The name ‘Shanghai’ evokes images of skyscrapers, elevated highways and traffic jams. Indeed, most of the urban core reflects this stereotype. Although this manic energy can be captivating, it can also be overwhelming at times. Fortunately for long-term residents, there are a number of opportunities on the outskirts of Shanghai to enjoy the natural beauty of the region. Among these is the Shanghai Boat and Yacht Club (SBYC), which allows members to sail on the gorgeous Dianshan Lake, a 62km2 freshwater lake in Qingpu County.
Dianshan Lake has a long history stretching back nearly 6000 years, when Neolithic cultures such as the Songze and the Fuquan Hill people flourished in this region. This area has long been revered by the Chinese for its natural beauty. As such, Dianshan Lake makes an ideal location for sunny Saturdays spent on the water. With its gorgeous landscape combined with its convenient location to downtown Shanghai, it is not surprising that this area has become popular for wealthier expatriates and locals looking for a peaceful getaway. The area boasts a number of attractions and facilities that are ideal for families, including a variety of historic landmarks and clubs offering everything from golfing to rowing.
The SBYC is one of the best-known clubs in the area. This non-profit was founded in 2001 by a group of avid sailers. This passion for the sport has continued to be an integral part of the club as it has expanded into one of the most popular water-sport groups around Shanghai. Although they have changed locations a number of times, the SBYC has settled into the marina of the Shanghai Country Club, which boasts a driving range and luxurious resort facilities. This means that SBYC members can relax in the restaurant or shoot a game of pool after a day spent sailing.
Note: The SBYC is a separate organization from the SCC.
While sailing is far from a mainstream sport in Shanghai, the club has grown to 180 members, many of whom are local Chinese who have grown to love the sport. Much of this success has been due to the Open Days, which offers all members of the public (regardless of sailing experience) a chance to come try their hand at sailing. More experienced members can take part in races that are hosted on a regular basis throughout the warmer months.
Interested sailors can pay 50RMB for the special charter bus to the SBYC facilities. This runs on most Saturdays and Sundays from East Xujing Metro station (at the west end of Line 2, past Hongqiao Airport) at 9:00am, and departs back to Shanghai 5:00pm. Times and arrangements are subject to change, and you should keep an eye on their website. You can also take the Hu Shang Xian (沪商线) public bus for 8RMB, which departs from the intersection of Danshui Road and Changle Road. Readers interested in schedules, membership information and other related material should also check out the SBYC website.