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From The Center Console: 10 Essential Items For Opti Coaches

Hanging out with another opti coach the other day the conversation inevitably turned into comparing opti sails, how this one kid did this or that, and comparing videos we took of our kids. However, he brought up a good story where one of his kids was having his best regatta ever, 4 points shy of first after one day of racing, and in the middle of the first race of the second day, his mast cup wears out

Kid freaked out.

Luckily, my friend had a spare mast cup - and long story short instead of missing out on a whole day of racing, he managed to swap the cup out and the kid went on to take 2nd at the event. 

Which got me to thinking, Opti coaches have to carry around a lot of things - their foul weather gear, communication items, tools and spare parts - as any sailing coach has to. But the Opti has some particular requirements that if a coach is not prepared for, can make or break a training block or a sailing day. 

What's In Your Bag?

Here are our 10 recommendations for Opti Coaches to have in their bag:

Sun Mask - sunscreen comes off with water and sweat. We love what our friends at Waterlust are doing with their sun masks, due to their eco-conscious design choices. If those patterns aren't your thing, Buff is the original! 

A good merino wool base layer - eventually you go to colder climates or you have a fluke day. Take a look at the Patagonia Capilene Thermal line for some options

Wet Notes - sometimes it's hard to keep track of notes of sailors performance, especially if your group is large. Let's face it, it's hard to tell your Opti sailors apart at big regattas! Rite-in-

Waterproof cards - give the kids something to do rainy day/postponement. Keeps them out of trouble. Kids love UNO! (We recommend the UNO Splash set)

A positive attitude - coming into a training day or regatta day with a negative vibe is infectious. Keep it away from the kids! (Sorry, you can't buy that one!)

Quality Multi-tool with pliers - stuff breaks all the time, you'll need to fix it. We like the knife-less Leatherman Rebar for it's price point, construction (it's the classic leatherman design so less is exposed to water) and included features. Check it out here 

Battery bank - using your phone constantly for communication/video drains batteries. Having extra battery power for your phone, camera, etc is crucial to running your mobile office. Anything with 10-20k mAh is plenty to charge your phone twice over and have enough left for a gopro, gimbal, etc. We've had the EasyAcc 24000 mAh for a couple of years and have used it countless times to charge up our phones, tablets and friends in need. A flashlight function isn't necessary but we've found it comes quite in handy. Don't count on the solar panel charging it well.

Spare Mast Cup and Nut - Like my friend's story above shows, this is one of those things that you don't normally need, but when you need it, you really need it. So do yourself a favor, if you work with Opti Racing kids, pack yourself one in your toolbox or bag just in case. You'll thank us later.

Spare bowline - Speaking of things that break spectacularly, nothing ruins a sailing day faster than someone breaking their towline and having to re-do the entire gosh-darn-it daisy chain. Tying the ends is a quick fix and will get you out there but sometimes it's not possible. Plus, if you get a standard bowline you can quickly cut it and make it into a halyard, outhaul, or vang for an opti kid in trouble. Class- Legal Bowline

A Safety Knife - and no, the knife on your leatherman doesn't count. As long as there have been sailboats, there have been sailor with knives onboard. There is no way you can get out there without a dedicated knife on board. For coaching work, a foldable knife with a pocket clip is desirable. Not to mention using a low carbon steel for corrosion resistance. Our pick is the Spyderco Salt Atlantic - it's a sheep-foot, serrated knife with tough, corrosion-resistant steel - and its got a shackle key!

See you out on the water!

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