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Sailing for Me

When I was young, I had a keen interest in swimming. In the 1965 in my primary school graduating years, I started to learn swimming. However, there was no coaches (my family could not afford one) to teach the basics. Well, I learnt from other swimmers in the public swimming pools. I merely mimic other swimmers who look like they were swimming correctly. I went to the National Library and laid my hands on all books related to swimming. Eventually, I began to swim quite competently.

I had some serious training only when I was in secondary one. I joined the school swimming training squad. I also joined some of my friends in Chinese Swimming Club in their water-polo training. I enjoyed water sports very much. I recalled, thrice a week, after a hectic days in school, changed quickly and straight to the pool after a quick dinner.

Having confidence in the water, I also started to explore other activity like sailing. But in the 1970s, sailing is not popular in Singapore. I had registered for s sailing course conducted by the Changi PA (People's Association). There is a pre-requisite test where the swimmer had to swim about 100m into the open sea to a sailing boat. The swimmer had to swim with life jacket and on reaching the boat, climbed unaided into the boat. Thereafter, he had to swim back to shore. I passed the test without any problem. To my dismay, the waiting list for the actual sailing course is about 6 months away.

As the school days were very busy, gradually I lost touch with sailing. Nevertheless, I continue to swim regularly. In the 1980s, sailing became more popular. More clubs were running sailing courses. I quickly registered for my first sailing course conducted by the SAFYC (Singapore Armed Forces Yacht Club) at the Sembawang Clubhouse.

The course was conducted on the Lark. My brother (who is also a keen swimmer) and I were paired as a team. After two weekends, a theory test and practical test was conducted. My brother and I passed the test without any problem.

I then went on to learn to sail other boats, like the Topper, Laser, Laser Byte, Laser Pico and Nacra. I picked up my sailing skills whilst sailing with a group of enthusiastic sailors at the East Coast Sea Sports Centre. There were in-house races once a month. I participated in these races and also picked up some racing tips and skills.

It has been six years since my first sailing course, but my enthusiasm is still very strong. I sailed regularly at the SAFYC. In fact, I had also obtained my PPCDL (Private Pleasure Craft License) issued by the MPA (Maritime Authority of Singapore). I had also crewed in some keelboats in a few keelboat races conducted by the Club.



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