Tel: 01590 672677

Optimist Fleet

Join our mini-racers, regatta fleet and main fleet in coaching, racing and adventures throughout the year!

Royal Lymington Yacht Club Optimist Fleet

The Optimist dinghy needs little introduction: 300,000 children sail these boats in 120 countries around the world. The class has a competitive national and international racing circuit and is an RYA supported junior class. 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. 

Optimist Sailing in Lymington

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. 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 into Main Fleet as they get older and racing skills develop. A number of Lymington sailors are selected for the RYA Regional Training Groups, which have replaced the National Squads, Class Squad and Zone Squads.

Royal Lymington Yacht Club won the prize for the best Club at the 2019 Optimist National Championships and the 2018 and 2019 British National Champions and the 2019 British Junior National Champion are RLymYC members.

One of the secrets of the Royal Lymington Optimist Flleets’ 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. 

Optimist Coaching

Our Optimist Fleet is active throughout the season with regular coached training and racing opportunities.

The Royal Lymington Yacht Club training program has been created under the guidance of our Head Coach, Hugh Styles, 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, with regular weekend training and racing, Tuesday evening summer and autumn term training, Monday evening racing and Friday evening Junior racing.
Most months will have four activities:
  • Club Squad training day and 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 at our Club restaurant, which will coincide with the Coaches’ debrief.

Parents are encouraged to volunteer helming or crewing the safety ribs. Rib helms are required to have RYA PB2 and the Club runs courses throughout the year, enabling interested parents in gaining this qualification (subsidised for Full/Family Members).

Optimist Racing

As well as informal racing within our Optimist Fleet, there are other opportunities to race with the Royal Lymington Yacht Club.

Monday Evening Dinghy Racing

Optimists may join our Monday Evening Dinghies, every week at 18:00 from April to September. Click here for more information and here for the latest Results

Friday Evening Junior Racing

Our Friday Evening Racing is aimed at our junior and youth members and takes place every week with warning signal at 18:00 from April to September. 
Click here for more information and here for the latest Results


Join our Optimist Fleet!

We welcome visiting sailors to our Open Training, however there are many benefits to becoming a member of the Royal Lymington Yacht Club. They are two ways that children can become members: 

1. Full Family Membership

We offer discounted family membership rates and children aged under 18 join FREE when parents take up family membership! This type of membership brings the most benefits, including subsidised coaching, full use of the club’s facilities including our restaurant and bar (with members' rates for food and drink), access to our dinghy storage parks, access to club boats and SUPs to hire, discounted rates for training courses and inclusion in our adventure sailing and social programmes. Full members also enjoy full use of our waterfront facilities including overnight mooring on our pontoons with electricity and water, launch service to river moorings or tenders to borrow, boatmen services including our on-site crane at discounted members' rate. 
Find out more and join us!

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 and this brings slightly subsidised coaching (although the discount is not as great as Family Members). Find out more and join us!

Please do get in touch with the Fleet Captains by email if you would like to find out more about Optimist sailing in Lymington or to join the RLymYC Oppie Fleet WhatsApp group, or call the club office on 01590 672677.
Optimist Fleet Captains: Fanny Rogers, Kevin Coster and Becky Hutchinson
Head Coach: Hugh Styles  [email protected]
International Optimist Class Association: