Designed in Florida in 1947 as a cheap-to-build and fun-to-sail beginner’s boat for the under 16s and granted International status in 1973, the Optimist is recognised world wide as one of the best boats for introducing children to sailing with its easily handled simple spritsail rig. Over 60 clubs in the UK have Optimist flotillas and the class is recommended by the RYA for getting youngsters sailing. From March 1996 a new strict one- design grp Optimist is being introduced: all new grp boats will have to conform to these rules and will therefore be identical. Ashore, the Optimist is light and easily transported on the car roof.