Optimist Australian Championship FAQs

The Optimist Australian Championship (Nationals) is a great regatta for combining sailing, socialising and sightseeing. It is best enjoyed when you think of the regatta as a family holiday that has some sailing thrown in. Many families go a few days earlier to sightsee or relax. Others stay on longer after the regatta to enjoy the local attractions.

What is Nationals?

The Australian International Optimist Dinghy Association (AIODA) is the national class organisation for Optimist dinghy sailing in Australia. Each year they conduct an Australian Championship which is used as the basis for Australian team selections to contest the International Optimist Dinghy Association World Championship, and may be used as the basis for selection for Australian Teams to contest other events.

The Australian Championship is held in early to mid-January in a different state each year, on a rotation as follows: 

2023 - NSW
2024 - SA
2025 - QLD
2026 - TAS
2027 - VIC

AIODA website: https://www.optimist.org.au/home

When and where is the next Nationals?

The next Nationals is scheduled for Friday 10 to Friday 17 January 2025 and hosted by the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, located on the waterfront of Brisbane’s eastern bayside suburb of Manly.

You should aim to arrive a few days before Friday 10 January as WAIODA will organise training sessions for the WA team. 

Do many sailors from Western Australia go?

WAIODA aims to have 10 to 15 sailors competing across all fleets. The more the merrier, so please consider coming along!

Which categories are sailed?

  • Open Fleet - will complete 2 to 3 races per day and the regatta acts as the selection regatta for both the Australian Optimist Sailing Team and Australian Optimist Development squad.
  • Intermediate Fleet - racing is on the same course as Open Fleet, but shorter, with 1 to 2 races per day.
  • Green Fleet - the focus is on fun and on-water coaching. Green Fleet race close to shore in a supervised and supported environment, with on-water and on-shore coaching provided.

For more information: Which fleet to enter?

Why should you consider racing at Nationals? What are the benefits?

Sailing in different environments is a great opportunity for young sailors to develop their love of sailing. New coaches, new weather, new friends, and new competitors all add to the enjoyment and learning.

What do you need to do to qualify for Nationals?

You don't need to qualify. Entry to the Nationals is open to all Optimist sailors 15 years and under (a skipper can only race Optimists until December 31 in the year they turn 15).

The week of sailing is a great opportunity to improve sailing skills and to make new friends from around the country.

Does WAIODA offer any special preparation/coaching for Nationals?

After selecting a team coach, WAIODA will organise training with that coach leading up to Nationals (usually in December and January). It is a great way for the team to get to know each other, to develop their skills, and to learn from experienced coaches who have attended regattas at National and International levels. 

Do you need to take your own boat to race at Nationals?

Transporting your own boat to the Nationals is ideal, but charter options are available for a fee (they usually cost around $100 per day). Chartering a boat still requires you to take your own sail and sheet, but everything else is provided. Details about charter boats is normally available on the host club's website or in the 'Notice of Race'.

If sailor numbers are sufficient, WAIODA will co-ordinate boat transport using a shipping container and split the cost. 

Will I be able to get on water and see my child sail?

Families usually coordinate opportunities to get out on the water and spectate their sailors as they race. 

More information:

AIODA Checklist for Optimist Nationals

Sample Equipment Declaration Form

Sample Notice of Race (2024 Nationals)