Fun or sport, Entebbe Sailing Club offers the perfect getaway

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Taught to fear rather than embrace water from early on, a dip in the pond, let […]

Taught to fear rather than embrace water from early on, a dip in the pond, let alone sailing or boat racing, is not something that many Ugandans relish. This was very much in evidence at the climax of the Entebbe Sailing Club Regatta where only three of the twenty-six participants were Ugandan.

But that did not dampen the spirit and excitement of the event as the teams set sail in their lasers to rack up points for the final two races on May 19.

Even for the uninitiated like your correspondent, it was a delightful sight to watch the sails gather wind, sending the tiny, one-man laser boats out into the lake where umpires scored the teams as they sailed the different patterns. Even from the shore, it was evident that the teams were not having it easy as the wind kept playing tricks, changing direction. This brought out the best in each competitor since these non-motorised boats entirely rely on cleverly harnessing the wind for both kinetics and direction.

Ten year old Max Hormaens, handicap 212, was the highlight of the evening after he emerged 9th in one of the races for the weekend. An impressive sailor for his age, Max had on May 11, made the demanding 5 to 6 hour run from Kaazi Sailing Club further north to successfully bring his laser to Entebbe.

Save for the many boats – mostly in storage, Entebbe Sailing Club does not strike one immediately as a sailing club. It looks more like a nice venue for a family outing and many of us non-sailors had a good time washing down the fairly heavy lunch of pasta and minced beef with a mug of cold beer.

This aspect of the club has resulted in the sailors from the busier Kaazi sailing club derisively call Entebbe a “drinking club with boats.”

Taking place over two weekends, the first race set off from Kaazi in the morning of Saturday May 11, with competitors arriving in Entebbe through the afternoon. On Sunday May 12, competitors set out in contention for the Russell Deering-Martin Mug in handicap race that was open to all categories of boats including catamarans, lasers and the like. The Entebbe Laser Open Regatta which was restricted to lasers only, was the climax on Sunday May 19.

Sailing is a popular diversion in many maritime regions of the world but it is only coming back in Uganda where the cost of entry has seen it largely associated with upper society. Yet for the enthusiast, this need not be a barrier since Entebbe Sailing Club offers no-members options for hiring many of the boats that are kept there in storage.

The club also offers first lessons in sailing and has accommodation, bar and barbecue facilities, as well as a swimming pool and spacious garden just above the beach and waterline.

I am no sailor but boat or no boat, this is one spot in Entebbe I look forward to getting back to, if only to immerse myself in the rejuvenating breeze, neat green surroundings and ofcourse great food and drink.

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