By Young Yun Xuan (21S06L), Captain, Jonathan Lio (21S06D), Vice-Captain, and Amadea Hong (21S03J), Vice-Captain
Have you ever wondered how many of the seven continents the mere seven of us have been to for our sport? Answer: almost all of them except Antarctica!
Even though we have never sailed with the penguins or polar bears, we have had the incredible opportunity to sail with many other majestic marine animals like dolphins, sharks, sea turtles, and whales. Along with all the amazing sea creatures we have had the chance to sail with while we are training overseas, we also interact with many of whom the immigration authorities would call “aliens”—but we call them our competitors at sea but friends on shore. However, behind all the fun and glory of traveling with friends, we also put in long hours on the water and in the gym to ensure that we are at our peak performance when representing Raffles and more importantly, our country.
Although sailing is a largely individual sport, we are always there for our batchmates. Being close friends for more than a decade, we have done almost everything together. From braving the seas to near-death experiences during strong winds and big waves, we’ve been through it all. We have cried together, studied together, and spent many special occasions such as birthdays, Christmas and New Years’ together with our endless karaoke, stargazing, and gaming sessions. We have also suffered and persevered through our coach’s torturous trainings together such as swimming and running long distances with our full sailing gear for PT, doing numerous manoeuvres out at sea, and—of course—puking together afterwards. After all, in such a unique sport where spectating is almost impossible, our only support system is each other.
When our teachers ask for our season period, we reply with “it never ends”. While other sports CCAs have a definite answer, we have regatta (also known as competitions) almost every month along with Inter-Schools competitions. Ask any sailor what their favourite local regatta is and chances are the response is “INTERSCHOOLS!” Additionally, we have buffets and barbecues after every regatta (actually, we also have them even if there is no regatta).
Once a year, we get to sit on our coach’s super cool power boat without him making us pick up anchors but just to cheer for our teammates. On normal training days, however, we have to earn our spot on his power boat. Coming back to shore, we are greeted with mountains of food from our lovely teammates and parents. When the Inter-Schools competition is finally over after four days of intense racing and cheering, we go all out on our feasting and watch blockbuster movies in a cinema full of only sailors. But of course, what comes before that is bringing home the champion trophy, and scrubbing and polishing ours and our coach’s boats while he complains of spots we missed. Jiaolian we still love you!
All in all, from predictable factors like currents, wind strength, and directions to unpredictable ones like the fleet, Sailing is not only fun but also a very technical and complicated sport to master and understand. It requires us to always be at the top of our game physically and mentally by thinking on our feet and making spontaneous race-changing decisions on the water. We are not only masters of our boat but also masters of the sea. Being one of us is like being Aquaman: the sea is our home and the beaches are our backyards.