Optimist provides international opportunities

12 November 2006

In a positive move for the future of Junior sailing the Optimist Class are providing international opportunities for Australian Junior sailors.

Michael Gallagher, the AIODA President explained ‘We are inviting members of other Junior Class to the Australian Optimist National Championship in Hobart January 7 – 13, 2007. This invitation has been extended to Minnow, Sabot, Manly Junior, Holdfast Trainer, Flying 11, Flying Ant, Int Cadet, Pelican and the Mudlarks.

‘The best placed 15 sailors in this regatta will be given the opportunity to join the Australian Optimist Sailing Team (AOST). The AOST will then return to their home state to be coached under guidance from the YA High Performance Coaches at a state level.

‘The AOST is then brought together under a national coach to compete as a national team at the Adelaide International Regatta March 07.

‘Following this regatta and subject to sponsorship and fundraising levels members of the AOST may be selected to attend the Optimist NZ Nationals in Napier April 07, the Singapore Nationals June 07 and a team of 5 sailors may then compete at the Optimist World Championship in Sardinia, Italy July 07.

There will be partial funding of the AOST members to compete in these events. Membership of the AOST will be for 12 months with selection at each Optimist Nationals.

The Pacific Rim Championships Mornington YC will be raced from Dec 29 to Jan 3. Entries already recieved from Norway, Sweden, Mauritius, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong as well as nearly all Australian States. Details at

The 2006/07 Optimist Nationals in Hobart is open to any sailor registered with an Australian State Optimist Association and fulfilling the criteria as set out in the Notice of Race for this regatta. Details are on the web site

Boat ownership is not required to compete in the Optimist Nationals as competitive charter boats are readily available from $400.00 for the championship. Details again on the website

Gallagher continued ‘We believe the AOST is an exciting opportunity for the best junior sailors in Australia to obtain the highest level coaching and competition opportunities. ‘

Yachting Australia also consider this scheme as important to the advancement of junior sailing in Australia and have endorsed the plans.

Phil Jones, CEO Yachting Australia said ‘Yachting Australia considers that young sailors can only benefit from exposure to an appropriate level of international competition. This is not something available to those sailing in our very successful Australian junior classes.

‘The pathway provided by inviting the leading sailors from other junior classes to compete at the Optimist Dinghy Class National Championship in provided boats, and from there selecting a team to train and compete internationally received general support.’

The Optimist has critical mass world wide. Victor Kovalenko believes the 2016 and 2020 Australian Sailing Team will be coming from the large Optimist fleet.

Doing a mark rounding with ten other boats in the fleet is different to racing in a fleet of sixty, just ask Tom Slingsby. Singapore has 300 Optimists, NZL 600 and the size of those fleets will produce opportunities for young sailors that will stand them in good stead in years to come.


by Rob Kothe

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