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Topper sailing in a breeze

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Longwayround View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Longwayround Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Topper sailing in a breeze
    Posted: 03 Jun 16 at 9:53pm
I've recently rediscovered sailing. There's been a Topper sat round the side of my house for 16 years or so and finally I found somewhere to store it and sail it last month. My sailing skills are at best rusty: I sailed as a Sea Scout and Venture for eleven years until 1995 and barely at all since.

I'm fine sailing in lightish winds but was taken aback when, in a force four or so, I found myself completely unable to steer the boat. Obviously I'm doing something wrong. Your advice would be much appreciated.
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Rupert View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Rupert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 16 at 10:01pm
At a guess, and it can be little more than that, I would say your sail was too baggy. Try more outhaul (and make sure you tie the clew down to the boom) more kicker and more downhaul to bend the mast and flatten everything off. If the downhaul is a rope to a clear on the mast, consider adding a purchase to give yourself a fighting chance of control.

Toppers are a hoot in a breeze, and a force 4 should only be the beginning of the fun!
Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Leader, Topper 44496, yellow Minisail
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Longwayround View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Longwayround Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 16 at 10:06pm
Thanks for your very prompt reply. This leads to my next question: my Topper is a 1979 vintage and still has most of the original fixtures and fittings. How easily can I add the newer kit which I see sold by the likes of Rooster to my boat? And does it really all have to cost as much as Rooster charge? My outhaul is pretty much impossible to adjust on the water and the same can be said for the downhaul.
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Rupert View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Rupert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 16 at 10:40pm
No, it doesn't have to cost that much! Adding a purchase here and there, and a new cleat or 2, is all you need do to make the boat more fun. You probably not looking to win the world's, after all. Oddly, outhaul adjustment is the hardest to get right, as there is loads of friction.

Edited by Rupert - 04 Jun 16 at 8:00am
Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Leader, Topper 44496, yellow Minisail
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Longwayround View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Longwayround Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jun 16 at 10:51pm
Phew! I was looking at all those possible upgrades and then thinking it would soon come to more than the cost of a newer Topper! I just need to find a good supplier somewhere then!

My wife and daughter have both signed up for sailing lessons so this boat's going to be getting a lot of use soon!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Spike Boland Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jun 16 at 11:30am
Not a massive expense but when you up grade it tends to put more strain on other things.  You might well have the old boom with a boat that age.  Get an upgraded  kicker and put on the amount of tension needed to go fast when wind gets up then the old boom will break.   However overtime as everything gets upgraded it will get easier and more fun to sail.  Enjoy.
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Longwayround View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Longwayround Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jun 16 at 7:01pm
I suppose if I break the boom I then get a good excuse to upgrade that part...
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Post Options Post Options   Quote piglet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jun 16 at 8:00pm
There is a fine line between investing in a saleable package and throwing good money after bad.
The OP didn't give us his sail number (or his weight) but I upgraded two 28### boats to squad spec for my sons, the boats were not measurably different to brand new boats AND I got all my money back on resale, less the umpteen sails I bought of course.
My 2pworth is, in order of importance:
1. If it's an old skinny boom, find another.
2. Buy a 6:1 triple block downhaul.
3. Replace the sail if it's blown out.
4. Decent 3:1 kicker that works
5. If old steel kicker hoops, replace with Rooster white straps.
That will get the boat into a raceable condition.
IMO. Sailing a Topper aft main is fundamentally wrong, old diehards will disagree, let them.
I would be getting a centre main kit.
How much so far?
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JimC View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jun 16 at 8:09pm
Why *fundamentally* wrong?
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Longwayround View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Longwayround Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jun 16 at 8:55pm
Sail number 16736: the boat's not a lot younger than me! I'm also still aiming to get my weight down to 95kg (I may be the only person who trained to do a marathon and gained 20% body weight!)

I'm unlikely to race the thing in a long while. That said, however, I wouldn't want to promise that my 12-year old daughter will never race, it's just that she's more into kayaks and can't yet sail. I'm hoping that once she's learnt to sail she'll recognise the error of her ways. How would I know that my sail had blown out?
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