About Teams

The Optimist Class is the largest junior sailing class in the world

The huge numbers of young sailors competing in the Optimist class around the world mean there are lots of regattas internationally that our sailors can compete in. Every year the UK class association organises visits to a number of events. There are in the form of either “Open” coach support where any sailors in the class can attend or “Teams” where the sailors are selected and represent GBR/IOCA(UK).

The class holds a series of major events around the UK each year – the Spring Championships, the Early Summer Championship, the Nationals, the End of Season Championships and the Winter Championships, with the results of these events form the national ranking. Then, over the May Bank Holiday weekend we hold Selection Trials which are used to select most but not all of the teams. 

The Optimist World and European Championships are closed events, where the UK is required to choose teams to represent GBR. We are permitted to select five sailors to attend the Worlds and seven to attend the Europeans.


The Class has three selectors who make decisions on behalf of the class association. The Selectors are David Campbell-James (Chair), Alan Williams and Chris Atheron. The Selectors and the Class agree selection polices and publish these, but it is the Selectors, independent of the Class, who actually select the sailors.

The IOCA(UK)/GBR Selection Policy can be found here.

Selection Trials

The selection trials comprise four days of racing, with up to 80 sailors being invited by the Selectors from the rolling rankings after the Spring Championships. The top five sailors go on to attend the Worlds. The next three boys, the next three girls and the next sailor of either gender go on to attend the European Championships and so on through the teams.

Each of these teams has a coach and a team leader and most travel without parents. The purpose of these teams is to develop the independence, resilience, organisation, time management and teamwork of the sailors, by building effective sailing processes and routines, so that they will be able to compete successfully in the Youth and Olympic classes. Each team has a training programme before their event. 

International Events

UK Optimist sailors start off attending regional and national events and gradually, as they become more confident and experienced, move on to gain valuable international experience. International standards of Optimist sailing are very high, however sailors regularly finishing in the top half of main fleet at UK national events should have a positive experience from an international event. 

Here are some of the events which have proven popular with British sailors over the years

Class Sponsors

Gill marine