For this ability, credit goes to Gareth Kelly, a UK national champion. The whole team was very friendly, but it was Gareth who took me under his wing and tutored me — we trained together that season and in subsequent years as well. Tactically, the British tended to sail conservatively, and they win races not through a daring dash to the corner of the course, but through small, steady, and calculated gains. That is the kind of tactical sailing that I knew well. After more than six months of intensive training that brought me to major regattas in Australia, Holland, Denmark, Germany, England, and France, I arrived in Hiroshima relatively confident that I had addressed my weaknesses, and I felt that my skill set was complete and balanced.
I won the practice race, but practice races are often not a good gauge. Race one got underway on 4 October, in knots of wind. The bad start unsettled me, and I took some time to get in synch with the wind shifts. I fell as far back as 5th position, out of nine boats at one point, but managed to recover and finish in 3rd place. That evening, I made a long entry in my logbook as I went through the race in my mind. I wrote my mistakes down in red ink, and used blue ink for the positives.
The entry for race one was full of red ink. In October, also at Singapore Cricket Club remember the timeline entry? In the subsequent races, I kept my cool and avoided doing anything desperate. My rivals, especially Chin Hong Chul from Korea, tempted me to take gambles. Japan, China, Malaysia and I knew the Koreans well, and we would get nervous whenever Chin went off to a corner of the course, because it was likely that he would cross way ahead of us at the top mark. When they saw how much Chin was gaining by going all the way to the lay lines, they followed suit, often to the opposite side of the course.
But I kept to what I was trained to do — play the shifts and go for the small but steady gains. It was the last leg of the race, a broad reach. Ben rounded the gybe mark ahead of the others. He sailed high to protect his lead. China was to windward. Japan the boat on his left sailed straight downwind, keeping away from the luffing match.
I threw in a lot more tacks than the others, as I patiently played the shifts upwind. I sailed my own race. My worst race was the first, where I finished third. I took pains to ensure that I did not have any weaknesses for my opponents to exploit, while I exploited their tendency to gamble. I patiently waited for them to make mistakes.
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Early on in the regatta, I knew I had found the right game plan. Somehow, no one highlighted those statistics to me before the race, and perhaps it was for the better…. Sparring partners in Auckland top left, from left: Above Nick Adamson and Ben in Hiroshima Far left Gareth Kelly with Ben in Southampton There is a little used but potent phrase: What Rod, Nick, Gareth and Trevor had unstintingly taught Ben spirited him up during critical points in the six races in which he had to sail well and fast.
In this context, the word encompasses the essential qualities that enable high achievement: The will to win, as champions are wont to tell you, is not just a wish to win. The will to win is the much-touted Fighting Spirit, the ability to keep at it, no matter the odds, whatever the disappointments.
Henry Chia, who masterminded the formation of the Junior Sailing Club back in the s, calls it soul. How did Henry, who was not a sailor then, know? At the start of the project, I was just formulating matters on land, setting up the admin instruments for the organisation to promote the sport in the schools, putting things together. Then I told myself: The very first time he took me out on a sailboat, we went from Changi Point to Pengerang. It is the nearest Malaysian point to Changi and Pulau Tekong.
The PDF also accepts. Then we moved on to a wooden half-cabin. She was named Belibis. Our next keelboat was a Maxi 77, Petra, built in Singapore. Then we had a Maxi 10, Impulse. He soon discovered that his host parents, Helmuth and Emily, and their sons Jeff, Mike and Bill, were all keen sailors. Just over a month after his arrival, the family took him to The Lake, which is what the locals called Vasona Reservoir.
Only boats without engines were allowed on the water. Sailing dinghies, bigger sailboats and various types of paddle craft could be moored, parked or rented a place there that everyone called The Marina. And it was there that Ser Miang was introduced to El Toro. The blunt-nosed El Toro, just 2. It is an American design, like its cousin, the Optimist, which, after adaptation by a Dane, is. The Stobbes family built their own El Toros from kits sold by manufacturers. Probably because of their do-it-yourself smarts, they put Ser Miang into one of the dinghies and cast him off without a word about boat and sail handling.
I stared at what the others were doing in their boats. Other boats were turning left, so I thought I should turn left, too. My boat started going to the right! I then discovered that I had to push the tiller to the right to make the boat turn left. It was all trial and error. Luckily for me, the wind was weak. I did not capsize the Toro. His anxiety soon gave way to enjoyment. They tied three balloons behind each boat. The boat with the most balloons left was the winner. Surprisingly, I came in third.
The first time out, all by myself in the boat, was interesting, learning to control it. The second time out was great fun. After that, I thoroughly enjoyed the sailing, just sailing. It was not necessary to race or pop balloons. A rite of passage. The Bay was big time, with strong winds, currents you needed to make allowances for, and waves or chop that you swiftly had to learn to handle.
WWII 1939, Pre-war build up
It was like the open sea, and the water was very cold. For the first time, he was sailing in a high-performance dinghy with a trapeze. So he could stand on the edge of the boat and hang right out, attached to the mast by a wire that kept him from falling off, his precarious perch accentuating the rush of wind and water. In a dinghy, you are close to the water, you get wet and the rush is thrilling when the wind is up. But it can be just as intoxicating when the wind is up. The mixologist of San Francisco serves up an exhilarating cocktail of wind, water, boat and sailor.
Ser Miang had no opportunity to sail. In , he enrolled in the University of Singapore. The following year, Alec Kuok was recruited to help promote sports and recreation activities among the students. The university had no facilities or funds for student sailors. A few who were keen on sailing organised the activity themselves.
The university administration could offer only moral support. Ser Miang, a business administration student, became captain of the varsity sailing team and also of the rowing team, taking part in sculling events on Pandan River. Then he drifted away from sailing for some years. As on this Enterprise. After graduation, he went to Hong Kong to work in the financial sector, returning for national service in , just in time, it seemed to some selectors, to prepare for the SEAP Games in Pattaya, Thailand. National sailing coach Charles Willans and his assistant, Lawrence Hoh, who was also team manager, wanted Ser Miang for the games.
The Singapore Armed Forces then had a Gladiator scheme that was intended to facilitate full-time NS men who were national athletes training for and competing in international sporting events. But Ser Miang felt that there was insufficient time for him to get back into competitive form. He did not vie for selection to the national team. But he did get back to sailing eventually, joining Changi Sailing Club and buying the 6.
He kept the name given by the previous owner. Skippering Susanna on day cruises and in club races provided him with a welcome break from work. He was running TIBS, a bus company. He had been called back by family from a finance job in Hong Kong to lead-start the Trans-Island Bus Services in When the first of his three children, Xuan Hui, was in school and had begun sailing the Optimist, weekends were often family sailing days. Memories of his sailing weekends with his American host family came flashing back. The sailors were competing against the northeast monsoon as well as against one another.
I decided we had to do something to raise our. At that time, we did not have many sailors. They were mainly club members who did recreational sailing and who encouraged their children to sail. Some teachers were involved in sailing, too, very actively. Not just weekends, but family holidays also became sailing holidays. For sailors in Singapore, it was more complicated. We could not just drive from one country to another. But Singapore was hardly known then in international sailing circles.
It was tough getting in, making friends, establishing connections. Ben Tan was an Optimist Kid who grew up as a sailor at Changi Sailing Club, benefiting from the environment, underdeveloped as it was then, getting some support though it was under provided, pushing himself, smartly building on his own capabilities, wisely working the system without letting its inadequacies frustrate him, earning the unofficial accolade of Model Sailor with his winning ways and ever courteous demeanour, sharing secrets with top fellow competitors, and then winning an Asian Games gold, the first by a Singaporean sailor.
You have produced some Singapore sailors of international standing and have attained respectable placings in the Asian and Southeast Asian regattas. The late Barker had himself been a consummate sportsman though not a sailor. Foreign participation was mainly from the neighbouring Indonesian islands, but on some occasions, representatives came from Saigon, Hong Kong and Manila. What this all means is that there is the tradition to give the sport of sailing strength and colour.
We have not ensured self-sufficiency in funds. It planned to nurture junior sailors in competition. But all those plans did not bring the expected success. A state of the union kind of accounting is to be found in The Wind Is Free. During the initial research stages, the hunt for The Wind Is Free threatened to be mission impossible.
And, then, one evening when he had given up, he found it at home. Its red, white, blue and green cover was not pristine, but its pages were intact. If not for the decision to hold a fund-raising dinner, this piece of history might not have been recorded. Shaw Her, bylined in the publication as S H Siew, contributed three pieces.
Were the achievements respectable?
World War II (1939-1945)
Siew Shaw Her, a high achievement sailor and the prolific chronicler who contributes three articles for The Wind Is Free. Sailing did not feature in the Asian Games till in Pattaya, Thailand. This was the sixth staging of the once-in-four-years series.
Singapore sailors contended in all the yachting events that year. The Asian Fireball Championship was held annually in Pattaya from Our part in ocean racing was the heading in The Wind Is Free by which Shaw Her took readers over the horizon to observe Singapore sailors reaching way beyond regional and continental racing. Each country would put up a threeboat team and race in a series with points scored in each race. They compete in four classes and win four silver medals. Jack Snowden; team manager: The series comprised five races, three of them inshore and two offshore.
The two are the Channel race and the famous — many would say infamous because of its punishing conditions and the high price it has exacted on human lives and performance yachts — Fastnet race.
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The latter race is named after Fastnet Rock, a tiny Irish islet on which stands the eponymous lighthouse. Fastnet is about 13km southwest of the main island. The race from Cowes to Fastnet with a rounding of the islet and back to the UK, ending at the port of Plymouth, is a gruelling nautical miles 1,km. The north Atlantic weather and sea states are challenging, putting it mildly. As usual, money was the biggest obstacle.
Singapore ended up in 6th overall, which is a very good showing.
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Spain pulled out at the eleventh hour. They came in 6th overall among 18 nations. Not staged in , it was last held in and was cancelled in Races that do not require a handicap formula are the one-design events. Skipper and 12 of the crew demonstrate what jubilation looks like for the 14th man on board. Someone has to shoot the photo. And her crew had not only never raced as a team before, but some had just met for the first time when they assembled in Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong, for test runs and race practice.
When the China Sea Race was first run in , it had only five entries. There were 27 entries. She was a 10m footer Contention keelboat. But regional regattas are challenging, too. Like the SEA Games, they are neighbourly pursuits subject to close-quarter scrutiny. They were not also-rans.
Singapore sent 20 sailors led by Kuttan as chef de mission.
Tony wins in the Enterprise again the following year, at Labuan, his crew Claire Wee. All in all, there were 55 dinghy sailors and 70 board sailors. They won in an Enterprise. Among the facilities and equipment the British are leaving behind are sailing clubs and boats.
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Labuan was unforgettable for another young Singapore sailor: He had crewed for Tan Swee Hung in the at Labuan the year before, and they came in 1st. The next year, at the same off-the-beaten-track island off the western coast of Sabah, Shaw Her took the helm for the first time in an international event, scored a 1st place in the class with trapeze crewman Eddie Tang of the Singapore Navy.
There were dinghy sailors, board sailors and 46 keelboat crew. An attraction near the beach was the race area for the Optimist class. The Optimists are single-handed dinghies sailed by boys and girls 15 and younger. Spectator friendly, rare in those days, is the Optimist race area, which is close to the beach at the Tioman regatta. No need for binoculars to watch the kids sailing. Charles Lim above wins. Joe wraps up his article thus: A bigger splash on the East Coast.
The Big Splash theme park with its seven-storey-high, colourful slides dominated the seaward skyline at East Coast Park. That was some 11 years after windsurfing was born in the US. When selected, he said that his spot should go to a younger sailor with longer competition life. It has made way for a food and beverage complex. But since those early days, boardsailing has made a much bigger splash — on the East Coast and also on the watersports scene in Singapore.
This privately run centre offers a complete range of services related to the sport — training, rental, storage, sales and service of equipment. The centre has grown to be one of the biggest windsurfing set-ups known to exist in the world, with a membership of more than and a fleet of sailboards in its premises. Singapore staked its place on the world windsurfing map by hosting international meets that attracted world-class boardsailors and sending national boardsailors to events in Europe, Asia and Australia.
Kelly was 26th out of 38 in that class. Kelly died in Expose schoolchildren to sailing,.
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The article says that windsurfing was considered to be the fastest growing watersport in the world. We can now look forward to executing all our plans almost in full and with confidence. Thanks to Ser Miang, his assistants and all who responded. I hope it will be plain sailing for those who come after us.
Thus Junior Sailing Club is conceived. Situated at one end of the Padang, the club was near the sea but not on the shoreline. It was established in It was an active club from the start. The ship was en route to southern Kalimantan from Gresik Surabaya The ship sailed to Thailand waters Tanker sustained portside stern damages, pier said to suffer damages, too. Need a FleetMon account? Sign Up now. It is great that you want to track the seven seas! Unfortunatly your browser is out of date.
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