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Optimist at HISC

This is a great time for the Optimist class at HISC. We started the season with a new class captain (yours truly) and we have a new sub-group of active Optimist parents who have kindly joined the team, big thanks go out to all of them for their hard work last season.

Contact: Rachel Dobrijevic - [email protected]

I’m delighted to announce that in the short time since taking over class captain we have secured 12 new boat parking spaces that are in a sheltered position on the beach, these spaces are reserved for the most active club racing sailors to help them build independence and allow them to get their own boat set up and put away at the end of the day. Working with Simon Letten the new Marine Manager we are looking to create more of these spaces in the future as we recognise the need for our youngest sailors to be able to build that independence.

In addition to boat parking we have an exciting season ahead for Oppi sailors of all abilities as in 2018 there will be two dates every month reserved for ‘Youth Sailing’ because we realise that not all children at HISC are enticed by the prospect of racing at such young ages.

So new for 2018 we have included two Saturdays per month from May till October where our youngsters can enjoy ‘Youth Sailing’ for two hours on the top of the tide on West Mud, the area directly opposite the lagoon/beach area.

This will be ‘dutied’ meaning that it will be run by members as part of their normal duties and activities will include games such as sailing backwards or standing up or completing a capsize.  This will get them to enjoy being on the water with their friends and will form a natural progression from sailing in the lagoon and taking part in SEALs to eventually joining in with the Youth Racing that is on offer on Sundays.

The Optimist dinghy is still the most popular sailing dinghy in the world and rightly so. Sailed by children up to the age of 15 it can be used for mucking about in the HISC lagoon to running an International racing campaign that a budding Olympian would envy. There are few top level International sailors that did not start in this class, with at least 7 of the Team GB sailors from Rio being ex-Oppie sailors.

The HISC Optimist fleet has seen a resurgence in numbers over recent years and the sailors (and parents) have been extremely busy during 2017 with a healthy mix of activities at the club and on the National and International circuit. The club held our annual two day Open Meeting which was attended by over 60 entries and included as part of the Rooster Southern traveller Series.

However, sailing Optimists is not only about the serious racing opportunities. It is fantastic seeing families together at HISC, enjoying the delights of the lagoon and with children taking their first outings in Optimists, the keenest of mums and dads are squeezing themselves into the front of the boat to give guidance, 2017 even saw David Carr America’s cup sailor for Land Rover BAR taking his youngest son Dylan out in an Optimist, they really are for everyone!

SEAL’s days are continued success and will be a highlight for many next year.  This is the best place to start your children off with taster sessions in Optimists using the ‘oppi on a rope’ and then progressing to sailing on their own in the lagoon.

 Winter training has been well attended this season and run by some fantastic coaches, Ellen Morely, Paul Childs and Tristan Payne have supported our youngsters with video footage and the results have been incredible, watching some of our less confident sailors boat handling improve as they throw their boats around in strong winds and rain and still come in smiling has been super! As the nights now get shorter we begin to look forward to racing at the club again during the warmer months.

The Youth racing series, the Pennant weekends and ad-hoc Sprint race days provide ample opportunity for friends to meet up at the club and hone their racing skills. The highlights of the club based racing calendar are the Youth Race Week and the Chichester Harbour Race week. Not only is great racing available during these events but fantastic social activities add to the great atmosphere.
Overall, there are few better ways available to get children into sailing. The boat itself is lightweight and extremely manoeuvrable, easy for children to manage by themselves both on the water and ashore. Boats are available for a low budget to get started and there is also a healthy second hand market for race spec boats.

If you are interested in knowing more about the class and the opportunities on offer for your children please do get in touch you will probably find me on the beach!

See the Youth Fixture List here