The Optimist class has launched a new Coaching Awards Scheme and Logbook as a flagship initiative aimed at spearheading the UK Club and Flotilla development
The International Optimist Class Association, recognised by the RYA as the Junior class for 8-15 year olds, have this week launched a new Coaching Awards Scheme and Logbook as a flagship initiative aimed at spearheading the UK Club and Flotilla development of one of the largest junior classes in the UK, Europe and the world.
Uniquely, the new awards, carrying an introduction by Ian Percy, one of IOCA’s most recent ‘favourite sons’, recognise the importance of team racing as a skilled and exciting discipline well suited to younger sailors. They also introduce a Coaching Assistant/Event Support award that recognises the value in retaining the necessary practical support skills inside local clubs for the racing and open meetings and training initiatives. Such an award could lead on to a vocation in coaching later in life, and certainly to a greater feeling of responsibility for the organisation of the sport at club level that is more often taken for granted.
Ex Optimist sailors represent more than 70 per cent of sailing’s medal winners at Olympic games, these sailors all started their careers in the Optimist training programme. IOCA wishes to see thriving local flotillas and club-based sailors feeling real benefits from IOCA UK membership, and the promotion of basic sailing and seamanship skills that are vital to all levels of sailor, competitive or otherwise at all ages. The foundation of the sport of sailing is so often reliant upon the youngest sailors getting a good impression in their first hours on the water. The Optimist is so often the first experience that junior sailors ever have. The new schemes are designed to improve this experience from the first moment.