Sailing Lesson Day 1 and 2

indi's picture

I got bitten by sailing bug!

Last Saturday and Sunday I took my first sailing class at Republic of Singapore Yacht Club instructed by Derek Mazzone, a UK citizen who has been living here for the past 25 years. He has sailed to Malaysia and Thailand and even as far as Jakarta on his 37-foot Blue Eagle, currently berthed at Changi Sailing Club. He had interesting stories to tell from his sailing trip and one of the most notable ones is when he had a Close Call with the Tsunami.

In the theory class, I was joined with my friend Akhmad Faqih, Klaus Krombass (from Vienna), BP Chong and his wife Swee Chen (from Singapore). Klaus already knew how to sail Laser dinghies in Austrian lakes. Although the basics of sailing were not new to him, the English sailing lingo was.

We all thought Day 1 would be just for classroom lectures but we actually did get RSYC Satu (a 24 foot keelboat) up and running.

In short, here are the things I remembered from Day 1 (afternoon):

  • Sailing lingo. We had to know at least 20 most commonly used words and here is a complete list.
  • Risk and safety hazards related to the boat, sea and weather.
  • Understanding what each metal piece or each line (not rope) is useful for. The list is almost endless.
  • Preparation for launch, which included rigging.
  • A Yamaha 4HP outboard was used to help us get out of the marina into the bay.
  • When sail was up each of us took turn handling the mainsail, headsail, tiller (rudder) and outboard motor.
  • In no time, we were learning how to work as a team on various Points of Sail. like Close Reach, Beam Reach and Broad Reach. These are some of the easiest to learn for beginners.

We were out sailing in Selat Jurong for a good 2.5 hours until 7pm during which I got myself a nice bruise on my forehead getting head hit by a swinging Boom. during Tacking. A good souvenir from the seas!

And from Day 1 (morning and afternoon):

  • Starting at 10am we learned more about 6 basic knots as well as on different manoeuvres from berths to offshore.
  • 11am was the time when we prepared the boat and actually performed those manoeuvres at different positions and wind condition. It was definitely the hardest thing to do since you as Skipper must think and anticipate so many different things before you instruct you crew. I managed to give the boat a revenge when I moved the boat to fast into the berth and hit the pontoon with the forward hull but lucky I did not crack it. Good lesson learnt.
  • After lunch we went back to class and learned about Running and Close Haul theories accompanied by useful mnemonics on Gybing and how to prevent Foul Gybing that has allegedly knocked many sailor off the boat (and even killed a handful over centuries!).
  • Unlike yesterday, we went much further offshore near Selat Pandan where large cargo ships carrying 1,000 containers or more are only 200m away from where you are sailing.
  • Gybing was probably the most difficult move because the Boom will swing windward to leeward at a much greater angular speed than tacking. For this training, each crew had to take a turn standing by the mast facing aft to prevent the boom from swining accidentally.
  • Close Hauling just a few degrees from No-Go area was also conducted and when you did this with a tiller, there is no way you could get your eyes off of the horizon since you have to maintain a very consistent heading. Otherwise, you will lose speed immediately. We were heeling for a miles at almost 40 degree. I was quite scared of capsizing the boat! But it won't capsize in 15 knots wind, especially with the standard mainsail we had.
  • Going back to marina was easy since we were going against the wind at Close Reach most of the time.

I must tell you that this was a beginning of a new life for me (and Rani, too). Sailing is an art that it so fluid you really have to experience it to appreciate it.

I can't wait to enroll her for this course soon.


Avast landlubber!!!

Avast landlubber!!! Cap'n here gonna warn you that it's not always smooth sailing, savvy!?!?
Buset dah, nyetir kapal itu susah yak!
But, by poseiodon, it was fun!!


emang gak gampang sampe benjol di kepala hari pertama. tapi asik banget kan lihat guwe kejedut?

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