'Marina Bay - Sailing in the City'
While the archipelagos of South East Asia have a rich history of sailing for transport and fishing, modern leisure sailing has been slow to take off. The Singapore Sailing Federation (SSF) is now doing something about that, by offering sailing in the middle of Singapore's thriving business district.
Now, according to the New Paper Team at Asia One, enthusiasts have been sailing at Marina Bay - the heart of the Central Business District, with the massive towers as a backdrop.
With no hiding the fact that their goal is to popularise sailing as a sport, the Singapore Sailing Federation (SSF) and automotive maker Audi have parked eight keelboats at the jetty in front of Marina Bay City Gallery, for anyone to take a ride out to sea.
Going by their idea of 'plug and play', the public can step onto these boats and start sailing without prior instruction apart from a safety briefing - but accompanied by experienced skippers from the Federation.
Dubbed as 'tasting' sessions, these sojourns - for a maximum of 21/2 hours and costing from $350, depending on time and day - are meant to let those with no previous knowledge of sailing have a taste of what it is like.
Given Marina Bay's prime location, the SSF hopes to attract white-collar workers who work at the nearby offices to drop by for a 'lunch-time sail' - short 'tasting' sessions that can be completed within the lunch hour.
First-time sailor Nursaleha Mohamed Isa, 22, was exhilarated after setting sail at Marina Bay on Aug 30.
The business relations officer at the Singapore Sports School said: 'It is very interesting to learn the technicalities of sailing, like how to steer a boat and how to lean on the boat while steering.
'Also, there is this adrenaline rush when the skipper lets you steer for the first time as the boat is sailing fast, considering that I can't swim at all.'
Agreeing, her colleague Dian Farhana Abdul, 26, also a first-time sailor, said she found it an incredible experience to be on a sailing boat while being able to admire the skyline.
The administrative assistant said: 'When I first heard of sailing at Marina Bay, it sounded mundane and boring. However, the experience is totally different while on the sail boat.
'Just the breeze and the view of the Singapore skyline alone is worth coming back for.'
The New Paper team tried sailing in the bay the same day on a rainy afternoon and found that the keelboats were stable floaters.
Skipper Andrew Chan, 20, a former national sailor, explained that sailing at Marina Bay is quite unlike sailing at the sea.
'There are no currents or waves in Marina Bay as compared to the sea, but that does not mean sailing here is a walk in the park.'
The polytechnic student, who works after classes, added: 'It can be challenging sailing here, due to fast changing wind directions, probably due to the presence of tall buildings.'
But aspiring sailors need not worry about being stuck in the bay.
Mr Jeff Ng, operations manager with the Singapore Youth Sailing Academy, explained: 'When there is a sudden change in weather conditions, or when winds are not favourable, we can tow these boats back to the jetty on powerboats.'
Apart from short 'tasting' sessions, longer trips are also available at the bay, with up to 2.5 hours of experimental sailing, where aspiring sailors learn basic theory and practical concepts of sailing.
For more information, visit http://www.marinabaysailing.sg
by Sail-World Cruising
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7:19 AM Mon 17 Sep 2012GMT
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