“Whoever did not work at sea, only he hasn’t prayed truly to God”

Master T. Todorov

22 years earlier

2020-1998: STV Kaliakra for the second time with the valuable trophy

The crew of the training STV “Kaliakra” with Captain Todor Todorov is the recipient of the annual Cor Caroli Golden Globe Award for 1998. The barquentine is awarded with the valuable trophy for its 111-day long sailing and participation at the prestigious international regatta Cutty Sark 98 with a prize among the best Tall Ship in the world with sailed a total of more than 15,000 nautical miles.

Master Todor Todorov about himself and we about him:

I was born on August 9, 1958 in Varna, Leo zodiac sign, in the family of workers.

During the holidays we went to the beach with the boys from the neighborhood and envied the sailors in nice white uniforms.

I was 6th grade, when I first boarded a ship- Radetsky – along the river Danube.

After 7th grade I was admitted to the Mathematics High School. I remember being ninth in the entrance exam rankings. I trained regularly and enjoyed swimming, but I did not become a competitor. During my high school years, I did not take a serious role in sea sports, but several times with a group of boys we went to the rowing base of Club Breeze in the lake. I attended course for radio operators at DOSO (Voluntary Defense Assistance Organization). It was very interesting for me, with such a good teacher as Midshipman Kyurkchiysky.

In my family, only my uncle (I am named after him, Todor) had made several long voyages as a warranty electrical engineer from the shipyard. He was able to tell stories in a very interesting and fascinating way, and I was really proud of him. He was the first who pointed out to me that the seafaring profession is very nice and the best thing is being a captain. I was impressed by his story about a Polish captain who, in the terrible storm that hit the ship, remained calm and the captain’s cabin door was always open (which I still do today). There is one very true and clever thought: “Whoever did not work at sea, only he hasn’t prayed truly to God”

I entered the Naval School in 1977. I started with great desire and I found friends. During the practice with the ship “Nikola Vaptsarov” (one of the first training ships of the Naval School, built in 1947 as a motor-sailing three-masted hull schooner “Goryanin” in Tsarevo, originally intended to be a cargo ship. Length with bowsprit – 44 m, displacement 370 tons. Hull and deck – wooden (Strandzha oak and pine) She served as a training sail ship from 1951 to 1958. In 1958 – 1959 she was converted into a motor training ship.

I fell in love and I still love the seafaring profession. An unforgettable memory, not only for me, but for all the graduates of the Maritime School is the summer internship at the camp near Chernomorets- only sailing, boating, swimming and maritime practice. As a bit of a comical incident, I remember that on a sailing practice at the Sozopol – Pomorie sail crossing the weather got worse (it was June 19, 1978), we were taking everything cheerfully from the funny side – the boat (YAL-10 type) started to fill up with water and quickly sank. It took more than an hour before the old training ship «N. Vaptsarov » came to rescue us. The water was warm. I remember I didn’t have a life jacket, because a colleague who couldn’t swim well took two because he was afraid. We laughed a lot at that.

I owe a lot for what I am now in the profession, to many teachers from the Naval School.

Cap. Todorov has two higher education degrees: Naval School in Varna, majoring in Navigation, and Economics of the Transport, Sofia. His hobbies are foreign languages and Economy, he loves Bulgarian folklore and he is an excellent musician himself.

At that time there were great captains with a halo of legend around them, it was very respectable to meet them, or have the good luck to work under their command.

We didn’t have GPS at the time, had radar and sextans. We counted on the stars and the time seemed to go faster and more interesting while at sea.

Later I had the good luck to become a captain of the STV Kaliakra and of the training and production ship N. Y. Vaptsarov.

The city that impressed me the most and since I first saw it, I fell in love with it – it’s Singapore.

I do not know how the management of the Bulgarian Navy came up with the decision to assign me as a captain of Kaliakra – still very young, with only two years service as a captain. They may have seen some potential in me.

In my appointment in 1996, I took it very seriously, with a great ambition to prove myself and together with the wonderful crew to take Kaliakra to new heights and achievements.

I think we managed to cope, and that we left a lasting memory of a job well done, for those who love the sea, the sailing and for all the guardians of maritime Bulgaria.

The Mediterranean Regatta “Cutty Sark”. “I rely on the enthusiasm and professionalism of my Chief Officer, the officers and crew,” Captain Todorov said at the time. – After 14 years of sea service on merchant vessels, I take the command of a training ship as a professional challenge.”

On June 17, 1996, at 10:30 in Genova, the Mediterranean Regatta Cutty Sark 96 was launched. 52 sail ships from 11 countries participate in it. The Bulgarian Barquentine “Kaliakra” is in Class “A” – the largest sail ships with straight sails over 120 feet (36.6) in length. Her crew consists of 49 people – 21 full-time crew, 25 cadets from Naval Academy «N. Y. Vaptsarov », two supervisors and one doctor. Before the start, the crew had taken part in the one-week celebrations with a rich cultural and sports program in the Spanish city of Cadiz. The final stage of the first stage is in Palma de Mallorca – 450 nautical miles.

The second race is from Palma de Mallorca to Naples – 590 nautical miles. Kaliakra was the first to cross the finish line south of Cape Sardinia, finishing with the best actual and corrected time, leaving behind the most serious competitors – the Italian “Americo Vespucci”, the Venezuelan “Simon Bolivar” and others. For her successful performance in both races, Kaliakra receives two cups. In the final ranking, she comes first in her class “A” and in the general ranking for all classes. In Naples, she was awarded the silver cup as the absolute fastest winner along with three other awards. With this success, Kaliakra honorably celebrates two significant anniversaries of the Bulgarian sailing and seafaring: 20 years since the start of the around the world sailing of Captain Georgi Georgiev and 10 years since the first Bulgarian participation in the Cutty Sark regatta, again with Kaliakra. It can be stated that this is the most successful participation of the Bulgarian Barquentine in the Cutty Sark regatta.

Final Class “A” Ranking

According to corrected time:

  • “Kaliakra” (Bulgaria) 2 days 15 hours 33 min and 27 sec
  • “Pogorie” (Poland) 2 days 17 hours 12 minutes and 40 seconds
  • “Dar molodezhi” (Poland) 3 days 23 hours 44 min and 09 sec

General ranking for all classes:

  • Kaliakra (Bulgaria)
  • Pogorie (Poland)
  • Arung Samudera (Indonesia)
  • Palinuro (Italy)
  • Simon Bolivar (Venezuela)
  • Creola (Portugal)
  • Americo Vespucci (Italy)

Another 25 sail ships follow.

After so many years, captain Todorov shares the unfading memories: “The crew and the trainees were one, one team, united crew, in fact transforming the motto of the Japanese Sailing Association: “One for all, all for one”.

The most successful victory of Kaliakra in her entire history is precisely our ranking of Cutty Sark in 1996 with the best time.

It was a tense struggle, we had a chance and we also had the factor of high professionalism of the crew. Big victory – Mediteranean, we were the first to cross the finish line and we left behind 52 sail ships from all over the world. It was at 3am after midnight. I gathered them and said to them,

“Good morning, crew. Our efforts have been successful, and I want to thank the efforts of everyone who contributed to this victory. ” Then I invited them to shout: “Hooray for the glorious STV Kaliakra, hurray for Bulgaria!”

Some, I remember now, were crying while I was speaking. I then sent a telegram to the General Director of the Bulgarian Navy:

“Mr. CEO,

I am pleased to report that today…. at …. GMT hours, STV Kaliakra crossed the finish line (south of the island of Sardinia), finishing first. Of significance to this victory were: the chance and the immense, impeccable professionalism of the crew, which as a captain I am very proud of.”

The text of my telegram was printed on the first page of Sea World.

I received a reply from the General Director:

“Congratulations on your great victory. The Bulgarian Navy is proud of you”

In Varna we were greeted like winners.

Captain Todor Todorov was a captain of training STV Kaliakra in 1996, 1997 and 1998, and in the three years he participated successfully in the Cutty Sark Regatta.

On June 3, 1997 STV Kaliakra with captain Todor Todorov sails from Varna to participate in the Cutty Sark Regatta, which that year took place in the North Sea from June 29 to August 25. The beautiful barquentine represents Bulgaria in such a prestigious regatta for the eighth time. The crew of the STV Kaliakra together with the trainees – cadets from Naval School “Nikola Y. Vaptsarov” and their supervisors consists of 49 people.

The traditional STAN 97 regatta from Dan Helder (Netherlands) to Aberdeen (Scotland) was launched late in the evening of July 6, following the traditional Sail Parade – nearly 360 nautical miles ahead of the official Cutty Sark 97 race and is not respected for the ranking. On July 11, “Kaliakra” crossed first the finish line, but according the corrected time, she finished second.

There are 86 sail ships in the Cutty Sark 97 regatta. Barquentine “Kaliakra” is in class “A” – the biggest, where the main contenders for the prize places are the fast “Pogorie” and “Iskra” from Poland, the Russian “Mir” and “Sedov”, the French “Etoile” and “Ben Poole”, the Dutch Europe and Eendracht – the most serious competitor.

In the three days before the start the crews participated in sports events, cultural events and meetings with the mayor.

On July 15, the first race of the Cutty Sark 97 Regatta starts: Aberdeen – Trondheim (Norway) – 571 nautical miles. After an alternation of storms during the stage where the wind speed has reached 45 knots, with full windlessness, on July 23 Kaliakra finished in fifth position. The first is Russia’s Mir, the second and third are the Norwegian Christian Radic and Statsraat Lemkul, and the fourth is Swan fan Makkum (the Netherlands). From the large sail ships, only these five vessels have entered control time. This is a clear success for the captain, skipper and crew of Kaliakra, given that all four ships ahead of the Bulgarian barquentine are well aware of the conditions in the North Sea as they sail in their own waters.

At Trondheim, our STV Kaliakra participates in a sail ships parade of sails that has become traditional before every sail. The stage from Trondheim to Stavanger is not competitive and is not ranked. In this voyage, seamen (trainees) are exchanged between crews. 10 Russians sailed on Kaliakra and 10 of our cadets sailed on Russian ships.

At the official ceremony in Gothenburg, the King of Sweden Charles XVI Gustav personally handed over to captain Todorov a symbolic award “metallic helm shaped watch”. For the first time the Bulgarian STV “Kaliakra” was nominated for the “Cutty Sark” award, one of the four elected for 1997.

The Grand Prize is won by the German yacht “Esprit”. As you know, this award is not for speed, but for tolerance, for contributing to the development and strengthening of relations and friendship between the nations. The reason for the German yacht to receive the prestigious award is that she has a German-English crew and was built by volunteer students.

Who will be awarded with the Silver Tea Clipper prize is decided by the masters of all participating ships and yachts after questioning their crews.

Throughout the whole voyage, from sailing to returning to Varna, training STV Kaliakra had visited 16 ports and sailed nearly 11,000 miles.

From 1986 to 1990 the Bulgarian training STV “Kaliakra” participated in the Cutty Sark regatta without interruption. She then regained her presence in the regatta consecutively in 1992, 1996 and 1997. In 1998, she entered the prestigious Atlantic regatta for the ninth time. The captain of the barquentine is again captain Todor Todorov.

In addition to the ship’s staff, there are 25 trainees – cadets from Naval School “N.Y. Vaptsarov”. The Cutty Sark 98 Regatta is dedicated to the 500th anniversary of Vashku da Gama’s voyage, and it is natural for the first stage to be from Falmouth (England) to Lisbon – the capital of EXPO 98 – the World Exhibition entitled “The Year of the Oceans”. This is the first race and has a length of 740 nautical miles.

The start date is July 19th and the finale is closed on July 31st. In actual time, Kaliakra ranks second after Russia’s Mir. In Falmouth, crews of 98 sail ships from around the world participate in a sporting celebration of various collective and individual disciplines. Complex first place is won by the crew of “Kaliakra”, including cadets – trainees from the Naval School. The prize was awarded personally by Her Royal Highness Princess Anna, accepted by the most prominent cadet Zhivko Rusev.

And the Sail Parade, featuring all sail ships, has been watched by nearly 20,000 spectators.

The second stage – from Lisbon to the Spanish port of Vigo, 240 nautical miles in length, is non-competitive and does not qualify. Traditionally, at that stage sail ships exchange part of their crews for sharing experience and for the establishment of friendly relations between the participants.

In the second race from Vigo to Dublin (Ireland) – 690 nautical miles, the start was given on August 12 and the control time expires on the 22nd of the same month. At this stage, STV Kaliakra is ranked worthy of third place.

Both racing stages cross the Bay of Biscay, known for its frequent stormy times – high winds and great agitation.

In the final standings, the Bulgarian barquentine took third place in actual time and fourth in corrected time, calculated by a index not particularly favorable for Kaliakra.

For the successful performance in the prestigious Cutty Sark 98 Regatta and its accompanying events, as well as for the whole impeccable voyage from Varna to Western Europe and back from June 10 to September 28, 1998, proudly waving the Bulgarian tri-color, training STV Kaliakra, its crew and interns led by Captain Todor Todorov has been honored with the Golden Globe – the transitional Cor Caroli Award for Best Bulgarian Naval Sailing Achievement in 1998, in memory of Captain Georgi Georgiev.

Cap. Todorov for the Prize: «The Cor Caroli Prize is recognition for me personally and for the crew. I have many other good prizes, but this one – the Golden Globe, in memory of the first Bulgarian to go around the world on a yacht – captain Georgi Georgiev from Varna, is my dearest.

Kaliakra is the Bulgarian Ambassador of the Sea, through which the citizens of the countries she visits learn more about our country, the Bulgarians and the Bulgarian seafaring.

It is a safe, beautiful and well-equipped ship. The sailing practice of Kaliakra builds in the future marine personnel and lovers of the sea – non-professionals, qualities such as prudence and courage, sense of responsibility, camaraderie, teamwork. They acquire valuable seafaring skills and life habits.

The author expresses his gratitude to Captain Todorov’s wife, Mrs. Svetlana Todorova, who provided materials and photographs and for more than a month made contact with her husband, who as a captain on a voyage is away from Bulgaria, in order to record and arrange his memories.