CODA – Parent guidelines for International Events 

The goal of this guide is to provide information for parents to assist them in preparing and planning for IODA (International Optimist Dinghy Association) and Open International events. This is a generic guide that is applicable to any of the four (4) international championship events that Canadian sailors are eligible to attend (South Americans, North Americans, Europeans and Worlds). This guide will also be helpful for Open International events that Canadian sailors may attend. Canadian sailors do not need to qualify for Open International events such as Garda and Palamos. Open events are organized and coordinated by parents and individual teams and coaches. Canadian Sailors have to qualify to attend IODA events, and they are organized and coordinated by CODA and led by a Team Leader and Chaperone.


CONGRATULATIONSyour sailor’s ranking in the Canadian Optimist Championships has given them the opportunity to represent Canada at an IODA event, or, your sailor has chosen to attend an Open International event. This document is a guide for all parents.

This guide is meant for both parents with little prior experience at international and IODA events or as helpful resource for experienced parents to refer to at International events and IODA events. Many situations will arise that will be unique to your IODA venue/event, however, the same general themes should still be applicable. The role of the Team Leader, Country Representative, Chaperone and Coach are not described here; this information may be found on the CODA website.

Once your child’s spot has been confirmed on a Canadian Team, you will hear from a member of the International Teams Committee (ITC). This person will initiate the first few calls with the team. The goal is to introduce the team members and assist with the process of filling roles.



•Parents of sailors heading off to an IODA or Open International event are encouraged to refer to the Notice of Race (NOR) as soon as it is published. The NOR provides a great base of information and includes key details such as the event schedule and payment due dates etc…The Team Leader will normally advise the team when it is posted on the official event website. IODA usually posts the NOR several months prior to the event.

•As stated in the By-laws, team selection is determined each year based upon results at the Canadian Nationals. Letters are sent out to the qualifying sailors and upon acceptance to a team, an initial non-refundable payment of $500.00 is required. This non-refundable deposit will be deducted from the team fees once the sailor’s position on a team is confirmed. A member of the ITC will facilitate and lead the initial communication for the team until a Team Leader, Chaperone and Coach, (CODA approved officials), are selected. Team Leaders, with the assistance of the treasurer, will advise the parents what the fees will be for the event, when the payment deadlines are to IODA, and when the parents payments are to be submitted to CODA.

•It is very important to note the instalment payment due dates in order to avoid penalties (which are typically 20-25%). Money is typically routed via the CODA treasurer and they in turn arrange for the wire transfers to the event organizers. Each sailor is responsible to provide the cash deposit (in the required currency) for their Opti charter (if they are chartering a boat) and their share of the cash deposit (in the required currency) for the coach boat (if there is a charter) as well as cash deposit (in the required currency) for their share of the accommodations. The treasurer will provide a payment schedule for the team. All monies need to be received by the CODA Treasurer before the event begins or your sailor will not be permitted to participate.

•Fees for IODA events are determined by the organizing authority. They include registration, accommodations, food, shuttle services, charter Optis, and charter ribs for the duration of the Official event.

•Coach expenses include registration, accommodations, travel expenses including flights, coaching fees, possible sim card, and team uniform.

• Added expenses typically include Team Leader and Chaperone’s registration fees as well as accommodation while overseeing the team. Also included in Added expenses are team uniforms, laundry, coach boat gas, extra food and water and possibly items such as sunbrella, cooler, sunscreen, cash deposits, potential car rental, taxi and or uber expenses for Chaperones and Team Leaders, team dinners, and first aid needs. Each event may have additional factors and considerations, and so the specifics should be confirmed by each team in the lead-up to the event.

• Team Canada will arrive at the event ahead of the official start date in order to train ahead of the event.  This date will be pre-determined by the Team in conjunction with the Team Leader and Coach.  Early arrival expenses will be incurred and are in addition to the Official event fees and the Added expenses. These expenses will include accommodation, food, shuttle services, deposits, charters, and gas for early arrival days.

•When acting as Team Leader, the TL can 1- cover all added and additional expenses incurred by the team out of pocket, Or 2-submit a budget to the treasurer for the parents to pay in advance of the event to cover expenses and not pay out of pocket.

•TL’s who pay out of pocket will submit receipts for reimbursement, following the event, to the treasurer. Unless otherwise specified, the team does not cover Chaperone or TL travel expenses travelling to and from the event.

•In order for the TL to get timely repayment of out-of-pocket expenses, if any, please ensure all receipts with a detailed list of your expenses are submitted to the treasurer within a reasonable amount of time following the event.

•If the Team Leader submits a budget and fees are collected from parents for added expenses prior to the event, it is recommended that the TL and/or treasurer submit a final expense sheet that will either provide reimbursements, or request additional funds, as applicable.

•Should Team Canada be able to solicit sponsorship funds, it is recommended that the funds be used for team gear, travel expenses, registration, or charter boats. Sponsors should be approved by the CODA International Team Committee (ITC) prior to any agreement. Not all sponsorships are appropriate and in line with our organization or children. CODA reserves the right to approve any sponsor’s logo placement on garments or equipment.

•Additional tipping of Coaches by individual families is not permitted.


  • Unlike Canadian regattas, the entire registration process for an IODA event is through a single point person, which is typically the Team Leader.
  • In addition to registration for the Official event, the Team Leader will also arrange early arrival charter optis and rib charter. Team Leaders, with the help of the Chaperone, will arrange early arrival accommodations, food and transportation to and from the airport, as well as daily transportation to and from the accommodations and venue if required. Often the sailing venue and the official accommodations are not within walking distance of each other. Generally, when this is the case, the host venue will provide ground transportation, but there are instances when having a rental car/ minibus dramatically improves the team logistics and should be considered.
  • Parents are responsible for organizing travel arrangements for their sailor getting to and from the event. Please coordinate with the Team Leader and Chaperone as they may be able to assist in taking sailors. The team should attempt to travel together and arrive at the official event site together to begin training and establish a routine base on the set schedule. These are important arrangements that should be discussed early in the planning stage.  Ideally Team Canada would arrive at the venue to allow 4-5 pre-race training days. Depending upon the time zone of the venue, more days may be recommended to acclimatize/recover from time zone changes.


  • A team of sailors can be formed and freely attend open International events, but they are not considered CODA sanctioned regattas.
  • If a team, club or coach would like to attend an open regatta as Team Canada they can approach CODA with a request for consideration.
  • Unlike IODA events, the registration process will be done by individual sailors/parents/teams. CODA encourages club programs, parents and coaches to lead and organize their teams in the way they see fit.
  • At non IODA events or Open International events such as Garda and Palamos, Teams are not officially competing as Team Canada and the events are not considered CODA events. Teams are however encouraged to use the Code of Conduct for their Canadian sailors.
  • For these non-CODA events, sailors can travel with their families, on their own or with teammates’ families and or coaches. This is up to each individual sailor to arrange with their parents and or coach and club. However, it may be more economical for families to plan together. An Open International event would function the same way as any local regatta just on a larger scale. Charter boats are also up to the individual sailor/parent to book. Transportation and food are not included and up to the families to arrange. Some events provide lunch. It is always a good idea to refer to the NOR as it will provide important and helpful information.


Attending an international event is the pinnacle for any Opti sailor. Meeting top racers from around the world is truly a life changing experience. With this experience comes a certain amount of maturity and independence from each sailor as contact with their parents during the event will likely be limited. Sailors will remain with members of the Canadian Team and the CODA officials who are responsible for them for the duration of the event.  Sailors, the Team Leader, Chaperone and Coach will stay together in accommodations selected by the event host. Rooms are typically double occupancy (i.e. shared by two or three sailors) and sometimes with one of the official adults. Parents are welcome to attend the regatta as spectators; however, they must provide their own transportation, lodging and meals. Parents are asked to respect the schedule established by the Team to allow the Coach to do their job, avoid distractions and allow the sailors to bond with their teammates.

The Team Leader, Country Representative, Chaperone (if applicable) and Coach are responsible for the overall well-being of your sailor for the duration of the event and will contact parents should any issues arise. Opportunities to visit with the team (team dinners, etc) will be arranged and communicated by the Team Leader and/or Chaperone.

There are strict IODA regulations for contact from the spectators with the sailors once they are on the water. If parents are on the water as spectators, please ensure you do not vocalize or gesture towards the sailors, coaches or officials in any way. These regulations are strictly enforced by the race committee and any contact with the sailor by a spectator once they have reached the course area may result in a penalty or disqualification of the sailor. More specifically, there can be no communication (including cheering), no waving at the sailor and no food or drink can be given to the sailor. Further details can be found in the Parent Code of Conduct.

Although your sailor may be considered one of the top Opti sailors in Canada, it is important to understand that these events will be very competitive and much more challenging than what they are accustomed to. Your sailor’s performance at an international IODA event should not necessarily be measured by their overall position. It is very important (in conjunction with the coach) to manage both your own and your sailor’s expectations so that the sailor can get the most out of the experience at this level of competition.



•Upon arrival. Team Leaders and Chaperones will reinforce that representing your country is a privilege and an honour and stress the importance of following the Code of Conduct. Please remind your sailor that they are ambassadors for both Canada and CODA.

•Sailors are to abide by the Sailor Code of Conduct at all times during the course of the event. Should behaviour or conduct issues arise, it is the obligation of the Team Leader and Chaperone to manage the situation together with the Coach. The on-site CODA officials (Team Leader, Chaperone, and Coach) will raise the issue(s) with the parents of the sailor(s) in question as soon as possible and appropriate. The Team Leader will communicate with the parents regarding the incident(s) to discuss the appropriate course of action or remedy. Please refer to the official Sailor Code of Conduct for further details.

•In serious cases, the on-site CODA officials will refer the case to the Conduct Review Committee (CRC) which shall consist of CODA President, CODA Executive and one CODA member at large.

•Should the CRC determine that it is in the best interest of Team Canada that sailor in question no longer continues as part of the team, such a decision is final and not subject to appeal. In these cases, the family will NOT receive a refund for any time remaining.

•For non IODA events where there is no official team leader, parents are encouraged to ensure their sailors adhere to the principles of the CODA Code of Conduct. If there are any incidents or behavioural concerns with sailors, the POD (parent on duty) or coach will deal directly with the parents. The CODA executive is available for guidance in these matters.


•Interested coaches should submit their applications to CODA and list the International events in order of preference. Once the Team Leader has been confirmed, parents will consider the coaches who have applied and have a confidential vote with the assistance of the ITC member. If there is a tie, the team can decide to either have a revote or a new vote between the two coaches that tied. Once confirmed, an agreement will be presented to the Coach for approval.

•Priority should be given to Canadian based coaches. These coaches are best for Canadian sailors as they know the kids and their level relative to international events. It is highly preferred to hire a Canadian based coach whenever possible.

•Coach duties include coaching both on and off the water. Coaches’ responsibilities include supervision when receiving and returning the Opti charter boats and rib charter. Supervision of team members during maintenance, prep and rigging of their boats, as well during the measurement process. The coach, with the help of on-site CODA officials, will double check that all Team Canada sailors have what they need to complete measurement and compete. The coach will ensure the safety of the sailors on and off the water while on duty.

•The Coach is expected to coach the team equally.

• The Coach is responsible only for sailors on Team Canada, except in the event of an emergency.

•The Coach will communicate with the Team Leader and or Chaperone with any concerns or changes to the schedule. The expectation from parents should be that communication will generally come from the Team Leader or Chaperone.

•Team Leaders and Chaperones are expected to relieve the Coach of responsibility for team members once training/racing, and debriefing are completed or the day, and on lay days.

•It can be challenging coaching and being with the sailors throughout these events for long hours. Please ensure that adults and sailors respect the Coach’s time off.

• It is encouraged that the coach communicates with the team prior to the event in preparation for the competition and to bring the team together. The coach should attempt to provide personal feedback to each sailor on the team following the event.

•It is highly recommended team members of an IODA event try and get together with their coach and team mates at some point leading up to the event either for on water training, on land team building or conference/ skype call.

•In accordance with Safe Sport practices, Coaches may not share rooms with sailors.



•Food is provided by the host club and included in registration for the duration of the official IODA event dates. Three meals a day are provided. Breakfast and dinner are usually served in the hotel. Packed lunches will be distributed at the nautical venue, and an after sailing snack is sometimes provided. Sailors expend a lot of energy. They are on the water all day and need large amounts of water and proper nutrition. It is for that reason we suggest the Team Leader and Chaperone provide additional snacks, ice and water for the team if necessary. This would fall under the Added expenses. The Team Leader and or Chaperone may also need to source a cooler at the event if it is not provided.

Early Arrival meals are in addition to meals provided by the organizers for the official event. All IODA events are a little different and some provide the early arrival meals at an additional cost either at the host venue or accommodation or in some cases the Team Leader and Chaperone will have to source meals during this period.  Kitchen facilities may not be available at the event accommodations which makes it challenging for the Team. Eating out during the early arrival days may be the only option. The TL and Chaperone will do their best to be economical and provide healthy options.

• TL’s and Chaperones will review the sailors’ profiles which should include dietary restrictions i.e.; celiac, allergies, vegetarian. The TL will submit the special dietary request form in advance during the registration process in order for the organizing committee to accommodate the request. If necessary, the Team Leader and/or Chaperone will communicate with the contact person dealing with meals at the event in order to accommodate the sailor’s restrictions to the best of their ability. Please also encourage and remind your child that it is also their responsibility to eat appropriately based upon their specific needs. Coaches, Team Leaders and Chaperones will attempt to remind and keep an eye on sailors to ensure they eat and drink enough fluids to avoid dehydration.

•The on-water snack / hydration options available at the venue may not be to your sailor’s liking. It is recommended that you pack some of your sailor’s favourite power bars. Please ensure that they don’t contain too much sugar and they should also remain edible even when in the sun / heat a long time. As for hydration, plenty of water will be provided to your sailor but if they are accustomed to sports drinks, the best option is for sailors to bring their own dry sports drink powder (i.e. Gatorade/Biosteel), since there is a great chance that these flavours will not be available (or really overpriced) at the venue.

•For non IODA events food is not included, sometimes an on water lunch but that is event specific.



Make sure that your sailor’s clothing has his or her name, initials and or sail number on every item (including socks and underwear). The Team Leader and or Chaperone will source a laundry facility or service. There is normally an additional cost for laundry as noted above. Team Leaders and or Chaperones are ultimately not responsible for the sailor’s clothes but will do their best to ensure no sailor’s clothing gets lost or misplaced. Please encourage your sailor to know what they have and keep track of their clothing and belongings. Laundry will be done as needed but not necessarily every day. Sailors should be reminded to hang any wet clothing or towels. It is no fun heading out for a day of training or racing in wet gear. Any clothing requiring laundering should be placed in laundry bags or as otherwise instructed by the TL or Chaperone.



•During training and official race days, it is suggested the Team Leader and or Chaperone be on site until sailors launch and when they come off the water. The Team Leader or Chaperone must be available via telephone and able to get to the venue in a timely manner in case of emergency or other issues. The Team Leader and Chaperone will work together to accommodate the needs of the team and reach out to non-chaperoning parents to help and volunteer with any extra duties that may be needed by the team.

• The TL with the help of the Chaperone is expected to attend all regatta meetings and report back. To support the coach, the TL should double check fleet assignments, ensure notices are communicated, check the protest board, pick up and return GPS’s for TracTrac and double check that everyone has signed in and out etc. In the event the Coach is incapacitated, the TL may stand in until the team and parents can determine next steps. Prior to the event, the Coach and the Team Leader should discuss the day to day operations of the team and agree on how the Team Leader and Chaperone can best support the coach. Every coach has their own style so it is very important for the TL/Chaperone and Coach to communicate in order to establish an efficient routine and optimum level of support for the team.

•Team Leaders and Chaperones are expected to provide appropriate supervision of sailors when they are not in the Coach’s care. They are expected to remain available to the team, and be onsite through the evening and nighttime hours.

•IODA events can have up to three adults; a Team Leader, Chaperone/Country Representative and Coach. The Coach is not a chaperone. The team is normally a mixed team and it is recommended adults on the official Canadian Team are to be at least one male and one female. This is suggested but not mandatory. In the event of an emergency, one of the adults is required to tend to that emergency. It is appropriate to have both male and female adults as Team Leader and or Chaperone but it is not always possible so the Coach may also be considered in the gender criteria.

• Non chaperoning support parents should be cognizant of the team schedule, and make every effort not to distract or disrupt the team’s focus.

•Parents without credentials are not typically permitted to enter the boat park. It is understood that non chaperoning parents are at the event to watch and support their sailor and Team Canada but from a distance that will allow the Coaches and athletes to do their job.

•Please communicate with the Team Leader or Chaperone prior to the event about any volunteer opportunities that may be available. There is often at least one team dinner with the parents that is scheduled and is a fun night and opportunity for you to spend time with your sailor and the team.

•Sailors are expected to do their fair share to help the team. Sailors may be asked to help load and unload the coach boat each day. They are expected to hang up their wet gear at the end of training and racing days. They are expected to take care of their belongings and try not to forget what they need to train and race each day.

• A curfew will be set for the sailors by the Coach and Team Leader. Please encourage your sailor to respect their team mates and their individual needs.

• Chaperones are permitted, but not required, to supervise the cleanliness of the sailors’ rooms.

•The Coach boat can only be used by coach. At IODA events, the coach boats are shared between two countries. The host clubs will often organize spectator boats, sometimes for a fee. Another option is for the parents to charter a boat on their own and share the expense.



•Internet, computer and cell phone uses should be limited and are not permitted during debrief unless approved by the coach. It is encouraged that sailors leave their phones locked in their rooms while out sailing. For most parents the only way to communicate with their child is through their cell phone. Once the team schedule is set parents will have a better idea of what time of day is a good time to talk to their child.

•The Coach will have a cell phone available to him/her throughout the event which will be used by the Team Leader and Chaperone to communicate and coordinate with the Coach. If you would like to communicate with the Coach during the day or in the event of an emergency, please communicate directly with the Team Leader and or Chaperone and they will reach out to the coach as needed. The Coach will advise parents about how to best reach them with any questions they may have.

•Internet access is often available at the host club and accommodations. Parents should check with your Canadian provider and then check available services using a local provider at the venue. Sim cards are also sometimes available at IODA events.



•It is recommended that sailors be responsible for managing their own spending money. Please discuss and decide with your child what an appropriate amount is for them to bring to the event. Your sailor can either keep their spending money themselves or, if a parent feels more comfortable, spending money can be left with the Team Leader or Chaperone. A Visa or American Express debit card is also a good option.

•Keep luggage to a minimum. Generally, sailors have one travel tube for their sails, one duffel bag, and one carry on for personal items. Some sailors however wish to bring a second small carry on with sailing gear so that in the event their duffle does not show up, they can still go sailing. It is also a good idea to share in the cost of checking your tube and roll sails together in one tube. The large black tubes can hold multiple sails with not packing spars.

•Please clearly label all bags, tubes, gear, etc. for easy identification and loss prevention.



•Most countries require that passports be valid at least six (6) months after you enter their country; also check for any visa requirements. If both parents are not accompanying your sailor, it is good practice to complete a parental consent letter giving the travelling parent permission to travel alone with your sailor. This is especially important if the sailor is not being escorted by either of their parents.

•Check early (ideally as soon as your sailor has been confirmed for an IODA event) with your doctor / tropical disease centre for any vaccines recommended in the host country. Some vaccines require several months to become fully effective. Also ensure that adequate supplemental health insurance for travel has been provided, through either your employer or via a personal plan.



Team uniforms are mandatory for sailors attending IODA events.

  • Team members are required to wear their uniforms for opening and closing ceremonies.
  • The mandatory uniforms will be sourced by CODA and will be discussed with you months prior to the event. The mandatory uniform include: a top and bottom for ceremonies and dinners as well as a life vest or pinnie for on the water safety.
  • Team Leaders and or a parent volunteer can take the lead on sourcing and discussing additional team gear that is not mandatory. LON GUNDIE on water items have been available the last few years as extra add on gear that is optional.
  • It is a good idea to talk to an experienced international team parent to get direction and contacts for team gear. Some teams choose to purchase additional optional swag such as caps, visors, t- shirts etc…Teams are permitted and encouraged to design and source this additional gear locally in an effort to be more economical for trading.
  • For the sailors, “Trader items” are important at the end of the IODA event. At international events, sailors will often trade shirts, hats, life jackets, jackets etc… with sailors from other countries. This is a tradition at IODA events and adds to the memorable experience. It is a fun for all sailors as they interact and make friends with kids from other countries. It is however, important for parents to establish clear guidelines with the sailor about what can/cannot be traded before the event, as once an item has been traded, it is almost impossible to have it returned.
  • The cost of the coaches uniform and optional add on items is divided up equally amongst the sailors on the team. The Team Leader should manage the ordering and coordinating of the Coach’s gear.


Make sure your sailor packs his/her race sail and sail measurement certificate. All sails require an official measurement certificate. If however you do not have one, – don’t panic, for $50 US you can have your sailor’s sail certified. If possible, always order sails with numbers applied by professionals and with a certificate. It is good policy to verify all your numbers are in the correct location prior to attending your event; local sailmakers can aid in this. Changing numbers at an IODA event is highly stressful for everyone. It is recommended that your sailor packs two (2) sails (and both certificates) so if something happens to your sailor’s primary race sail, they will have a backup. The best way to keep sails protected during transport to the race venue is by using a white PVC plumbing tube or purchasing a fishing rod tube (example: PLANO 6508 ).

If your sailor is chartering a boat at the venue, check the Notice of Race for what equipment is provided with the charter. Encourage your sailor to talk to the Coach prior to the event and go through what they need. Check the latest issue of the Notice of Race just before you leave Canada, since the supplied equipment list may change. If important gear or equipment is forgotten it could be very challenging to locate in a foreign country. Please ensure your sailor understand that charges by the charter company may apply for lost or damaged equipment or damage to the hull.

Packing List:

– Every sailor may pack some small Canadian flags for the opening/closing ceremonies.

– One large flag must be loaned to the host venue for the duration of the event and one large flag is required for the sailor’s parade during the opening/closing ceremonies.

– Appropriate and extra clothing and toiletries for your sailor. – Team uniform and swag.

  • –  Equipment not included with charter boat ie; bailers, mast clamps, main sheets, air bags etc…(discuss with coach, every charter company can be a little different and provide different equipment)
  • –  Tube with sails and possibly spars and tiller extension if your sailor would prefer to use their own
  • –  Extra racing watch, a few windy’s, sail ties, extra lines and bungee cord, measuring tape, tool kit, whistles, protest flag, electrical tape, white sail tape, sharpie the same colour as your sailors numbers, note pad and pencils, mesh laundry bag, camping clothes line for wet clothes, small dry lunch bag, 2 water bottles
  • –  Sun block, bug spray, sunglasses, gloves, hats/visors (anything with zinc is the best protection)
  • –  Heat rash cream (hot climates, wet bathing suits – enough said!)
  • –  Off the shelf medications (Tylenol, Advil, Benadryl etc.)
  • –  Anti-nausea medications (Gravol) since large waves may impact your sailor
  • –  Personal medications, ie: epi pens
  • –  Sailing clothing and gear; rash guards, board shorts, athletic tights or sailing pants, life vests, booties, splash tops/pants, possibly dry suits depending on weather, location, and time of year.
  • –  Chargers (compatible to the host country)
  • –  Earphones are a good idea as sailors will be sharing rooms
  • –  Special preferred snacks, electrolytes, energy drink powder, any special treats that may not be available in the host country
  • –  Playing cards, Canadian flags
  • –  Backpack or dry bag to use for gear going to and from sailing every day.
  • –  Extras of what is important to your sailor, i.e.prescription sunglasses.