Visual Storytellers Head Out to Sea with Europa Sailing School

For a lot of people, the “s” in Subic Bay stands for “sun, sea, and sand,” but these days, you can also add “sailing” to that list. Thanks to the recent inauguration of the Europa Sailing School at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, this activity—usually seen by many as a pastime that is only for the wealthy—has become even more accessible to ordinary folks.

To find out whether or not sailing is indeed for everyone, vloggers Janina Manipol and Lexi Mendiola headed to Subic Bay and got to experience exactly what it was like for a novice to learn how to sail for the first time. While both ladies were quite athletic and live physically active lifestyles, sailing was a new frontier them, and as such, they were very excited to learn the ropes of the sport under the guidance of the new school’s top sailing instructors.

It was on a Sunday late in January when Lexi and Janina arrived at the beautiful Lighthouse Marina Resort where the Subic Sailing School was located. With the balmy weather highlighting the resplendent beauty of the surroundings and the calm waters of the bay beckoning people to play in the water, it was indeed the most opportune time for them to try their hands at the sport.

Backed by a film crew from Maldavar Films, the duo prepared to attend a 2-day sailing program, one that has been designed as a foundational course for students to really get a feel for sailing. The course, which is one of the classes currently offered by the Europa Sailing School, teaches fundamental maneuvers and procedures such as how to steer a boat using a tiller, how to raise the sails, and how to manipulate a vessel’s rigging.


Learning How to Sail, Sailing to Learn

Lexi said that she had always wanted to learn how to sail, but she never really had the opportunity until now.

“Learning how to sail has always been on my bucket list. That’s why I didn’t think twice when Europa Yachts reached out and told us about the new sailing school they launched in partnership with Subic Sailing. They asked if I wanted to try out their 2-day course, and I said I was down for it,” she explained.

For her part, Janina said that she had always considered sailing to be quite a technical sport, so she thought it would be best to do it with a friend.

“Initially, sailing—to me and Lexi—seemed like something that only hardcore sportsmen and sportswomen do, so we were a bit apprehensive regarding what was in store for us. However, we also knew that it was going to be a lot of fun if we could do tandem sailing once we learn the basics. This is why we decided to go together,” she said.

As they would soon find out, however, the idea that sailing is for everyone is actually not quite beyond the realm of possibility. Under the guidance of Europa Sailing School’s Chief Instructor Marcus Avecilla, the ladies learned about the fundamentals of boat anatomy, ocean navigation, and communication at sea. They were also instructed about how weather conditions and ocean currents can impede or facilitate travel on water.

“Sailing is really about a lot of things, and knowing how all of these intricate elements come together is necessary for you to have a solid understanding of what the sport is all about. Nevertheless, sailing is also about the experience, so the basics that you learn in the classroom all have to translate to that practical side of the activity,” Marcus explained.


The Bénéteau First 14: An Ideal Boat for Sailing Instruction

True enough, after their sailing theory class, Lexi and Janina dived right into the practical part of the course. They were delighted to find out that they were going to learn sailing on brand-new Bénéteau First 14 boats, which were provided by Europa Yachts Philippines to the school. The first item on the ladies’ checklist? Learning how to control the boat using a tiller.

“Marcus made sure to let us understand the difference between how to steer a wheel-type boat versus a tiller-type one. A vessel that uses a tiller—like the First 14—moves opposite the direction toward which you push the tiller,” Lexi explained. “On the other hand, controlling a boat with a wheel is more straightforward in that the bow of the boat moves in the exact same direction as the wheel,” she added.

The ladies were also made to demonstrate important maneuvers that experienced sailors often have to perform at sea. These include tacking and jibbing, which involves turning a boat’s bow and stern, respectively, into and through the wind so that the wind shifts from one side of the boat to the other. Janina took note of how just how important teamwork is when you’re sailing in tandem on the Bénéteau First 14 and performing such maneuvers.

“The First 14 is a very well-balanced vessel, but you still have to work closely together with your instructor or your sailing partner to make certain that it doesn’t tip over too much to one side,” she said. “However, even if you’re not a very good swimmer, you don’t really have to worry. Here at Europa Sailing School, there is great emphasis on comfort and safety. You’ll always be wearing a life vest, so even if you fall off your boat, you can expect to get right back up in no time,” she said.

Indeed, these compact but robust dinghies are a joy to sail either solo or two-handed, thanks to their range of features that make them highly adaptable to a spectrum of sailing abilities. Whether you’re a beginner or an old hand at sailing, you’ll find that the Bénéteau First 14 is always stable, fast, and easy-to-handle.


Sailing as An Everyman’s Sport

At the end of the 2-day sailing program, Lexi and Janina each earned the distinction of being a certified sailor. What’s the most important lesson they learned aside from the technical aspects of sailing?

“For me, the most important learning is the fact that sailing is not really out of anybody’s reach, Lexi said. “You don’t have to be extremely fit or to be a professional athlete to take on this sport, and you don’t have to spend a ton of money just to get started on it as a hobby. Learning how to sail is actually not much more expensive than a comparable activity—for instance, learning how to scuba dive,” she added.

As for Janina, it’s all about that pleasant realization that now, Filipinos can learn how to sail right here in their own backyard.

“Europa Sailing School is staffed by instructors who have been certified by some of the world’s most respected sailing bodies,” she said. “You can’t really ask for better teachers than Marcus and his colleagues, who all have a wealth of knowledge and experience that they are more than willing to share to aspiring sailors in the Philippines,” she added.

If you—like Janina and Lexi—would like to experience the joy of sailing for yourself, consider enrolling at Europa Sailing School today. Whether you’re a beginner who’s hoping to learn the ropes of sailing, someone who wants to improve your sailing skills or who is aiming for certification, or even someone who plans to race competitively, we’ve got you covered. Visit this page for more information, or call our hotline at (+632) 8553 2027 for more information. You may also send us an email at


Watch the two-part vlog here made by Maldavar Films.


Episode 1


Episode 2