Learning the ropes
Every summer, the International Center at Kiel University offers students and University members from abroad a special treat: they can join a sailing team and get a first-hand feel of being on the water.
Friedrich Bergmann explains to Xiaoyu Xiang why vessels sail; Chi Ywig Young looks on. The men from China are »getting a glimpse« on sailing at Kiel University Foto: Wimber
»The International Center wants to offer students the opportunity
to actually get onto the water«,
explains Martin Böschen, the program’s manager. »We mean to show them what sailing is all about«, adds Marvin Ihlenborg, head of the sailing team. On this day in May, it is the start of the season, marked as always by »Get a Glimpse«, an event where anyone who is interested may join the experienced crews for a quick trip out of the marina and into the Bay of Kiel. Afterwards, the participants can decide if they want to take up the offer to go on trips with the yacht every Saturday and Sunday. The introductory event is free; all other sailing trips will cost four Euros. »We have a lot of groups here who register with the International Center in order to sail with us every year«, explains Kerstin Mrotz, who is a permanent crew member. Among others, groups from the AStA, the German-Norwegian Study Center (DNSZ), the »Studentenwerk«, students from Utah or participants of the Summer School are regularly taken out to sea.
Today, as the sun is warm and the wind moderate, 31 people want to experience the excitement of being on a sailing yacht. The first boat is manned by Friedrich Bergmann, Ihlenborg and Moritz Seidel as crew; the guests are Song Yang, Longfei Xiong, Xiaoyu Xiang and Chi Ywig Young, none of whom has ever been on a boat. Living up to the common cliché, they immediately take photos of the yacht’s interior. Christian Stoltenberg, a chemistry student at Kiel University, is the only guest who has completed a sailing course already; he takes over the tiller right after leaving the harbour.
»Everybody is allowed to do what he or she likes«, says Ihlenborg. »As long as we can guarantee for the crew‘s safety«, he qualifies. While leaving the harbour the guests take a great interest in the actions of the crew. »What are those?«, asks Song Yang, who is in Plön for a year on an exchange program of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology. She points at the fender which Ihlenborg removes from the rope wire and throws down below deck. Meanwhile Xiaoyu, a doctoral student in Biology from China, wants to know how sailing actually works. Bergmann does his best to explain to him how wind pressure, the fore sail and the direction of the wind play their part.
It is only a short trip. After a few minutes the boat turns around and sets its course back to Schilksee. After all, 25 other people are waiting for their chance to go out to sea as well. Nevertheless the trip was long enough for the guests to come to a decision. Stoltenberg, the helmsman on this trip, will not be coming back – he only accepted the offer of a free trip. Song Yang is hooked and wants to learn how to sail herself – she will try to find a sailing school in Plön.
Longfei Xiong, who is studying for his Master in Electrical Engineering, wants to join the University’s sailing program. »There is so much to learn that has to do with water«, he says enthusiastically. »Since coming to Kiel University I have learned how to swim and how to dive. Now I want to learn how to sail.« Xiaoyu Xiang and Chi Ywig Young will come back to Schilksee and join the crew of the International Center. »I liked this a lot. It is a great way to relax«, Xiaoyu Xiang says. On the whole, the event has been a success and the crew and participants are glad that the International Center offers this opportunity – a great thing for a University by the sea.
The trips take place every Saturday and Sunday from 12 a.m. to 4 p.m. from May till October. In order to participate in the sailing trips, would-be participants must register in advance at the International Center and pay the fee of 4 Euros.
Further information: ► www.international.uni-kiel.de/en/study-in-kiel/life-in-kiel/segelprogramm
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