Picture this: Open water, ocean air and a breeze hitting your face as you manoeuvre a sailboat through the sea. You can now experience all that at Marina Bay.
Uncle Joe and Zarelda
cruising along Marina Bay.
Just look at the awesome
view of the city skyline!
Given the hustle and bustle of city life, it’s easy to forget that we live on an island, unless you happen to live or work near the water. Which is why I jumped at the chance to go for a sailing session under the DBS Marina Bay Sailing Programme. I am fond of water activities, so I didn’t think twice. Research has also shown that looking at the ocean reduces stress and makes you calmer.
The programme is a partnership between DBS Bank and the Singapore Sailing Federation. It comprises sailing sessions around Marina Bay that are open to the public. All sessions are free of charge.
“We wanted to get more people involved in sailing, and DBS Bank wanted to give back to the community,” shares Chung Pei Ming, general manager of the Singapore Sailing Federation. “It’s the ﬁrst time we’ve brought sailing into the city, so that people don’t have to travel to the ends of Singapore to experience it.” Clubs that offer sailing include Changi Sailing Club, Raffles Marina (in Tuas) and the Republic Singapore Yacht Club (in West Coast).
Zarelda is straight
chilling as Uncle
I turned up bright and early at the dock next to Customs House for the session. Shape designer Lana and photographer Darren came along too. We learnt that there are two ﬂeets of boats used in the programme – the SB20, a four-man-crew boat, and the Swedish Match 40 (SM40), which can carry up to 10 people. We chose to take the SM40. It looked more impressive, to be frank, and we had to think about the photos!
Both boats are dependent on the wind and do not have any engine. They don’t capsize either, so you don’t have to worry about falling into the water, though it is a must to wear life vests. For the sessions, the SB20 will have one skipper to manage the boat, while the larger SM40 will have two.
Our skippers were Pei Ming and a two-time Olympian who was introduced to us as Uncle Joe. As this was a private sailing session, I got the chance to help rig the boat by hoisting the sails. They were fairly heavier, so I got an arm workout in.
When we got out into the open, Uncle Joe let me steer the boat. That’s when the fun began! I’d liken it to steering a small plane, which I experienced brieﬂy when travelling in Africa (it was a friend’s plane).
All participants can try their hand at steering the boat during a regular session, with the skipper to guide you.
Another highlight was seeing Singapore from a different perspective. I was reminded of how gorgeous our city skyline is as we cruised along the water. What’s great is that the skippers don’t take a ﬁxed route – they will take you to the most photogenic spots of the bay, so snapping Instagram-worthy photos is a sure thing.
Before I knew it, the session came to an end. I went back to the office feeling relaxed and sporting a sun-kissed tan. It felt great to be out at sea with the wind in my hair.
The experience would make a fab girls’ day out – all you’d need is to bring along a bottle of champagne and nibbles. Or sign up with your family to add variety to your weekend activities. For anyone who thinks that Singapore is boring, well, here’s something new to do!
SO YOU WANT TO LEARN TO SAIL?
If your interest is piqued after the experience and you want to sign up for a beginners’ sailing course, speak to the staff of the DBS Marina Bay Sailing Programme. Alternatively, go to the Singapore Sailing Federation website at www.sailing.org.sg. Under the “Learn to Sail” tab, you’ll ﬁnd a list of clubs that offer courses. Contact them directly for information. A course usually consists of eight three-hour sessions, and costs between $350 and $450.
used in the
Zarelda taking in rope
to adjust the sails.
all smiles as
FIT FACTOR 3/10
Hoisting the sails required some upper-body strength, so I worked up a sweat. But participants wouldn’t have a chance to assist in rigging the boat, so there won’t be much physical exertion. It does get hot, though, so make sure you’re adequately hydrated.
FUN FACTOR 8/10
I’d recommend it to just about anyone. What’s not to like? You get to enjoy the sea breeze, take great photos, and enjoy the company of those near and dear to you.
FEAR FACTOR 2/10
There’s nothing daunting about the experience, but you will be under the sun, so slathering on sunscreen to protect yourself against UV rays is a must. Make sure it contains at least SPF30!
WHERE TO SIGN UP
Sessions are listed on www.dbsbythebay.com/sailing and you can book a slot online. They usually run from Fridays to Sundays, from 4pm to 7pm. Each session lasts 30 to 40 minutes. Places are often snapped up quickly, so check the website towards the end of the month for the following month’s schedule. Participants must be above seven years old and below 70. The Singapore Sailing Federation also assists in organising private charters. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.