Boaters for Life

The Lauderdale Yacht Club Sailing Foundation (LYCSF) is dedicated to the tradition of fostering competitive youth sailing. We believe that the skills learned through competition on the water, the camaraderie shared sailing with and against other sailors and the lessons of seamanship learned through practical experience lead to a lifetime of boating. Whether they keep sailing after college, take up fishing, kite boarding, or join the navy these skills are with them for life because they have become boaters for life.

The Clearwater Pram was designed in 1947 by Clark Mills in Clearwater, Florida and the class developed during the 1950s as a sailing training boat for children between the ages of 8 and 15 years. The popular name became the Optimist Pram. In 1954 the boat was introduced to Denmark and then later in 1960 to England’s junior sailors. Design changes were stabilized and the original Clearwater Pram became the International Optimist Dinghy popularly known as an Optimist dinghy. Today the International Optimist Dinghy is the number one junior sailing boat in the world with over 500,000 boats in existence and participation in over 125 countries. In South Florida the International Optimist Dinghy (IOD) fleet is extremely competitive with numerous junior sailors qualifying for major international events on an annual basis. The LYC Sailing Foundation has provided funding in the form of LYCSF Grants to many of these top sailors from the South Florida area to defray the costs associated with participating in these prestigious events.

At the London Olympics, 80% of all boat skippers were former Optimist Dinghy sailors, most of them having reached international level in the Class.

The LYC Sailing Foundation has supported sailors that have attended the International Optimist Dinghy World Championship, North American Championship, South American Championship, Asian Championship, and World Optimist Team Racing Championship.

The experience these young sailors gain through international competition at the highest level is unparalleled. The sharing of that experience with their fellow sailors back in South Florida has lead to a consistent improvement in every sailing program in the area.

Hi my name is Kaitlyn Hamilton! I am a 17-year-old laser radial sailor at Lauderdale Yacht Club, and I will be a senior at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in the fall. I started sailing at the age of seven in Charleston, South Carolina. I began sailing the Optimist alongside my sister until I was 13, then I sailed 29ers . At the age of 14 I switched over into the laser and I have been sailing that ever since…I am lucky enough to be able to travel to Lake Garda Italy this summer to compete in the Youth World Championships! I am also sailing in the youth world qualifiers soon, so I am super stoked for that. I also help coach the Mercury Mentor Summer Sailing Camp at the Lauderdale Yacht Club.