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The International Optimist Dinghy Association (IODA) and SSL are delighted to announce a new collaboration which will see leading Optimist dinghy events being included on the SSL Ranking List.  Sailors will be able to guage how they are progressing and developing with their peers, but more importantly the Ranking List will help illustrate the different pathways available in the sport for young sailors. Throughout their sailing career, whatever class or discipline that a sailor engages with, the points will move with them on their life-long journey in the sport.

Optimist sailing (c) Matias Capizzano
Optimist sailing (c) Matias Capizzano

IODA has 110 member nations and for 50 years has been introducing thousands of children into the sport of sailing, with many going on to become Olympic and World Champions in a multitude of classes.

The SSL Ranking List, which is published weekly, includes more than 100,000 of the leading athletes from approximately 15,000 regattas around the world, highlighting the world’s top inshore sailors.

Currently there are around 12,000 past and present Optimist sailors already ranked on the SSL Ranking List from results of major IODA and Optimist Class events over the past few years.  Optimist sailors can see how they are ranked against their peers in their own country or see how they are ranked globally on the world stage.

For Optimist sailors, being part of the SSL Ranking will highlight the huge number of opportunities in sailing when they move on from the class. The top sailors in the class have often taken the traditional pathways toward Olympic classes, but outside of this pathway, sailing has a plethora of disciplines and events which young sailors can move on to.

Optimist sailors (c) IODA
Optimist sailors (c) IODA

The IODA and SSL collaboration will see these opportunities highlighted, with profiles of sailors’ pathways after their time in the Optimist giving real-world examples of what is available in the sport of sailing.

Fiona Kidd, IODA Secretary General said of the collaboration: “IODA is very excited to be collaborating with SSL. Their SSL Ranking List is a great tool to help motivate Optimist sailors to see how they are progressing in the class against their peers from one year to the next, particularly at a national level. It will also assist National Members in knowing who is sailing in their country as well as give Optimist event organizers the opportunity to promote their events if the sailors will receive ranking points at their regatta.

“The SSL Ranking list is also an excellent tool to help keep Optimist Sailors engaged in the sport long after they leave the class and move onto other pathways in the sport. Since the points earned in the Optimist Class move with the sailor, it’s a place where they will cross paths in the future with sailors that they met and competed against in the Optimist Class when they were younger.”

Xavier Rohart, President of the SSL added, “The Optimist class is where so many great athletes begin their sailing career, going on to success in Olympic classes, and many other dinghy and keelboat disciplines. The SSL Gold Cup National Teams have many alumini of the Optimist class, which highlights the importance of this collaboration with IODA, and including these young stars in the SSL Ranking. We are looking forward to watch the next generation of sailing talent progress through our sport.”

This is an exciting step for both the SSL and IODA, which will help keep more young sailors in the sport after their Optimist journey and help many become sailors for life.

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