Interview a sailor – Calvin



School of Business

Year 2010 intake

  • Calvin has helmed for major regattas in Singapore and across Asia in Thailand and Indonesia
  • Has been sailing for 11 years


Calvin is the current President of SMU Sailing (2012 Exco). Owing to 11 years of experience, Calvin has helmed in multiple of regattas locally as well as in Asia. Despite having sailed for more than a decade, he is still hungry to learn from seniors, alumni and professional sailors from abroad.

We wish him the best as he heads up to Nice, France, for FISU 2012 International World University Championships with the SMU Team!

What kind of boats did you sail on? Prior achievements?

I grew up on the single-handed boats like the Optimist and Byte, going into double-handed like 420 and Hobie 16 before moving on to keelboat sailing.

Guess I’ve been fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to compete and sail overseas and perhaps even luckier to win a couple of international races on the Byte and Laser.

What is your favourite/least favourite position in a keelboat and why?

Favourite position would probably be Jib / Kite trimmer because you can influence how fast the boat goes depending on your sail adjustments and it’s close to the foredeck!

Least favourite position, I don’t think there really is one for me since I think all positions on the boat have interesting and exciting moments during a race.

Something interesting about yourself?

I’m allergic to seawater! Ok just kidding. Hmmm guess when I was younger, I was afraid to capsize the boat because I thought there were sharks in the sea.

Talk about your experience being in SMU Sailing

In SMU Sailing, we believe in training super hard and playing super hard. We don’t have a big team as compared to some of the other CCAs but in that sense we’re all closer and more bonded.

I’ve also received a lot of help and learned a lot from the seniors and alumni in the club during trainings as well as races. SMU Sailing also gives all of its sailors the opportunity to compete overseas because the best way to improve is to learn from the professional sailors overseas. 

Share with us about your regatta experience with SMU Sailing. Which regatta was the most memorable regatta and why?

With SMU Sailing, I’ve sailed in Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, China and Australia on many different boats. I reckon my most memorable regatta would be my first regatta, Singapore Straits Regatta, where I was helming on Shengli (SMU’s J24). I’ve never had so much fun, trouble and madness in one regatta and even with all the chaos and mistakes, the whole team had a good time while learning a lot from the experience.

Share about the leadership opportunities (ie, EXCO, Org comm for WCSR) offered by the club. How have you benefited from these opportunities?

I’ve been fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to lead one of the best clubs in SMU for a year and also helped in the organization of the biggest keelboat regatta in Singapore, Western Circuit Sailing Regatta, for two years.

Through this opportunities and experiences, I think I’ve learnt to appreciate the value of planning and also managing a team as well as handling conflict. Overall, it’s been an enriching and fulfilling experience.

Any word of advice/encouragement to new/experienced sailors

Well I think the most important thing is doing things without regret and always being willing to try something new. And I guess this is best summarized by the quote we hear so oft in the sailing:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. 

So throw off the bowlines. 

Sail away from the safe harbor. 

Catch the trade winds in your sails.

Explore. Dream. Discover.”

– Mark Twain

Read about Gwen