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)
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 Ireland and the United Kingdom. It was recognised as an International class by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF). The boat is constructed from polypropylene, and is popular as a racing boat or for sail training. The class association (itca) organise the racing events. these events range from small travellers to major championship's.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 three 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. Topper International Ltd are owned by Martin Fry who purchased the company from Guinness Leisure in 1983.

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 transportable by 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 full ISAF International Class. Over 350 boats attended the most recent UK Nationals and Inland Championships. Every year there is also a World Championships - 200 boats competed at the Topper Worlds in 2011. One of the classes favorite venues is Lake Garda where for the first time ever the competition was held in consecutive years in 2006/07.

The 2014 GBR and World Championships are held in Pwllheli, north Wales.

The Topper Class consistently has the highest 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. The RYA recognise the Topper Class as the most successful "pathway" class.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Centerboard Classes-Inactive". US Sailing. 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. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Topper Dinghy". Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c d "The Topper". Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  6. ^ "The Topper". Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c "Topper". Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  8. ^ "Topper 4.2: SAIL NUMBERS & NATIONAL LETTERING" (PDF). Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  9. ^ "Online shop / Topper / Sails". Retrieved 28 June 2010. 

External links[edit]