Lough Derg Yacht Club

Enjoying sailing in Dromineer since 1835


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The Optimist ("Oppie")

The Oppie

The Oppie has become, over its long history (1947), quite simply the sailboat in which the majority of young people learn to sail and to race, and this is true both in Ireland and Internationally.

As a single person boat it has many advantages, and can be sailed by young sailors up to their early teens, after which their personal physical growth and its small size makes them uncompetitive. While it has almost universal application as a sail training boat, many of our younger sailors miss the social interaction and mutual support that a 2 person sailboat offers and so it is not for everyone.

LDYC has lots of Oppies and runs many Oppie events, and our young sailors very much enjoy participating in local, National and International Optimist Class events, with several local sailors being Irish National Optimist Champions.

Oppie sailors, given the size and range of Oppie Events worldwide, can be very competitive and many of their ranks now make up Olympic and World Champions in senior classes. Sir Ben Ainslie, the UK sailor with the most Olympic medals started his sailing in Oppies.

The Irish Optimist Class IODAI and the International Optimist Dinghy Association IODA are very active in their support of the Class and its many events.

The chronology of both the boat and its International Association is as follows:

1947

Optimist designed by Clark Mills in Clearwater, Florida, USA - a wooden box dinghy

1954

Optimist modified and introduced into Denmark by Axel Damsgaard

1960

Optimist introduced to England by Nigel Ringrose. Main dimensions stabilised.

1962

First World Championship (though wasn't called that) held in England. Denmark, Great Britain, West Germany and Sweden participate.

1965

International Optimist Dinghy Association founded. First members were Austria, Denmark, Finland, Great Britain, Norway, Sweden and USA followed shortly by Germany and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Viggo Jacobsen (DEN) first President, his wife Edith first Secretary.

1966

Worlds first held in USA.

1970

Fibreglass hulls permitted. They did not become competitive until 1975-76 and wooden boats were still seen at the Worlds in 1981.

1973

International Optimist Dinghy Association recognised as an International Class by the International Yacht Racing Union (now ISAF). Issue of numbered building fee plaques begins. South American Optimist Championship created. Metal spars introduced. 20 nations at Worlds.

1976

North American Optimist Championship created.

1981

"Stitch & Glue" (now wood/epoxy) hull authorised. Girls prize at Worlds created.

1982

Nigel Ringrose (GBR) becomes President. Independent Secretariat established: Hanne Rix (DEN) becomes Secretary. 30 nations at Worlds.

1983

European Championship created. Team racing introduced at Worlds. IODA Yearbook first published.

1985

Al Chandler (THA) becomes President

1987

Girl wins Worlds for first time. Girls also won in 1996, 2005, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

1988

Direct judging introduced for team racing

1989

Helen Mary Wilkes (IRL) becomes President. Optiworld newsletter first published.

1990

Asian Championship created.

1993

41 countries at the Worlds.

1995

Strict one design hull introduced. Nesquik agree to sponsor IODA. Over the next three years they would contribute over USD500,000 to Optimist sailing. IODA website introduced.

1996

IODA, helped by Nesquik, starts its coach-training programme.

1997

Robert Wilkes becomes Secretary. Oceanian Championship created.

1998

Rene Kluin (NED) becomes President.

2000

59 nations participate in Millenium Worlds. This remains a world record for any Class Championship.

2001

IODA starts its Development programme. African Championship created.

2004

Foils made strictly one-design.

2006

Peter Barclay (PER) becomes President.

2008

Sally Burnett becomes Secretary

2011

First World Championship held in Oceania.

2012

50th Optimist Worlds in Dominican Republic

2013

Robert Wilkes publishes The Optimist Dinghy 1947-2007.

Lough Derg Yacht Club

Dromineer, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary
Ireland

Coordinates 52.926N 8.273W 

Phone +353 67 24455

Email: officeLDYC@gmail.com

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