IODA has more than doubled the number of member national associations over the last twelve years and is committed to bringing the benefits of sailing to young people worldwide. It offers limited financial aid to "newer" countries in three areas.

1) Free boats

the "6 for 5" scheme

Countries seeking to start or enlarge Optimist fleets can apply for one free boat for every five bought.

  • The boats may be bought from any approved builder. Several builders offer very special prices for IODA-sponsored purchases.
  • They must all be owned by an association, club or other "not-for-profit" organisation, and;
  • They must all be available to introduce the children of non-sailors to the sport.

Consideration may also be given to supplying sails and rigs for locally-built wood/epoxy Optimists.

More than 270 Optimists have been sponsored under this scheme in the last seven years. Countries which have benefited so far are:

world map development help

2) Coach-Training Courses

IODA has an ongoing programme of courses to train "basic-level" coaches. These are intended for newer Optimist sailing countries and regions which do not have an established national coaching programme.

An experienced Optimist trainer is sent to conduct a course of max. ten days duration. Ideally ten coaches attend, together with not more than 20 under-13 sailors.

Travel costs and fees are paid by IODA, up to US$2,500 per course.

  • Applications are accepted only from national Optimist associations or sailing federations which are members of IODA, and all applications should be made through them. A list of these members is at members.php
  • Preference is given to courses for coaches from more than one country
  • Courses may be in any language spoken by a group of countries.
  • September through March are the preferred months

To date twenty such courses have been held, involving 29 countries.

The latest was in Libya.


3) Regional regatta grants

To encourage participation in regional regattas IODA offers free entry and/or travel for certain countries to send sailors to continental and regional regattas.

Those benefitting in recent years included Cook I, Cuba, Georgia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Kenya, Macedonia FYR, Mauritius, Montenegro, Netherlands Antilles, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, St. Vincent, Samoa, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Zimbabwe.



Just write to the IODA Secretariat and tell us what YOU need to help to develop Optimist sailing in YOUR country.

Countries which already have a Member National Optimist Association should apply through that association.


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  • Topic:
  • Nov 22, 2012
  • Date of Publication:

National Team Selection

San Pedro, Belize

November 17 to 18

Untitled Document

Belize development success story in just 18 months

Under brilliant sunshine on the sparkling waters of the Caribe Sea, the Optimist sailors of the Belize Sailing Association (BzSA) competed last weekend in the National Finals in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye. Twenty-five sailors supported by their coaches, peers, family and friends, sailed 6 races over the course of two days to find the best of the best for the Belize National Team.

There are 26 Optimist dinghies (beneficiaries of our 6 for 5 scheme) and close to 150 sailors sailing from 5 clubs across the country. The 1st placed Gold Medalist was Kevin Velasquez from the San Pedro Sailing Club. Kevin is 11 years old and has been sailing with the team since its inception 18 months ago. Kevin is also the recipient of the "Denys Bradley Cup". Denys Wade Bradley is a Belizean boat designer and builder who has for 70 years built and sailed traditional and "one design classes" in Belize. The "Denys Bradley Cup" was donated by Mr. Bradley to be presented annually as a perpetual trophy for the best Optimist sailor.

The 2nd place, Silver Medalist was Antonio Ricardez Hernandez. Antonio is a self- taught sailor, having sailed for just 8 months, he has been a finalist in every Regatta that he has attended. Antonio is a natural sailor who loves the sea above and below. The 3rd place Bronze Medal winner was Jorge Oliveres. Jorge is 12 years old and has also been sailing for 18 months.

A common thread often mentioned when talking about these young sailors in the BzSA clubs, is the positive effect that participation in sailing has on them as individuals and within the communities in which they live. Many of these young people have demonstrated an improvement in their school attendance, a more positive outlook on life and for many, a significant improvement in their grades at school. All of the Optimist sailors from everywhere in Belize are to be congratulated for their dedication and hard work as are the many volunteers who have made this all possible.

For more information on sailing activities and our organization, contact the Belize Sailing Association at

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  • Topic:
  • May 29, 2011
  • Date of Publication:



Untitled Document

The arrival in Belize of 26 new Optimist boats marks the 'unofficial' launch of Project Optimist, run by the recently formed Belize Sailing Association.

As we had announced in a former article, Belize have benefitted from our 6 for 5 scheme and is now the proud owner of 26 brand new Optimist boats, built by Shanghai Far East, one of 30 IODA approved builders. The boats will be used by the Belize Sailing Association to launch youth sail training and for Belize to compete internationally at this entry level.

There are Optimist dinghy clubs forming in Belize City, Ladyville, Belmopan and San Pedro Ambergris with interest expressed in Corozal, Dangriga and Placencia. The Belize City Club will be based on Sea Scouts and is in the process of organizing an Optimist Summer Camp on Buttonwood Bay. Sunday 26 June will see the official launch of Project Optimist, the programme to develop junior sailing by seeking sponsorship, building infrastructure and educating instructors. The project is also aiming to produce new sailors for other traditional sailing classes in a subsequent program known as "Grand Fleet Sailing", thus providing "meaningful activity" for youth and adults alike.

Earlier this month, Belize was admitted to the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) as a "Full Member National Authority (MNA)" of the world governing body for sailing with all benefits including entry to all international sailing events.

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