The last time I sailed was when I was around 12 years old. It was during a summer break with the grandparents on a sailing course on the Lake Constance. When Kiel marketing approached me with the idea to test a sailing boat city tour I was enthused and confirmed immediately.
We thought it might take us quite a bit of time to get to Camp 24/7 on the keel line as the Kiel Run (a city-run) was taking place on that Sunday, so we planned ahead. Normally, there is ample parking space available but because of the run streets were closed all over the area. We made it to our meeting point in time and were fortunate enough to get to listen to a fabulous big band. They played in a pavilion of the camp along the route and were cheering on the runners with their wonderful music.
Camp 24/7 in Kiel
Whilst we were waiting for the other participants we were able to get a good look around the camp and browsed their services.
The camp is a social, public and non-commercial project run by the municipal utilities Kiel, Kiel Marketing and numerous other partners. The aim is to offer different water sports to interested individuals of all ages. Different sports and activities are offered daily during the main season (from May to September). They offer taster sessions for sailing, sailing tours and different free activities like table football and manoeuvring miniature sailing boat models. There is something for everybody in the camp. Prices vary for the different activities, more detailed information can be found on the website of Camp 24/7.
During our time at the camp, there were several sailing related activities taking place. There were kids beaming with joy as they celebrated a Vikings themed birthday party, complete with hats and a sailing tour. Families were sailing the Firth with a trainer. Some teenagers who were clearly sailing fans were out in a dinghy. And we got to experience the sailing boat city tour through Kiel.
Sailing boat city tour through Kiel
After we had put on our life jackets we walked down the jetty to where Camp 24/7 ‘s boats are.
We boarded the 8.5-meter long sailing boat. There is space for a maximum of 14 people on the two-master. On our trip, the foresail and the spanker sail were set. It was quite windy and these two sails were enough. An experienced sailing trainer operated the tiller and a voluntary city guide was stood at the jib to both help 2 participants to operate it and also to show us the city from the water.
I have to admit, as the landlubber that I am, sometimes it was hard for me to listen closely to everything that was said. As soon as the boat tilted a bit to one side – it was the tiniest of tilts compared to other boats mind you – my heart rate went up. There wasn’t even any water spraying into the boat. Thankfully, I calmed down over the two hours that the trip lasted and I was able to enjoy the wind, the waves and the sun.
First, we sailed into the Firth. From our boat, we saw the big ferries to Norway and Sweden moored at the quay. Later, one of these massive ferries sailed directly past our tiny dinghy. What a difference in size! Afterwards, we left the Firth in the opposite direction.
We learned a lot about the history of Kiel and about some important buildings close to the banks during our sailing boat city tour. Some of the places we saw were the Olympia Port from 1936, the Kiel Institute for World Economy, the Maritime Museum for Seafaring, the Institute for Marine Research and the shipyard. We had some locals on board our city tour sailing boat who enriched the trip with their local knowledge and some tips that we will definitely try on our next journey to Kiel.
After a good two hours, our trip came to an end. The sailing boat returned to the jetty, we took our life jackets off and went for a cold beer in the sun. An amazing experience that brought me closer to Kiel, the Firth and water sports. To discover a city like that is quite unique and I can really recommend giving it a try.