Class info ABOUT IODA History of the Association

History of the Association

1947

Optimist designed by Clark Mills in Clearwater, Florida, USA

1954

Optimist modified and introduced into Denmark by Axel Damsgaard

1960

Optimist introduced to England by Nigel Ringrose. Main dimensions stabilised.

1962

First World Championship (though wasn't called that) held in England. Denmark, Great Britain, West Germany and Sweden participate.

1965

International Optimist Dinghy Association founded. First members were Austria, Denmark, Finland, Great Britain, Norway, Sweden and USA followed shortly by Germany and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Viggo Jacobsen (DEN) first President, his wife Edith first Secretary.

1966

Worlds first held in USA.

1970

Fibreglass hulls permitted. They did not become competitive until 1975-76 and wooden boats were still seen at the Worlds in 1981.

1973

International Optimist Dinghy Association recognised as an International Class by the International Yacht Racing Union (now ISAF). Issue of numbered building fee plaques begins. South American Optimist Championship created. Metal spars introduced. 20 nations at Worlds.

1976

North American Optimist Championship created.

1981

"Stitch & Glue" (now wood/epoxy) hull authorised. Girls prize at Worlds created.

1982

Nigel Ringrose (GBR) becomes President. Independent Secretariat established: Hanne Rix (DEN) becomes Secretary. 30 nations at Worlds.

1983

European Championship created. Team racing introduced at Worlds. IODA Yearbook first published.

1985

Al Chandler (THA) becomes President

1987

Girl wins Worlds for first time. Girls also won in 1996, 2005, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

1988

Direct judging introduced for team racing

1989

Helen Mary Wilkes (IRL) becomes President. Optiworld newsletter first published.

1990

Asian Championship created.

1993

41 countries at the Worlds.

1995

Strict one design hull introduced. Nesquik agree to sponsor IODA. Over the next three years they would contribute over USD500,000 to Optimist sailing. IODA website introduced.

1996

IODA, helped by Nesquik, starts its coach-training programme.

1997

Robert Wilkes becomes Secretary. Oceanian Championship created.

1998

Rene Kluin (NED) becomes President.

2000

59 nations participate in Millenium Worlds. This remains a world record for any Class Championship.

2001

IODA starts its Development programme. African Championship created.

2004

Foild made strictly one-design.

2006

Peter Barclay (PER) becomes President.

2008

Sally Burnett appointed as Secretary General

2011

First World Championship held in Oceania.

2012

50th Optimist Worlds in Dominican Republic

2013

Robert Wilkes publishes The Optimist Dinghy 1947-2007.

2016

Fiona Kidd appointed as Secretary General

2017

Kevin Whitcraft (THA) becomes President.