It’s a bit of an oxymoron. Of course, there’s no such thing as a proper ‘Autumn’ here in the tropics. Singapore is close to the Equator and tends to be hot and humid all year round (although funnily enough, according to the forecast, temperatures may dip to 22 degrees Celsius in the next couple of weeks; Aeneas is already getting excited about being able to wear his hoodie outside).
Anyway, even though there are no proper seasons here, there was the mid-Autumn Harvest Festival last week. This Chinese tradition, also knows as the Moon Festival, is widely celebrated in Singapore and families gather to sample autumn harvests, to light lanterns and to admire what is believed to be the fullest moon of the year. One of the main highlights are the mooncakes, these rich and filling cakes, made out of lotus seed paste and egg yolk, are traditionally gifted to friends or family members. Of course, this year the celebrations were somewhat subdued because of COVID-19 and the restrictions on large group gatherings.
Singapore has been in ‘phase 2’ after the ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown ended in June. Most activities are allowed, but are limited to groups of maximum five people. Social distancing and other rules, such as wearing a mask at all times and mandatory contact tracing, must be respected. We’re trying to make the most of what we can do. The kids recently signed up for martial arts lessons and Aeneas also joined a fine arts academy for weekly sketching and painting classes.
While we are eagerly waiting for the borders to reopen and take Rehua blue water sailing again, we have also been looking for other ways to keep our sailing bug satisfied. Last weekend, we joined the Laser SB20s Autumn Series.
It was our second time sailing and racing an SB20, as a family. It all started as a bit of a coincidence, a month or so ago, when one of the other crew didn’t turn up to join Seathan and Tyrii for the second day of the Southern Monsoon Cup. Aeneas and I weren’t too keen to spend an entire day out on the water, in the blazing sun. The SB20 is also quite a technical boat. I really wasn’t sure we’d be up for it. But, they were short of crew and wouldn’t be able to race unless we joined. So, we ended going out as a family team and we all had a blast. We even decided we wanted to do more racing together and we signed up for the Autumn Series, a series of races that runs during October and November.
I’ve always loved racing, especially in a one design class. There’s nothing better than a bit of competition to keep everyone focussed on trimming the sails, distributing the weight, making every tack and gibe as smooth as possible and trying to work together seamlessly as a team. We each had our job during the race. Seathan was the tactician, helmsman and mainsheet trimmer, Tyrii was on the gib, I was on spinnaker duty and Aeneas made sure the lines in the cockpit were kept clear at all times. There was some swearing and shouting, but also a lot of laughter and we didn’t make any big mistakes. After five races in one day, we were totally exhausted and I could hardly walk the next day, but we had fun and we can’t wait to have another go!