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.
RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show 2017 - International Optimist
The VR Sport Media Crew visited the UK's Dinghy Show to interview some of the exhibitors. Mark "Corky" Rhodes chatted with two Opti sailors, Gabby and Flo, about the International Optimist and the celebration planned for it's 70th anniversary in Weymouth, UK.
RYA Zone Champs 2017 - London & South East Wrap Up
Every year the Royal Yachting Association holds regional Zone Championships for all of the junior sailors around the UK. The London & South East Champs was hosted by Datchet Water SC with Optimist, Topper, RS Feva XL, Windsurfer and beginner Regatta fleets showcasing the fun factor in the sport. ...
188 Optimists took over Datchet Water Sailing Club, just outside London, for the 2017 IOCA (UK) Winter Champs. Cold and wet conditions with back to back races for all of the junior competitors in both the Main and Regatta fleets but their smiles and thumbs up tell a different story.