Keywords: Sailcation - Private yacht - Charter - Overnight - Southern islands
Month of visit: December 2020
Youtube video review: 2D1N Sailcation - Private Yacht Experience | Review
A twist from the normal staycation, this 2D1N private yacht sailcation from Singapore is an experience worth considering. Operated by Discover Sailing Asia, this overnight excursion includes a number of optional activities like setting and manoeuvring sails, paddle boarding, snorkelling and kayaking. While dinner and breakfast are provided, guests may opt to bring any kind of food and beverages on board.
This unique sailing experience starts from One15 Marina on Sentosa, Singapore and we had met our crew at 3PM. Shortly after, we were led to our yacht for the next 20 hours via a pontoon. Nearby, there is a cold storage and 7-11 nearby so guests may opt to purchase some drinks and snacks there for convenience.
View of the marina from One15 Marina, Sentosa.
The yacht was a Beneteau Oceanis 45 and Discover Sailing Asia has two of such yachts, one having a 3-cabin while the other having a 4-cabin configuration although the total floor sizes are the same. As such, if you have a preference, do put in a request during booking. We were allocated the 3-cabin configuration which has a master cabin and two equally smaller cabins. The yacht has an overall length of 14m and consisted of two decks, comfortably accomodating our party of 5.
Exterior of the Oceanis 45 docked at Lazarus island.
On the upper deck, there is a large open concept seating area with an extendable table to maximise space. This space functions as a cockpit of the yacht with dual helms. The wooden flooring was neat and comfortable. When docked or anchored, the transom can be extended to function as a swim platform. A narrow pathway leads to the stern of the yacht where guests can enjoy unbeatable views of the sea and skyline.
Spacious and well designed upper deck of the sailing yacht.
A stairway connects the upper deck to the lower deck. While the lower deck looks small from the outside, it was very spacious. The interiors had an overall contemporary light oak finish and had a number of windows to allow natural light in. The common area can be divided into two, with one side being a kitchen fully equipped with an electric stove, an oven, a microwave and a sink. There is also a refrigerator for guests to keep their food and drinks chilled. On the other side, there was a common rectangular seating area which can be converted into a sofa bed. One important detail is that after docking, the air-conditioning will be turned on, making the stay more comfortable.
Common area on the lower deck.
The sailing yacht that we were assigned to has three cabins, two of which are of identical size while the other is a larger cabin. The larger cabin was situated at the front and as such had a larger headspace. In contrast, the smaller cabins were situated at the back and were beneath the outdoor sitting area on the upper deck and thus had a much smaller headspace. All cabins had a double bed with a few storage spaces for our belongings. They were equipped with reading lamps, fans and lights. There were small windows with privacy curtains. One interesting observation we made was that half of the lower deck was underwater and so if you are lying down, you're below the sea level!
One major drawback of the cabins at the back was that they were adjacent to the cooling system of the yacht's generator. As such, it was extremely noisy and thus affected our sleep quality at night. To put the sleeping experience into perspective, it was akin to sleeping in the noisiest part of an aircraft both in terms of the noise and space.
The three cabins of the sailing yacht.
The master cabin had an en-suite bathroom while the other two cabins had a shared bathroom. In general, the bathrooms were compact but clean and well designed. Interestingly, the flushing and drainage systems were manually operated and so it is advisable to learn how to flush and drain respectively to avoid flooding or stinking up the entire yacht.
The two bathrooms of the sailing yacht.
Arguably the most exciting part of the holiday was the initial setting off period when we departed the Marina and entered the open sea. This part of the voyage was a little bumpy as the sails were not drawn yet but the views were breathtaking.
Setting off into the open sea.
Once we were in the open sea, our crew taught us how to set the sails which was a very challenging task but a good experience nonetheless.
A quick lesson on how to set the sails.
Soon after, we were given the chance to steer the sailing yacht on our own. It was an interesting experience for us as we had not done this before. While it may look easy, it was actually quite tiring! We found out that large vessels a distance away can approach us within quite a short time even though it would seem unlikely initially.
A chance to steer the sailing yacht during the trip.
We had the opportunity to either briefly stop near Lazarus island beach for water activities such as paddle boarding, kayaking or swimming or spend the time sailing the sea. We chose the latter and so we had more than two hours of sailing time. If you do intend to rent the paddle boards or kayak, do inform them in advance so arrangements can be made.
Sailing the blue sea in southern Singapore.
In the late evening, we docked at Lazarus island for the night. Here, we had the time to explore the island or relax and catch the sunset. We were docked together with the other yacht from the same company and there were some campers on the island. Also, two of the crew members stayed with us throughout the night.
Docking at Lazarus island for the night.
There was a public restroom near the jetty where we docked but it wasn't very clean. We took a five minutes stroll to Kias island to enjoy viewing the sunset in the horizon.
Lazarus island, southern Singapore.
Dinner was a rather underwhelming affair with bento boxes served that was prepared earlier in the day. The food wasn't fresh and the coleslaw, spoilt. The soup was also tasteless. Prior to the trip, we were given a menu to preorder our meals but in the end, everyone got the exact same bento set. To avoid disappointment, you might want to consider arranging a better dinner or bring your own meal. Nonetheless, we did enjoy a relaxing evening on the yacht.
Underwhelming dinner on board.
Our second day was a relatively short one, having the departure time set at 10am and we arrived back at Sentosa Cove before 11am. In the morning, we woke up early to catch the sunrise from the beach and had breakfast on board. If the dinner was underwhelming, the breakfast was one to forget. A pack of factory-made croissant was served with butter as well as a pack of cornflakes and instant hard boiled eggs. It was so disappointing that we didn't bother to take a picture!
Second day morning view from the jetty.
Concluding remarks: This salication experience was certainly a unique one for us given that overseas tourism was not yet permitted. The crew on board were friendly and had made our trip enjoyable while lessons on board were fun. On the downside, there were some administrative lapses during our trip and we had to make a U-turn 30 minutes into our sail, losing valuable daylight hours. On top of that, the meals served were underwhelming and well short of our expectations. Nonetheless, our overall experience was positive and this is an ideal activity for friends and family wanting to try something different.
Private overnight sailing yacht by Discover Sailing Asia.