Every weekend there is some sort of sailing going on in the BVI and today was no exception, storm or not. These youngsters train and compete in a very small class sailing boat called an optimist, candidly referred to as oppy’s.
The Optimist was designed in 1947 by American Clark Mills, inspired by the Soap-box Derby program that is sponsored by Optimist International service club to encourage father/son construction of gravity powered cars for down-hill competition. Mills home town of Clearwater, Florida has no hills so he designed a simple pram that could be built from a single sheet of plywood, and donated the plan to the Optimists. The design was slightly modified and introduced to Europe by the Dane, Axel Damsgaard, and spread outwards across Europe from Scandinavia. The design was standardized in 1960 and became a strict one-design in 1995.2
The International Optimist is sailed in over 100 countries by over 160,000 skippers and it is only one of two yachts approved by the International Sailing Federation3 exclusively for sailors under 16. At the Beijing Olympics, 85%4 of medal winning skippers were former Optimist dinghy sailors.
Taken with Nikon D80, Sigma 18-250mm.
150 views – 12 Jan 2012