The turning point for the Optimist class came in 1954 when Axel Damagaard, skipper of a Danish three masted tall ship, saw an Optimist while his ship was visiting the United States. When he returned to Denmark Axel promoted the design.
The Optimist soon became very popular throughout Scandinavia where it was renamed the International Optimist Dinghy-its official name today.
The IDA spread throughout Europe in the 1960’s. In 1962, the first World Championship were held, at Humble in the UK in 1965, seven nations got together and formed the IODA (International Optimist Dinghy Association).
In 1973, the class received International status from the sailing world’s governing body, the International Yacht Racing Union (now ISAF). During the 1 970s the popularity of the Optimist spread to Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Today, the Optimist is the World’s largest and fastest growing-sailing class, bigger than lasers, Hobbies, Sunfish, or any other One-design. While many boats Claim “International” in their title, there is none which is sailed in more countries. The Optimist may be the World’s only true “International” Dinghy.
The International Optimist is the only dinghy recognised by International Sailing Federation for young people under 16 years of age. It is sailed by over 200,000 people worldwide, including most future competitors at the Olympic Games.
The 10th Asian Championship in Karachi is an important contribution to the rapid development of the Optimist in Asia. In 1998 Asian sailors won their first ever medals at the World Championship, winning gold, silver and bronze.
Both the two previous Optimist philatelic issues, in 1995 (Aaland Islands, Finland) and 1997 (United Kingdom), were a great success.
In Pakistan, 10th Asian Optimist Sailing Championship is being held from 30th September to 7th October, 99 at marina Club Karachi.
Courtesy: Pakistan Optimist Sailing Association (POSA).
To commemorate the occasion Pakistan Post Office is issuing one commemorative postage stamp of Rs 2 denomination on October 7,1999.