History of the Association
Optimist designed by Clark Mills in Clearwater, Florida, USA
Optimist modified and introduced into Denmark by Axel Damsgaard
Optimist introduced to England by Nigel Ringrose. Main dimensions stabilised.
First World Championship (though wasn't called that) held in England. Denmark, Great Britain, West Germany and Sweden participate.
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.
Worlds first held in USA.
Fibreglass hulls permitted. They did not become competitive until 1975-76 and wooden boats were still seen at the Worlds in 1981.
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.
North American Optimist Championship created.
"Stitch & Glue" (now wood/epoxy) hull authorised. Girls prize at Worlds created.
Nigel Ringrose (GBR) becomes President. Independent Secretariat established: Hanne Rix (DEN) becomes Secretary. 30 nations at Worlds.
European Championship created. Team racing introduced at Worlds. IODA Yearbook first published.
Al Chandler (THA) becomes President
Girl wins Worlds for first time. Girls also won in 1996, 2005, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Direct judging introduced for team racing
Helen Mary Wilkes (IRL) becomes President. Optiworld newsletter first published.
Asian Championship created.
41 countries at the Worlds.
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.
IODA, helped by Nesquik, starts its coach-training programme.
Robert Wilkes becomes Secretary. Oceanian Championship created.
Rene Kluin (NED) becomes President.
59 nations participate in Millenium Worlds. This remains a world record for any Class Championship.
IODA starts its Development programme. African Championship created.
Foild made strictly one-design.
Peter Barclay (PER) becomes President.
Sally Burnett appointed as Secretary General
First World Championship held in Oceania.
50th Optimist Worlds in Dominican Republic
Robert Wilkes publishes The Optimist Dinghy 1947-2007.
Fiona Kidd appointed as Secretary General
Kevin Whitcraft (THA) becomes President.
The largest Optimist World Championship with 65 Nations takes place in Antigua.
Marco Gradoni (ITA) wins 3rd Optimist World Championship Title and is awarded the 2019 Rolex World Sailor of the Year.