About IODA

What is IODA

IODA is the international body that groups national associations in charge of the regulation and development of the Optimist sailing in each country.

Why does IODA exist?

The object of the Class is to provide racing for young people at low cost.

The objects of the Association are:

  • To see that the Class Rules are observed
  • To co-ordinate youth work between member countries
  • To establish Conditions for IODA World and Continental Championships and choose the venues.

Who are the members?

Member countries, the national Optimist association or national sailing association in each country. Voting is on the basis of one vote per country.

Who runs IODA?

The ultimate authority is the members in Annual General Meeting. They approve all changes to the Class Rules and Conditions and elect:

  • The president
  • Three vice-presidents, one from Europe, one from the Americas and one from the rest of the world
  • The Technical and Regatta Committees: the chairmen of these committees are members of the six-person Executive Committee.

The Executive appoints the secretary.

Who do I contact?

The first point of contact is the IODA Secretariat. ALL communications with IODA should be copied to the secretariat.

What are the rules that govern the Association?

The rules that govern the Association, as well as the conditions for the organisation of IODA events are contained in the IODA Administrative Handbook.


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Executive Committee

"The Executive Committee shall consist of a President, three Vice- Presidents, the Chairman of the Technical Committee and the Chairman of the Regatta Committee. The President and Vice-Presidents shall be elected at an Annual General Meeting (Article 13) in alternate years..." (article 7 of the Articles of Association) See the requisites for the nominations here and the unofficial guidelines for candidates here.

The current members of the Executive Committee of IODA are:

  • President


  • Vice-President for the Americas


  • Vice-President for Europe


  • Vice-President for Asia, Africa and Oceania


  • Chairman of the Regatta Committee


  • Chairman of the Technical Committee



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Regatta Committee

"There shall be a Regatta Committee with up to four members to:

  • Implement the Conditions for l.O.D.A. World, Continental and specific continental championships in co-operation with the host members each year.
  • Study the Conditions and recommend amendments necessary or desirable to promote the goals of IODA.
  • Examine proposals from members for amendments or interpretations of the Conditions and make recommendations.

Members of the Regatta Committee shall be elected at an Annual General Meeting" (article 9 of the Articles of Association) See the requisites for the nominations here and the unofficial guidelines for candidates here.

The current members of the Regatta Committee are:






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Technical Committee

"There shall be a Technical Committee with a maximum of four members to:

  • Study the International Optimist Dinghy Class Rules, plans and measurement form.
  • Examine any proposal from a member for amendments or interpretations.
  • Maintain close liaison with ISAF and request interpretations from ISAF as considered advisable. The Chairman shall ensure that rulings and interpretations made by ISAF are promptly forwarded to the Secretariat.
  • Make recommendations to the Annual General Meeting.
  • Prescribe procedures for measurement during the Optimist World Championship, and act as the authority on any issue as to the interpretation or application of the Class Rules.

Members of the Technical Committee shall be elected at an Annual General Meeting" (article 8 of the Articles of Association)See the requisites for the nominations here and the unofficial guidelines for candidates here.

The current members of the Technical Committee are:

  • Chairman: CURLY MORRIS IM (IRL)




Prototype Measurer: CONXA ONTIVEROS IM (ESP)


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Nominations for candidates for the Executive, Technical and Regatta Committees, made and seconded in writing by official representatives as above and with the approval of the nominees, shall be received by the Secretary before 10am 24th October. They shall include an adequate curriculum vitae which will be posted before the 2014 AGM at the Worlds in Argentina.

Unofficial Guidelines for Candidates for Committee Members of IODA

These guidelines are based on current practice and do not constitute regulations of IODA.


The main function of vice-presidents of IODA is to assist in the creation and implementation of policies consistent with the Objects of IODA as stated in Article 2 and Class Rule 1.1

They are elected by all members voting at the Annual Meeting but each vice-president must be principally resident in a different area (Europe; North or South America; Africa, Asia or Oceania).

Each vice-president is expected to attend:

  • An Executive Committee meeting held immediately before the Optimist World Championship
  • The IODA Annual Meeting
  • An Executive Committee meeting (MYM) held in December or January
  • One IODA Continental Championship as decided by the Executive.

Technical Committee:

The duties of the Technical Committee are as described in IODA Article 8. It is desirable that at least two of its members shall be ISAF International Measurers. Each member is expected to attend the measurement days of the Optimist World Championship.

Regatta Committee:

The duties of the Regatta Committee are as described in IODA Article 9. It is desirable that at least two of its members shall be ISAF International Race Officers or International Judges. Each member is expected to attend the racing days of the Optimist World Championship.


If permitted by the general state of IODA finances, the president and all the above committee members receive entry fee and travel costs to the Optimist World Championship, provided that they are not the country representative, team leader or coach of a team and are available to assist in organisation of the event. In addition vice-presidents receive entry fee and travel costs to one IODA Continental Championship.

For the MYM all Executive Committee members receive travel costs, hotel and meals. No expenses are paid in respect of partners but these may be accommodated at IODA championships by paying the fee paid by adult team officials.

All travel is reimbursed at the lowest available fare.


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History of the Association

Some dates:

  • 1947

    Optimist designed by Clark Mills in Clearwater, Florida

  • 1954

    Optimist modified and introduced into Denmark by Axel Damsgaard.

  • 1960

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

  • 1962

    First World Championship (though it 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 the USA.

  • 1970

    Fibreglass hulls permitted. They did not become competitive until 1975-6 and wooden boats were still seen at the Worlds until 1981.

  • 1973

    International Optimist Dinghy Association recognised as an International Class by the International Yacht Racing Union. 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 the first time. Girls also won in 1996 and 2005.

  • 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 Worlds.

  • 1995

    Strict one-design hull introduced. See "Cheaper and more one-design - a history" Nesquik agree to sponsor IODA. Over the next three years they would contribute over US$500,000 to Optimist sailing. IODA website introduced.

  • 1996

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

  • 1997

    Secretariat moves to Dublin. Robert Wilkes becomes secretary. Oceanian Championship created.

  • 1998

    René Kluin (NED) becomes president.

  • 2000

    59 nations participate in Millennium Worlds. This remains a world record for any Class championship.

  • 2001

    IODA starts its development programme. See develop.php African Championship created.

  • 2004

    Foils made strictly one-design.

  • 2006

    Peter Barclay (PER) becomes president.

  • 2012

    50th Optimist World Championship in Dominican Republic.


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