Winrich von Kniprode, a Teutonic Grand Master is known as the boating pioneer in Mazury. He sailed his wooden boat across the Great Lakes from the north to the south in 1379. His boat had to be carried between the lakes in those days but 400 years later the lakes were joined by canals and locks and the most popular Polish yachting waterways were created.
The Great Mazurian Lakes route starts in Nidzkie Lake and goes to Węgorzewo on Lake Mamry and is about 80 km long, but with its many winding branches – this can reach 200 km. The Pisa and Narew rivers are its natural prolongation, along which, through Zegrzynski Bay and along the Zerański canal created in the 16th century, Warsaw can be reached.
You can’t go yachting in the Mazury district without visiting a tavern. They are usually dark, filled with long tables, where the singing of the yachtsmen is boisterous and loud as they compete with different shanties. Zeza in Sztynort is one of the best known taverns.
Interesting cruises can be taken not only in the Mazury. Polish yachtsmen also like the long and twisting Jeziorak or Wdzydze, in the shape of a cross, in Kaszuby, and the star-like Drawsko Lake. White sails can also be spotted on Gopło Lake as well as on the waters around Myślibórz and Barlinek in the west of Poland.
Yachting on the Solinski Bay, encircled by tree clad hills, is also a beautiful adventure. There are islands, fjord shore lines, lots of quiet bays and large empty spaces on a lake as big as a sea. The most important shanty festival in Poland takes place here in summer and very often the most famous maritime celebrities participate in it; for example the goddess Proserpine and her husband Neptune.
To sail – particularly on the sea – a license is required. These can be obtained after completing a course organised in cooperation with the Polish Sailing Association. Without a license you can only use small inland sailing vessels or be piloted by someone who possesses all the necessary documents and has the experience to navigate in these waters.