Sunday Nov 17

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Royal Brunei Yacht Club: Sailing

Greetings Readers! A few weeks ago I received a text message that went "Say, how would you like to come sailing this weekend?" My mind started wandering and somehow landed on imagery of a 50 foot yacht. I imagined board shorts and Hawaiian shirts and chilled sparkling fruit juices being served while my imaginary 20 friends and I sat around listening to Jamie Cullum singing "High and Dry". I have never been "sailing" and so I asked "Do I need to bring anything?", expecting the response to be "Nothing...just come prepared for loads of fun!" but instead all I got was "water, sunscreen, and waterproof shoes would be handy". Not thinking too much into it, I left it as that.

Next thing I know, I am at the Royal Brunei Yacht Club at Serasa Beach. My friend Romain is already there with his dad and his friend...on his 4-man sailboat. "Okay, you start helping us set up." And across the next hour, there we were under the hot 11.00am sun setting up. Ropes, rudder, sails and more ropes. The sailboat was ready but we decided to have lunch before the launch.

The Sailboat

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Raining down at Serasa Beach

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Oppy Sailing

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It was my second time having a meal at the Royal Brunei Yacht Club; the first time was over 20 years ago. From their website:

The Serasa club house situated on Serasa spit comes very much into its own over weekends and holidays. Families enjoy the informal atmosphere of the open air restaurant and a varied menu – now updated regularly by “specials”. There is an open air swimming pool and a children’s play area as well as the boating activity, and full shower and changing facilities.

The position on the Muara Bay allows a stunning view towards the Crocker Mountain range in Sarawak. The garden has been landscaped in recent years and tables and chairs allow parents to socialise while supervising their children’s play on the beach. The Serasa facility opened in 1980 but was soon expanded due to its popularity. It is an open-air stilt-house design, with a private beach area. An air conditioned room with large-screen TV is also available for members use, and there is a small library of books.

After a tasty lunch, we climbed on board and we were off! We sailed for about an hour and a half. There were no Hawaiian shirts or sparkling fruit juices being passed around. There was not much time for chit-chat or small talk. The last thing on my mind was Jamie Cullum singing "High and Dry". Sure, the wind was blowing, the sun was shining, the sailboat was cutting through the open waters, but through most of the 'boat ride', we were working. If we weren't pulling on ropes, we were watching the sails. If we weren't switching from port to starboard and vice-versa, we were leaning heavily over the sides of the sailboat to maintain balance.

All in all, it was exhilarating. The only piece of technology I had on me while sailing was my digital wristwatch but not once did I feel the need to reach out for my mobile device to share the moment. I felt alive, and I wanted to keep it all to myself. I think about the branding images used for Polo Blue and Armani's Acqua Di Gio. An adventurous looking gentleman. The wild open waters behind him. He's looking calm, cool and collected. The Master of that Moment. All these images made so much more sense after that afternoon. Plenty of hardwork, but unforgettable.

The RBYC Jetty

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My mate Romain

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Bringing the Sailboat back to shore

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Other photographs from Serasa Beach

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Check out the Royal Brunei Yacht Club website for more information and make it a point to experience it - the club, the open seas, sailing, etc - for yourselves.

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