Skip to main content

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 kind of style. If you chase speed, there are many things you can try. If you like the tactical challenges of a sailboat race, there are big fleets you can get into.

US Sailing Youth Advisory Board's Story

Check out what actual sailors have to say about their experiences transitioning to other competitive classes. Main Takeaway: Try a lot of different classes and find what works within your area/context!

20 reasons to sail the Laser 4.7

 The Laser /ILCA 4.7 has emerged as a strong competition for post-opti life with fleets in Miami and Canada growing every year. It is a great choice for kids who want to continue sailing singlehanded and can simplify life for parents as well, as you don't have to find a committed crew for your serious racer.

The Club 420 vs Collegiate vs International 420

We get asked often about the 420 and which type of 420 to look into - well its a good question because with the resurgence of the i420 in the USA now there is a pre-olympic option for the 470, one of the most venerated olympic classes of all time. Despite having the same name and overall length, all three 420’s [Club, Collegiate,  and International] are very different.  The I420 has a slightly different hull shape from the Club/Collegiate, much more similar to the 470 and much lighter, thus quicker to plane.  The I420 is [also] much more technical with a fully tapered mast, and you can control everything in the sail plan, basically everything you’d do in a 470.  For someone who is looking to gain more experience in a more technical boat, the I420 is where you want to be. For those who want a more affordable option, the Club 420 is the way to go

Final Thoughts

It can be a bit challenging deciding your next steps after time in the Optimist as a competitive class and with as many options as there are nowadays the most important thing is to try as many different boats and classes as you can, and be patient! After all, it's all sailing.


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

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