Aye-Aye Captain : Learning to Sail in Bali
In Bali’s once sleepy district of Sanur, sits a sailing and water sport company with its sights set on offering a different kind of ocean experience than what Bali is typically known for. Both therapeutic and adrenaline-pumping activities are up for grabs here – set sail, captain!
Photo Courtesy of Eat Bali Surf And Sail
Sanur is Bali’s mature beachside town. Adored for its relaxed coastal ambience and alluring more laid-back residents, it is ideal for a honeymoon, 30th anniversary, or a Sunday fun day with the kids. The beaches offer waves that break far out in the distance, making its shores ideal to swim, sunbathe, or go sailing.
Sailing the waters of Pantai Semawang, colloquially known as Hyatt Reef, doesn’t require you to have a certain set of skills or strength. An adventurous soul and curiosity for the sea will suffice. To determine whether to sail or not typically depends on the tide, not the time of the day. The water conditions on this beach is calm enough for everything to go smooth sailing!
Snuggled in between Sanurs strip’s many eateries, East Bali Surf and Sail has conquered Sanurs waters since 2014. The founder and head water sport instructor, Oka Sulaksana, is Indonesia’s only four-time Olympian, twice Asian Champion, and undefeated national windsurfing champion. He has been passing down his love and knowledge for water sports ever since. These days, he entrusts the role to one of his experienced instructors at EBSS, Kadek Jeffrey, who is a regular windsurfing contestant himself.
Many daredevils choose sailing to catch a drift and slice through choppy waters, whilst some prefer to sit back and relax. Lone sailing is allowed, however for balance (and entertainment) purposes, it’s encouraged to have two or three people on one Hobie Cat 16 boat. Keep in mind that the wind will be your number one best friend when you’re out in the sea, as well as communication and teamwork. Possessing the ability to multitask will also greatly help, so choose your sailors wisely!
First, you will paddle out to the sea with the help of your instructor or teammate. It’s more challenging to sail out during low tides, as the bottom of your Hobie 16 will endure corals and rocks. It’s recommended to avoid shallow waters for this reason.
Your speed is controlled by the wind and techniques you choose to apply. A jibe or gybe is a sailing manoeuvre by putting the stern of the boat through the eye of the wind. Tacking the boat, on the other hand, is putting the bow through the eye of the wind. The movement of the boat generally follows the wind and your steering direction. Normally, the skipper stays on the back side to steer by pushing and pulling the tiller (a lever located on the back of the boat). The skipper and his partner can switch sides; one is in charge of paddling, whilst the other steers.
A top tip that instructor Jeffrey keeps in mind is to learn the direction of the wind by paying attention to the boats and flags set around you – always ask which way are they facing and blowing towards.
If one were to swim in the sea whilst sailing, either the skipper or partner stays aboard, ensuring the nose is directed against the wind for the boat to stay put. Enjoy the sea at its most tranquil state on a cool, breezy morning or glide through the direction of the wind alongside jet ski riders and banana boat posse.
East Bali Surf and Sail offers surfing trips, snorkelling, Hobie 16 sailing, and private lessons that include stand up paddling, windsurfing, and surfing. Additionally, they offer an entry sailing program for children aged 7-14 years old, for kids to understand the basics of sailing and for the promotion of the water sport in Bali
East Bali Surf and Sail
Jalan Pantai Duyung, Hyatt Reef, Sanur
+62 811 392 791 / + 62 812 381 6387