In IceOptimist & DN Classes

DN Junior Championships

“After the 1990 European Secretaries’ Meeting in Warsaw there was a special “Junior meetup” held in Olsztyn where Stan Macur (Poland), Ain Vilde and Otto Raud (Estonia) decided to organise DN Junior European Championships. At this time many of the young icesailors did not have their own events. The decision was approved by European Commodore Wim van Acker and the first JEC took place just before the 1991 DN EC in Haapsalu, Estonia. Since the 2001 JEC in Riga, Latvia, IDNIYRA – Europe has provided financial support for the event. In 2002, the first Junior World Championship (JWC) was organised in Haapsalu, Estonia.”

The IceOptimist

“For many years junior icesailing in different models of iceyachts with Optimist sails had taken place in Estonia, Russia and Poland which contributed to the development of the class. The IceOptimist specification and official plans were provided by Jan Adsten (S418) and was published in the 2002 Swedish Icesailing Federation Yearbook. The IceOptimist was approved for promoting junior icesailing and as an introduction to DN sailing that same year at the Secretaries meeting in Balatonfüred, Hungary. The class – with full agreement and encouragement of IDNIYRA and the International Optimist Dinghy Association (IODA) – has had a significant impact on the Junior Programme, providing a firm platform on which to build the progression of many of the top ice sailors of today.”

As part of our Junior Programme, the European DN Class organises regattas and trainings in two youth icesailing classes:
Years 10 to 15 in ‘IceOptimist’ and U24 in ‘DN Junior’.


What is an Ice Optimist?

An Ice Optimist is the ice sailing version of the Optimist dinghy. It uses the Optimist mast, boom sprit, sail plan and sheets, with additional sidestays and forestay on the mast. The hull is streamlined in shape with a supporting cross plank underneath and 3 metal runners for contact with the ice. See full plans and rules in the links below.

What are the age limits for an Ice Optimist sailor?

The Ice Optimist age limits for sailors are 10 to 15 years old.

Is it necessary to have sailed on water before starting ice sailing?

No, it is not necessary but you will find it much easier if you have already sailed on water.

What clothes are recommended for ice sailing?

Remember that you will be sailing at speed in cold weather and the “wind chill” factor brings the temperature down very low. Layers of clothing are important so ski clothes plus a layer or two underneath is a good start. Good, warm and strong gloves or mitts, a crash helmet (downhill ski helmet), ski goggles and strong shoes or boots. Studded footwear is necessary for walking or running on ice and “slip-on” studs can usually be provided or purchased. A life jacket would be mandated at the start of a course of Ice Optimist instruction.

What is the difference between an Ice Optimist and a DN?

An Ice Optimist is two-thirds of the length of a DN and is less powerful with a 3.25 sq.m. sail area. It is designed for young people starting to ice sail. The DN -60 is a powerful, fast and more expensive ice yacht, sail area approx 5.6 sq.m (60 sq ft). The Junior DN class is for 16- to 24- year olds.

Where can I start sailing an Ice Optimist or a DN?

Most of our National Fleets have a number of Ice Optimists and DNs available for hire and run courses of instruction each Winter through local clubs.
Please check the details at our contact page. Should you not have DNs or IceOptis in your area, please get in touch with our Junior Progamme Manager and we’ll try to help.

What are the costs involved in building or buying an Ice Optimist?

The Ice Optimist can be built in wood or fibreglass. The approximate cost of a new yacht ready to sail with everything including one set of runners is between €1200 and €1800. A used Ice Optimist would be less costly depending on its age and condition.

What are the costs involved in building or buying a DN?
A DN can only be made in wood and the cost of a new one depends upon who builds it. The approximate cost can vary between €4,000 and €10,000. Used DNS are available at less cost and often advertised on the Ice Sailing websites, for example a used DN for starting sailing could be €1,500 – €3,000.
Is ice sailing safe for young people?

Ice Sailing is safe so long as proper safety precautions are followed. These are taken very seriously by all of our partner clubs and will always be fully briefed at the start of each day of any course.

Is there any Training Manual for ice sailing?

Yes, on our website you find a manual for Ice-Optimist training. This contains information on many aspects of ice sailing.