A skipper can only race Optimists until December 31st in the year they turn 15. On December 31st of that year, they age out of Optimists and can no longer race the boat.
Sound complicated? It really isn't. The fleets keep the competition fair and challenging for everyone. They also help you see how you're doing against other skippers your own age. Good luck, sail fast, and have fun!
We get many questions about the different fleets (age groups) found at Optimist regattas. Here's a simple explanation.
It wouldn't be fair to make a beginner race against skippers who have been racing for years.
To make Optimist racing in Canada as fair as possible, the class puts each skipper into an age group, called a fleet. Trophies are awarded to the top skippers in each age group, or fleet.
White fleet is for skippers who are 10 or under. Blue fleet is for skippers who are 11 or 12. Red fleet is for skippers who are 13, 14, or 15. In all fleets, the determining date is the skipper's age at the beginning of a regatta (see bylaw #21). At most regattas, the red, blue, and white fleets all start at the same time and race on the same course.