The beginning of March saw the first launch of the new Optimist fleet in the Central American country of El Salvador.
The new venture is a partnership between the Salvador Sailing Association and the International Optimist Association (IODA) whereby the Sailing Association commissions a fleet of ten boats, built locally to the wood/epoxy pattern, and IODA supplies sails, rigs and accessories.
The strategy is to expand Optimist sailing in the region, working outwards from the successful fleet formed by Juan MAEGLI in Guatemala. Last year a similar wood/epoxy project was sponsored by IODA in Nicaragua and it is hoped to follow with Costa Rica and other neighbouring countries. A description of the Nicaraguan project can be found in Optiworld 53
El Salvador is the tenth country to create a new Optimist fleet with the help of IODA funding in the last three years, and a further five received help with major upgrades. With help also available for instructor training several of these fleets have already reached the stage where they can send sailors to regional and continental regattas.
For details of help available in developing new fleets see the IODA Development webpage