Welcome to Oppie Section of the Papercourt website. THIS IS WHERE THE MOST FUN IS TO BE HAD, especially when we join in with the rest of the Club’s Youth Section. We are the largest fleet of sailors at Papercourt and, the last time anyone checked, one of, or possibly, THE largest Oppie fleet of any UK sailing club. We have had over 120 Optimist sailors registered.
The Optimist Dinghy
The International Optimist dinghy (“Oppie”) is specifically designed to be sailed by young children and up to the age of 14/15 depending on size/weight. The Oppie is sailed all over the world. In the UK Oppie sailors benefit from a very well organised class organisation – IOCA (see link below) which gives children the opportunity to participate in events at club, regional, national and international level.
The Oppie was the starting point for many of the world’s leading sailors, including Olympic champions and many of the current Skandia Team GBR, British sailing team; Sir Ben Ainslie; Hannah Mills;, Saskia Clarke; Ian Percy ……… the list goes on.
We have a strong tradition of Optimist sailing at Papercourt as we are lucky to have a very safe and excellent sailing area ideal for both “littleuns” taking to the water for the first time and the more experienced sailor competing at higher levels. Our Oppie sailors have been very successful over the years.
Each Saturday morning during the summer we typically have 50 – 70 boats on the water taking part in the Youth Summer Training Programme where we share the lake with Toppers, the occasional Feva and in the early season the adult beginners course. Its us Oppies who make the most noise though!
We aim, weather depending, to have the BBQ fired up on the first Saturday of every month. Bring your own sausages and burgers then stick around with some friends for some friendly racing in the afternoon.
Just because our Oppie sailors are younger and smaller its does not prevent them from competing in the Club’s racing programme and we have a band of regulars doing just that. In fact the Lawes Trophy, see below, which is a PY handicapped race is often won by an Oppie sailor.
We also host two Optimist Open meetings each year; winter (early January) and autumn (early September), see below. These attract 50-70 experienced Optimist sailors from other clubs to Papercourt to enjoy our lake, our famous catering and generous prizes.
Youth Summer Training
Youth summer training is aimed at sailors from total beginners (minimum eight years/turning eight years during the season) up to those interested in improving their sailing, including racing skills. It is hoped this will give them the opportunity and skills to equip them to participate on the open racing circuit and to attend national events.
Our aim is to develop skills and confidence in Papercourt Sailing Club youth sailors and help non- zone squad sailors gain places at next year’s zone squad selection by improving their sailing ability, confidence and ability to apply racing tactics.
Papercourt is an RYA British Youth Sailing Recognised Club. We adopt the IOCA training programme for Oppies as this has been developed specifically for our class. IOCA takes the young sailor right the way through from the basics to advance sailing techniques with easy progression and awards for achievements.
The aim of the youth training is for children to have fun and learn in a safe environment. Sailing an Oppie helps children develop self confidence, independence, an to ability to think for themselves problem solving and respect for others and themselves. It is of course also a great way to meet and make new friends.
Key to the success of our training is the use of junior trainers. These are young experienced club sailors many of whom have come up through PSC Oppies, gone onto RYA squads and onto racing. Our experience tells us that the kids learn much better from our junior trainers as they look up to them and enjoy their ‘cool, laid back’ approach.
Registration information and application form for both summer and winter trining can be found on the Youth and Juniors page. One form per child please. It is helpful to receive completed forms as soon as possible.
Your child will also require an IOCA log book. You can purchase one from Papercourt or you can join IOCA and get a free log book. To do this, log onto www.optimistsailing.org.uk. If joining IOCA for the first time it is advisable do this as soon as possible as it can take some time to receive a log book.
“Oppie Training” splits into three fleets based on the ability and experience of the sailors. We do however sometime need to mix these up depending on resources available and conditions on the day:-
Beginners – introducing children to sailing in an Oppie, getting to know the parts of the boat and helping decide whether sailing is for them or not. IOCA awards: Start Sailing and Start Sailing Progression. We have a number of hire boats available for this training.
Intermediate – IOCA grades 1 and 2 provide progression from the beginners awards where children learn boat handling skills in a variety of conditions. We develop their upwind and off-wind techniques capsize routines and introduce them to the theory of sailing and associated skills of rope work, safety on the water, reading the weather etc. and introducing the basics of the racing rules.
Advanced / Racing – (IOCA grades 3 and Red Racing) building on earlier awards the grade 3 Optimist sailor is an experienced “master of their boat” confident in heavier weathers and enjoying stronger winds. Here they will be honing their advanced manoeuvres, roll-tacks and roll-gybes. At racing they will be competent sailors able to apply these advance techniques and focus on racing tactics (rather than how to sail their boat). We run a series of mini races with trophies to be won.
PLEASE NOTE. Parents need to be willing to help out either onshore or as safety boat crew or helm. We do not operate as a child minding service and are unable to provide child care facilities. A parent, guardian or other named adult must remain on Club premises throughout each session entered, and shall be at all times responsible for the conduct and participation of the sailor in his or her care.