Optimist (dinghy)

The Optimist, also known as the ‘opti’, or 'oppie', is a small, single-handed sailing dinghy intended for use by children and teenagers up to the age of 15.

Optimist
Optimist Dinghy Class Emblem.svg
Class symbol
Optimist on the beach.jpg
+
Development
LocationInternational
DesignOne-Design
NameOptimist
Crew1
Boat
Crew1
Draft5 in (130 mm)
2 ft 9 in (0.84 m)
Hull
TypeMonohull
ConstructionFibreglass
Hull weight77 lb (35 kg)
LOA7 ft 9 in (2.36 m)
LWL7 ft 2 in (2.18 m)
Beam3 ft 8 in (1.12 m)
Hull appendages
Keel/board type((daggerboard or centreboard))
Rig
Rig typeSprit-Rigged
Mast length7 ft 5 in (2.26 m)
Sails
Mainsail area35 sq ft (3.3 m2)
Jib/genoa areaNone
Spinnaker areaNone
Racing
D-PN123.6
RYA PN1646
Optimist
Fleet of Optimists
Typical Optimist storage
Rigging on shore
Optimist dinghies waiting to a wind

The Optimist is one of the two most popular sailing dinghies in the world, with over 150,000 boats officially registered with the class and many more built but never registered. It is sailed in over 120 countries[1] and it is one of only two sailboats as an International Class by World Sailing exclusively for sailors under 16.[2]

OriginEdit

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.[3]

The design was slightly modified and introduced to Europe by Axel Damgaard, and spread outwards across Europe from Scandinavia. The design was standardized in 1960 and became a strict One-Design in 1995.[4]

DescriptionEdit

RigEdit

The single sail of the Optimist is sprit-rigged. Two battens stiffen the leech. It is secured evenly with ties along the luff to the mast and along the foot to the boom, pulled down tightly by a vang/kicker. The light, slim third spar, the sprit, extends through a loop at the peak of the sail; the bottom rests in the eye of a short cable or string which hangs along the front edge of the mast. Raising and lowering the sprit and adjusting the boom vang and outhaul allow for adaptation of sail trim to a range of wind conditions.

The spars may be made from aluminium or wood, but are invariably aluminium in modern boats.

A monograph-style "IO" insignia (after IODA - the International Optimist Dinghy Association) on the sail is a registered trade-mark and may only be used under licence from the International Optimist Association. Optimists also have a national sail number using the Olympic abbreviation of their country and a sequential numbers. e.g. RSA for South Africa.

HullEdit

The Optimist has a pram hull, originally formed primarily from five pieces of plywood. It was the biggest hull Clark Mills could make from two 4 ft by 8 ft sheets. Just in front of a bulkhead, which partitions the boat nearly in half, is the daggerboard case. Right behind it on the centerline of the hull floor are attached a block and a ratchet block. These anchor the sheet and a block on the boom directly above. At the bow resides a thwart to support the mast which passes through a hole in its centre to the mast step mounted on the centre line of the boat. The painter, a rope used for securing a boat like a mooring line, is usually tied around the mast step.

Buoyancy bags are installed inboard along each side in the front half of the boat and at the stern to provide buoyancy in the event of capsizing. Two straps, known as "hiking straps", run lengthwise along the floor from the bulkhead to the stern. These and a tiller extension allow a sailor to hang off the side for weight distribution—commonly called "hiking out". This can be crucial to keeping the boat more upright during heavy air, allowing greater speed through the water.

The vast majority of hulls today are made of fiberglass,[5] although a few wooden hulls are still made.

Daggerboard and RudderEdit

The rudder and daggerboard are made from fibreglass though plywood may be used for training and with wooden hulls.

PerformanceEdit

While younger lighter sailors begin in Optimists, competitive sailors usually weigh between 35 and 55 kg (or between 80 lbs. and 125 lbs.).[6] Optimists can be sailed by children from age 8 to 15. This wide range of weights which is not typical of most dinghies is made possible by different cuts of sail. Due to its inherent stability, unstayed rig, robust construction and relatively small sail, the Optimist can be sailed in winds of up to 30 knots.

Optimists are manufactured to the same specification by over 20 builders on four continents. There is strong evidence[7] that hulls from different builders are the same speed. Sails and spars of differing qualities enable sailors to upgrade their equipment as they progress.

The Optimist is the slowest dinghy in the world according to the RYA Portsmouth Yardstick scheme, with a Portsmouth number of 1646.[8] Its equivalent rating in the US scheme is a D-PN of 123.6.[9]

CompetitionEdit

The Optimist is the biggest youth racing class in the world.[10] As well as the annual world championship the class also has six continental championships, attended by a total of over 850 sailors a year.[11] Many of the top world Optimist sailors have become world-class Laser Radial or 4.7 sailors after they "age-out" but many also excel in double-handers such as the 420 and 29er. At the 2016 Olympics at least 85% of the boat skippers were former Optimist sailors.[12]

The first World Championship was held in Great Britain in 1962 and it has grown to over 60 countries participating.[13] The changing pattern of the strongest countries can be seen from the results of the Nations Cup.[14] For the first 20 years, the class was dominated by sailors from the Scandinavian countries, with 13 world champions. In the 1990s Argentina was by far the dominant country but, following standardisation of the boat and improved coaching standards internationally, many countries have excelled as shown in the results below. Recently S.E. Asian countries and the United States have produced strong teams. The Optimist World Championships include Team Racing which is increasingly popular.

Continental Championships are held on each continent (the Oceanian held jointly with the Asian). Results can be found at.[15]

Open Events: With competitive charter boats easily available and low-cost airfares, there are scores of open international regattas. The largest is the Lake Garda Easter Meeting[16] with over 1,000 Optimists participating.

 
Shed marking the start of Optimist sailing in New Zealand

ManufactureEdit

In recent years, over 2,200[17][18] boats a year have been produced by around 30 builders worldwide.[19]

EventsEdit

World ChampionshipEdit

 
Nations at Optimist Worlds

[20]

Gold Silver Bronze
1962 Great Britain   A. Quiding (SWE)
1963 Sweden   B. Baysen (SWE)
1964 Denmark   Poul Andersen (DEN)
1965 Finland   Ray Larsson (SWE)
1966 Miami   Doug Bull (USA)
1967 Austria   Peter Warrer (DEN)
1968 France   Peter Warrer (DEN)
1969 Great Britain   Doug Bull (USA)
1970 Spain   James Larimore (USA)
1971 Kiel   Heikki Vahtera (FIN)
1972 Karlskrona   Thomas Estela (ESP)
1973 Rhodesia cancelled
1974 St. Moritz/Silvaplana   Martín Billoch (ARG)
1975 Aarhus   Hans Fester (DEN)   Söderström (SWE)   Martin Schröder (SWE)
1976 Ankara   Hans Wallén (SWE)   Asbjørn (DEN)   Lindsey (USA)
1977 Koper   Patrik Mark (SWE)   Mads Damsgaard (DEN)   Evers (DEN)
1978 La Baule   Rickard Hammarvid (SWE)   von Koskull (FIN)   Patrik Mark (SWE)
1979 Pattaya   Johan Peterson (SWE)   Heiskanen (FIN)   Storgaard (DEN)
1980 Cascais   Johan Peterson (SWE)   Rasmus Damsgaard (DEN)   Heiskanen (FIN)
1981 Howth   Guido Tavelli (ARG)   Johan Peterson (SWE)   Edson Araujo (BRA)
1982 Follonica   Njaal Sletten (NOR)   Christian Rasmussen (DEN)   Søren Ebdrup (DEN)
1983 Rio de Janeiro[21]   Jordi Calafat (ESP)   José Carlos Frau (ESP)   Jean-Pierre Becquet (FRA)
1984 Kingston   Serge Kats (NED)   Jussi Wikström (FIN)   Xavier García (ESP)
1985 Helsinki   Serge Kats (NED)   Risto Tapper (FIN)   Martín Castrillo (ARG)
1986 Roses   Xavier García (ESP)   Luis Martínez Doreste (ESP)   Risto Tapper (FIN)
1987 Andijk   Sabrina Landi (ITA)   Luis Martínez Doreste (ESP)   Anders Jonsson (SWE)
1988 La Rochelle   Ugo Vanello (ITA)   Luis Martínez Doreste (ESP)   Gabriel Tarrasa (ESP)
1989 Yokohama   Peder Rønholt (DEN)   Rami Koskinen (FIN)   Herman Rosso (ARG)
1990 Portugal   Martín di Pinto (ARG)   Agustin Krevisky (ARG)   Martin Strandberg (SWE)
1991 Porto Carras   Agustin Krevisky (ARG)   Asdrubal García (ARG)   Andre Sørensen (DEN)
1992 Mar del Plata   Ramón Oliden (ARG)   Marc Patiño (ESP)   Mike Keser (GER)
1993 Ciutadella de Menorca   Mats Hellman (NED)   Estebán Rocha (ARG)   Claudia Tosi (ITA)
1994 Sardinia   Martín Jenkins (ARG)   Federico Pérez (ARG)   Julio Alsogaray (ARG)
1995 Mariehamn   Martín Jenkins (ARG)   Frederico Rizzo (BRA)   Dario Kliba (CRO)
1996 Langebaan   Lisa Westerhof (NED)   Aron Lolic (CRO)   Ivan Bertaglia (ITA)
1997 Carrickfergus   Luca Bursic (ITA)   Matias Buehler (ARG)   Nicholas Raygada (PER)
1998 Setúbal   Mattia Pressich (ITA)   Fernando Gwozdz (ARG)   Šime Fantela (CRO)
1999 Martinique   Mattia Pressich (ITA)   Tonči Stipanović (CRO)   Mario Coutinho (POR)
2000 La Coruña   Šime Fantela (CRO)   Lucas Calabrese (ARG)   Jaro Furlani (ITA)
2001 Qingdao   Lucas Calabrese (ARG)   Zhu Ye (CHN)   Abdul Rahim (MAS)
2002 Corpus Christi   Filip Matika (CRO)   Stjepan Cesic (CRO)   Eduardo Zalvide (ESP)
2003 Las Palmas   Filip Matika (CRO)   Jesse Kirkland (BER)   Sebastian Peri Brusa (ARG)
2004 Salinas   Wei Ni (CHN)   Paul Snow-Hansen (NZL)   Eugenio Díaz (ESP)
2005 St. Moritz   Tina Lutz (GER)   Matthew Schoener Scott (TRI)   Wu Jianan (CHN)
2006 Montevideo   Julian Autenrieth (GER)   Griselda Khng (SIN)   Édgar Diminich (ECU)
2007 Sardinia   Chris Steele (NZL)   Benjamín Grez (CHI)   Alex Maloney (NZL)
2008 Çeşme   Raúl Ríos (PUR)   Ian Barrows (ISV)   Kristien Kirketerp (DEN)
2009 Niterói[22]   Sinclair Jones (PER)   Mohamad Faizal Norizan (MAS)   Ignacio Rogala (ARG)
2010 Langkawi[23]   Noppakao Poonpat (THA)   Ahmad Syukri Bin Abdul Aziz (MAS)   Okada Keiju (JPN)
2011 Napier[24]   Kimberly Lim (SIN)   Bart Lambriex (NED)   Javier Arribas (PER)
2012 Boca Chica[25]   Elisa Yukie Yokoyama (SIN)   Samuel Neo (SIN)   Jessica Goh (SIN)
2013 Riva del Garda[26]   Loh Jia Yi (SIN)   Nils Sternbeck (GER)   Edward Tan (SIN)
2014 San Isidro[27]   Nicolas Rolaz  (SUI)   Voravong Rachrattanaruk (THA)   Dimitris Papadimitriou (GRE)
2015 Dziwnow[28]   Rok Verderber  (SLO)   Jodie Lai (SIN)   Mathias Berthet (NOR)
2016 Vilamoura   Max Wallenberg  (SUI)   Mathias Berthet (NOR)   Muhammed Fauzi Kaman Shah (MAS)
2017 Pattaya[29]   Marco Gradoni (ITA)   Muhammad Fauzi Bin Kaman Shah (MAS)   Mic Sig Kos Mohr (CRC)
2018 Limassol[30]   Marco Gradoni (ITA)   Stephan Baker (USA)   Panwa Boonnak (THA)
2019 Antigua[31]   Marco Gradoni (ITA)   Richard Schultheis (MLT)   Jaime Ayarza (ESP)
2020 Riva del Garda Canceled[32] due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
2021 Riva del Garda [33], 259 Boats   Alex Di Francesco Kuhl (BRA)   Gil Hackel (USA)   Alex Demurtas (ITA)

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Optimist World in 2014" (PDF). International Optimist Dinghy Association. 5 February 2015. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  2. ^ "ISAF: Optimist". World Sailing. Retrieved 22 June 2022.
  3. ^ McKay, Cliff (2013). "Supplement: The Origin of the Optimist Pram". In Wilkes, Robert (ed.). The Optimist Dinghy 1947-2007. Amazon. pp. 113–131. ISBN 978-1484911969. |ref=mckay}}
  4. ^ "History behind the one-design". International Optimist Dinghy Association.
  5. ^ Pickthall, Barr (2009). Dinghy sailing : start to finish. John Wiley & Sons. p. 25. ISBN 9780470721858.
  6. ^ http://www.wilkessail.net/idealsize.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  7. ^ http://www.wilkessail.net/ParityBlurbC.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  8. ^ "Portsmouth Number List 2012". Royal Yachting Association. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  9. ^ "Centerboard Classes". US Sailing. Archived from the original on 16 August 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  10. ^ "Classes & Equipment Index". sailing.org. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  11. ^ http://www.wilkessail.net/REVIEWOF2008.doc[bare URL DOX/DOCX file]
  12. ^ "Ex-Optimists at 206 Olympics". Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  13. ^ "Nuhomepage".
  14. ^ "NationsCup".
  15. ^ http://www.wilkessail.net/IODAContinentalsArchive.html
  16. ^ "Lake Garda Meeting Optimist Class Sailing Regatta Riva del Garda". Archived from the original on 2021-01-21.
  17. ^ "Class Annual Report: International Optimist Dinghy Association 2017" (PDF). www.sailing.org.
  18. ^ "Optimist". optiworld.org. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  19. ^ "Nuhomepage".
  20. ^ "1983 Optimist World Championship". Optiworld.org. International Optimist Dinghy Association. Archived from the original on 2018-02-11. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  21. ^ "2009 Optimist World Championship". Optiworld.org. International Optimist Dinghy Association. Archived from the original on 2018-02-11. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  22. ^ "2010 Optimist World Championship". Optiworld.org. International Optimist Dinghy Association. Archived from the original on 2018-02-11. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  23. ^ "2011 Optimist World Championship". Optiworld.org. International Optimist Dinghy Association. Archived from the original on 2018-02-11. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  24. ^ "2012 Optimist World Championship". Optiworld.org. International Optimist Dinghy Association. Archived from the original on 2018-02-11. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  25. ^ "2013 Optimist World Championship". Optiworld.org. International Optimist Dinghy Association. Archived from the original on 2018-02-11. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  26. ^ "2014 Optimist World Championship". Optiworld.org. International Optimist Dinghy Association. Archived from the original on 2018-02-11. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  27. ^ "2015 Optimist World Championship". Optiworld.org. International Optimist Dinghy Association. Archived from the original on 2018-02-11. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  28. ^ "2017 Optimist World Championship" (PDF). Optiworld.org. International Optimist Dinghy Association. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2018-02-07. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  29. ^ "2018 Optimist World Championship" (PDF). Optiworld.org. International Optimist Dinghy Association. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2018-10-14. Retrieved 2018-09-05.
  30. ^ "2019 Optimist World Championship". Optiworld.org. International Optimist Dinghy Association. Retrieved 2019-07-16.
  31. ^ "2020 Optimist World Championship Cancelled". International Optimist Dinghy Association. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  32. ^ "2019 Optimist World Championship". Optiworld.org. International Optimist Dinghy Association. Retrieved 2021-08-20.

External linksEdit