International Optimist Dinghy

Why sailing?

  • Sailing is fun: a great social life, now and for the rest of your days
  • Sailing is for all: tall? short? fat? thin? girl? boy? green with pink spots? - sailing is for you
  • Sailing builds self-reliance, physical strength, quick thinking and a love of the environment
  • Sailing doesn't cost a fortune - we'll talk about that later

Why the Optimist?

  • Optimists are designed for kids.
  • They can handle them without danger, fear or back-strain.
  • Single-handed is best, they didn't learn to ride a bike on a tandem.
  • Over 150,000 kids in over 100 countries cannot be wrong.
  • The only junior class in Australia offering international competition and travel.
  • The Optimist is not only the biggest dinghy class in the world, it is the fastest growing.
  • The only dinghy recognised by the ISAF* exclusively for under 16s
    *the world organising body for sailing.
  • Almost 2/3rds of Olympic medalists at the last two Olympics were Optimist sailors.
  • Builders on five continents, promoting competition and cost savings.
  • Your local sailing club has them - and if it doesn't, it will!

What is an Optimist?

"a flat-bottomed, hard-chine, pram-bow dinghy with a una spritsail"

(The Observer's Book of Small Craft)

"a bathtub that breeds the best sailors"

(Observant Sailor at the Club Bar)

  • 2.31m (7'6.1/2") long, 1.13m (3'8") wide.
    Weight 35kg.
  • Easily transported on top of any car
    (where it will drip water over your shiny paintwork!).
  • Safe and simple enough for an 8-year old
  • Exciting and technical enough for a 15-year old
  • Available in GRP, wood or wood/epoxy.

What will it cost?

Around $500 a year, not unlike the secondhand automobile market):

  • $2,000 buys a good first boat (pre-owned) - and you can expect to drop $200 when you sell
  • Trade up every year or so. Reckon on adding around $400 a year to your investment
  • When you sell your last Optimist you have the price of a good secondhand International Class dinghy like a Laser or 420 - and the path to a lifetime of sailing
  • If you want to buy new, beginners' GRP boats start around $3,000.
  • Add a good lifejacket, appropriate clothing and a kid and see your little one grow up, quickly!