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Re: Morning Lig...
9/29/2008 5:23 PM
by fullsail
Green, White, Blue and Red Fleet Explained

From United States Optimist Dinghy Association (USODA) website....

What fleet is my sailor in and how are the ages for Red, Blue and White fleets defined?


We get many questions about the different fleets (age groups) found at Optimist regattas. Here's a simple explanation.

It wouldn't be fair to make a beginner race against skippers who have been racing for years.

To make Optimist racing in the United States as fair as possible, the class puts each skipper into an age group, called a fleet. Trophies are typically awarded to the top skippers in each age group, or fleet.

White fleet is for skippers who are 10 and under. Blue fleet is for skippers who are 11 or 12. Red fleet is for skippers who are 13, 14, or 15. In all fleets, the determining date is the skipper’s age on the first day of the regatta not the skipper's age at the end of the current year. Skippers move up to blue fleet on their 11th birthday and red fleet on their 13th birthday. At most regattas, the red, blue, and white fleets all start at the same time and race on the same course.


What about this Green Fleet?

Green fleet is a special fleet for beginners. Green fleeters can be any age up to 15.  A green fleet might have skippers who are as young as 6 and as old as 15, but sooner or later they'll move into their age-appropriate fleet. A ten year old green fleeter would move into white fleet, a thirteen year old green fleeter would move into red fleet, etc.

The purpose of the green fleet is to encourage novice sailors. To discourage sailors from staying in green fleet, in order to win races and receive awards, USODA’s policy is to present “Participation Awards” to all skippers sailing in the green fleet. By not crowning a champion,  sailors and their parents, are encouraged to move to the appropriate age fleet as they become more confident of their abilities.


What is "Aging Out"?

A skipper can only race Optimists until December 31 of the year in which they turn 15.  On December 31st of that year, they "age out" of Optimist and can no longer race.


Sound complicated?

It really isn't. The fleets keep the competition fair and challenging for everyone. They also help you see how you're doing against other skippers your own age. Good luck, sail fast, and have fun!

Parents as #1 Fan



Dr. Alan Goldberg


If you want your child to come out of his youth sports experience a winner, (feeling good about himself and having a healthy attitude towards sports) then he needs your help! You arc a vital and important part of the coach-athlete-parent team. If you do your job correctly and play YOUR position well, then your child will learn the sport faster, perform better, really have fun and have his self-esteem enhanced as a result. His sport experience will serve as a positive model for him to follow as he approaches other challenges and obstacles throughout life. If you "drop the ball" or run the wrong way with it, your child will stop learning, experience performance difficulties and blocks, and begin to really hate the sport. And that's the GOOD news! Further, your relationship with him will probably suffer significantly. As a result, he will come out of this experience burdened with feelings of failure, inadequacy and low self-esteem, feelings that will generalize to other area in his life. Your child and his coach need you ON the team. They can't win without YOU! The following are a list of useful facts, guidelines and strategies for you to use to make you more skilled in the youth sport game. Remember, no wins unless everyone wins. We need you on the team!


#1 When defined the RIGHT way, competition in youth sports is both good and healthy and teaches children a variety of important life skills. The word "compete" comes from the Latin words 'com" and "petere" which mean together and seeking respectively. The true definition of competition is a seeking TOGETHER where your opponent is your partner, NOT the enemy! The better he performs, the more chance you have of having a peak performance. Sports is about learning to deal with challenges and obstacles. Without a worthy opponent, without any challenges sports is not so much fun. The more the challenge the better the opportunity you have to go beyond your limits. World records are consistently broken and set at the Olympics because the best athletes in the world are "seeking together", challenging each other to enhanced performance. Your child should NEVER be taught to view his opponent as the "bad guy", the enemy or someone to be hated and "destroyed". Do NOT model this attitude!! Instead, talk to/make friends with parents of your child's opponent. Root for great performances, good plays, NOT just for the. winner!


#2 ENCOURAGE YOUR. CHILD TO COMPETE AGAINST HIMSELF. The ultimate goal of the sport experience is to challenge oneself and continually improve. Unfortunately, judging improvement by winning and losing is both an unfair and inaccurate measure. Winning in sports is about doing the best YOU can do, SEPARATE from the outcome or the play of your opponent. Children should be encouraged to compete against their own potential, i.e. Peter and Patty Potential. That is, the boys should focus on beating "Peter", competing against themselves while the girls challlenge "Patty". When your child has this focus and plays to better himself instead of beating someone else, he will be more relaxed, have more fun and therefore perform better.



LOSING- A corollary to #2, one of the main purposes of the youth sports experience is skill acquisition and mastery. When a child performs to his potential and loses it is criminal to focus on the outcome and become critical. If a child plays his very best and loses, you need to help him feel like a winner! Similarly, when a child or team performs far below their potential but wins, this is NOT cause to feel like a winner. Help your child make this important separation between success and failure and winning and losing. Remember, if you define success and failure in term of winning and losing, you're playing a losing game with your child!


#4 BE SUPPORTIVE. DO NOT COACH!!! Your role on the parent-coach-athlete team is as a Support player with a capital S!! You need to be your child's best fan. UNCONDITIONALLY!!! Leave the coaching and instruction to the coach. Provide encouragement, support, empathy, transportation, money, help with fund-raisers, etc.,.BUT ... DO NOT COACH! Most parents that get into trouble with their children do so because they forget to remember the important position that they play. Coaching interferes with your role as supporter and fan. The last thing your child needs and wants to hear from you after a disappointing performance or loss is what they did technically or strategically wrong. Keep your role as a parent on the team separate from that as coach, AND, IF by necessity you actually get stuck in the almost no-win position of having to coach your child, try to maintain this separation of roles, i.e. on the deck, field or court say, "Now I'm talking to you as a coach", at home say, "Now I'm talking to you as a parent". Don't parent when you coach and don't coach at home when you're supposed to be parenting.


#5 HELP MAKE THE SPORT FUN FOR YOUR CHILD- It's a time proven principle of peak performance that the more fun an athlete is having, the more they will learn and the better they will perform. Fun MUST be present for peak performance to happen at EVERY level of sports from youth to world class competitor! When a child stops having fun and begins to dread practice or competition, it's time for you as a parent to become concerned! When the sport or game becomes too serious, athletes have a tendency to bum out and become susceptible to repetitive performance problems. An easy rule of thumb: IF YOUR CHILD IS NOT ENJOYING WHAT THEY ARE DOING NOR LOVING THE HECK OUT OF IT, INVESTIGATE!! What is going on that's preventing them from having fun? Is it the coaching? The pressure? Is it YOU?? Keep in mind that being in a highly competitive program does NOT mean that there is no room for fun. The child that continues to play long after the fun is going will soon become a drop out statistic.


#6 WHOSE GOAL IS IT??? #5 leads us to a very important. question! Why is your child participating in the sport? Are they doing it because they want to for them, or because of you. When they have problems in their sport do you talk about them as "our" problems, "our jump isn't high enough", "we're having trouble with our flip turn" , etc. Are they playing because they don't want to disappoint you, because they know how important the sport is to you? Are they playing for rewards and "bonuses" that you give out? Are their goals and aspirations YOURS or theirs? How invested are you in their success and failure? If they arc competing to please you or for your vicarious glory they are in it for the wrong reasons! Further, if they stay involved for you, ultimately everyone will lose. It is quite normal and healthy to want your child to excel and be as successful as possible. BUT, you cannot make this happen by pressuring them with your expectations or by using guilt or bribery to keep them involved. If they have their own reasons and own goals for participating, they will be FAR more motivated to excel and therefore far more successful.


#7 YOUR CHILD IS NOT HIS PERFORMANCE - LOVE HIM UNCONDITIONALLY Do NOT equate your child's self-worth and lovability with his performance. The MOST tragic and damaging mistake I see parents continually make is punishing a child for a bad performance by withdrawing emotionally from him. A child loses a race, strikes out or misses and easy shot on goal and the parent responds with disgust, anger and withdrawal of love and approval. CAUTION: Only use this strategy if you want to damage your child emotionally and ruin your relationship with him. In the 88 Olympics, when Greg Louganis needed and got a perfect 10 on his last dive to overtake the Chinese diver for the gold medal, his last thought before he went was, "If I don't make it, my mother will still love me".


#8 REMEMBER THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-ESTEEM IN ALL OF YOUR INTERACTIONS WITH YOUR CHILD-ATHLETE-Athletes of all ages and levels perform in DIRECT relationship to how they feel about themselves. When your child is in an athletic environment that boosts his self-esteem, be will learn faster, enjoy himself more and perform better under competitive pressure. One thing we all want as children and NEVER stop wanting is to be loved and accepted, and to have our parents feel good about what we do. This is how self-esteem gets established. When your interactions with your child make him feel good about himself, he will, in turn, learn to treat himself this very same way. This does NOT mean that you have to incongruently compliment your child for a great effort after they have just performed miserably. In this situation being empathic and sensitive to his feelings is what's called for. Self esteem makes the world go round. Make your child feel good about himself and you've given him a gift that lasts a lifetime. Do NOT interact with your child in a way that assaults his self-esteem by degrading, embarrassing or humiliating him. If you continually put your child down or minimize his accomplishments not only will he learn to do this to himself throughout his life, but he will also repeat YOUR mistake with HIS children!


#9 GIVE YOUR CHILD THE GIFT OF FAILURE - If you really want your child to be as happy and as successful as possible in everything that he does, teach him how to fail! The most successful people in and out of sports do two things differently than everyone else. FIRST, they are more willing to take risks and therefore fail more frequently. SECOND, they use their failures in a positive way as a source of motivation and feedback to improve. Our society is generally negative and teaches us that failure is bad, a cause for humiliation and embarrassment, and something to be avoided at all costs. Fear of failure or humiliation causes one to be tentative and non-active. In fact, most performance blocks and poor performances are a direct result of the athlete being preoccupied fall your body gets valuable information on how to do it better. You can't be successful or have peak performances if you arc concerned with losing or failing. Teach your child how to view setbacks, mistakes and risk-taking positively and you'll have given him the key to a lifetime of success. Failure is the PERFECT stepping stone to success.


#10 CHALLENGE-DON'T THREATEN-Many parents directly or indirectly use guilt and threats as a way to "motivate" their child to perform better. Performance studies clearly indicate that while threats may provide short term results, the long term costs in terms of psychological health and performance are devastating. Using fear as a motivator is probably one of the worst dynamics you could set up with your child. Threats take the fun out of performance and directly lead to your child performing terribly. IMPLICIT in a threat, (do this or else!) is your OWN anxiety that you do not believe the child is capable. Communicating this lack of belief, even indirectly is further devastating to the child's performance. A challenge does not entail loss or negative consequences should the athlete fail. Further, implicit in a challenge is the empowering. belief, "I think that you can do it".


#11 STRESS PROCESS, (skill acquisition, mastery and having fun), NOT

OUTCOME-When athletes choke under pressure and perform far below their potential, a very common cause of this is a focus on the outcome of the performance, i.e. win/lose, instead of the process. In any peak performance, the athlete is totally oblivious to the outcome and instead is

completely absorbed in the here and now of the actual performance. An outcome focus will almost always distract and tighten up the athlete insuring a bad performance. Furthermore focusing on the outcome, which is completely out of the athlete's control will raise his anxiety to a performance inhibiting level. So IF you TRULY want your child to win, help get his focus AWAY from how important the contest is and have them focus on the task at hand. Supportive parents de-emphasize winning and instead stress learning the skills and playing the game.


#12 AVOID COMPARISONS AND RESPECT DEVELOPMENTAL DIFFERENCES Supportive parents do not use other athletes that their child competes against to compare and thus evaluate their child's progress. Comparisons are useless, inaccurate and destructive. Each child matures differently and the process of comparison ignores significant distorting effects of developmental differences. For example, two 12 year old boys may only have their age in common! One may physically have the build and perform like a 16 year old while the other, a late developer, may have the physical size and attribute of a 9 year old. Performance comparisons can prematurely turn off otherwise talented athletes on their sport. The only value of comparisons is in teaching. If one child demonstrates proper technique, that child can be used comparatively as a model ONLY! For your child to do his very best he needs to learn to stay within himself Worrying about how another athlete is doing interferes with him doing this.


#13 TEACH YOUR CHILD TO HAVE A PERSPECTIVE ON THE SPORTS EXPERIENCE – The sports media in this country would like you to believe that sports and winning/losing is larger than life.The fact that it is just a game frequently gets lost in translation. This lack of perspective frequently trickles down to the youth sport level and young athletes often come away from competition with a distorted view of themselves and how they performed. Parents need to help their children develop realistic expectations about themselves, their abilities and how they played, without robbing the child of his dreams. Swimming a lifetime best time and coming in dead last is a cause for celebration, not depression. Similarly, losing the conference championships does not mean that the sun will not rise tomorrow.

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S a i l o r

Life jacket

Extra set dry clothes

Foul weather gear


Sailing gloves



Insect bite stick



Water bottle


Deck of cards




Hitch with correct size ball

Extra line

Electrical tape for lights

Extra fuses for trailer in water




Lifejackets for spectator boats

Weather/communication radio

Camera for trophy presentation

Snacks for kids between races

Cooler with drinks/ snacks

Sunglasses and hat for protection



Extra sail ties

Bailers - 2 are recommended; one is required

Water bottle



Legal painter - 30' in length and floatable

Remember the mainsheet!!! And extra sail ties

Parenting Thoughts



Dr. Alan Goldberg


Most parents who push, or otherwise interfere with the coaching role, do so because they want their child to perform better. They do not understand that their behavior is performance disruptive for their child. By directly teaching coaches to teach parents the principles of peak performance - i.e. those elements that will insure high self-esteem, continued enjoyment of the sport and consistent performance - parents will be better equipped to work with coaches and not sabotage their child.


HAVE FUN - Coaches who consistently make the sport fun produce peak performers. When an athlete has fun, they will go fast. Fun will ensure an athlete's motivation and prevent bum-out. When the fun leaves the sport because of parental pressure, the child will become vulnerable to performance problems. A related concept to teach here is the reason a child plays. The child should compete because he wants to for his goals, not for his parents'. Coaches must be encouraged to explain about the negative, demotivating effects of "bribes" or "bonuses" for certain performance goals.


BUILD HIGH SELF-ESTEEM - Explain the direct relationship between self-esteem and performance. High self-esteem leads to improved performance while lower self-esteem results in poorer performance. Encourage parents to build self-esteem and not to link a child's self-worth and lovability with how fast they go or how many games they start. Encourage parents to "catch their kids doing things right", to focus on the positive.


ENCOURAGE A PROCESS FOCUS VS OUTCOME - One of the biggest causes of choking that parents inadvertently contribute to is encouraging an outcome focus in their children. Pregame thoughts about scoring, beating someone else, or getting a college scholarship all tend to distract the athlete from the game at hand. Parents would not push the outcome so much if they were aware of its detrimental effects on performance. Help them refocus their comments on enjoying the process of training, competing, and playing.


CHALLENGED NOT THREATENED - Parents who threaten and punish children for not doing well need to understand that these behaviors will hurt their child's performance and sense of self. Fear may produce short term results, but it has serious long term consequences. Implicit in a threat is the belief that you do not think the child is capable. Implicit in a challenge (there is nothing to lose should you fail) is a positive belief in the player's ability. Educate parents on the performance effects of threats and how they distract a player's focus, putting them into the future and out of the game they're in. Parents should be encouraged not to use guilt, fear or any kind of threat to motivate their children.


FREE TO FAIL - Parents need to be taught how to view their child's failure as a positive learning experience rather than as an excuse to demean them. Freedom to fail empowers athletes while the worry of messing up leaves an athlete tied in knots and playing tentatively. Teach parents how to teach this and the other principles by modeling this appropriate behavior. Failure is an opportunity to learn and improve. It is nothing more than feedback and should not have a value judgement placed on it.


AUTOMATIC NON-THINKING- In every peak performance an athlete is not thinking. They are unconscious and on autopilot. Their focus is in the experience, i.e.feeling the ground, the motion in their limbs, their rhythm, etc. Thinking slows athletes down. Help parents understand that giving their child something to think about is counter productive. It gets the athlete trying too hard and performing poorly. Teach what pregame and postgame comments are useful (have fun, relax, you're ready, good job, etc).


RELAXED- During a peak performance an athlete is relaxed and focused. Any kind of parental comments/pressure will only interfere with this principle.