RYA Optimist Handbook

This is an excellent book to inspire kids to learn more about sailing and build their racing skills. It starts with the basics of sailing - parts of the boat, rigging, and basic sailing techniques, and moves through to more advanced topics such as advanced boat handling and squeezing more speed out of your boat. Each step is well illustrated with photographs and full colour diagrams, and the language is well suited to youngsters. You or your child can dip into this book at any time and you will pick up something that will help you in your next race.

The book is set out in the following sections:
• Setting up the boat, the rig, clothing
• Basic sailing, advanced boat handling, the search for speed
• Wind and weather, tides, compass
• Starting (racing), stratergy and tactics
• Rules
• Goal setting, learning to learn and mental toughness, get fit for sailing, nutrition and hydration
• Parents and sailing

Book available through online at RYA, Amazon, or

RYA Optimist Coach

The author, Alan Williams, takes you through the various aspects of sailing coaching. He covers the many aspects of sailing in short and accessible chunks. As with the Optmist Handbook, it is well illustrated with photographs and diagrams.

'Children are not mini adults; they need particular styles of coaching that will help them to develop not only the technical skills required to get them round the course but also the emotional skills needed to cope with disappointment, the ability to concentrate, as well as physical and mental control.' - Alan Williams.

The book provides a framework for any coach and/or parent to check how well they are coaching and to fine tune their approach. The chapters on advanced advanced boat handling, starting, sailing upwind, rounding marks, and reacing have some fun games and exercises to help train young sailors. These are excellent way of keeping kids interested and challenged.

Book available through online at RYA, Amazon, or

Optimist Sailing South Africa 2013

A commemorative soft-cover book in full colour, celebrating Optimist sailing in the Republic leading up to the African Championships hosted by South Africa in Langebaan in August 2013.
Copies are available at R100 each (postage excluded) from Shellee Nel on 083 626 7597 or at

Background photograph by Matias Capizzano