Optimist Report George Lakes EDEN District Western Cape 2024

After the demise of all Junior Training in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid ban on School children, followed by an algae growth on Island Lake, in early 2022 , causing  a further 6 month ban on the use of George Lakes waters, we have seen a revival of interest from young families in our area. Of course, the 3 years of missing Optimist sailors are now in grades10 to 12 and are being trained in adult boats.

During the 2022 2023 sailing season, from August 2022 we have seen a revival of Junior sailing.

Starting with our O9r fleet of 12 boats for Pacaltsdorp Primary school on a Tuesday, and 12 junior sailors from George schools on a Wednesday, we have been able to start an Optimist fleet again with 6 Optimists, with a further 6 waiting to move onto Optimists. These sailors are now ready for competitive exposure. You may think this is slow, but please remember these sailors have been literally grounded by circumstances beyond any of our control. The result was children who had experienced very little outdoor sports and exercise in the previous 2 years.

There is light at the end of the tunnel – our Optimist sailors entered the interclub regatta in Knysna and gained experience in tidal waters combined with strong winds. This was followed by Mossel Bay WC with Open water exposure. A bit daunting, to say the least.

We are ready, and hope that these new families will experience sailing in more regattas from now on, if there are not too many regattas too close to one another. For this we must scrutinise the calendar carefully. These are all new families, with no parental experience in sailing. I am finding the necessity to train the parents as well as the children. They are all keen, so let’s hope my report for next year has bigger numbers.

Keep going Optimist family, this is the future of sailing.


Evelyn Osborne

George Lakes Yacht Club