The Optimist is a small sailing dinghy that is used for competitions around the world, intended for use by children and teenagers up to the age of 15. Contemporary boats are usually made of fiberglass, although wooden boats are still built. It is one of the most popular sailing dinghies in the world, with over 150,000 boats officially registered with the class and many more built but never registered.

The Optimist is recognized as an International Class by World Sailing. The Optimist was designed in 1947 to offer low-cost sailing for young people. The Optimist Club ran a soapbox derby but wanted more than a single-day event. Thus they were looking for a low-cost equivalent for sailing.

The design is a simple pram that can be built from two 4′ x 8′ sheets of plywood. The Optimist is sailed in over 120 countries and it is one of only two yachts approved by World Sailing exclusively for sailors under 16. Optimists are one of the smallest sailing dinghies. Sailors can continue to race them up to the age limit of 15 years old. Optimists are single-handed boats. Many sailing schools and yacht clubs own a number of them and they are the first boat most beginners will sail. The original plans are on an Italian site but with google translate, you will figure it out for sure.

Go to the free boat plans »

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