Me back in 1974 on my family's sailboat.
For me, this is all about nostalgia.

I remember the freedom I felt when I went out on the water as a child in our family's Sun Fish. I could spend an entire day out on the water just reaching back and forth. This blog is an attempt to share the building of the Optimist Pram for our family's next generation of sailors in hope that they too can discover the same connections I had.

Three generations of the Leonard family
gather at the Oak Orchard Lighthouse.
I tripped across the history of the Optimist Pram on the internet while looking for a good boat to buy for my children, and was captured by the imagery of so many young children in the 40s, 50s, and 60s sailing the beautiful Florida waters in boats that their dads, moms, and neighbors built for them. I want to reconnect with a simpler time - perhaps. I want a boat that conveys a depth and meaning to my son. If not now, perhaps in the future, looking back, he will have that same sense of nostalgia that pulls me back to the water.


This would not have happened if not for the actions of the people of the Optimist Club of Clearwater back in 1947. The story is well known to many, but I was unaware of the Optimists and the boatwright that created a pram for young people that became the largest one design fleet in the world. Their Creed is as relevant today as yesterday...

Founded in 1911:
Optimist International is made up of autonomous Optimist Clubs that do work in their communities. Each club chooses its own service projects to improve the lives of children.

The Optimist Creed

Promise Yourself-
  • To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
  • To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.
  • To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.
  • To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
  • To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.
  • To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
  • To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
  • To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
  • To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
  • To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.