Category Archives: Sailing

The Seven Best Gratitude Quotes | Psychology Today

I came across this page, which I think you’ll find useful.  Our lives are sometimes so filled with ‘noise’ that we forget how blessed we really are.


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Introduction to Sailing

On a whim, I decided to sign up for an introductory course on sailing.  This happened just this past weekend of Oct 3rd and 4th.  I was initially unsure if I would go, owing to possible jetlag from the long-haul trip.  In fact, maybe it was a little ambitious as I returned on Friday night and would need to wake up at 6am the next day, to make the long trip to the venue.  I didn’t sleep on Friday night, not sure whether from jetlag or from excitement.

The course is organised by the HK Government’s Leisure and Cultural Dept and because it is subsidised by the Government,  it was only HKD180 for the 2 days.  This is another example of Wonderful HK, where we actually enjoy the benefits of paying taxes.  During the course of 2 days, we learnt how to set up our dingy (its called a Topper) – a single man boat, how to manage it, rules of the road and got alot of practise.  I liked that we got a chance to practise everything that was taught.  Day 1 was interesting as we learnt the basics.  In the afternoon, we got a chance to get into the dingy and sail.  Thankfully the wind was low and although we didn’t get to go very fast, it made it easier to manage.  

Day 2 was more painful, owing to the stronger winds.  The thing about sailing especially on non-powered boats, you really are at the mercy of the winds.  I tried reassuring myself that, it’s just like learning to drive but that is so inaccurate.  When driving a car, you are mostly in control but with sailing, the winds can be as unpredictable as emotions during PMS!  Maybe with experience, I may be able to anticipate changes in wind direction and force and this will allow me to have more control over the boat but for a beginner, I really struggled to remain onboard!

Throughout the practise session, most of the time was spent reacting to changes in wind force, trying to remember all the principles that I’d learnt, leaning out over the edge to act as a balance to the boat (that part was fun), always mindful of the boom  in case it swung unexpectedly etc.  As with most things in life, confidence makes a difference and I did not have the confidence to manage in the strong winds.  It was unfortunate that I’d capsized during an attempt to make a right turn (also called a Gybe).  I’m not sure what happened except that I was thrown off the boat and the boat turned upside down.   This meant that its bottom was facing the sky and the sail was in the water.  We had been taught how to right the boat, if it capsized and I tried with all my might to turn it over but it didn’t budge.  I got weak from my failed attempts and finally had to wave for help.  The instructor had to come to help me right it and it took alot of strength because the sail was in the water.  I didn’t have the strength to lift myself up onto the boat, after it was righted and had to be pulled up by the instructor.  While floating in the sea waiting for help, I had a thought that if I was alone I couldn’t give up and ask for help.  At the same time, I felt hopeless in the situation and thought as a last resort, I would abandon ship and swim back to shore.

Overall the experience was quite intense and I’ve decided that sailing is more fun when it is done in a team.  I found it very physically demanding to manage alone.  It does require alot of strength to be able to lift the boat and fit all the parts together and of cause, when righting a capsized boat.  From the emotional aspect, sailing alone is not much fun.  Firstly, your full attention is on managing the boat that you don’t see any of the beautiful surroundings.  Secondly, if you do get a chance to view a beautiful scenery, you have no one else to share it with. 

Prepared Toppers waiting to be sailed.  Because of the strong winds, the sails had to be shortened so that it would catch less wind

Prepared Toppers waiting to be sailed. Because of the strong winds, the sails had to be shortened so that it caught less wind

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