My friend Christina sent me this card from Kiel in Germany. It depicts the Windjammer parade during the Kiel Week. Kiel Week is an annual sailing event in Kiel, Germany. It is the largest sailing event in the world, and also one of the largest Volksfeste in Germany.
Kiel Week is held annually in the last complete week in June, and opens officially on the preceding Saturday with the official Glasen, followed by the Holstenbummel. The "Soundcheck" is on the Friday before the official opening; it is a music festival across all the stages within the city. Kiel Week ends with a large fireworks display at 11 p.m. on Sunday, fired from pontoons or the quays at the Howaldtswerke, visible all across the Bay of Kiel.
Most ship races begin at the Olympic harbour of Schilksee, also the centre of most sporting activities during Kiel Week. As Schilksee is located outside of the inner city and most sailing competitions take place yet further out, only some races - mainly of smaller boat types - can be viewed from shore, namely from along the Kiellinie at the west coast of the Bay of Kiel.
Kiel Week usually gathers around 5,000 sailors, 2,000 ships, and about three million visitors each year. The event is organized in joint effort by the Yacht Club of Kiel, the Norddeutscher Regattaverein, the Hamburger Sailing Club, and the Verein Seglerhaus am Wannsee.
Kiel Week is also one of the largest tall ship conventions in Germany, attracting many German and international traditional ships, mainly sailing ships. Many of them spend the week doing day tours out of Kiel, thus berthing much more in view of the festival visitors than the racing boats at Kiel-Schilksee. More than 100 traditional ships and hundreds of yachts usually participate in the Tall Ships Parade (Windjammer parade) on the day before the closing day of the Kiel Week, i.e. usually on the second Saturday of Kiel Week. The Parade was first held in 1972, under the name of Operation Sail, and was organized in celebration of the Olympic Summer Games in Germany that year, whose sailing competitions took place in Kiel. It was the first large gathering of tall ships since the time of the windjammers, and its success led to the annual Parade and to the foundation of the first sail training organization in Germany (Clipper DJS). Today, the Parade is often headed by the Gorch Fock, a sister ship to the German-built USCGC Eagle (WIX-327).