Optimist sailing in South Africa

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Optimist Sailing SA

South African Sailing (SAS)

International Optimist Dinghy Association (IODA)

Optimist Racing

Optimist Sailing SA

Optimist Sailing South Africa administers Optimist sailing in South Africa. The Optimist sailor is required to be a member of the association to be eligible to race in SAS sanctioned events, be it a Grand Slam, Provincial or National Regatta. The membership form is available from the class secretary and the fees are due annually.

A sailor may only sail an Optimist until the end of the year they turn 15 years of age. Optimist Sailing South Africa is affiliated to the International Optimist Dinghy Association (IODA). Sailors may only race their boat if they are paid up members of their club, SAS and the Optimist class association.


South African Sailing (SAS) administers sailing in South Africa. Every sailor who becomes a member of a yacht club pays a fee to the club to become affiliated to the federation. SAS in turn is affiliated to World Sailing, the world governing body for the sport of sailing. Each sailor must register with South African Sailing on their website and will be allocated a membership number for life. This membership is activated when the sailor’s fees are paid over annually by the club they are a member of.

Website: http://www.sailing.org.za/


The International Optimist Dinghy Association (IODA) is an international body in charge of regulation and development of Optimist sailing in each country. The objectives of the association are:

• to see that the class rules are observed
• to coordinate youth sailing between member countries
• to establish conditions for IODA World and Continental Championships and choose the venues

Website: http://www.optiworld.org/

Optimist Racing

The Optimist is raced at all levels in the country from local club regattas through to the Optimist World Championships and the African Continental Championships which teams are selected for.

Club Racing
There is list of clubs in each region on the SAS website. These clubs all have weekend club racing in conjunction with learn to sail programs.

Regional Racing and Regional Championships
Each region has regatta calendar that correlates all the club events during the season. This calendar is available from the Regional SAS office and your local club. The region will also arrange a Regional Championships which all the region’s sailors are encouraged to attend. Optimist sailors attend Regional Championships in other regions to complete their selection qualifier.

National Championships
The Optimist class holds its National Championships annually in conjunction with the SAS Youth National Championships. This event is rotated to all the regions. During this event the Optimist class also holds an Inter-Regional Team race event which is strongly challenged for.

The National Championships are usually at the end of the year, held at a venue where all the youth classes can participate in one event.

Regatta format (Optimists):

A Fleet Categories:
- Red fleet (13,14,15yrs)
- Blue fleet (11 & 12 yrs)
- Yellow fleet (10 yrs)
A child needs to be turning 10yrs in the year of the National Championships to sail in the A fleet.

B Fleet Novice fleet:
All ages that are participating in a National Championships for the first time. (Sailors may compete in the A fleet if they feel they are capable)

Background photograph by Matias Capizzano