The passion for sailing in Sii Poland has been cultivated for years – the company’s employees have been participating in various competitions for over a decade. However, this year, owing to support provided by Passion Sponsorship Program, Sii Sailing Team caught the wind in its sails for good. Our enthusiasts raced in regattas throughout the season, participated in weekend training sessions, while Sii Sailing Community grew faster than ever – the group now has almost 200 members who exchange experiences, arrange cruises and plan further activities!
The crew of Sii Sailing Team is – just like the entire Sii Poland’s team – very diverse. There are both enthusiasts with many years of experience and people for whom it is a new passion. Some are passionate about racing in regattas, others prefer to sail slowly in calm waters. However, they all share a love for sails and a willingness to develop their skills. Due to the growing popularity, 3 sailing projects have been funded this year under Passion Sponsorship Program.
Sii Poland’s crew wins the regatta for the Naval Force Cup
Andrzej Mesojed is a 3rd support line DevOps engineer who works from Piła. He has been sailing since the age of 7 and recently, thanks to Passion Sponsorship Program, he had the opportunity to share his rich sailing experience with enthusiasts of this sport from other departments. He has been sailing under Sii Poland’s banner professionally since April 2020. His Mat II boat with new sails and Sii’s logo appeared at Naval Cup regatta in June in Gdynia, among others. The crew consisting of Andrzej Mesojed from Sii Piła at the helm and Jacek Szada-Borzyszkowski from Sii Gdańsk won the first place in their class there! More and more people from the company are eager to sail with Andrzej on regattas and cruises.
– If it comes to training newcomers, it is basically done by sailing itself. I am not lecturing anyone, I am not correcting anyone, everyone learns at their own pace and in their own way, watching what is going on around them. I try to convey the most important thing: safety rules! I hope that my crew members are satisfied and that I manage to infect others with this beautiful sport – says Andrzej Mesojed, DevOps Engineer at Sii Poland.
Sii Poland at the Tri-City race
Throughout the entire season, Gdańsk was the venue for a sea sailing regatta, where theSii Sailing Team raced for the first time. The core of the crew were Grzegorz Trepka, Account Executive, Dennis Melentyev and Jacek Szada-Borzyszkowski, Software Engineers, and Marcin Popławski, Associate Delivery Manager. Magdalena Zacharczuk, a Consultant from Agile & Atlassian Competency Center, also sailed in the regatta.
Since when have you been sailing and how did this adventure start for you?
Grzegorz Trepka, Account Executive: The passion for sailing was born just after my relocation from Świętokrzyskie to the Tri-City over 10 years ago. Only then did I discover the charms of the Baltic Sea. During the walks, my attention was drawn to the shimmering sails of yachts. These views from the Bay of Gdańsk were so fascinating that I decided to check if sailing was something for me.
Dennis Melentyev, Software Engineer: I have been sailing since 1985 – I started on the reservoir of the Kiev Hydroelectric Power Plant on the Dnieper River, back in the former USSR. And from the very beginning I have been, as it is now fashionable to say, a sailing evangelist.
Magdalena Zacharczuk: I have been sailing with longer and shorter breaks since primary school, so… for over a quarter of a century!
Jacek Szada-Borzyszkowski: I have been sailing seasonally since 2017 with a friend who had qualifications from maritime schools and scout camps. It was a few vacation weekends a year – typically recreational, without going into details about winds and knots, with a beer in hand. The breakthrough came in the spring of 2021, when I had to end my regular football training due to an injury. I was looking for a new sport for myself and a few happy coincidences made me swap football for sailing.
You are taking part in the Tri-City Afternoon Regatta together. How was the crew formed?
Grzegorz: Our core team consists of 3 people: Dennis Melentyev, Marcin Popławski and myself – together we decide on actions and exchange ideas. I am the coordinator of our Afternoon Regatta project, and the division of roles in our team was very natural. While I deal mainly with communication and organizational aspects on land, Dennis takes over the helm mainly in water due to his experience. And it is under his supervision that you can improve your sailing skills or test yourself as a helmsman …
Jacek: I joined the crew after a regatta in Gdynia, in which I participated together with Andrzej Mesojed from Piła. It was a good regatta that we won in our class and I made my experience there complete. During the Afternoon Regatta, I am Dennis’ crewman, who usually commands the boat. He is an uncompromising specialist who knows everything about sails, and because he knows everything, he can afford to be extremely calm. He is the last person to get nervous on board. Being the helmsman, he keeps the course, plans and implements tactics, and at the same time patiently repeats commands adapted to the level of crew members, supervising and correcting their execution. Sailing with him is pure professionalism and great pleasure. Our team also requires Grzegorz, who is a great organizer. He passes on all information, takes care of calendar blockers for the duration of training and continuously plans the most effective use of money from Passion Sponsorship!
Dennis, your experience is almost legendary and it looks like you’ve spontaneously grown up to be the mentor of the group – how do you feel about this?
Dennis: Children’s Optimist, sword-rails and overturning sports catamarans, cabins and huge four-masted sailing ships (Sedov) – I was at the helm everywhere, seriously (laughs)! For me it is very pleasant that someone willing to develop a passion for sailing will learn, for example, a new knot and understand how this knot can save him one day or that under my supervision he is getting better at sailing, rudder or tactics and has a better mood, because he won a specific place in the regatta. And then, who knows: maybe he will infect someone else with his sailing passion?
What is the formula of the Afternoon Regatta now?
Grzegorz: We invite 2-3 people to take part in the Afternoon Regatta every time – regardless of their previous sailing experience. This formula makes the crew almost re-create each time. Its members learn from each other and it is fascinating to observe precisely this dynamics of crew formation and how it changes over the course of the next races! In the current formula of the variable composition of the crew, we have already participated in 9 rounds of regattas. Currently, we are 4th in the general classification and we are fighting to improve our results in each race. Additionally, the format of the Afternoon Regatta, which lasts only a few hours once a week, makes it relatively easy to integrate the sailing hobby into an intense private and professional life.
I am surprised how many sail lovers we managed to discover thanks to our initiative. I was also contacted by people from other Sii branches who share this passion and have their ideas for projects in subsequent editions.
Magda: As a working mother of two young children, I have little time to pursue my passions. The Sii Sailing Team gives me such a chance and it is a great value for me to start in the Afternoon Regatta and participate in Passion Sponsorship Program.
Sii Sailing Team shows that in order to catch the wind, it is sometimes enough to simply post on a group of interests or an article on SiiPortal. Then it’s just a matter of determination and will, which is best shown in the story of Jacek Szada-Borzyszkowski.
Jacek: Dennis Melentyev sat at the desk next to me, and Marcin Popławski was my Delivery Manager. As soon as I saw the article on SiiPortal with them, I wrote to Marcin that I wanted to sail as well, and he suggested joining the sailing group on Teams with a promise that there would be something to do about it. He wasn’t lying! I found the first post inviting a new a crew member. Andrzej Mesojed declared that he would train those willing to compete with him in the regatta on board of his own boat. Despite the 4-hour drive from Gdańsk and the fact that we did not have an opportunity to meet earlier, I went for the weekend to Nakielno to Lake Bytyń Wielki. After a few trainings together, we started in a regatta in Gdynia, which we won in the Open 2 class!
Later, another post appeared: It was Grzesiek Trepka talking about the Afternoon Regatta. Using the experience I gained with Andrzej, I was able to start honing my skills in the Tri-City.
Bartłomiej Gackiewicz from Lublin has a similar story, but with a much more surprising ending. It all started with a chat on Sii Sailing Team.
Bartłomiej Gackiewicz, IT Support Specialist : When I joined Sii and got to know the organization, my attention was drawn to interest groups that brought together employees with different passions. As I am interested in sailing, I joined Sii Sailing Team Community and immediately started looking for people from Lublin branch. It turned out that there are a few sailors here – we decided that it would be worth using Passion Sponsorship Program to conduct workshops during which we could sail together and also give the opportunity to catch a sailing hype for colleagues who have not yet had the opportunity to do it. Owing to that, on the weekend of July 10-11, thanks to cooperation with Lublin Yacht Club of the University of Technology, 18 people took part in sailing training!
From warm memories to a new CV in the Recommendation Program – the activity of Sii Sailing Team brings tangible results. What did participation in the Program give you?
Jacek: Unforgettable moments! In the first run of the Naval Cup as part of the Sea Festival 2021 in Gdynia with Andrzej Mesojed at the helm, I experienced a full spectrum of emotions that caused a powerful adrenaline injection: speed, the need for endurance, determination, which we had to show in order to compete with other crews. I was in my place! These are the types of events that never start too early or end too late, and needs such as sleeping or eating do not exist.
Magda: In winter, it will be nice to remember summer sailing and dream about some joint several-day cruise on the Baltic Sea for the next vacation!
Andrzej: In addition to the rivalry, participation in the project has already resulted in the transfer of 2 CVs from my sailing friends! They congratulated me on winning the regatta and asked about the working conditions in Sii and the benefits. And undoubtedly, Passion Sponsorship Program is an exceptional one!
Is it true that your appetite increases the more you sail? What are your plans and dreams for the future and the idea for the continuation of Sii Sailing Team?
Grzegorz: Who knows, maybe we will organize a Regatta for the Sii’s CEO Cup for the sailing community in Sii? Perhaps, crews from individual Sii branches could take part in such regattas? I do not know what the next season will look like, but it is also certainly worth considering building two crews – an open one (as before), whose aim will be to promote sailing, and a professional one, with the most experienced people, in order to achieve even better results.
Dennis: Sports-wise: to win the World Championships, the America’s Cup, the Olympic Games :))) But first, for example, the Polish Catamaran Championships. And sail around the world … Live for a few years on board and slowly sail around the world again, not at speed, but to marvel at everything around.
Does your passion for sailing have any bearing on your daily work in IT?
Grzegorz: Volatility and unpredictability – for me, this is the most obvious similarity between sailing and my daily duties. One of the sailing sayings tells us there is no bad weather, but the matter of how well prepared you are. I think this is an accurate observation that can also be applied to the relationship with the client or the situation in the project – the ground is to be well prepared for the existing conditions.
Dennis: I have the role of Technical Lead in Vector project (smart dispensers) and this is something very close to the role of a boatswain on board. You are to bring the ship / project to good working condition so that it flows smoothly and on schedule to the destination port. Teach new ones, support the old ones and take responsibility. Sometimes it is decided whether to force the next steps, sometimes to persuade the captain to make the necessary changes. And most of all: don’t smash your boat in the middle of the ocean!
Magda: Both in everyday life and at work, I certainly make use of the perseverance and determination that I derive from sailing, the ability to work and build relationships in a team, perceiving what is happening around me as a whole, and a tactical approach to various challenges.
Andrzej: The most important lesson in sailing is the ability to make quick decisions.
Sii Sailing Team is one of the initiatives in Passion Sponsorship Program. The enthusiasts are unstoppable! They catch the wind in their sails in all conditions, prove that passions break every barrier, and Team Spirit allows everyone to sail out into the wide waters.
If you want to develop your passions and develop professionally at the same time, join Sii Poland! Check our job offers.