Optimist Dolphins

 A training group for WKSC junior members to learn and improve their Optimist sailing skills.

A supportive youth friendly environment that is fun, safe and rewarding.

Who can join the Optimist Dolphins?

  • Any WKSC junior member aged 7 to 13.

Does my child need to be able to sail?

  • No, beginners are welcome. Our aim is to provide an environment in which young helms will feel secure and ready to learn.
  • Your child does need to be able to swim at least 50m unaided.

Why should my child learn in an Optimist?

  • Optimists are designed for kids. They can handle them without fear or back-strain.
  • It is proven; former Optimist sailors were over 50% of the dinghy skippers at the last Olympics, it is an excellent boat to learn to sail that promotes effective technique and a love of sailing.
  • Optimists offer a local, national and International competitive level unmatched by any other class for any child under 15.
  • WKSC is committed to training our youth and is also supported by IOCA to train your child.
  • The dinghy is easy to maintain, transport, launch, rig and clean. Spare parts are easily sourced.

Do I need to buy an Optimist?

  • No, as a beginner your child will only need appropriate clothing for the season. Our club will allow us to use the club Optimists during organized training.  Club flotation devices and helmets will also be on hand if needed.
  • When your child can sail at RYA level 3 and above we recommend that an inexpensive Optimist is acquired and perhaps an upgrade if your young sailor wants to compete in regionals/nationals. Is a wooden Optimist a good choice?

When will the Optimist Dolphins training place?

  • We start in April and September each year.

What will my child learn in the Dolphins?

      • A love of sailing in an Optimist dinghy.
      • The classes will be divided into helms who are beginners roughly up to RYA youth level 2 and Intermediate RYA level 3 and above. For more advanced helms we will offer training as needed.
      • The beginner syllabus will  focus will be on the 5 essentials.
      • The Intermediate syllabus will include Singapore style tacks, strap to strap tacks, gybing on the whistle, correct hiking, kiting.
      • A full syllabus will be provided upon request to help your own practice sessions.

Will there be Racing? Prizes?

      • All Dolphins that wish to race will be able to race a modified triangular course on Friday evenings against their peers. More advanced helms can race longer courses.
      • We encourage more experienced helms to compete as much as they can.
      • Hooray for Prizes!

How large is the group?

      • The April 2017 intake will comprise of 4 fleets. Each fleet is approximately 7 helms.

Do I have to get involved?

      • That would be good, you will be expected to help your child rig their boat and help them launch and recover. As with all junior activity at the Club your involvement is essential. Here is a where we will need your help. Super Helpers Roles Permanent Volunteer Roles
      • We rely on parental help to make the program a success; you can help out on the water, admin, or in the galley whichever you prefer.

Will it be fun?  Will there be games? Will there be food?

      • Smiles and a fun learning approach are what the Dolphins are all about. Lots and lots of games!
      • Hot food will be available for the youth sailors from a parental volunteer team after racing has finished.

Who will train the Dolphins?  

Our expert coaches will help the young helms improve every season.

      • Joanna Crabtree

Coaching Qualification: Dinghy Instructor; Dinghy Race Coach (Level 2), Senior Instructor.

Sailing Experience: Joanna has been sailing since her teenage years, in boats ranging from the Ocean Youth Club’s 72 foot ketches to Larks through to Fevas and Toppers, and plenty in between. Highlights include the Tall Ships Race, which remains one of her most memorable experiences; racing in the Solent on a French J90 and racing on Sydney Harbour for 2 seasons in several different boats.

Joanna has experience of training and coaching from two summers spent in the Mediterranean, teaching sailing and as “Beachmaster”, from several years volunteering with the Junior Sailors / On Board here at West Kirby, and running training sessions with the Lark fleet, of which she is the Captain.

She also has had experience in my day job of running training and coaching, on software. Joanna is a strong believer in sailing being able to impart “soft skills” such as confidence, communication and teamwork.

Joanna is looking forward to bringing out the best in the young helms and helping them to achieve their maximum potential.

      • IOCA National Coach : Alan Williams

We are also very lucky to have Alan Williams from the RYA and IOCA involved to give us his expertise on our training and to mentor our new training program.

Additional Coaches

The Dolphins are also supported by 2 additional DI coastal coaches Abi and Thomas Sanders.

We also have Henry Hughes, Alex Jardine and Alan Leyland coaching when they are available. All our coaches are club members and qualified in First Aid and Dinghy Instructor Level 2.

Fleet Captains

For 2016 we will have 4 fleets. Your Fleet Captain is available to answer your questions once you join their fleet.

Green Fleet     Fleet Captain Clare Wright

Blue Fleet        Fleet Captain Catherine Sandow

Red Fleet          Fleet Captain Nataschja Nixon

Silver Fleet      Fleet Captain Sally Bromilow

Where do I sign up?

Please request to be added to our waiting list for the September 2016 intake.  optimistwksc@gmail.com

Here is an overview of the Spring 2016 intake Optimist Dolphins Spring 2016 Parental Overview

OPTIMIST home on WebCollect

Time lapse footage of a session…

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