On behalf of the International Optimist Dinghy Association (IODA) I would like to welcome all sailors, coaches, and team leaders to the 2019 Optimist World Championship in Antigua.  Together you are 400 strong representing 65 nations which is a World record for the Optimist Class.

One sailor will be crowned the 2019 World Champion this week, but you are all champions having earned the right to be here by qualifying in your own country to be part of your national team.  Be proud of your extraordinary accomplishment.  I know you will represent yourself and your nation well.

In the lifelong sport of sailing, this event is only a small piece of your sailing journey ahead.  There are many exciting directions you can go from here such as the World Sailing Youth Worlds, or the Olympics, or the America’s Cup, Volvo Ocean Race or Vendee Globe.   Whatever happens here this week, remember that you are building your sailing memories.   It is not about how you finish at this World Championship that really matters, but what you take away in terms of learnings, new friendships and love for our sport.  I wish for you all the very best experience here in Antigua.

The 2019 Optimist World Championship is only possible due to the dedication of the Organising Committee, and the many volunteers. Thank you for the several months of hard work and effort that has taken place to ensure that this event will be a success. We also thank our host, the Antigua Yacht Club, and the many sponsors who have financially supported this event.

Finally, I must acknowledge the support of the National Parks of Antigua and Barbuda who have ‘gifted’ us this incredible venue in the historic Nelson’s Dockyard for the next 11 days.

To you, the sailors, enjoy the fleet racing and team racing in these crystal clear waters.  Represent your nation proudly. Have fun and enjoy this experience.

Kevin Whitcraft

IODA President.

For news and updates on the 2019 Optiworlds, please visit the website – http://2019worlds.optiworld.org