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.
The Topper was designed by Ian Proctor whose other boats include the ever popular Wayfarer. It was originally constructed in GRP but this was changed quite early on to an injection moulding construction. After over 40 years of continuous production (approaching 50,000 boats!) it is the outstanding build quality, durability and innovative design features that have made the Topper one of the most popular boats in Britain.
The Topper hull is injection moulded with incredible precision, reaching a level of uniformity quite outside the scope of any other production system, either hand built or mass produced in GRP or roto-moulded plastic. The material is polypropylene which has proved to combine strength and flexibility with lightness and virtually everlasting life. Because of this proven reputation resale values are extremely high.
In 1977 the Topper was awarded the Design Council Award and the Horner Award for achievements in plastics. The Topper is used in the Open University television programme to illustrate the principles of craft, design and technology, the development of injection moulding techniques and the handling and use of plastics in industry. Download a paper that recounts the fascinating story of how two injection moulding machines were linked together for the first time to produce the Topper in polypropylene.
The two main mouldings of the Topper hull are fuse welded together to produce a robust single unit. Specially shaped polystyrene blocks are fitted at this stage to provide extra stiffness and enormous reserves of positive buoyancy in the very unlikely event of the Topper’s tough skin being holed. The hull of every Topper has a five year warranty proving that the builders have great confidence in it.
Clever design features include a clever swivelling mast gate that enables you to erect the mast single-handed. There is a brilliant rudder system that allows the blade to be set and locked in any position at the flick of a wrist. And the hull plate can survive the boat coming ashore at high speed with the dagger-board still down!
The aluminium mast is un-stayed and in two sections allowing the spars to be stored within the length of the boat. The sail has a luff tube which makes rigging really easy. The daggerboard is made like a rudder blade of a moulded polypropylene which never snaps. But it can sink, so you must tie it on...
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."