As the British Kiel Yacht Club is wound up, its boats have been transferred to the Joint Services Adventurous Sail Training Centre (JSASTC) in Gosport.

After 71 years, the British Kiel Yacht Club in Germany is being wound up.

It comes following the closure of the Ministry of Defence’s Kiel Training Centre in the Baltic Sea as a result of the retrenchment of British troops back to the UK.

The British Kiel Yacht Club began in northern Germany following the Second World War. All the yachts used by the Kiel Training Centre were provided by the club.

British Kiel Yacht Club boats leave Germany for the UK

Leaving Germany for the last time. Credit: Adrian Pery

These vessels have now been transferred to the Joint Services Adventurous Sail Training Centre (JSASTC) in Gosport.

The ten Hallberg Rassy 342s and one Comfortina 42 left Kiel on 22 September, 2016 and took 10 days to sail back to the UK via the Frisian Islands.

They were then officially transferred to the JSASTC on 5 October, 2016.

The Commandant of the Kiel Training Centre and Flag Officer for the British Kiel Yacht Club, Major Adrian Pery said it was an emotional time.

“I am deeply saddened to see the end of an era,” said Pery. “The Kiel Training Centre and the British Kiel Yacht Club provided fantastic sail training for so many, in a fantastic place to sail – the South Baltic.”

British Kiel Yacht Club boats leave Germany for the UK

The boats make their way to England. Credit: Adrian Pery

“It was, for me, a very emotional way to finish off. I am very proud to have been a part of it,” he added.

The staff from Kiel will now join their Royal Navy and civilian colleagues at Gosport, where they will continue to provide adventurous sail training opportunities for service personnel.

Back in August, there was an official ceremony and parade marking the closure of the Kiel Training Centre.

The centre was also presented with the federal Fahnenband (honour ribbon) – one of the federal German government’s highest military honours.

The British Kiel Yacht Club came into existence on 11 June, 1945 and was started by Colonel W G Fryer, the Deputy Chief Engineer of 8 Corps.

Recalling how he started the club, Colonel Fryer said: ” I found the Olympia Haven full of yachts and the Kieler Yacht Club locked up and empty. So I told the Chief Engineer and the Assistant Quarter Master General (AQMG) of 8 Corps that I was going to requisition some yachts from the harbour and form a yacht club. They both nodded, so I went ahead.”

British Kiel Yacht Club

The club’s Hallberg Rassy 342s set sail for Gosport. Credit: Adrian Pery

These yachts, known as windfall yachts, were built in Germany in the 1930s to provide training for the German armed services.

Owned by the German government, they were taken by the British government as reparations and were initially allocated to Navy, Army and Air Force of the British and Commonwealth Services.

The windfall yachts to remain at Kiel included the likes of Avalanche, Overlord, Seascape and Flamingo, which, in 2015, was the last windfall yacht to be sold.