Green, White, Blue & Red Fleets: What is it all about?

If you were present at a prize giving ceremony for the Optimist class, you may have been puzzled by the number of categories and prizes that are involved. The reason is simple: the Optimist class is big, and there are kids sailing from age 5 or 6 to age 15, and there are some kids new to the class, and other kids with years of experience  So it's normal to recognize the efforts of everyone according to age and experience. So here is how it is organized.

Green Fleet: when your kid starts mastering the boat and do short races at your club, (s)he may be ready for doing a regatta in the Green Fleet. This is a regatta where advice can be provided by the coaches during the race. And it is typically a shorter course than the white/blue/red fleets. The importance in the green fleet is to participate. So there is typically no ranking announced at the prize giving. But when your kid starts performing well in the Green Fleet, it's then ... time to move on and join the White, Blue or Red fleets.

White Fleet: this is simply for kids who are not more than 10 years old. Typically, it's a relatively small number of sailors compared to the Blue and Red fleets. Yet, if your child started sailing early, it will be normal for him/her to graduate from the Green Fleet and join the White Fleet.

Blue Fleet: this is for kids who are 11 or 12 years old. This is typically a large fleet, about the same size as the Red fleet.  Many kids will join directly the Blue fleet, out of the Green fleet.

Red Fleet: this is for kids who are 13, 14 and 15 years old. This is typically for the most experienced sailors. Yet in many regattas, Blue fleeters will be in front of Red fleeters! Most kids will stay in the Red Fleet till age 15, but some many leave it earlier on - check our post "Beyond the Optimist" which is all about the question of what to do after the Opti, and when to do so.

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