Photo Credit Taitung Sailing (1)

Eastern Taiwan’s Unique Charm Draws Visitors from Afar

Meet Federico Davicino, hailing from Argentina and Spain, whose love for sailing has taken him on adventures across Spain, New Zealand, and China. Along the way, he picked up Chinese and found himself drawn to Taiwan in pursuit of his sailing dreams. Upon arriving, Federico embarked on a journey from Taipei, hitchhiking southwest in search of the local sailing scene. He received a cultural shock, however, when he realized that sea sports were not as widespread as he expected in Taiwan. Luckily, a friend introduced him to Taitung, where he discovered the harmonious blend of nature and city life in this tranquil coastal town.

Photo Credit Taitung Sailing (2)

Taitung’s abundant geographical blessings with its lively lakes and rich marine resources immediately captured Federico’s imagination. He made the bold decision to settle and pursue a career in teaching sailing. Despite Taiwan being surrounded by the sea, many locals still feel a certain distance from ocean activities, and most parents still worry about their children’s safety when it comes to sailing. However, the calm waters of the Taitung Flowing Lake provide a safe learning environment for kids, making it the perfect starting point to cultivate an interest in sailing from scratch. Recognizing the lake as a vital resource for promoting sailing, Federico focuses on basic training to build confidence among the public, giving more people the chance to experience the unique joys of sailing and helping position Taitung as the prime location for developing sailing sports in Taiwan.

Photo Credit Taitung Sailing (3)

Committed to Cultivating the Next Generation of Sailors in Taitung

“My strategy in life is to take my time to do things well.” Although Federico initially faced obstacles when applying to government agencies, he persisted in his efforts to promote sailing. Over time, he has gained increasing support and understanding from both the public and official entities. Now, they not only respect his vision but also actively assist. Federico is grateful for their recognition and support for sailing activities.

While offering one-time sailing experience courses may attract a large number of tourists, Federico prioritizes the long-term cultivation of children’s interest in sailing. Since 2019, the Taitung Sailing School has been organizing summer and winter camps annually, allowing children aged eight and above to experience activities ranging from beginner-level at the Taitung Flowing Lake to advanced-level on the open sea. “My hope is that these children will not overlook environmental protection and remember that our marine resources are also crucial!” The aim is for students to deepen their connection with nature and foster a spirit of sustainability and environmental protection through the sport itself.

Sailing for Sustainability

“Help students see natural resources from a different perspective.” Federico believes that through in-depth teaching, students can understand the importance of the ocean and nature, contributing to future sustainable development. Therefore, he actively collaborates with schools on a long-term basis, for example partnering with Taitung Girls’ High School to involve incoming students in sailing activities. By the time they reach their second year, interested students form clubs to continue learning, and by their third year, those with two years of experience start practicing on the sea. This systematic curriculum nurtures talents from beginners to experts, and up until 2024, several students from Taitung Girls’ High School have participated in external competitions and become a source of pride for Taitung.

Taitung Sailing School teaches sailing on small wind-powered boats as opposed to energy-consuming motorboats. This approach aligns well with Taitung’s relaxed pace of life, emphasizing low-impact and zero-pollution outdoor activities. “My goal in Taitung isn’t to make a lot of money; I just hope to influence those near the coast and reach more people,” says Federico. He believes economic gains shouldn’t come at the cost of environmental quality. Instead, through a sustainable model centered around non-motorized activities, Taitung can attract more people to experience local culture and natural landscapes, a win-win strategy for the economy and ecology.

As Federico sails the Taitung waves, he is not only passing down skills to the next generation but also integrating environmental education into the adventure. In doing so, he calls on everyone to collectively protect these waters and lands, turning this wind-chasing adventure into a sustainable quest to explore oneself and safeguard our home.(Photo credit: Taitung Sailing)