The Optimist was designed in 1947 by American Clark Mills at the request of the Clearwater Florida Optimist service club following a proposal by Major Clifford McKay to offer low-cost sailing for young people. The Optimist Club ran a soap box derby, but wanted more than a single-day event. Thus they were looking for a low-cost equivalent for sailing. He designed a simple pram that could be built from two 4′ x 8′ sheets of plywood, and donated the plan to the Optimists. The design was slightly modified and introduced to Europe by Axel Damgaard, and spread outwards across Europe from Scandinavia.
The design was standardised in 1960 and became a strict One-Design in 1995.
The Optimist is sailed in over 120 countries and it is one of only two yachts approved by the International Sailing Federation exclusively for sailors under 16.
Bart's Bash 2014 with Jimmy Spithill at Pewaukee YC
Jimmy Spithill took on the Optimist sailors at Pewaukee Yacht Club in the 2014 Bart's Bash - looks like he had a tough time out on the water! Aerial Footage: Sean Fidler (Regatta Aerials) Still Photography: Tammy Sawyer Photography
David Shafft - A season of sailing above and under the water
David Shafft - leading German Contender sailor and film maker showcases his 2014 season above and under the water at the Selent Sailing Club, Germany. Multiple classes of boats used in this video, Optimists, Feva, 29er, Int 14, Laser and 470 - we are pleased to advise you that they were not hurt ...