SMU’s Sailing Club held their 10th anniversary “sailebration” last month at Raffles Marina, the birthplace of their club and second home to all SMU sailors. It was a momentous event of homecoming fun as the family reminisced their decade-long journey and commemorated their achievements and successes to date. While it all appears like glitz and glamour watching them bag awards with buttery-smooth ease at competitions such as the Singapore Straits Regatta and Top of the Gulf Regatta, unbeknownst to many are the mental and physical rigours they have had to go through to create waves within the community worldwide. The SMU social media team reveals a different side of them in our co-curricular activity (CCA) feature this week.
The SMU Sailing Club was founded in 2004 by a group of friends who enjoyed nothing more than to be out on the water together. It strives to be the foremost tertiary sailing club in Singapore by pursuing competitive excellence at both local and international regattas. So far, students have had the privilege of travelling to countries like China, France, Greece, Indonesia, Italy, and Thailand to compete with international sailors from all over the world. You may ask if one has to have prior experience before joining the team. The good news is that the SMU Sailing Club provides opportunities for all students to sail, compete, and grow as a sailor regardless of prior sailing experience. It places an emphasis on holistic development and encourages growth through identifying and unlocking potential in their sailors. Numerous opportunities, both on the local and international scene, are available for students to grow as sailors and more importantly to build their character whilst picking up life lessons along the way.
Sailors come together every Wednesday for weekly gym sessions, and every weekend for water training. Water training sessions commence with a briefing to set the goals that are to be achieved on that day. The scope and focus for all trainings usually differ, so students can look forward to constantly learning new things. Water training is concluded with a macro level debrief conducted by a Training Development Officer and Coach, before sailors break into groups of four to six to have their boat-level debriefs.
Watch how their weekends typically unravel:
Looks like a cakewalk? Collin Lim, current president of the SMU Sailing Club, shares that onlookers often overlook the effort that each individual sailor puts into every single training session. Be it during practice or in a competition, they are faced with a multitude of variables that they constantly have to adapt to. “A change in wind direction, current, or the position of a competitor requires the sailors to make quick decisions,” Collin points out. “Most times, they do not have time to ask how to react; rather, they have to make a call and execute the next manoeuvre according to how they believe they should.”
While sailors are required to think and act as thinking individuals, Collin explains that they also need to remain open in terms of communication so that they can solve the problem at hand. “We constantly learn to compromise, to understand and trust that our team mates are making the right decisions to take us to victory. I guess it’s one of reasons why I can say that sailors are good team players and communicators.”
Collin reiterates this in an interview conducted at the recent Asia Pacific Student Cup held between 16 to 20 September at the Marina Bay area.
As much as the team is bonded through their victories, they are similarly bonded through their failures. “Losing in a tightly matched race is painful, but we learn to manage and move on from there,” shares Weina Soh, 2014 executive committee member. “We play our part as teammates to encourage an under-performing teammate or to keep morale up as a boat when we lose.”
Over the years, the club has expanded both its fleet of boats and membership base, but the sailors have always kept their underlying principles of friendship, teamwork and passion. It is thus fitting that we end this CCA feature with a quote that the 2014 exco hear ever so often:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
For more on the SMU sailing club’s vision, mission and drive, check out their webpage at www.smusailing.com/.
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