World Class Optimist Events for 2019: a Provisional List

2018 Ora Cup Ora Podium, with Marco Gradoni (ITA, 2017 & 2018
World Champion, Richard Shulteis (Malta, 4th at 2018 Worlds)
and Alex Demurtas (ITA, 2018 European Champion)
UPDATED ON DEC 11 2018 WITH DATES OF ALL THE LISTED EVENTS 

There are many regattas for Optimist sailors. It’s not obvious to figure out which ones to attend. Of course, there are the official IODA regattas, but there are issues with those. Not only do they require selection by the national optimist class but they are typically expensive for parents, require lots of coordination among parents to form a national team, and they are sometimes less competitive than non-IODA events.

A most obvious example is the European championships, where sailors qualified for the Worlds are not allowed to attend. That's an Optimist class regulation: the best 5 Optimist sailors in each European country are not allowed to compete for the European title! So that obviously reduces the overall level of those IODA European championships.

This is not to say that the top sailors at the IODA Europeans are not necessarily excellent, of course. For example, the 2018 European champion placed 3rd at Ora Cup Ora, just behind Marco Gradoni (World Champion), and Richard Shulteis (4th at the Worlds), and in front of many Italian and international sailors who attended the Cyprus Worlds; some sailors improve their game substantially after the trials, which was clearly the case this year for European Optimist champion Alex Demurtas, who would probably have done very well, would he have competed at the Cyrpus Worlds.

So, particularly in Europe, some of the World's top Optimist sailors are now attending the most significant national regattas, making them de facto world class events.  Some of these events are really large, much larger in fact than the official IODA events: nearly 500 boats at the French Summer Cup, nearly 600 boats at Ora Cup Ora and of course well over 1,000 boats at the Garda meeting.

Attendance is sometimes on an individual basis, but there are also national teams that are attending such events as a means to train together in real top level regatta conditions with large, high level, fleets.

To be noted is that the top European sailors typically will attend just one IODA event: either the Europeans or the Worlds. This is for example the case of the current European and World Champions, who are both from Italy.

On the other hand, it's not uncommon for some sailors from other continents to attend several IODA events. There are some USA and Canadian sailors who will attend 2 or 3 (or even 4, but that's highly uncommon), such IODA events in a single year. For example, some sailors attend the IODA North Americans, South Americans, Europeans or Worlds in a single year.

To be stressed are the somewhat awkward dates of the European and North American IODA championships in 2019, as they conflict with most schooling schedules in the two regions. The Europeans will take place in France on June 22-29. As, to have a good regatta experience, sailors need to arrive in advance, and of course there is travel time involved for most (Crozon Morgat, located in Brittany, is not easily accessible by plane), this conflicts with the typical school schedules in European countries.  As for the North Americans, they will take place on September 30 - October 7 in Nassau, Bahamas. This again conflicts with most school schedules, and again, travel time and time on site prior to the regatta need to be added to the duration of the event per se.

Against this background, the non-IODA events constitute an amazing yet usually overlooked opportunity, as the real goals are (or should be...) the development of the sailor and the opportunity to sail in different conditions, compete in large fleets, visit new places, meet new people, develop new friendships.

The dates have not been set for several 2019 regattas, so the list below will be updated. There are also some events which we may have missed, so feel free to inform us about any others worth attending.

Final caveat, this list is a kind of European / North American centric - so is this blog - there are obviously also major events elsewhere, in Oceania for example, but distance and different school schedules make it harder for such events to attract large number of sailors from many countries.

So, here is the provisional list for 2019, and links, so you can start your planning!

2019 World Class Optimist Events: Provisional List

Spain.  Trofeo Euromarina Optimist. January 23-27 2019 in Torrevieja. http://www.torreviejaoptitrophy.com

Spain. Palamos Trophy. February 13-17 2019, in Palamos. http://www.palamosoptimisttrophy.org

Turkey. Bodrum International Optimist Regatta. 5-9 March 2019. Already over 200 sailors from 13 countries registered. Very affordable registration and charter fees. See details: http://bodrumbior.com/?lang=ENG#

Netherlands. Opti Spring Regatta. 13-14 April 2019. (2 day, yet well attended event with many international sailors). http://www.optispring.be

Italy. Garda Meeting. The largest dinghy regatta in the world! Well over 1,000 participants expected. Dates:  18/04/2019 - 21/04/2019
http://www.fragliavelariva.it/en/regatta/2616/view
Notice of Race: 
http://www.fragliavelariva.it/sites/default/files/regatta/r2616-notice-f5895.pdf

France. Spring International Cup. Coupe Internationale du Printemps. La Rochelle. Fleet Racing: April 13-19. Team Racing: April 20-22.  Check http://promotion-optimist.fr/actualites/actu.php

Netherlands. Dutch Optimist Regatta. Dates announced on IODA website are: May 30 to June 2 2019 -- https://www.dutchyouthregatta.org

Belgium. Nieuwpoort Week. June 29 to July 3 2019 It's nearly a full week, including a clinic. Watch http://www.nieuwpoortweek.be

France. Summer International Cup - Coupe Internationale d’été - CIE. Plérin (Brittany). August 17-23 2019. Check http://promotion-optimist.fr/actualites/actu.php

Italy. Ora Cup Ora. Lake Garda. August 2-4, 2019. Check http://www.circolovelaarco.it/regate-icagenda-menu/58-24-ora-cup-ora

EuroMed Regatta. Usually in late December. Here is the site of the 2018 edition: http://euromed.maltayoungsailors.com/

Note: in North America, the two main Optimist events are the US National Championships and Optimist CORK.

2019 US National Championships. July 24-28 Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, Grosse Pointe Shores, MI 48236  https://www.usoda.org/

2019 CORK Optimist Regatta. Kingston, ON, Canada. August 8-11. http://www.cork.org/event-schedule/

Another significant event is Orange Bowl, which takes place in Miami between Christmas and the New Year. This is a 4 day event, mostly attended by USA sailors although there are typically a few top sailors from some Latin American and Caribbean countries. It’s much more expensive than European events: US$400 registration fee, versus typically US$100 for a European regatta of 4 or 5 days. And there is no camping or reasonably priced accommodation around, unlike at European events. Nearly 240 boats already registered for 2018 - so it’s likely be a wait list for those not registered yet. Register via: https://www.regattatoolbox.com/

There are other noteworthy events in the USA, such as the Florida championships, the New England championships, but those are typically only 2 or 3 days long, and tend to mostly attract local sailors. See https://www.usoda.org/

Also worth mentionning is the International Optimist Regatta organized by the St Thomas Yacht Club in the US Virgin Island - which typically involves 3 days of regatta and a clinic before that. The event typically attracts many top end sailors, mostly from North America. Dates: June 11-16 2019. https://www.styc.club/2019-international-optimist-regatta.html

See also the list of events, including IODA regattas, put together by the international Optimist class: http://www.optiworld.org/default/events/index/year/2019/month/0

For up to date news and analysis, and interactions / discussions with others, about youth sailing, in the Opti, Open Bic, and other boats - join our FB group https://www.facebook.com/groups/optimistopenbicsailing 

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