The International Optimist Meeting on Lake Garda, Italy is one of the most famous regattas in the world. Since its introduction 36 years ago, it has hosted thousands of Opti racers from all over the world. On April 29, 2018, the Guinness Book of World Records recognized it as the largest sailing regatta of a single class with over 1400 participants.


Riva is at the Northern end of Lago di Garda nested in foothills of beautiful Dolomite Alps. One of its main attractions for sailors and windsurfers alike are Peler and Ora; thermal winds that occur on every sunny day. The Ora brings south winds ranging from 15 – 25 knots in the afternoon.  That is the time for the sailors to enjoy a scenery cut in-between two mountains while experiencing tough competition from their peers. Thanks to this phenomenon, Garda became Europe’s top sailing destinations for sailors from Optimist to Olympic and Professional levels.

Rive del Garda, the host town of the event, is an idyllic Italian small town offering plenty of attractions for sailors and their parents alike. Abundance of accommodation in apartments in the historical center, restaurants offering gourmet food and fine local specialties make it a popular tourist destination. Apart from sailing, one can enjoy bike rides and hiking in the surrounding mountains, day trips to destination like Venice, Verona or the 5000-ft. peak of skiing resort Madonna di Campiglio.

When it comes to sailing, the competition at the regatta is fierce. Some 200 boats on the starting line fight for the best spot, fleet rushes to the right side to take advantage of the persistent shift created by the rock sticking out into the lake. The closer they get the stronger the wind. Long reach across the lake provides perfect plaining conditions and big waves entice downwind surfing. Once all the sailing is done the kids meet on the main square to make bonds that last for ages. A scoop of gelato makes the day feel even sweeter.

Coach Scott Norman, "Having coached all over the world, Riva del Garda has always delivered a great sailing, cultural and team bonding experience. Most of the sailors I've worked with over the past twenty five years have mentioned Lake Garda is by far their favorite sailing venue. Riva is so peaceful and safe, it's a wonderful family trip particularly for the first time international sailor. It's a great balance of fun and competition. Nearly every sailor I have coached at this event returns with elevated confidence, which is particularly important for those sailing the USODA Team Trials or prepare for early summer events. With Easter being a bit later in 2019, I am expecting a warm, consistent Ora breeze. The temps are beautiful this time of the year, mid 60's in the evenings and low 80's in the peak of the day. There will be much more to share once we get closer to the event. This will be my eighth trip to Lake Garda coaching Optimist sailors and I am looking forward to another fantastic year!"

Coach Marek Valasek, "I had the privilege of sailing my Optimist in the event in its early years back in 1985-87. Since then I had sailed on Lake Garda in 420’s Lasers and Finns and the effect of the Lake never got old. 30 years later I still love to come back and enjoy Riva and share these experiences with the new generation of sailors."

If you have never been to this event, it is certainly something to put on your bucket list for your Optimist career!

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Our event is scheduled for April 5-12 with travel the days on April 3rd and 13th. See detailed team schedule.

Cost for the 9 days is $2650 per sailor.  This covers everything but accommodations and travel. All coaching expenses, team gear, sponsor swag (see supporters page), regatta fees, new charter Optis and coach boats. Norman Sailing coaches will be hosting 2 webinars for parents and sailors to help prepare for this trip.  The first webinar will be for parents to ask questions about travel, logistics, schedule, what to pack, etc.  The second webinar will be for our team sailors.  We will discuss the finer points of sailing on Lake Garda and the necessary preparation to be successful and enjoy the trip.

Norman Sailing will be hosting a 3 day clinic over President's Day Weekend (February 15-17, 2020) in Miami FL.  All Garda sailors will be provided a free charter boat for this event (courtesy of McLaughlin Boat Works)


Everything is included in the cost except airfare, accommodations and meals.


The regatta will be open to all competitors who were born between 2005 and 2011.


According to Italian law and FIV Regulations, competitors will be classified as: 

“Cadetti” Division A born in years 2010 and 2011 

“Juniores” Division B born from 2005 to 2009


We will be supporting both Cadetti and Junior sailors! Due to the timing of charter boat reservations and coaching logistics, registration will close Jan 15th, 2020.  This will also allow us time to finalize registrations, charter boat payments, coach flights and housing.  Please contact if you have any questions. Thank you!

Please fill out the Google Form to finalize registration. Once your registration has been received, Scott Norman will contact you with planning info for the trip. Note: Registration is not confirmed until the Google form has been completed and team payments finalized.