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Lymington Optimists


Lymington Oppies
The Optimist dinghy needs little introduction - 300,000 children sail these boats in 120 countries around the world. 

Colloquially called ‘Oppies’ or an ‘Opti’ if you live on the other side of the Atlantic, they are known to many as the ‘medal factory’ - 85% of the sailors competing at the 2016 Olympic Games started out in Oppies. To others, these dinghies are fondly recognised as the boat that many young people find their life-long passion for sailing. 

Here in Lymington, the iconic white sprit-rigged sails are out on the water regularly. We have in excess of 60 active oppie sailors at the Club and organise in the region of 75 training or racing activities each year. 

The Royal Lymington Yacht Club won the prize for the best Club at the 2019 Optimist National Championships and both the 2018 and 2019 British National Champions are RLymYC members! 

Sailors typically join us in the ‘Regatta’ fleet from 8 years old once they can competently and confidently sail upwind in a moderate breeze before progressing in to ‘Main’ fleet as they get older and racing skills develop. 

One of the secrets of the Royal Lymington Optimist fleets’ ongoing success in nurturing Champions as well as life-long sailors is the location we are fortunate to enjoy. The river gives sheltered sailing should sailor experience or weather conditions require, Oxey Lake offers a large expanse of water with little tidal stream and the Western Solent provides strong breeze, complex tides and challenging wave conditions. 

RLymYC Optimist Training provides:

  • Regular weekend training and racing
  • Monday evening racing
  • Tuesday evening Spring and Autumn term training
Please do get in touch with the Class Captains Richard Breese & Dan Howe cvia if you would like to find out more about sailing Oppies in Lymington   

Optimist Winter Training 2020-21

The Royal Lymington Yacht Club will be offering Optimist winter race training between December and April.
The training program has been created under the guidance of Hugh Styles (RLymYC’s Head Coach - Junior & Youth) and will be delivered by Ollie Hill (RLymYC’s Optimist Lead Coach) supported by their coaching team to create a high quality, fun, engaging and well executed program. Everything is ‘COVID-permitting’ – so subject to change – but this is our plan!

The program

Most months will have four activities:
  • Club Squad training day & optional Sunday clinic
  • Open training weekend
  • Coached Racing
  • Mini Racers
Club Squad Training will be for of Transition and Regatta fleets with the dates coinciding where possible with those dates of the RYA’s Regional Training Groups (RTG). This will be Saturday training with an optional ‘sailing clinic’ on the Sunday.
Open Training for Main, Transition and Regatta fleets across Saturday and Sunday.
Coached Racing will give sailors from all groups the opportunity to race together creating a larger fleet (COVID permitting) to practice on a busier start line and race course. This will be open to sailors training in Lymington through the winter as well as visiting Clubs (providing their own safety cover). The day will begin with Coach preparation ashore and afloat followed by racing. Racing will be offered on both Saturday and Sunday however it is not mandatory to attend both days.
Mini-Racers – is for sailors who are new to the river and for those who would prefer to sail for a couple of hours on a Saturday morning each month. A great way to keep the skills learned over the summer fresh for the spring!
COVID-allowing, the training and clinic days will conclude with a hot meal offered by “Mosimann”- the RLymYC’s new caterers – which will coincide with the Coaches’ debrief.

Training objectives

Our Head Coach has identified specific skills that will be covered over the winter program with each month having a new focus.
December Boat speed (inc. rig set-up) and starting
January / February Boat handling and team racing
March  / April Race training and tactics

Onshore winter training

The Royal Lymington Yacht Club have an engaging and comprehensive onshore evening program to support the on-water training.
Monday Sailing fitness with Drew Barnes (small supplement charge)
Wednesday Junior lecture – various speakers
Friday VR race training with Hugh Styles
Saturday Circuit fitness with 29er coaches (small supplement charge)
Lecture topics:
Team Racing Nik Froud & Andrew Wishard
Vendee Globe & Ocean Adventures Dee Caffari
Racing Rules John Doerr (Chair – International Jury – Tokyo 2020)
Boat set-up Oppie lead coach
Tides Graham Sunderland – Winning Tides
Sail trim & Setley Cup sail-making Ronan Grealish – North Sails
Campaign Planning TBC
Starting tactics TBC
Chartwork – buoys & symbols TBC
Chartwork – passage planning TBC

Costs & payments:

Training Family members Junior members Visitors
Club Squad £20/day £35/day £45/day
Open Training £20/day £35/day £45/day
Optional Sunday clinic £20/day £35/day £45/day
Mini Racers £ free £5/session £10/session
Visitor launching £1.80/day £1.80/day £1.80/day
Fitness £1.50/session £1.50/session £1.50/session
  • A block booking is recommended and is incentivised with a 10% discount.
  • Booking will close 1 month before each session in order for the Coach and Safety fleet resource to be organised. Applications received after booking has closed will be added to a waiting list and considered at the discretion of the Class Captain.
  • ‘Visitor launching’ is the payment required for those dinghies that do not carry a slipway permit.
  • Payment will be collected via WebCollect – details to follow
  • If a session is cancelled or a sailor cannot attend for COVID reasons, a ‘credit’ will be applied to WebCollect for future use over the winter.


December       January    
Sunday 13th Club Squad   Saturday 16th Coached Racing
Monday 21st Open Training & mini racers   Sunday 17th Coached Racing
Tuesday 22nd Open Training   Saturday 23rd Open Training & mini racers
Thursday 31st Coached Racing   Sunday 24th Open Training
        Saturday 30th Club Squad
February       Sunday 31st Optional Clinic
Monday 15th Open Training & mini racers        
Tuesday 16th Open Training   March    
Wednesday 17th Coached Racing   Saturday 27th Club Squad
Saturday 27th Club Squad   Sunday 28th Optional clinic
Sunday 28th Optional clinic        
Saturday 10th Coached Racing        
Sunday 11th Coached Racing        
Saturday 17th Open training & mini racers        
Sunday 18th Open training        
Saturday 24th Club Squad        
Sunday 25th Optional clinic        
  • Where Coached Racing is offered on Saturday and Sunday, each day can be booked individually.

About Lymington & the Club

Lymington offers a fabulous varied training area including tough Western Solent conditions, the flat open water of Oxey Lake as well as the River for boat-handling drills. The Royal Lymington Yacht Club has a thriving Optimist fleet and is the home Club of both the reigning British National Champion and the British Junior National Champion.
The Club has a fantastic new catering service provided by Mosimann’s. We highly recommend parents enjoy coffee and lunch at the Clubhouse whilst the children are sailing – you won’t be disappointed!
The Club may be able to offer dinghy storage for the duration of the Winter program. Please enquire with the Office.


Dan Howe Class Co Captains 07779 322442
Fanny Rogers Class Co Captains 07833 045150  
Hugh Styles Head Coach - RLymYC
Ollie Hill Oppie Lead Coach - RLymYC
Vicky Leen Sailing Manager - RLymYC 01590 672677

Joining the Royal Lymington

They are two ways that children can become Members of the Yacht Club:

1. Full Family Membership

If a parent or both parents join then the children can become family Members.  This is the preferred way and offers lots more benefits, such as subsidised coaching, cheaper tariff in the bar, full use of the Club's facilities and access to training courses and opportunities to support the Juniors.

2. Junior Membership

Children can join in their own right as Junior Members. The annual subscription is the only as much as the cost of a buoyancy aid, however there are additional costs for coaching, which don't apply to family members.

For more information on Membership click here or contact the Club Office  Alternatively you can email the Class Captain.