The Optimist dinghy has been described as the dinghy in which the young people of the world learn to sail. It is sailed in over 110 countries by over 150,000 young people, it is the only dinghy approved by the International Sailing Federation exclusively for sailors under 16 years of age.
The Optimist dinghy was designed by Clark Mills in Clearwater, Florida. It is a single sailor, 2.3m by 1.13m flat bottomed, hard-chine, pram-bowed dinghy. The boat weighs 35kg and is easily car topped frequently with two on the roof.
The Optimist is a very stable vessel, which is difficult to capsize even in strong winds. They are light and easily manipulated by an instructor in a safety boat. They rescue easily, and can be bailed by a junior sailor.
The Optimist Dinghy provides the young one-design sailor with the most competitive racing opportunities available at the local, national and international levels. This easily maneuvered boat allows the smaller sailors to learn about tactics and wind strategy without having to overcome physically demanding boat handling requirements. The easy transportation of these small boats can also provide a great way for young sailors to take on more responsibility in caring for equipment and maintenance.