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!

My First Racing Experience at the Topper Worlds in Shenzhen, China

This year’s Topper Worlds was to be held in Longcheer Yacht Club, Shenzhen, China—the first time it was held outside of Europe. As Luc and I were the only 2 representatives from Singapore, I felt the pressure on me. We were supposed to take off for Hong Kong Airport at 6:45 in the morning on the 13 of August, but we only took off at 9:15am. We later learnt why: there was a typhoon brewing in Hong Kong. The flight was uneventful, and when we landed we found the organisers of the regatta waiting for us. Then there was a three hour car ride through the China-Hong Kong border to Longcheer Yacht Club.

After settling down, we went to look for our boats. The search for our boats was a rather long ordeal, as a number of boats were still being unpacked and put together on registration day. We eventually found our allocated boats, which were on opposite ends of the boatyard. I had boat number 312 and Luc had boat number 361. There were two categories: The 5.3 (222 participants) and the 4.2 (45 participants). I was in the 5.3 while Luc was in the 4.2. After pulling Luc’s boat to a corner where all the small teams’ boats were kept, we headed off to collect our sails. We checked our equipment; I was missing my mast and downhaul. Thankfully that was swiftly sorted by the helpful officials, setting us up for the final stage of registration – boat measurement.

At this point, the wind was very strong—20-25 knots?—because of the growing typhoon south-west of us in Hong Kong. There was a typhoon warning—China’s version of a Category 1 Lightning Warning— for the day we arrived and the day after, preventing us from doing our practice race. Throughout the next 2 days of preparation, we grew accustomed to frequent and fleeting bouts of rain, coupled with extended periods of glassy waters.
The Opening Ceremony was held on the 15 of August, and there was a parade! It was a grand affair, with all the countries lined up in alphabetical order and China, as the host country, bringing up the rear. There were some speeches in Chinese which I only half understood, though I think that was already much better for most of the people there. We felt extremely proud to be Singapore’s Flag Bearers, making our entrance into the main hall for the Opening Ceremony. There was sumptuous dinner spread after, and the hall turned into a big scrum of people queueing for food.

The next day, it rained, again. After the competitor’s briefing, we waited for a while, then the 5.3 fleet set out. We sailed, no, paddled, rocked, and sculled just to get to our race course. Once we arrived at the race course, we waited. And waited. And waited for wind. We were arranged into fleets, and my fleet which was to start first was lucky enough to get in three starts. I say three because we started three times. Every time, they abandoned the race. In the end we did not even finish a race. The 4.2 class had better luck, securing 3 races on the same day. Luc faired very well for his 2nd competitive Regatta ever, finishing ahead of some more experienced competitors in his fleet!

There were valuable takeaways from the subsequent days of racing, mainly:

  1. Know your Flags / Race Signals ! My initial joy from finishing 7th in my first race turned to dismay, after realising I mistook the “C” Flag for a shortened course signal. That ultimately meant that I sailed the wrong course and finished prematurely.
  2. Good Starts are super-duper important! Starting badly in a 70-strong fleet sailing a short course made me learn the hard way.
  3. Come prepared. Be prepared to launch, prepared to change/adapt, prepared to wait…always be prepared.

Throughout the whole regatta, the one thing that we undoubtedly did the most was wait for wind. The reason why there was no wind was that the typhoon had swept the wind away. People always tell of the calm before the storm, but they never tell of the calm after the storm… Despite the poor conditions, Luc and I found some time to keep occupied by the beach, as the Vanhang Longcheer Team organised beach activities for the sailors on the last day of racing.
At the end of the regatta, the 5.3 fleet had only completed two races. During the closing ceremony, everyone received a participation medal (glass!) and the first person in the country for the overall standings in the 5.3 class got a glass trophy engraved with “First in Country”. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my Parents, Vanhang Loncheer Yacht Club Officials, Race Officials, Luc and Coach Choy for the invaluable experience competing in a major international regatta! I learnt many different things, made new friends, and (mostly) enjoyed it!

 

Topper Worlds 2018, Shenzhen, China

Over the past 2 months, 2 of our Club’s Youth Sailors have been putting in the extra hours to train and race on the newly acquired Topper dinghies – all in preparation for this year’s 2018 Meisha Campus Topper World Championships, held in Longcheer Yacht Club, Shenzhen.

This was the first time in many years that Changi Sailing Club has sent a team to represent Singapore and the Club at an International Regatta, let alone World Championship. Both Angel Chew and Luc Patel travelled out of the country to compete for the very first time, in the 5.3 and 4.2 class respectively. With 222 participants in the 5.3 fleet and 45 participants in the 4.2 fleet, it was the largest Topper Worlds Event ever! The 267 sailors represents a total of 20 different nations from 5 continents.

Fun facts:

  1. The oldest competitor is 71 years old, hailing from Japan!
  2.  The youngest competitor is 9 years old, from China!
  3. This is the first time the event is held outside of Europe.
  4. John Parrish, PRO for this Championship left at 2am in the morning to officiate at the Asian Games held in Jakarta.

Alas, despite the excellent turn-out, the winds / weather did not deliver. A recent typhoon wrecked havoc in nearby hong kong, sucking up much of the wind pressure, leaving our racing area with erratic bouts of rain and glassy waters. After a frustrating 5 days of racing with only 2 races completed in the 5.3 class and 5 races completed in the 4.2 class, the fleet was left without a World Champion, as a minimum of 4 races was needed to secure the qualifying series and establish the Finals showdown.

Despite the unsatisfactory outcome, sailors made the most of the week in Longcheer, making new friends and exploring the nearby beach + town. Angel and Luc had much to be proud of, the former having nearly secured a top 20 finish in 1 of her races, only to have the race committee eventually abandon the race. The latter was the surprise package of the 2, as Luc completed all 5 races to place a credible 37th out of 45 boats in the 4.2 class. This was a big improvement from his performance at the recent Singapore Nationals in June, where he struggled to finish in most of his races.

More importantly, I strongly believe competitions of this magnitude accelerates positive growth and builds character – both sailors show immense potential in sailing and increased levels of maturity, proving themselves to be dependable, self-reliant and thoughtful athletes over the course of the Regatta.

Angel Chew – 213th out of 222 participants (5.3 Class)

Luc Patel – 37th out of 45 participants (4.2 Class)

Full Results here: http://www.itcaworld.org/international-topper-class-0

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Vanke Meisha Campus for the strong support as sponsors, Longcheer Yacht Club & Hotel for the warm hospitality and officials from ITCA for the race management and logistical feats.

Not forgetting the wonderful support from Angel’s and Luc’s parents – providing us with delicious dumplings, noodles and fruits over the period of the regatta – thank you so much!

Kudos to Angel Chew and Luc Patel for exceeding expectations. Looking forward to great things from the both of you 🙂

 

Choy Yi Hong
Team Manager / Coach
Changi Sailing Club

 

31st Annual General Meeting 2018

Last Friday, on 20th July, CSC members gathered at Tekong Cove to receive the Annual Report from the Management Committee. Since the renewal of lease was announced last year, the Club was quick to roll out upgrading works and many new initiatives + programmes for Members.

Highlights:

Land lease – The Club has been given a 3 year lease from 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2020. A further 3+3 years is on the cards. As a condition of the lease, part of the boat yard has been returned to the Land Authority.

Club Maintenance – The Club Development Fund was utilized for upgrading/maintenance works to the boatyard slipway, chalets, main club house and various new installments over the past 6 months.

Go Green Campaign – As part of our efforts to be a more eco-friendly and sustainable club, CSC has launched a Go Green Campaign led by James Sharpe (Social Secretary) & Justin Lean. Some of the initiatives include:

  1. Eco-Sailing Day on 9th August 2018
  2. Say NO to single-use plastic straws
  3. Recycle Bins placed at the Jetty
  4. Going Paperless for the Next AGM

Community Outreach Program – Recent sailing and social activities with Yishun Park School – Rainbow Centre and Villa Francis Home for the Aged contribute to a very diverse outreach program, using sailing and the club facilities to give back. This is in addition to Sailability Singapore calling CSC their home, the Sailing arm of Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC).

Welcoming the New Committee onboard:

Vice Commodore – Deborah Barker
Rear Commodore (Sailing) – Paul Kendall
Hon. Treasurer – Andy Willett
Social Secretary – James Sharpe

Upcoming Events:

  1. 19th Ambassadors’ Cup 2018 3rd November – Race & Party 26th October – pre-event fundraising cocktail for the Community Outreach Program.
  2. Eco-Sailing Day 9th August
  3. New Years’ Eve Party 31st December 2018

Next Phase of upgrading / maintenance works:

  1. Jetty
  2. Optimist Racks
  3.  General Painting of the Club

 

For the full reports, please visit https://csc.org.sg/about-us/annual-general-meeting/