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.
The Dutch Youth Regatta - 32 countries, 900 competitors and four days of great racing. The city of Workum in Netherlands welcomes the young sailors every year for a great celebration of youth sailing from across the planet.
The Festival of Sails has a huge amount of classes racing throughout with many National Champs including the VX One and J/111 alongside the International Etchells, Cadets and Optimists - certainly was 'Super Sunday' for all of the sailors.