The ‘Green Fleet’ is for the less experienced Optimist Class sailors, to encourage novices to attend their first Optimist regatta and to encourage their continued participation in Optimist racing. The emphasis is on fun and the objective of Green Fleet regattas is to offer younger siblings and less experienced sailors the opportunity to sail and participate without their feeling the need or burden to sail in the more competitive open fleet.
The Green Fleet is intended to be a positive introduction to competitive sailing. It should be clear that crowning a “winner” is less important than ensuring that the sailor in “last place” has fun, too. To further the purpose of encouraging novice sailors, and de-emphasizing heavy competition at this stage, regatta hosts should present participation awards to all Green Fleet sailors in lieu of trophies.
The International Optimist Dinghy enjoys the benefits and status of being a tightly controlled one-design class. Accordingly, Green Fleet is open only to competitors sailing in authentic International Optimist Dinghies and with sails, spars, blades and fittings that meet all IODA class rules.
Regatta officials are urged to uphold these Green Fleet objectives by limiting Green Fleet participation to appropriate skippers.
It is unlikely that Green Fleet sailors will have sailed in an Open Fleet regatta of more than 40 boats.
It is expected that Green Fleet Sailors will:
- be 12 years and under;
- have sailed for less than 2 seasons
- have not previously race outside of green fleet except at regattas where no green fleet racing was offered.
When a sailor has achieved a podium finish in an NZIODA ranking regatta green fleet or the Sir Peter Blake Torbay regatta, or three or more podium finishes in other green fleet regattas the sailor shall advance to the open fleet.
Regatta officials should refuse an entry from a sailor who they believe should be entered in the “Open” fleet racing.
Coaching of Green Fleet skippers while racing is permitted, however coaching shall be limited to skippers in the bottom half of the fleet in any given race. Coach boats shall neither create wakes nor otherwise interfere with competitors. Coaches shall provide fair and consistent support to all competitors, not just their team and/or sailor.
The role of rules advisor is a vital part of teaching the rules. Ideally the rules advisor should be afloat and should watch the racing but, as a minimum, the advisor must be available for discussion immediately the sailors return ashore. The rules advisor may be the same person as the race officer.
If the advisor is on the course he should take a proactive stance towards rules complance and may also be involved in coaching of the total fleet.
Green Fleet racing should use the NZIODA New Zealand International Optimist Dinghy Association Green Fleet Rules for Racing.
Rules are designed to stand on their own so that sailors who are starting to race can compete using only these few rules and without the need to learn the many details of the ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS). These rules are compatible with the principles and fundamental rules in the RRS. However, they are neither a guide to nor an abbreviated form of the RRS. The rules are intentionally minimalist and they omit as many complications of the RRS as possible. Boats racing under these rules should race on their own course and should not share the course area or marks with boats racing under the RRS.
In addition so that optimist are safe and can be identified and scored a select group of the rules of the Racing Rules of Sailing need to apply:
- The Yachting New Zealand Safety Regulations Part 1.
- International Optimist Class Rules.
- The Organising Authority may require all participating boats to display the event sponsor’s advertising in accordance with ISAF Regulation 20, Advertising Code.
- The Race Signals in the ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing.
- ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing rule Appendix A, Scoring.
- ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing rule Appendix G, Identification On Sails.
- ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing rule Appendix G3, Chartered or Loaned Boats.
There should be a briefing every day before the sailors race. This briefing should be held one hour before the intended time of first warning signal for the day.
The topics for the briefing should include:
- Where the race course will be located.
- How many races are intended to be sailed on the day.
- If there will be a break ashore between races.
- A description of the marks to be used.
- Who the “advisor” is.
- A comment on the day’s weather.
- Any safety matters.
- Any comment on the prior day’s racing.
- Any comments from the advisor
- Any comments to the “coaches”
The number of races discarded in a regatta should be one race after 65% to 70% of the races has been sailed.
Still Racing Score
The still racing score should be available to the sailors.
Optimists failing to finish after the race time limit after the first boat sails the course and finishes may apply be scored SRS, “Still Racing Score”. The end of the time limit is indicated by the removal of the orange flag with one sound on the Race Committee boat. The score will be calculated to be 3 points more than the last boat to finish that race, but not more than DNF. Boats requesting SRS must complete a request form within 60 minutes of the last boat finishing the last race of the day. The request forms should be available at the race office.
Other Regatta Format Notes
The fleet will race as a single fleet. If numbers greatly exceeds 100 boats organisers should consider a split into a green and a rainbow fleet. The rainbow fleet being for the less capable sailors.
The optimist should sail with a conspicuous green ribbon ties to the top of their sprit.
The course is a triangular course with the duel function start/finish line on the beat. A single lap is recommended however if the course area is restricted two laps may be required to reach the target race time.
There should be no more than three races a day.
The target time for the race should be 30 minutes. There should be a time limit for the first mark of 20 minutes and a time limit for the race of 60 minutes. If either of the time limits are not met, or are unlikely to be met, the race should be abandoned.