Ice Optimists

Iceboats Designed for Kids.

Affordable

Designed to be easy to build using commonly available materials, to keep costs to a minimum.

Fun For Kids

Uses standard Optimist dinghy sail plan, so youth sailors can use much of the same equipment in summer and winter.

About the Ice Optimist

It was created specifically as a youth trainer. It was designed to be easy to build using commonly available materials, to keep costs to a minimum. It uses a standard Optimist dinghy sail plan (hence the name), so youth sailors can use much of the same equipment in summer and winter, if they sail/race in both seasons.
An Ice Optimist is a smaller, less powerful boat than a DN. It is about two feet shorter in length, has a narrower plank, has less sail area, is easier to build, is far less costly, and is generally sailed in a bit more comfortable upright position. A DN is no longer an “entry level” ice boat that is well-suited for kids. Although technology advancements have made modern DN’s easier to sail than their predecessors, they are also faster and far more expensive–two factors that really make them less appropriate as a youth trainer. An Ice Optimist provides performance and stability that are a better match for the experience level and self confidence of most “green fleeters.”
An Ice Optimist can be built for about $1,000; the majority of the cost being accounted for by the sail plan ($500 used) and the runners ($300 used). By contrast, a modern DN can easily exceed $7,000. Building an Ice Optimist requires no special tools. Many are built with straight sideboards eliminating the need for bending/re-gluing or complex angle cuts.
If you’d rather buy one, check the Buy & Sell page of this website. Commercial iceboat builders such as Composite Concepts and Williams Infusion offer complete packages or components.
Ice Optimists can be sailed on smaller sheets of ice than other ice boats. Small lakes and even larger ponds can be quite suitable. They should always be sailed under tight supervision by adults. The 4LIYC will be hosting youth races over the lunch breaks during weekend club races and other youth training opportunities, such as dry land discussions/parties, are being planned.
Ice boating is safe for kids as long as proper safety precautions are followed. Under no circumstances should kids be ice boating alone or without close adult supervision. Kids should never be sailing on thin ice or near open water. Proper safety gear is mandatory: a helmet, goggles, ice creepers, ice picks, a life jacket, a whistle, warm clothing. The North American Ice Opti Racing Association requires that all Junior sailors wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket at ALL times while on the ice whether racing or not. The Iceboat Safety page has tips for gear and keeping safe on the ice.
Contact Ron Rosten in Madison, WI, the North American Ice Optimist Program Director. He’d be glad to, give you building plans and construction tips, point you to sources for materials/parts, discuss the clubs approach to teaching juniors, etc. Email Ron Rosten

Latest Ice Optimist News

Junior Worlds Complete

Ice Optimist sailor Livia Liszkiewicz P334 would rather be ice sailing!       Photo: Olsztyński Klub Żeglarski Facebook Page

Results

DN Junior World Championship: 1st Rasmus Maalen, 2nd Zuzanna Rybicka Photo: Zuzanna Rybicka

The 2019 Junior DN and Ice Optimist World Championships are complete. Congratulations to all who competed including the 4LIYC’s Thor Rosten who kept his DN moving in some sticky, light conditions. The European Championship began today and will be completed on Friday.
It’s heartening to see these kids racing iceboats and gives us all hope for the future of this always fragile sport. North Americans may be wondering how the Europeans can field an 80 boat youth regatta on ice. 4LIYC member and North American Junior Secretary Ron Rosten has written about why he thinks the Europeans are miles ahead of North America in youth iceboat sailing. Read his article, “The State of Youth Sailing” in the September 2018 issue of the DN newsletter, Runner Tracks.
Europeans are also leading the way to encourage more women to compete in the sport. One sailor who has benefited from such a strong youth program is Polish DN sailor Zuzanna Rybicka -she has had quite an ice sailing season. Someday we will see her compete in North America. I took the liberty of posting (with a bit of correcting and guessing on the translation) her thoughts from Facebook today:

 

Yay! Today ended the junior world championship where I took 2th place in the DN fleet and 1st place in the women’s division. 🏆
It’s a great goodbye with age junior, and at the same time successful year greeting with age
This year I got a lot of support from a lot of people and I would like to thank everyone Awesome starts having such great fans like you guys.

Summary of my results in season 2018/19:
🥇 1st Women, European championship
🥈 1st. Women, Polish junior championship
🥈 2nd  Junior World Championship
🥇 1st  Women, Junior World Championship
[In today’s] European Junior Championship, after the first day I am on lead among women and second place in DN. Open. Keep your fingers crossed, tomorrow decisive races 💪

Previous: Junior Worlds See the World
Previous: 2019 Junior World Championship Begins
Previous: Junior Worlds Ice Sailing Championships Day 1

Junior World Ice Sailing Championship: Day 1

Photo: Michał Skawiński “Kornik” POL 333 P-339

Provisional Results IDNIYRA Europe

The 2019 Junior World DN & Ice Optimist Championships got underway today on Lake Siemianowka in light air and sticky ice. Ron Rosten reported that the wind shut off during the day’s last race and they tore down their boats in the dark. Ron also praised Estonian DNer Rasmus Maalen C20, currently in first, who “went out of his way to give Thor [Rosten] advice and offer encouragement.”
Rasmus Maalen, it should be noted, won the first race of the European Championship 2 weeks ago and finished 6th overall. Another junior who competed at the Europeans, Zuzanna Rybicka P119, is in second place just 2 points behind Rasmus tonight.
In the Ice Optimist fleet, Estonian sailor Lisbeth Taggu C1 holds first with Poles Mateusz Gigielewicz P89 and Anielka Graczyk P375 tied for second. Aneilka’s father, Robert Graczyk, won the Polish Championship last Saturday. There are a combined total of 80 skippers registered for the regatta. Youth iceboating is doing well in Europe.

Previous: Junior Worlds See the World
Previous: 2019 Junior World Championship Begins

Junior Worlds See the World

Junior DN & Ice Optimist sailors at Lake Niegocin in Gizycko, Poland                   Photo: Mihkel Kosk

IDNIYRA Europe

“Double ice [the Europeans’ name for shell ice], not frozen slush, and snow drifts” on Niegocin means the juniors are on the move today to greener iceboating pastures on Lake Siemianowka at Poland’s border with Belarus. Opening ceremonies and racing for the Junior World DN & Ice Optimist championships are scheduled for Wednesday Feb 6th.
Previous: 2019 Junior World Championship Begins

2019 Junior World Championship Begins

Thor Rosten at the 2018 Junior DN World Championship

EU IDNIYRA Junior News

The 2019 DN & Ice Optimist Junior World and European Championships were called on for Lake Niegocin in Gizycko, Poland for February 4-8. 4LIYC DN sailor Thor Rosten and his dad, Ron, are there and again traveling with the Swedish team.  Ron reports that they may be looking at an alternative site because of a snowfall during the night. The opening ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday, February 5 at 10:00 with racing to follow. Stay tuned!

Iceboat Tech That Never Caught On: Front-Seater Junior Iceboat

IceboatforJuniorvintage1

Illustration From Mechanix Illustrated, undated, c.1940s

These Mechanix Illustrated plans for a front-seater junior ice yacht never caught on but you can still “make your youngster the envy of every kid on the pond” with a modern Ice Optimist iceboat. The illustration reminds me of the 2008 video of the Stern-Steerer Kid, embedded below the plans.

The Two Mr. M’s

From left to right is Ivar Steffner, Gustav Lindén, Wilhelm Alness, Axel Steffner, Oskar Svensson, Rasmus Söderman.

From Ron Rosten, just returned from the Junior World Championship:

Parallel Universe. The gentleman standing behind Team Sweden is Uppsala’s Kjell Mattsson. Every DN in Uppsala, Sweden has been built, repaired, or upgraded in Mr. Mattsson’s shop. Does this sound familiar to anyone in Madison with an almost identical last name?

Links

European Ice Sailing for Juniors
Ice Optimist Drawings and Class Rules(.pdf files) zipfile
Ice Optimist Training Manual

Welcome to the North American Ice Optimist Homepage

The IDNIYRA has announced that a new volunteer has stepped forward to head up the Ice Optimist program.
Ron Rosten, an active Renegade class sailor with the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club in Madison, Wisconsin traveled with his son,Thor, to the Ice Optimist and DN Junior World Championships in Estonia in February 2015. As a result, Thor is hooked on the sport and Ron has stepped forward to take the reins of the Ice Optimist program.
The first Ice Optimist program director, Daniel Hearn, did an incredible job starting the Ice Opti program and putting together great events which included safety, training, and social activities. Kids made life long friends while having fun-what iceboating is supposed to be about.
Thank you, Daniel, for all you continue to do for iceboating
Ron grew up racing a DN in regional and national regattas. He has served as the Renegade class Secretary for several years and is experienced with all aspects of ice sailing and regatta organization.
Ron said he wants to “try and bring in as many new kids as possible. The goal is to run on a separate course from the senior fleet with a group of sailing coaches whose objective is to assist all kids and make sure everybody has a great experience. Look for a newsletter in the fall with a Ice Opti Facebook page. Any ideas and suggestions to get the program off the ground are welcome.” Ron can be contacted by telephone at 608-692-8816 or email: ron.rosten@gmail.com

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