A Memorable Visit to Changi Sailing Club (Good Shepherd Home 2019)

I am Swee Lim*, one of the few men among the ladies in the nursing home and assisted living facility. You see, ladies generally outlive men. It almost becomes true for me because about 5 years ago, I had a sudden terrible headache when I was at work in the office and I almost passed out. When I was rushed to the hospital, the A&E doctor diagnosed that I had a brain bleed and I underwent an urgent operation. When I recovered, I wasn’t walking normally and I couldn’t find the words I wanted to say. I was just 51 then.

Anyway, here I am in Good Shepherd Loft. I think I am the youngest among the residents.

The daily routine is rather predictable in the Loft which is why I am very excited about today’s visit to Changi Sailing Club. I have heard many songs about sailing the seas but this might be the first time in my life I am going to get up close to a yacht. The chief nurse told me I am going to get to swim in the club pool and she packed my swimming trunks for me.

Early at 6.30am, we begin to go for our shower, one by one. Then we had breakfast in the dinning room and we are ready! I heard from the nurses’ conversation that for the outing there are 11 people on wheelchairs and 10 who can walk on their own and I am one of them; I walk with a walking stick.

Yay! The bus is here. There is a rule in the Loft: those on wheelchairs will board first. The male nurses carried the seniors off their wheelchairs and put them on the bus one at a time. When all 11 are on the bus, the sweaty nurses come over and declare that we can board the bus. Hurray! The rest of us get on with help and soon we are on our way. It is a long way from Newton to Changi. Maikal our social worker leads us through the songs and hymns and we arrive in the blink of an eye.

Look! Turning into the car park, I can see the yachts bobbing in the turquoise blue sea. With the sunny sky and coconut trees swaying, it feels a bit like paradise. I have not been to the beach for a while, let alone seen so many yachts at one go. We are really at Changi Sailing Club!

We disembark as fast as we can with the help of the nurses and the club staff. The ones on wheelchairs go first. “Don’t forget the rules,” I remind myself despite my enthusiasm. The friendly club staff are there to welcome us and help us down the bus.

I am trying to take in the view all at once. Hmm…A well sited club house is right by the beach with the pool in the centre and surrounded by Changi Hall (a large hall), Tekong Cove (the restaurant), the board walk, the beach BBQ pit. Just a few steps from the pool is the jetty on which visitors can walk straight out to sea where the tenders are.

With all facilities in such proximity, I challenge myself to enjoy all of them within the next hour. The male nurse, Melvin seems to have second guessed my thoughts and he guides me to the “Heads” (nautical term for toilet) to change and then into the pool I go. Relaxing in the cool pool water as I gaze out at the sea is the best thing to do on this hot and humid morning! I am surprised to meet another resident, an old auntie in the pool in her purple short sleeved swimsuit. She looks trendy despite her age. I said to her, “Auntie Joy, how old are you? I didn’t know you swim.” Her cheeky reply was,” I am 96 and when I could swim you were not born yet, adik…” (Malay word for “younger brother”)

After I have had enough of the pool, Melvin helps me dress up and I am off to the board walk. Again I run into Joy doing the same walk. She is spritely and together with Melvin, we take a short walk and enjoy the sea breeze. A pair of mata putih birds followed us inquisitively and chirping merrily. They are enjoying the laidback lifestyle and welcoming us.

On the return leg of the walk, Melvin takes us out to the jetty. It is really rustic with a tall attap hut at the far end of it. It is quite a clever design with two separate gangways which leads down to the more than 4 boats that are tied up against the pontoons.

Joy and I put on our life vests and get on the tender for a ride to nowhere. The pontoon is wobbly to step on and I feel excitement as well as a fear of dropping into the sea. Melvin is always there for us so I feel safe. Soon, the friendly boatman Hairul takes us out to sea. To tell you the truth, it is not that scary because the boat is really smooth and the engine quiet. Hairul gives a running commentary as we go along. The famous Pulau Ubin is not far across the Straits with many fish farms nestled off her shore. As we sail past the numerous yachts moored off the club, he shows us the Fairy Beacon which is a huge boulder at sea with a large luminous red beacon built on it.

Hairul takes us by the longer way back to the jetty knowing that we do not want the boat ride to end so soon. We are very grateful! He is so kind.

When we reach back on land it is time for lunch. We walk straight into Tekong Cove where we are treated like VIPs. There is a sumptuous spread of sambal skate, BBQ squid, hot plate deer meat, garlic fried chicken with ice cold fruit punch waiting for us. We enjoyed the hearty meal with gusto.

Now that I recall that beautiful day, when all of us came in from the scourging sun, there was a gust of cool wind and the rain started. The Heavens were watching over us!

This is the best outing I have had in years. Here is a big THANKS to Changi Sailing Club for making it all happen for my friends and me from Good Shepherd Loft and St Bernadette Lifestyle Village.

 

Villa Francis Home for the Aged – Community Outreach Program 14 March 2019

On 14 March 2019, Changi Sailing Club once again hosted 10 Elderly and 10 Caregivers from Villa Francis Home for the Aged. This year we had the honour of hosting Executive Director Sister Maria as well, who accompanied the residents and caregivers to soak in the beautiful weather/scenery and mingled with members at the Club.

Coachman Inn Restaurant generously sponsored a sumptuous lunch to conclude a fruitful morning for our dear friends from Villa Francis.

Villa Francis Home for the Aged was set up to provide inpatient nursing care for the destitute poor and sick, regardless of race or religion. They regularly partner with various groups in the community, such as private corporations, religious groups, schools, tertiary institutions, SAF, SCDF & the Home Team.

CSC is proud to host Sister Maria, residents and caregivers of Villa Francis – and look forward to more of such visits in the future!

 

NTUSC goes Sailing!

With wind in their sails, the Nanyang Technological University Sailing Club (NTUSC) started sailing at Changi Sailing Club (CSC) in August 2018. Besides sailing on the club’s Platus-Boreas and Notus – every week, the active sailing community at CSC has also given us the chance to sail on their boats which is an eye-opener and rare opportunity to learn more about different boats and improve our seamanship. It also allows us to learn concepts that we can bring back to our own sailing and we are grateful to the different teams for having us on board. We have also received help frequently from the various boat owners, CSC members and the operations staff at CSC. We appreciate the help from everyone and will return the favour back some day.

At CSC, we got to interact with an international community from all walks of life through various activities such as the Ambassadors’ Cup, monthly Members’ Night and gatherings after a club race. The CSC members also give back to the society via the CSC Community Outreach Programme, which we are also glad to be a part of. Some of the activities include the CSC Eco Sailing Day, Goodwill Cruise to Nongsa and the Joy Sail for the Rainbow Centre (Yishun Park School).

Every start of a new school semester in January and August, NTUSC organizes a fun sail where people from the NTU community who are interested to join sailing can experience for themselves what it is like on a sail boat before making a more informed decision. For the recent fun sail in January, about 80 people from the NTU community turned up and we were able to bring them out on the Platus and on Skybird with the help of Edwin owner of Skybird and GM of Changi Sailing Club. For most of the participants, it was their first time sailing and we are glad that everyone enjoyed themselves.

Outside of CSC, NTU emerged as the First-Runners Up in the inaugural Inter Tertiary Match Racing organised by Singapore Sailing Federation. Every tertiary institution was invited but only one team from NTU, three teams from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and a team formed by sailors from different tertiary institutions took part in the match racing. Singapore Polytechnic and Singapore Management University were unable to participate due to various constraints.

Helmed by Jevyn Ong with Samantha Yom on the Mains, Jeremiah Guo on Trim, Putra Syafiq on Pit, Danial Norman Tan on Mast and Koh Yi Qian on Bow, we really gave the other teams a run for the title when we won seven out of eight races in the first two days and on the last day qualified for the finals. In the Finals, victory goes to the team that wins two rounds first. After two intense matches between NTU and NUS where the score was tied 1-1, NUS came in just seconds before us in the last round. In all, it was a good experience for the team, where we got to sail on the SM40 and pit our skills with the other schools before meeting again for the Inter Tertiary Fleet Racing in June.

It has indeed been an exciting and eventful first 6 months at CSC, and we are thrilled to see what the rest of 2019 brings for this NTUSC x CSC Partnership.

 

Alex Chong

President
Nanyang Technological University Sailing Club

 

CSC Community Outreach Program – Down Syndrome Association Singapore

On 20th January, as part of our Community Outreach Program, Changi Sailing Club hosted 11 members and 13 caregivers from the Down Syndrome Association Singapore (DSA)(S).

DSA(S) is a primarily self-funding, non-profit voluntary welfare organisation with IPC (Institute of Public Character) status, which works closely and regularly with healthcare and educational professionals, and voluntary welfare organisations. The Association is affiliated to international bodies such as Down Syndrome International (DSI), the Asia-Pacific Down Syndrome Federation (APDSF), Asian Federation of Mental Retardation (AFMR) and the International Association of the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disabilities (IASSID).  In April 2004, DSA(S) was invited to organise and host the 8th World Down Syndrome Congress in Singapore, which attracted participants from more than 34 countries.

http://downsyndrome-singapore.org/

CSC is happy to support such organisations and their programmes – looking forward to bringing them out on a sailboat on the next visit to the Club!

NTU Basic Sailing Course Jan 2019

On 7th January, we conducted our very first 2019 Basic Sailing Course for NTU students. Students learn the ropes over a gruelling 3 days – overcoming strong north-easterly winds and a tight schedule to emerge as newly minted Level 1 Proficient Dinghy Sailors! The Students were treated to a short introductory sail on the Platus on the afternoon of the last day, giving them a taste of keelboat sailing!

Congratulations to the 4 NTU Boys – we look forward to seeing all of you when you return to sail regularly with the NTU Sailing Club!

Goodwill Cruise to Nongsa

On 15 & 16 December, CSC organised a Goodwill Cruise to Nongsa Point Marina – in support of the sailors of Riau Yacht Club.

The Riau Yacht Club is a small dinghy club operating off a little beachfront at the western corner of the Marina. They reach out to the children from the rural areas of batam and invite them to learn how to sail on the optimists, bytes and lasers. As these children are mostly from low-income families, the Yacht Club offers a sailing training programme for free, sponsored by Indonesian Businessman Kris Wiluan.

Our Members brought clothes, food, stationery, bags and various other items from Singapore to donate to the young sailors of Riau Yacht Club. 4 out of the 5 boats were on their maiden cruising trip, made further enjoyable by the amazing hospitality at Nongsa Point Marina.

We would like to thank the following Yachts for taking part in our inaugural goodwill cruise:

  1. SDF / Derek Sharples
  2. Emmanuel II / Desmond Wong
  3. Swannee / Mackson Chia
  4. Eriphine / Matthias Gaede
  5. Elessar / Michael Huffines

Not forgetting the Members who donated your pre-loved items and the team at Nongsa Point Marina for helping make this Goodwill Cruise a success – Thank you!

We look forward to making this an annual affair, do join us on our next Goodwill Cruise in 2019. Details to be updated on our E-newsletter and Website.

 

Rainbow Centre Yishun Park School Joy-Sail

On 8th December 2018, Changi Sailing Club once again played host to the students and parents from Rainbow Centre (Yishun Park School).

The Rainbow Centre is a social service organisation in Singapore. It operates three special education schools Margaret Drive School (RCMDS), Yishun Park School (RCYPS) and a third one at Woodlands, for infants, children and youths with special needs like autism, intellectual disability, developmental delay, and multiple disabilities.

All 53 participants enjoyed the morning sail with 10 of our club members/boat owners, who graciously lent their time and boats for a good cause.

Big Thank You to the following boats which made it happen:

  1. Defiance / Ashley Barnes
  2. Shardana / Joe Lombardo
  3. Waka Tere / Kurt Metzger
  4. Ikaroa / Michael Kaus
  5. Minx / Lucas Van Maarschalkerweerd
  6. Firefly / Stefan Vidan
  7. Sapphire Star / Simon Connor
  8. Boreas / Alex, NTU Sailing Club
  9. Emmanuel II / Desmond Wong
  10. Dauntless / Yong Wee Keong

 

Not forgetting Aunty Sharifah and the staff from Rainbow Centre, thank you for giving us this opportunity to share the joys of sailing and make new friends!

 

Pre-Ambassadors’ Cup Fund-Raising Cocktail Reception

Oh what a night!
 
Last night’s fund-raising cocktail reception was the into it’s 4th edition, and as always, was a successful gathering of the diplomatic and sailing community for a night of drinking and revelry for a good cause. Held at the iconic Post Bar at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, it was great to see sailors all dressed up on a Friday night in town!
 
50% of the drink ticket sales and all cash donations go towards supporting the CSC Community Outreach Program. As part of the Club’s Corporate Social Responsibility, the CSC Community Outreach Fund is used to support the running of sailing and recreational programs for the underprivileged community, such as youth at risk, children with special needs and the residents of Homes for the Aged.
 
Big thank you to the Post Bar at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore for being such gracious and accommodating hosts!
 
We are now looking forward to bringing the World Together on 3rd November 2018 with our Signature Event – The Oneberry Ambassadors’ Cup!

Sailing & Sustainability Program 19-21 Oct 2018

On 19th October, 128 Secondary School Students departed from Changi Sailing Club for Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) Pulau Ubin for a 3D2N camp as part of their final phase of the annual Sailing & Sustainability Program.
 
This being the 5th edition, the program has come a long way since it was first introduced in 2014. CSC is proud to continue supporting this enriching program which gives opportunities for students to learn life-skills through sailing. ⛵

Villa Francis Home Visit

Earlier this year, Changi Sailing Club successfully hosted a group of residents from the Villa Francis Home for the Aged.

On 17th October, in partnership with Villa Francis, the Club once again invited 15 residents and 15 staff from the Home to a sumptuous lunch by the sea – generously sponsored by Coachman Inn Restaurant. It was a morning of rest & relaxation, as our senior visitors were treated to a cool morning with a great view and fresh sea breeze.

Changi Sailing Club is always very happy to host the lovely residents of Villa Francis – looking forward to their next visit!