Attending an international event is the pinnacle for any Opti sailor's experience in the class. Meeting young racers from the globe that are at the top of their sport is truly a life changing experience.
Canada, being a member of IODA, is invited to send teams to various international events every year. We select the teams from our Nationals in August. The process is clearly laid out in the Selection Guide below the International Team tab on the website.
When considering a position on an International Team, there is a lot to consider. The level of racing at International events is like nothing you have experienced. The sites are often selected for their consistent (or rather high) wind and seas. Most opti racers are in their 14th/15th year as well, so have 7-8 yrs of experience. All this, plus the cost of attending should be weighed before accepting a place if you qualify. A frank conversation with your coach or friendly CODA board member could help in the decision process.
CODA wants what is best for its sailors. Sometime a clinic or high end US event can be more meaningful to a sailor's progression than an International regatta. These are key things to consider.
We are adding content from teams that have attended intl events below. We hope to accumulate best practices for future generations from our experiences!
Define roles ahead of time. Dont assume others are aware.
Keep files on payment proof
One parent handle the charters: deposit cash/ track parts that break or go missing etc. Bring spares to replace parts that get damaged or go missing.
One large sail tube can ammodate 5-6 kids and help with costs (hard ski carrier)
Hotel venues can get very noisy and ear plugs a good idea. May have to share accomodations with other teams--be flexible and think "camp"
Measurement: best to have a sail certificate. Alterations to sails may or may not be possible. Might have to buy a sail on site worst case. Going first or last is best.
Have some extra lines for centerboard tie downs.
Having food for team when they get off water late is a good idea. Have a sub committee for this of parents.
The coach will require food and water on the coach boat
Good idea to get to venue asap pre event. Conditions are often not what canadians are used to.
Big fleet starts seem to be a major weakness. Hard to simulate, but if you can protect your hole and accelerate, you will be buried in bottom 1/3 . Races are too short otherwise (50 min) to catch up.
Very tiring schedule usually. Sleep is key. Heat can play heavy on team - we're not used to 38C!
Food at events are hit and misses. A few team dinners or supplements a good plan. Dont assume they will eat at venue entirely.
Coaches should be teaching coaches and preferably canadian. This allows context and best practices to filter to regions. Not much value add to hiring a special event coach who is expecting gold fleet performance etc. They wont have time enough to help at an event. Coaching at events is more a support role. The coaching is done prior to the regatta, in any event.
Uniforms: trading is a big social aspect of the events. Having a euro style pfd and a number of trading shirts is a good plan. Usually have a team shirt for opening and closing ceremonies and team splashes/board short (climate dependent). We bought team canada olympic shirts had them embroidered with event logo and were pleased. Baltic can make team canada pfds with 3-6 month notice
Golf shirts and off rack gap shorts work.
Some points of discussion I suggest regarding coaching IODA events,
-Coach responsibilities before and after: Communication with sailors (not only with parents, this is for the Team Leader to lead), feedback and report within a realistic time
*Next thing to discuss would be what's the best way to pass this info along to our coaches in Canada
-Coach conceptions: to be able to keep this job attractive to the best possible coaches in the country
-Communication and working together with Team Leader at the venue
-Team Racing: coaches to prepare sailors in the best possible way (keeping in mind that the only IODA event that does not have TR is Europeans)
-Optimist Class Rules: coach our sailors to make sure that they know and understand our class rules and penalties
-Qualification and Series + other specific structure characteristics: Give sailors as much information as possible on the structure of each of the events (Europeans for example is the only regatta that splits the fleet into female and male).