-Americans.

A bottle of champagne was popped, the crew hoisted glasses to those left behind, the ropes were untied and with much shouting, clapping and waving of arms, the Stomil was on its way.

A banner flapped from the bow, proclaiming in large red letters: ″Thank You New York.″ As a footnote, someone had affixed a bumper sticker to the banner, reading: ″It’s exciting to be Polish.″

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