The North Okanagan Sailing Association (NOSA) Youth Sail Training Program is heading out onto Okanagan Lake with an additional 2 boats designed to introduce sailing to future young sailors. The “Optimist” or affectionately known as the “Opti” is a small, single-handed sailing dinghy that is sailed in over 120 countries and is one of only two yachts approved by the International Sailing Federation exclusively for sailors under 16. It is one of the most popular sailing dinghies in the world, built of either wood or fibreglass, with over 150,000 boats officially registered with the class and many more built but never registered.
The Optimist was designed in 1947 by American Clark Mills at the request of the Clearwater Florida Optimist club following a proposal by Major Clifford McKay to offer low-cost sailing for young people. He designed a simple pram that could be built from three sheets of plywood, and donated the plan to the Optimists. The design was slightly modified and introduced to Europe by the Dane, Axel Damgaard, and spread outwards across Europe from Scandinavia. The design was standardized in 1960 and became a strict One-Design in 1995.
In 2015 NOSA acquired several used Optimist sailboats to expand their growing youth sailing program providing the opportunity to learn the basics and begin enjoying the experience of sailing. These original OPTI’s met the challenge and it became necessary to expand the fleet. Our Optimist club reached out to NOSA in 2016 when it became known that they were using the OPTI’s to see if we could support and expand the program. After careful consideration NOSA approached the club early in 2017 that Sail BC was retiring 2 fibreglass Opti’s and they would become available at a fraction of their normal cost once they had completed their time within the provincial racing team. Our club saw this an excellent opportunity to have a positive impact on the NOSA youth sailing development program and provide greater opportunities for youth within the North Okanagan.
The boats have arrived and entered service.
More information on the North Okanagan Sailing Association can be found at: www.nosa.bc.ca,