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Burghfield Sailing Club
Hangar Road
Berks RG7 4AP

01189 303 604

Oppie Club

Oppie Club

About Oppie Club

The Oppie Club is run by parents and members of BSC to introduce their kids to sailing independently.

It runs from 10:00 to 12:00 most Sunday mornings from May to the end of September (see Diary Dates). Kids (and parents) are expected to be rigged and ready to sail by 10.30am.

Most Sunday afternoons in summer there's an informal session where parents provide safety cover and the kids sail Oppies, or Toppers or try their hand at windsurfing

The club sails in its own buoyed off area, away from the main fleet.

Who can join in ?

OC is open to all kids of Burghfield Sailing Club full members. Minimum age is Oppie 6 (6 this year), though most are aged 8 and upwards. Please be aware that the water is still quite cold in May and many 6 year olds lack the concentration and strength required to complete a 90 minute session. Our upper age limit is 15, but this is more of a size/weight issue than age.

We are happy to take kids who have never sailed before and help them to enjoy taking control.

Kids must be able to swim 25m.

No Boat? " Club Boats

If you do not have your own Optimist, the club has several new boats which are available for use in Start Sailing or for your first few visits during Oppie Club (depending on demand). We anticipate that there will be quite a few bumps in Start, so we discourage use of private boats, our polypropolene club boats are strong and heavy, they would inflict severe damage on Fibre glass or wooden boats.

The boats are intended for kids who have not sailed before to try sailing for a few sessions before committing to buying their own boat (use in Start is free, with charges applied in Grade 1. Use of club boats in Grade 2 and above is generally discouraged (we prioritise use for Start). For Toppers, the first 4 weeks is free and then they are charged, again they are prioritised for beginners. The Charges for use of Fevas has not been defined yet.

Sole use of a club boat cannot be guaranteed. we regularly have up to 30 kids in Start, so 3 share a boat, leaving no spare for Grade 1

Beyond Start or after the initial 4 weeks in a Topper a donation is requested as a contribution towards the maintenance of the boats. The recommended donation is £6 per boat per session for sole use or £3 for shared use per session (regardless of number of sharers).

What the club is

  • Great Fun, and an easy way for kids to make new friends

  • A great way to get experience and confidence on the water

  • A good place to learn basic sailing skills, and then develop

What it is not:

  • It's not a crèche: parents must remain on the club premises where they can be found easily while their kids are in the club, they must also help in the running of Oppie club

  • It's not a substitute for formal RYA training: the sessions do not lead to RYA certificates, however, they may lead to IOCA gradings

Group Skill Levels

The instruction at BSC OC is based on the IOCA grading scheme, this has several stages as described below. The full IOCA logbook Grading Chart - Part 1 and the asssociated IOCA Exercise Book can be downloaded from here.

IOCA have created their document as a set of pages that combine all grades under the specific skills. To make it easier for each Group leader I've seperated these into an individual sheet for each Grade, these are avaiable in laminated form, in 2007 we will introduce laminated check sheets for each child so coaches can instantly assess an individuals ability. These laminated sheets and intended to be taken on the water and used by the coaches. This document is available form here.

These documents are quite young, they will mature if feedback is supplied, please contact Dave with all comments and they will be forwarded to IOCA.

All Group leaders are expected to liaise with their neighbour group leaders to arrange a kids advancement. Inherent in the scheme is the award process, kids will only be put forward for advancement to the next group once they have ticked all the IOCA boxes in the existing grade, this will be assessed by the leader of the new group.

All Groups and Grades have several sections, including; Role of the Coach, Rigging, Launch, Sailing techniques, Clothing, Capsize, Safety, Theory, Weather, Ropes and 5 Essentials

Grade Skills
Start Sailing Getting Afloat
1 The Basics
2 Can compete in Open meetings
Regatta (3) Confident & experienced sailor
Racing (Red)1 Develop advanced racing techniques (outside the IOCA scheme
Topper, 4.7, Feva, ... Teach a mixture of the skills in the above groups, and the specific skills required for the boat, e.g. Jib or Spinnaker work

I have not given specific durations for the IOCA grades as this is a function of maturity, ability, consistency etc. BSC OC will not rush to progress kids through the IOCA scheme, its development of the required skills, not the Award, that are essential

e.g. Grade 2 is often a 5 day course, say ~25 hours of consistent instruction. OC offers 1.5 hours per week, this should mean 16 weeks of instruction, but as we don't have the consistency of other courses its likely to be much longer

So don't be surprised if your kids progress at less than a grade a season, if you want faster progress you may need extra coaching.


We aligned with the IOCA grading scheme part way through 2006, mainly because it has been designed specifically for the purpose that OC exists, it has considerable support in the Oppie community and it has a significant amount of supporting material, including the excercises.

Currently we are running all kids through each stage together, when numbers require and resources permit (parent helpers) we intend to run multiple Grades in parallel to take account of the differing starting times and development speeds.

Our Group leaders will map a childs development, based on our required Group Skill Levels onto the IOCA Grading Scheme. If your child has an IOCA log book we will sign it off against the skill level received.

For more details on IOCA, membership and Gradings etc. visit their site by clicking here.

Or visit our Oppie Racing section.

Created on 28/11/2005 05:33 PM by Burghfield Admin
Updated on 09/09/2009 01:29 PM by Alex Pearce
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