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The Irish Optimist calendar will look a little different for 2021 due to continued disruption amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The first casualty of the present restrictions is the spring training week in Baltimore. However, the International Optimist Dinghy Associaton of Ireland (IODAI) says its committee is looking at hosting an alternative ‘Spirit of Baltimore’ event.

As for the season proper, it’s scheduled to begin on the long weekend of 1-3 May with trails at the Royal St George Yacht Club, followed by the Munster Championships at Kinsale Yacht Club on 15-16 May.

June sees the Leinster Championships at Howth Yacht Club on the 12th and 13th of the month, while the Connacht Championships will be contested at Lough Ree Yacht Club on 17-18 July.

The Irish Nationals will be hosted at Lough Derg Yacht Club on 19-22 August, and the season provisionally closes out with the Ulster Championships at East Antrim Boat Club on 11-12 September.

Due to the impact of COVID-19 restrictions, the IODAI says a number of alternative dates are being looked at in the event that trials are unable to run in May.

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The Royal Cork Yacht Club has confirmed that its hosting of this year’s Optimist Nationals will proceed as planned next month, and the Notice of Race is now available.

The AIB Optimist Irish National Championships 2020 run from 13-16 August as part of the Cork300 celebrations.

And with many top youth sailors unable to travel internationally, their competitive spirit is expected to make this year’s event one of the hottest ever.

Pre-registration is open until next Wednesday 22 July via the IODAI, and sailing instructions will follow shortly.

Published in Royal Cork YC
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The International Optimist Dinghy Association of Ireland (IODAI) promises its young members “will laugh, rig, race and have lots of fun both on and off the water” when sailing eventually resumes.

In a statement on its Facebook page last week, the IODAI said: “We hope that you, your parents, family and friends are well in these difficult times. We know how hard it is at the moment and how much life has changed so much for you in just a few weeks.

“We are so proud of all our Optimist sailors who are doing their best with adapting to this new and temporary way of life, with online school, exercising close to home, only catching up with friends on social media and of course how you have taken to online sailing regattas!

“It just shows what we have always known that Optimist sailors are the youngest sailors in the world but they are also the most amazing adaptable bunch of sailors in the world.

“We were very sorry to have to cancel trials, and our events in May and June. We know how hard you all train all year and look forward to being out on the water with your friends in particular in the summer months.

“We don’t know when we will be able to all get back out sailing. But we know that when we do it will be amazing. Families and friends from around the country and indeed the world will connect again ... we will laugh, rig, race and have lots of fun both on and off the water.

“We would also like to say a special word of thanks to all the people working hard in the front line services who are keeping us safe in these unprecedented times.”

The IODAI also expressed its hope that members “remain safe as we navigate these uncharted waters together”.

Published in Youth Sailing
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16-21 February are the dates to save for Optimist Spring Training at Baltimore Sailing Club in West Cork.

This year the class has teamed up with freelance dinghy performance coach Thomas Chaix to work collaboratively on training sessions to kick off the season — riding high on the international success of Oppy helms like Rocco Wright.

And at the end of the week the assembled Optimist sailors have their pre-trials regatta.

On the social side, IODAI has organised a movie night at Casey’s Hotel and an end-of-week disco with the opportunity for parents to relax and meet up for a meal.

Registration for 2020 Spring Training is now available online. For more details contact Mandy at [email protected] see the IODAI website.

Published in Optimist

The International Optimist Dinghy Association of Ireland (IODAI) is setting two volunteers to fill key positions in its committee.

The roles of teams organiser and child safety officer do not require the volunteer to have any sailing experience or knowledge, only the “drive and enthusiasm to get the right things done”, according to the IODAI.

In addition, the IODAI is looking for a new assistant treasurer, as well as volunteers to take over from the current committee president and event manager as Tim Lucas and Colm Paul will be stepping down from their respective roles this September.

For details on the teams organiser or assistant treasurer roles, contact Conor Turvey at [email protected] For the child safety officer role and presidency, email Tim Lucas at [email protected] For the event manager role, email Colm Paul at [email protected]

Published in Optimist
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#Optimist - Waterford Harbour Sailing Club will host the IODAI Optimist Munster Championships 2019 in Dunmore East on the weekend of 20-21 July.

Regatta, Junior and Senior fleets will race in the event which is open to all boats of the International Optimist Dinghy Association of Ireland.

The Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions, when made available from the IODAI, will be posted on the WHSC website.

Club co-ordinator for this event will be Rene Wubben and enquiries may be sent to [email protected] in the meantime.

The event comes a month before the Optimist National and Open Championships at Howth Yacht Club, as announced last October.

Published in Optimist

#OptimistBaltimore Sailing Club have started preparations for the annual invasion of Irish Optimist sailors for the week from next Sunday 17 February.

The International Optimist Dinghy Association of Ireland’s (IODAI) team of coaches are making plans for training both on and off the water.

Participating sailors are reminded to check and label all their equipment before packing for the week, especially if it has been put away all winter.

“We are looking forward to a great week of fun, action and friendships both on and off the water,” the IODAI said.

Meanwhile, registrations are now open for the 2019 Optimist Trials which will take place as part of the Irish Sailing Youth Nationals at the Royal Cork from 25-28 April.

Entry is by invitation only based on 2018 season results. Entries made before 10pm on Thursday 28 March will avail of the early bird rate of €120 (entry thereafter is €200) with the final date for entries no later than 10pm on Thursday 11 April.

Published in Youth Sailing

#Optimist - The International Optimist Dinghy Association of Ireland (IODAI) is seeking expressions of interest from coaches interested in coaching the Irish Optimist teams at international events in 2019.

The IODAI is recruiting suitable qualified and well organised sailing coaches to lead the teams and pre-event coaching programmes for the UK, Polish and French Nationals, Europeans in June, and the Optimist Worlds in July.

For more details on these coaching opportunities see the IODAI website.

Published in Optimist
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#Optimist - Howth Yacht Club will host the 2019 Optimist National and Open Championships between 15 and 18 August, the International Optimist Dinghy Association Ireland has announced.

The association added that it is still in the process of finalising dates and venues for the rest of the 2019 calendar but will make announcements as soon as possible on the IODAI website and Facebook page.

Published in Optimist
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#Optimist - The International Optimist Dinghy Association Ireland (IODAI) is now recruiting both national and international coaches for its annual spring training week in Baltimore in February 2019.

Coaches must be available from Sunday 17 to Friday 22 February for what’s widely considered one of the top international sailing clinics for Optimist sailors.

Each year the West Cork event kicks off the Optimist season in Ireland, with some 100 young sailors taking part in the week-long clinic.

The IODAI advises that positions for instructors limited and will be allocated based on previous coaching experience working at the camp, availability, qualifications and the needs of the fleet from beginner level right up to international competitors.

Applicants should send their sailing CV by email by Friday 2 November at the latest to Mandy Kelly at [email protected] Informal enquiries should be directed to the same address.

Published in Optimist
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