Racing locally, regionally and nationally
Here’s an overview of Optimist Racing in the UK. More information is available on the Optimist wiki.
Sailors start to race in their local flotilla and clubs.
Open meetings take place locally and regionally – they are open to all Optimist sailors and you will find most of these on our calendar. Be sure to check your regional news and events page.
The racing fleet is often split into Main Fleet for the more experienced sailors and Regatta Fleet for younger sailors or sailors new to racing.
Spring and Winter Championships
These championships are held in various locations across the country and are held at both inland and sea venues. They are usually held over a weekend in March and November respectively and are a great chance for Regatta Fleet sailors to try the Main Fleet for the first time.
Inland, Late Summer and End of Season Championships
The Inlands are usually held in May at Grafham Sailing Club, Late Summers in September and the End of Seasons in October. Each of these are part of the Winter Squad Selection series and usually consist of 6 races over 2 days with one discard.
There is often a separate regatta fleet at these events (venue size restrictions excepted), with its own race course. These friendly faces run briefings and debriefs, giving top tips for the days racing and assistance with rigging and tuning, they are on the water to chat to the sailors between racing, giving advice and answering any questions the sailors may have and are permitted to coach the back of the fleet enabling every sailor to finish the races.
The National Championships are held annually in England, Wales and Scotland and rotate around the three. It is a week-long event. The main fleet is split into two, Seniors and Juniors each with their own national title to be won.
- Senior Fleet
The senior fleet is for sailors that turn 13, 14 or 15 that calendar year.
- Junior Fleet
Sailors in the junior fleet must be aged 12 or younger that calendar year.
This event is the best event for regatta fleet sailors and all abilities are catered for.
- Mini Racers
The mini racer fleet is for sailors normally age 7-9 who are new to racing. The emphasis of this fleet is getting the sailors afloat and enjoying sailing. The sailors are divided up into small groups and allocated a coach for the week. Their coach will run games and activities on and off the water keeping the sailors entertained and having fun. There are as many prizes for taking part and having fun as there are for winning the races.
- Regatta Coached Fleet
This fleet is for all ages and aims to cater for sailors who have some racing experience but wish to also develop their sailing skills. There is coaching in the morning in small groups with lunch ashore and racing in the afternoon.
- Regatta Racing Fleet
This fleet is for the more experienced racer that is not quite ready to move up to the bigger courses and numbers of the main fleet. The regatta racing fleet sailors are each allocated a coach that they have access to on the water to help with any racing related questions. The emphasis is to get as much racing practice as possible to give sailors the confidence to at some point in the near future move up to the main fleet.
Each year the top 80-90 sailors from the previous year’s winter squad selection series are invited to attend the selection trials. The purpose of this event is to select the sailors who are going to represent team GB at the World and European Championships. Other teams and training groups are also selected at this event.
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