Whether just messing about in boats, having fun off a beach, learning to sail, flat out blasting or competitive racing, there are so many reasons for choosing the fantastic Topper.
It requires little maintenance, is easily rigged in a matter of minutes, is rugged and safe for beginners and an exciting race boat too as your skills develop AND it is car-toppable. It truly is the most versatile of sailboats.John Driscoll an RYA National Sailing Coach wrote:
The Topper dinghy has a unique place in the world of sailing instruction.
He went on to say “It is hard to find a sailing school or holiday centre without a fleet of Toppers and here’s why: Topper’s cutting edge comes from her robustness, her simplicity, versatility and her ease of handling ashore and afloat. She’ll take all the knocks of a sailing day and bounce back smiling. Just like the students. She’s taken the fear factor out of the capsize drill. She’s made it easy to learn and fun to be with.”
The ideal circuit racer
Because of the builder’s commitment to uniformity of hulls and specification of fittings and equipment, a Topper can race with any other Topper, older or younger, on equal terms. A true One Design. With full International recognition from the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), the Topper phenomenon is spreading around the World.
The Topper racing circuit organised by the Irish Topper Class Association is thriving.
The Topper has been recognised as an RYA/ISA Junior Development Class and is part of the RYA/ISA Performance Pathway that could one day lead to a place in an Olympic Team.
4.2 Topper Sail
A 4.2 square metre Topper sail has been introduced and is growing in popularity. It has been design specifically to enable smaller sailors to enjoy the thrill of sailing Toppers without having to reef the full sized sail.
“Hi my name is Tom, I sail a topper 4.2, I am 11 years old. I’m writing this story to try to encourage people around my weight (38 kg) to go into a Topper 4.2 rig rather than a full rig straight away.
The good things about 4.2’s are that in strong winds you will be going up the beat or along the reach and you’ll be laughing. You’ll overtake loads of full rigs because they’ll be upside down. On the runs you won’t lose any ground, as you’ll be going at roughly the same speed.
The bad thing is the light winds. If you get a good start you will get a fairly good race you’ve just got to stay in clean air and do good mark roundings. In a 4.2 you can’t head as high as a full rig in light winds.
Before I had my Topper I had an Optimist, I sold my Optimist after the 2005 Nationals in Pwllheli. I like the Topper better because it’s a faster boat. They are easier to right after a capsize because they don’t fill with as much water and have a self bailer.
In an Optimist you almost always have to wear a dry suit but in Toppers your doing more work, like playing with the controls, letting them off, putting them on, going round the mark, heeling the boat, leaning it to windward to bear away around the windward mark. This means I can normally wear my Roosters.
4.2s are generally faster than a reefed sail in strong winds and it saves damaging your full sail by reefing. When I’m older and heavier and need a full sail I don’t have to change the lower mast, like in Lasers, but just have to change the sail.
You don’t have to measure your boat at every event because Toppers are all the same – that makes competitions a lot less stressful.
My coaches have set me targets against other 4.2 Toppers, so as far as I’m concerned I am racing against other 4.2’s, but if I get past some full rigs that’s great!”