Friday, 8 March 2013


With Joseph's forth birthday coming up we've been thinking about getting him his first boat, well actually it will be his seconds as his cradle was a scaled down clinker dinghy. Inevitable the Optimist figures large in our thinking, with active fleets all along the Solent.

Ironically about sixty years ago boat designer Clark Mills of Clearwater, Florida built a floating version of the "soapbox car". The boat Mills came up with in 1948 was a little square bowed boat called the Optimist Pram. It was a boat which a young skipper and a parent could put together in the garage, with one sheet of plywood, some stainless steel screws, some glue, and a few banged thumbs.

Today the Optimist is the de facto training dinghy, sailed in 120 countries, competitive models run to several thousand pounds not including the support boat from which anxious parents or hired coach deliver encouragement and guidance.

I have to say that spending Saturday morning on the water, watching Joe learning to tack and gybe has a lot of appeal and could be the excuse to buy not one but two more boats!


  1. Hi i have two Oppies for sale, one wood, one glass. Wooden one is called Bathtub From Hell! Good beginner boats. Amazing how much work a wooden Oppies despite the size. Message me if interested. Andy

  2. wow that;s really a nice thought for a birthday gift. best wishes for all of you. have a nice birthday.
    Yacht Rental In Dubai

  3. Go for it, but forego the chase RIB... man those parents are scary.

    A few years back I was at the Cherub nationals in Portland - horrible blustery day towards the end of the week and the Oppie nationals was the following week so there were hordes of motorhomes towing RIBs arriving, parents offloading their children and shoving them out into the foul weather to sail... or rather to be knocked down by the gusts and yelled at in the freezing cold. Great...

  4. Lol yes i was on duty at Weirwood reservoir and a guy arrivedd with 4x4 and huge rib that had a gantry over. The rib with 4 Oppies strapoed to the top. The engine was a 250hp. He said, "Hey young man where do i launch the rib?" I politely told him he couldn't as despite being a large reservoir it wouldmnot take his rib. He was not you say the are some very scary parents who shout orders from the shore and then disect the rcpace after the poor kids have come back to shore. I am surprised the kids sail back the abuse they get. Same thing on the local rec wtih the football team where the language is rather more coarse.


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