As a reply to Chris’ rant about the downfall of American dinghy sailing: As a European average sailor I have no idea about American sailing, but as a Optimist dad I have some insight in this class: don’t underestimate these silly bathtubs! Regardless of the ancient concept, this class has somehow managed to develop over time. Controls are silly, design is odd, but sailing these things is drop dead serious business! Ever tried to properly trim that main? Way more complex than most modern classes! If you are serious about Opti racing, you may own several different sails with different cuts as well as riggs with different stiffness.
Winner, one of the leading producers of these boats, offers hulls in different rigidity for different sailor weights and skills. The hull weight is fixed in the class rules, but modern producers manage to concentrate the weight on the lower part of the hull, making it more stable and faster. With roughly 1200 boats, the Optimist meeting at Lake Garda is the biggest sailing event in the world for good reason. Winner of 2017: Stephen Baker, USA. – Anarchist Thomas