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Welcome To Optimists


Optimist Tuning guide (pdf)

What is an OPTIMIST?

It is the boat which most young people throughout the world learn to sail in.

The Optimist is a small, single-handed sailing dinghy intended for use by children up to the age of 15. Nowadays boats are usually made of fibreglass, 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 the International Sailing Federation. Optimists are designed for kids. They can handle them without danger, fear or back-strain. It is often described as:

"a bathtub that breeds the best sailors" (Observant Sailor at the Club Bar)

    Learn To Sail

Most of our sailors start at around 8-10 years of age - some older. Talk to us if you're unsure if your child is ready. It's a magic moment for you when your child goes "solo" for the first time; let's make sure it's a happy one too. More details under the heading Learn to Sail.

    Rainbow Fleet 
Rainbow Fleet is the Queen Charlotte Yacht Club's extension group for sailors that have completed Learn To Sail and have a basic knowledge of sailing.  Our Rainbow Fleet program is run in accordance with Yachting NZ Sailing ...Sailing Fast (L2) and Go Racing (L3) courses. Rainbow Fleet training is run each Saturday morning before Club racing.

    Green Fleet

Green fleet is where sailors transition from Learn to Race and start racing with children of approximately their own ability.  More details at Optimist Green 

    Open Fleet
The Optimist Open fleet is where sailors compete at a higher level based on a greater level of skill, experience and boat handling. More details at Optimist Open

    Brief history of the Optimist

The Optimist was designed in 1947 in the USA with the plan that a “competent handyman could build a wooden boat for his child in a weekend for US $150”. 

Many of us remember a family Optimist lovingly launched in the swimming pool or at the bach after having being created over winter in the shed.  
Optimists are now bought fully made up by one of several large manufacturers.

The International Optimist Dinghy Association  - refer – controls everything about the class. Their mission is to promote the class by making it affordable to as many parents as possible. The New Zealand International Optimist Dinghy Association is our national body which oversees and promotes the Optimist in New Zealand and works as part of IODA.