Afternoon opti classes give students additional time to hone their sailing skills with practical on the water instruction.

As kids progress through the Opti program, the curriculum shifts from a focus on mastery of single-handed boat operation to preparation for competitive sailing. Seamen and Mates, who sail Sprites in small groups during their morning lessons, enjoy their time in optis as a chance to put into practice on their own what they have learned in group lessons. Old Mates, who sail Optis on their own in their morning lesson, enjoy the extra time on the water as a chance to experience casual competition among their friends as they practice race techniques and engage in more in depth sailing.

All sailors in the Opti program are encouraged to participate in any of the Cape wide regattas over the course of the summer

Sailing Gear The sky is the limit when it comes to the gear available for young sailors but here is a list of basics:
  • Protective water shoes or sailing boots; an absolute must to avoid foot injuries from sharp shells, glass, etc.  For younger or beginner sailors, Keen makes water friendly sandals that stay on the foot nicely.  For something a little more “professional,” consider sailing boots made by Gill, Zhik or similar.
  • Quick dry shorts and shirts that are NOT made of cotton.
  • Rain coat or spray jacket
  • Water bottle
  • Sail ties
  • Hat
  • Life jacket and safety whistle
  • Sun lotion


Regatta Information
Please visit the relevant yacht club webpage and register well in advance for any of the regattas that your sailor will sail in.  Some regattas let participants register in person the day of the event, but many fill up before and will not – under any circumstances – let sailors who show up day of register for the regatta.  It is best to register in advance.

As each of the regattas gets closer, SHYC will communicate information about arrival time and boat transportation, but for planning purposes most regattas require very early departure from Chatham and late arrival back home; these are all day events and require parent or other adult participation.


Terminology – Green, White, Blue & Red Fleets

A note about terminology: most intermediate opti race team members will sail in what is referred to as the Green Fleet, regardless of age.  The Green Fleet is for those learning to sail in regattas and most sailors spend at least one full summer participating on the Green Fleet.  For helpful information about beginner regatta participants, check out this FAQ]. 

Once a sailor is more experienced (those sailing on the advanced opti team), she may move to what we collectively call the Championship Fleet.  The Championship Fleet is further subdivided among the White, Blue and Red Fleets.  The White Fleet is for sailors who are 10 years old.  The Blue Fleet is for Sailors who are 11 or 12 years old.  The Red Fleet is for sailors who are 13, 14 and 15. 

Information for Registration 

  • Be advised of registration deadlines for particular regattas.  Some regattas allow same-day registration.  However, many regattas have a deadline prior to the day of the event.  This means that you cannot register the morning of the regatta at all.  Please refer to regatta websites and emails from race team coordinator, coaches, and fleet captains for more information on deadlines.
  • USODA (US Optimist Assoc.) Membership number, required for some events.
  • US Sailing Membership number, required for some events.
  • Know the sail number for registration. Know boat name/number (if applicable) for registration.
  • Sailing class: green fleet for beginners, white fleet for 9-10 year old slightly experienced racers, Blue fleet for 11-12 year old experienced sailors, red fleet for 13-14 year old experienced sailors.  Please contact coaches if you are unsure which fleet your child should be registered in.


Sailor’s Tool Kit

  • Duct tape. Ripstop tape.
  • Extra sail ties for boom or mast. Floatation tank straps a good place on which to tie them!
  • An extra Wind indicator (can’t attach racing sails without them!) 
  • Large, clear plastic sandwich bag to hold race instructions.
  • Screwdriver, Pliers, shackles.
  • Top Pins for Wind Indicator. (No one else will have extras!)

Boat Checklist before leaving SHYC

  • 3 airtight flotation tanks.
  • Masthead fly
  • Bailer tied onto the boat: 2 bailers 
faster than one!
  • Painter tied to the front of the boat.
  • Rudder, tiller and tiller extension.
  • Daggerboard.
  • Mast, Boom.
  • Sprit.
  • Dolly.
  • Snodder.
  • Mainsheet.
  • Top Cover.
  • A safety whistle tied to life jacket (note: racer will be disqualified from regatta if found without one).


Items for Child to Bring to Regatta

  • Spray jacket. Sailing gloves. Life jacket (with attached whistle).
  • Proper footwear.
  • Hat and/or sunglasses.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Bug spray.
  • A dry change of clothes and towel.
  • Bring money for child just in case (about $40). Possible expenses: Regatta Fees, Lunch, Regatta T-shirt, Replacement equipment.
  • Water bottle, snacks.
  • Small paddle.
  • Any medication (please talk to the coach).


Parents’ Manual for Away Opti Regattas

Away regattas are the parents’ responsibility: transportation, care, food, equipment, etc. SHYC, unlike most clubs, does provide basic boat and sail free of charge. (You might want to purchase racing sail, etc.

An instructor / Coach will be available at the club at specified time to load boats, and at Regatta Site to unload boats. Please refer to emails sent by race team coordinator, coaches and/or fleet captains for up-to-date information and scheduling.

Coach will be on the water during regatta.  Depending on the regatta, on-the-water coaching may or may not be allowed.  Your sailor will be informed whether or not they can approach the coach boat to receive coaching between races.  Regardless of whether coach is allowed, the coach’s responsibility will include looking out for the safety of the sailors.  It is ultimately up to the coach to determine whether or not the conditions are suitable for your child to participate.  Please talk to the coach if you have any concerns.

Coaches will have water on the coach boat (provided by parent-in-charge).  Please have your child bring a reusable water bottle out on the water with them and they can refill it between races.

Not all clubs provide spectator boats, make your own preparations.

Optis are just under 7’ in length, approximately 70 lbs. and can fit in most vans (Chrysler, Dodge) with seat backs folded forward.

Trailers are typically available for transporting boats to and from regattas.  If not, we will communicate this with you.  If trailers spots are available, it will be on a first-come-first-serve basis.  Please ask race team coordinator or coaches for further information leading up to regattas, or refer to email updates.  If having a trailer spot is especially important for you, please talk to the Fleet Captains.

If your boat is put on a trailer, the parent and sailor are responsible for tying the boat down.  At the time of boat loading, you may receive assistance from coaches.  However, you and your sailor need to be present.  All other gear (sails, spars, blades, bailers, covers, etc.) will be transported by parents.  Parents and sailors are responsible for making sure that all equipment is returned to the yacht club as soon as possible.  Please refer to list below for required equipment.

If your child has any allergies, please inform the coaches.  Typically, lunches are provided by the regatta host.  However, if your child has a food allergy, it is best to provide your child with a lunch.  The coaches will be happy to keep the lunch on the coach boat with them.


Important Link

Opti Tuning Guide