Skip to main content

Is This A Chance To Start Fresh? Parents Take Note


The Opti Class is a large enterprise spanning some 150,000 sailors (probably more) worldwide. They all love to sail, and some love to race. Under COVID-19 racing as we know it will not be possible in the near term. That does not mean we can’t race, it means we need to do things differently.
There are many really smart people who race sailboats and organize racing and regattas. Plenty of them are in the medical field. There is tremendous brain power at work right now sorting through the issues of how we can continue to facilitate the development of young sailors in a safe way. 
The first recommendation is for us to let kids get back to sailing for the fun of it, simply to enjoy sailing for what it is. Just get them out and let them explore their watery world.
Sailboat racing, like many other things in life, has been heading in the direction of more and more perfection and complication. We are going to be dialing it back. As we ease into racing it will be with fewer people out on the race courses, fewer people on the dock, fewer people at the launch ramp, and with people protecting themselves and those around them.
There will be hand washing stations. Single-handed racing is easy, but Optis require much assistance. Let them learn a little more self-reliance. Become supportive, not by injecting yourself in every facet of their process, but by being the boundary of safety for them. We can reimagine the process by thinking creatively in order to fulfill our first responsibility as a Supporting Adult: keeping the kids safe
Races may be started and finished from a spot on shore as opposed to from a committee boat. Fixed marks may be used, so no mark boat is needed. Stagger returns of the fleet - the coaches can marshall the kids together and facilitate this. Be willing to accept smaller race committees and the ensuing latency. The world has slowed down, we can slow down too and drink in the whole experience again. 
Learn to appreciate the passionate people that facilitate this sport for your kid, and let them do their jobs. Before COVID19 we were all in a rush to do everything and get them to regattas and push and push and now - there's no regatta goals to aim for, at least for the next year. 
This is a chance to start fresh. 
Local racing will start first, followed at some point by regattas for sailors closer to home. National event will be down the road. By focusing first on our home clubs, we can arrive at simple solutions that don’t require much in the way of resources and people.
It is important to keep in mind that we are only a few months into this pandemic and much more has yet to be learned. Baby steps first. Be patient, be an example. There's much more sailing to be done. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Post-Opti Life: 29er Sailing And Skiff Culture

 A New Series To Connect Sailors To What's Out There We tried something different with this one as we constantly get questions about what comes after the Opti. Part of what we want to do at Opti TV is to connect the class with the next steps, so naturally we went to take a look at the 29er class from the viewpoint of what kind of sailor wants to compete in 29ers. The 29er is a deceptively simple boat that requires agility and strength, and a mindset of sharing and growth. As a pre-olympic boat it's not for the faint of heart. We went over to the US Sailing Center in Miami to meet up with 2Niner Head Coach Phil Muller for day 1 of racing in the 2nd event of the Skiff Generation Grand Prix, a really great event that he has put together with US Sailing and the 49er class. It was a great day of racing, albeit light and notably it had several of the US Sailing Team members racing on 49ers and the 49erFX. We'll let you read the recap here: SGGP Event 2 Recap because we were more

Resources For Opti Sailors Looking To Take The Next Steps In Sailing

It's Not About The Boat, It's About You.  Navigating the waters post-Opti is sometimes quite the challenge because we, in Optiland, tend to get tunnel vision and only see the possibilities in sailing within the context of the Optimist class. In reality, the Optimist is the first step of many into a wide world of sailing that's out there.  Out of the many, many classes out there most of them will remain inaccessible to a fresh-out-of-the-class sailor who is transitioning from the Opti into another boat. There are many youth fleets out there and although the typical pathway is to jump into a 420, Laser or such there are no hard rules about what to do after the Opti. Here are some resources and words of advice we've put together for those who are eyeing the next steps already, whether they're reaching the age cutoff or are getting too big for the boat. Remember that because there are so many options out there, its not about the boat - its about the sailor and their kin

A Beginner's Guide to Layering Sailing Gear

Purchasing Sailing Gear can be confusing and brings up a lot of questions. The ones we hear the most often are ● What do I need to buy? ● Where can I buy it? Is it at west marine? ● This is very expensive, can I find it somewhere cheaper? ● My sailor lost this thing, do they really need it? Not to worry! We've put together this general guide to sailing gear to hopefully help all of you answer these very important questions. As you read this keep in mind that the most important thing is feedback from your sailor, as they are the ones who will be wearing this stuff! The first and most important thing is Sailing is a sport where you are at the mercy of the elements and the proper equipment and clothing make a world of difference in enjoying your time out on the water, or in certain cases, being able to survive it! How to choose Sailing Gear  In order to choose the proper sailing gear what you need to understand are two main points – Where in the world are you, and what ki