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Sailing - From Dinghy to Cruising

Sailing can be grow with you. There is a boat suitable for every age group; from children, teenager, adult and veteran. Naturally, the choice of the sailing boats will most likely see an increase in size and length of these boats. Sailing can also increase in intensity if you decide to take it competitively; even racing at the Olympics.

A lot of sailors horn their sailing skills sailing single man design boats such as the Optimist and Laser. Some go on to two man design boats such as the International 420s. For such boats, teamwork and co-operation are critical in performing well in a race.

The Optimist boat length is 2.3m and the hull weight at 35 kg. These characteristics are ideal for children who can continue sailing up to their teenage years. (it is the only dinghy approved by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) exclusively for sailors under 16 years of age).

For those who had outgrown the Optimist, the Laser Byte is the next logical choice. The Byte boat length is 3.6m and the hull weight at 45.3kg. This is ideal for teenagers who may not reach the optimum weight of 75kg for the standard Laser 4.7. This suits the Asian sailors who are smaller in physique compared to the Caucasians sailors. In fact, the Asian sailors had performed well in international Byte races. Elizabeth Yin, our local sailor emerged the champion at the Arch Byte CII World Championship 2006 (3-8 July).

Most sailors continue their passion for sailing by moving on to a day cruiser. This is normally in the range of 20 feet to 30 feet. Some of the common ones used in Singapore are the J series. If you are not into racing, this boat could meet the desire to enjoy cruising. Nevertheless, in Singapore there is a lack of cruising grounds. Most of our southern islands are off-limit or cordoned off for other development. The nearest cruising grounds will likely be the Andaman Sea near the Phuket Island, Thailand. In fact, Sunsail also runs chartering services there. However, there are two destinations that are popular with SAFYC boaters and yachters. They are Nongsa Point Marina in

Batam Island, Indonesia and Sebana Cove Marina in Johore, Malaysia.

In cruising, there are other considerations that sailors need to be aware. In Singapore, you need a license to helm a motorized yacht/boat. This is issued by the MPA (Maritime Port Authority) after the applicant passed both a theory test and a practical handling assessment. In addition, experience and knowledge of boat handling and seasmanship is also important. These skills can be picked up by sailing regularly with other yachters from the sailing club which you are a member.

Above all, presence of mind and common sense is necessary to handle any emergencies while out in the waters. This is the responsibility of the captain of the yacht who will need leadership to command the boat when faced with such situations.



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