Buy an International Optimist

The EYC’s fleet of International Optimists is one of the EYC’s most popular fleets for racing.  In 2011, sixteen junior skippers raced in the EYC’s Saturday afternoon Optimist series, and nineteen skippers raced in the Tuesday evening series.

The Optimist class also saw a number of days during the peak of the EYC’s season when the number of EYC juniors seeking to use an EYC-owned Optimist exceeded the eight Optimists in the EYC-owned fleet.  On July 16, to use the most extreme example, there were seventeen EYC juniors seeking to draw an EYC Optimist for that evening’s racing.  While “more racers than boats” is a good problem to have, the EYC is exploring ways to increase Optimist racing opportunity for 2012.

Fundamentally, there are only two ways to increase Optimist racing opportunity.  The first is to hold more races, which the EYC is likely to do.

The second is to increase the number of Optimists in the EYC Optimist fleet.  The EYC has received one donated Optimist (thanks, Joel and Suzy Dykman!) and is actively seeking donations of additional Optimists.  Depending on the EYC’s financial situation, the EYC may attempt to purchase a second Optimist to increase the EYC-owned fleet to ten for 2012, an increase of 25%.

However, the EYC’s board of directors recently reviewed its fleets and reaffirmed longstanding EYC policy that the EYC determines its investment in its various fleets by the needs of its lesson program and not by the maximum number of racers who may wish to race in an EYC boat for free.  The EYC can use ten Optimists in lessons; however, the EYC does not contemplate owning twelve, fourteen, or seventeen Optimists any time soon, unless they are donated.

So, parents who wish to guarantee that their child always has an Optimist to race, should purchase their own Optimist.  Late summer and fall are excellent times to buy used Optimists as parents put up for sale Optimists which their children have grown out of.

Optimists are relatively inexpensive; a new one purchased from Laser Performance Inc. is less than $2500 (see; from McLaughlin Boat Works, a new one costs approximately as little as $2350 (or $2000 if you purchase an “event boat”) (see

Used Optimists in very good condition can be had for as little as $1000.  Two used Optimists are currently for sale to EYC members on the EYC Classified Advertisements page for $999 and $1100, respectively.   See  Additional used Optimists in your area can be found with a simple Google search.

Furthermore, because the Optimist is the most numerous one-design sailboat in the world, and because the EYC’s lesson program creates a steady stream of new junior sailors, your Optimist readily can be sold when your children move on to Lasers,  Flying Juniors, 420s and Flying Scots.

In 2011, did your child or grandchild come away from an EYC Optimist boat draw frustrated and sad because he or she did not draw a boat?  There is only one way to guarantee that won’t happen again in 2012:  buy your own Optimist.