Topper (dinghy)

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Class symbol
Toppers at Stewartby Open 2005
Designer Ian Proctor
Year 1977
Design One-Design
Crew 1
Type Monohull
Construction Polypropylene
Hull weight 94 lb (43 kg)
LOA 11 ft 1 in (3.38 m)
Beam 3 ft 11 in (1.19 m)
Hull appendages
Keel/board type Daggerboard
Rig type Bermuda
Mainsail area

57 sq ft (5.3 m2)

45 sq ft (4.2 m2)
D-PN 110.4[1]
RYA PN 1301[2]

The Topper is an 11 foot 43 kg (95 lb) sailing dinghy designed by Ian Proctor. The Topper is a one-design boat sailed mostly around the British Isles. It was recognised as a World Sailing Class. The boat is constructed from polypropylene, and is popular as a racing boat or for sail training. The class association (itca) organise racing events, which range from small travellers to major championships. The RYA run squads alongside the events; in these squads are talented young sailors who are given specialist race coaching.

Class history and design[edit]

The Topper was designed by Ian Proctor in 1977 as a One-Design racing boat.[3] The Topper has been in continuous production for over four decades and over 50,000 models have now been sold.[4][5] The Topper dinghy is built in the UK, to the One-Design of Ian Proctor, by Topper International Ltd. owned by Martin Fry who purchased the company from Guinness Leisure in 1983. In 1977 the boat won the Design Council Award and the Horner Award for achievements in plastics.

The Topper dinghy is widely used for racing, but it has also gained popularity as a boat in which to learn how to sail.[4] The Topper was originally designed with a glass reinforced plastic (GRP) hull, however, it was later decided that the Topper should be constructed with injection moulding, using polypropylene,[5] which makes it a relatively light but durable boat.[5][6] Following this change from the GRP to the injection moulded Polypropylene hull, sales of the Topper soared.[7]

Toppers at the 2006 National Championships, WPNSA

Although the Topper was originally rigged with an aft mainsheet, since 2004 the option to use a centre main has been allowed. The motivation for such a change being that most other dinghies, including the ones Topper sailors are likely to advance to, are rigged with centre mainsheets.[5]

In 2005 a smaller 4.2 m² sail was approved,[8] which can optionally be used in favour of the standard 5.3 m² sail.[9] The smaller sail is more efficient than a larger sail that is reefed. The first 4.2m² national championships were held in 2010.[7]

At 11' the Topper is named for the ability to transport it on the roof of a car, and the mast splits into two sections, allowing the spars to be stored and transported.[7]

Despite the age of the design, the Topper Class remains one of the fastest growing classes in the UK, with a very active national association. The Topper class is a recognised World Sailing International Class since 2005. The GBR Nationals and the World Championships often have over 200 boats.

The largest fleet is in Great Britain where the class is part of the RYA "pathway" class program with turnouts at the RYA Zone Championships and the highest percentage of RYA Transitional Youth Squad members. Most 'GB Young Sailor of the Year' nominations in recent years have come from within the Topper Class.


World Championships[edit]

Event Gold Silver Bronze
Malcesine (ITA)
 Michael Wood (GBR)  Andrew Brown (GBR)  Freddie Connor (GBR)
 Elliot Hanson (GBR)  Richard Cumpsty (GBR)  Jonathan Hewat (GBR)
 Andrew BRIDGMAN (GBR)  Finn LYNCH (ITA)  Felicity FOULDS (GBR)
 Michele BENAMATI (ITA)  Giovanni BENAMATI (ITA)  Edward JONES (GBR)
2011  Matt Venables (GBR)  Robbie Robinson (GBR)  Patrick Crosbie (IRL)
2012  Giles Kuzyk (GBR)  Edward Higson (GBR)  Felix Crowther (GBR)
Loctudy (FRA)
 Liam Glynn (IRL)  Thomas Wallwork (GBR)  Georgie MCKENZIe (GBR)
Pwllheli (GBR)
Garda ITA
 Vittorio Gallinaro (ITA)  Patrick Zeni (ITA)  Niamh Harper (GBR)
Ballyholme GBR
 Elliott Kuzyk (GBR)  Tim Hartnell (GBR)  Sam Cooper (GBR)
Loctudy (FRA)
 Scott Wilkinson ()  Samuel Cooper ()  Dan McGaughey ()

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Centerboard Classes-Inactive". US Sailing. Archived from the original on 16 August 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  2. ^ "Portsmouth Number List 2012". Royal Yachting Association. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  3. ^ "2005 INTERNATIONAL TOPPER (5.3m2) and Topper 4.2 m2 CLASS RULES" (PDF). ISAF. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Topper Dinghy". Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c d "The Topper". Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  6. ^ "The Topper". Archived from the original on 5 May 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c "Topper". Archived from the original on 27 November 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  8. ^ "Topper 4.2: SAIL NUMBERS & NATIONAL LETTERING" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  9. ^ "Online shop / Topper / Sails". Retrieved 28 June 2010. 

External links[edit]