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Photo of the Month - exploring the Story behind the Image...

Optimist 2014 National Sailing Championships at Manly Beach

Optimist 2014 National Sailing Championships at Manly Beach

Year: 2014, Month: April

New Zealand > Auckland > Whangaparaoa

This 'Photo of the Month' shows a number of dinghys being hauled off the beach at the end of the day's sailing in the heats of the Optimist 2014 National Championships, which were hosted by the Manly Sailing Club at Manly Beach, Whangaparaoa, New Zealand during April 2014. The Championships included competitors from many countries, including Australia, France, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Unfortunately, my photograph does not include the sail-number of the boat in the foreground, so I am unable to identify this particular grinning competitor or his nationality. If anyone knows him, please send me an email so I can give him a mention. There are further photo galleries available on this website with a range of images from the Pre-National and the National Championships in New Zealand. I was the only professional photographer covering the event.

The Optimist Dinghy is a small, single-handed sailing dinghy intended for use by children up to the age of 15. Boats are usually made of fiberglass, although some wooden boats are still built. It is one of the most popular sailing dinghies in the world, with over 150,000 boats officially registered with the class, and many more built but never registered. The Dinghy was designed in 1947 by American Clark Mills at the request of the Optimist International service 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 Damsgaard, and spread outwards across Europe from Scandinavia. The design was standardized in 1960 and became a strict One-Design in 1995. The International Dinghy is sailed in over 120 countries by over 160,000 skippers and it is one of only two yachts approved by the International Sailing Federation exclusively for sailors under 16. At the London Olympics, nearly 80% of all boat skippers were former dinghy sailors, most of them having reached international level in the Class.

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