Start Sailing

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What is an Optimist?

You will see from the photos that it is a single-handed boat for children, both boys and girls, up to the age of 15 and it is one of the most popular dinghies. It is sailed in countries around the world, in local flotillas and sailing clubs. It is a great boat in which to learn to sail but it is also the boat many top class sailors have started in. As boys and girls become more skilful, many will learn to race in local regattas. For those that become very good, there is even a World Championship each year.

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As the Optimist is so popular, it is easy to buy a second –hand one for a good price and it will keep its value. Whether you start sailing in an Optimist or another type of dinghy, sailing is a great sport of children. It not only teaches them a new skill but it also fosters independence, self-respect, resilience, communication and organisation skills. Most importantly it is fun and many friendships that are made in Optimists are friends for life.

The International Optimist Class Association in the UK (IOCA UK) actively supports local Optimist flotillas up and down the country encouraging local training and regattas and supporting parents and sailors at all points on their Optimist journey. Find your local flotilla here

You will also find more information on Starting to Sail, Learning to Race and All things Optimist on our Optimist wiki here.  Also here is a Guide to New Parents