I had the amazing opportunity to sail on a DBS sailboat (the same one that will be used at the SEA games) as part of the DBS Marina Sailing Programme, organised in partnership with the Singapore Sailing Federation (SSF). Launched in 2013, this programme gives the public the chance to learn some basics about sailing, experience the Marina Bay from a different perspective, and enjoy a 40-minute scenic and exciting ride.
How was the Experience?
Gilligan Steven (pictured on the left), controlled the main sail while he instructed the five of us on which side of the jib sail to tighten or loosen. The wind during our ride was sporadic – mostly light (5 knots) but occasionally we would get some short gusts (<10 knots). With a life jacket on, I felt very safe, and Steven assured us that he had never had a boat capsize on him before, even when he sailed from Brazil all the way to South Africa, a 3 week journey with 19 other crew members. I’ve never met a transatlantic sailor before, so of course, I had to ask him about what crew members eat, how they cook, what they did with their “waste”, how often they showered (in case you’re wondering, they don’t shower, unless you count the times it rains), what was the most exciting thing to see out at sea, and what they did about mutiny. I was half joking with the last question, but having been on board a naval submarine before, I do recall an officer once telling me that occasionally, the confined living arrangement coupled with being out in the middle of the ocean sometimes gets to people’s heads. Steven was very nice and entertained all my silly questions as we sailed around the bay. He also gave us opportunities to take photos of some of the area’s landmarks. Overall, it was an amazing experience, and I would encourage families to bring their children along for the ride. Steven said that children as young as 7 can learn to sail and get their license once they reach age 16 – that’s 2 years before they can get their driver’s license (and no COE or petrol required if you want to own a sailboat).
Be on the lookout for future sailing dates (I’ll be sure to include future sailing events in the frugal week planners). Slots are limited and registration is on a first-come first serve basis. Sometimes even though the registration page says that it’s “sold out”, you might be able to be put on a waiting list. Their policy is that latecomers will have their slot released to other waiting participants. And there are usually a small handful of no-shows.