“I worked on merchant ships, but when sailing I give my heart.” he used to say.
He was one of the longest working and most recognisable persona in the maritime history of the country, he used to be the President of The Sail Training Association Poland and received an enormous amount of awards and recognition, which would be impossible to list here.
To us he will always be an example of an excellent captain with all the qualities that this role demands. Andrzej Drapella has influenced and taught many and we will remember him for everything he has done and for the youth he has inspired. Below are just some of the yachts he sailed on, creating memories in the hearts of those who had the pleasure to sail with him.
Although he was known as an excellent sailor, to me what set him apart, was the fact that he had a very deep understanding for people. His success as a captain comes down in part to his successful crews, who respected and trusted him implicitly. Even the pirates boarding his ship came to respect his calm and good sense. He used to tell me as a little girl that when pirates boarded his ship, his concern was only ever for his crew. He offered pirates cigars and rum, showing them where to find the money and ensuring they left every man and woman in his care unharmed. His calm was similarly useful not so many years ago, when pulled over for speeding. His diplomacy and wry smile were still enough to win over the hearts of his adversaries.
One of the memories I will always keep is the feeling of grandfather’s pride. For some reason he was always very proud of me, sometimes if felt unfounded, but nevertheless very nice. He would always want to listen to my stories. When he could barely walk, he would still show up on all important family events, even if it took him an hour to walk from the car to home. He would just do it quietly and pretend it was meant to be a lovely walk.
I think he had a way of making people feel valued. He always made me feel special, that he was so proud of me. He would always want to celebrate things, have a reason to toast or take me for pizza, because he was not a very good cook himself 🙂
Thank you for taking me to Arctic with you. I will remember it forever. I wish you had danced on my wedding, like you said you would.