• Michal

Alain Bombard and 6 Czech sailors

Usually I miss sea during winter time, that is why I am reading books about sailing adventures and about some destinations. This time I was reading a book from Czech sailor who did himself sailing from Brazil and around all Caribbean islands. During one of his stops in Puerto Rico he met another Czech guy who gave him a book which I did not know that exists. I though I know about all sailing books especially written in Czech language.

This one was complete surprise. It is called: Sailing against dead (following Alain Bombards route across Atlantic ocean).

He wrote a book called: The Voyage of the Heretique, Simon and Schuster from 1953.

They met accidentally in 60s during their studies on the university in small city called Prostejov. It was a communist regime back then, but in these years the policy was quite open until 1968, when Czech Republic was occupied by Russian army.

Therefore the young students were able to finish their dream to build two boats and create a document about them following Alain Bombard.

Unbelievably they got support from Slovakian TV, the army and other groups like alliance of psychologists.

TV supported them because they wanted to fill full length movie about the journey. Army supported them with materials to build two identical boats. And doctors wanted to analyse cabin fever.

They spent few years by building the boats, learning things about sails, about weather, about navigation. Their focus on the result was incredible. During those years, when they did not have huge income, had to finish school and in the mean time build and find some spare parts, it is unbelievable.

After they finished the boats, moved them to Croatia and started their journey to Martinique. It took them almost a year. Sailed around Italy, Sicily, to Sardinia and Mallorca. During this first part they had first experiences with storms, heavy winds and strong streams. Engines were broken, so they had to replace them with new ones which were supposed to come from Czech, but never arrived.

After some time of acclimatisation, they started to test to live from the sea as Alain Bombard. Drinking only salty water in small amounts and eating plankton, with the aim to demonstrate the try of mr. Bombard.

Successfully reached the destination after hell on the sea in 24ft long boats.

Finally they got back to Czech Republic during spring 1968. During summer 1968 country was occupied by Russians, so boarders were closed. Few of them decided to leave, few of them decided to stay.

The movie they created was immediately locked, so nobody could see it. The reason was that the movie is too much promoting west culture. What a shame, but typical for the communist regime :(

What an inspirational story.

Dmitrij Plichta

Stayed in Czech where he continued to work in dramaturgy.

Waldemar Chalupnik

Stayed loyal to yachting in Czech Republic.

Jiri Svoboda

After this journey he never got back to yachting. He was under hunt of communist party.

Ivan Klempa

Left to Austria where he became doctor.

Antonin Coufal

After this journey left with his wife to Canada. Currently living in Puerto Rico. Still in love with yachting.

Managing local yachting club in San Juan.

​Karel Hasek

Left to Canada in 1968. He was professional fisherman in Alaska.

Alois Hanusek

Director of Photography

Karol Skripsky

Left to Swiss where he was working as director of photography.


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