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Topper Bigger sail?

Printed From: Yachts and Yachting Online
Category: General
Forum Name: Beginner questions
Forum Discription: Advice for those who are new to sailing
Printed Date: 17 Aug 18 at 3:39am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 9.665y -

Topic: Topper Bigger sail?
Posted By: oldbaldbloke
Subject: Topper Bigger sail?
Date Posted: 19 Jan 17 at 5:20pm
I wonder if someone could help. I'm really keen to start sailing. My budget is ..very little. 
My experience . I surf and used to windsurf a lot to a reasonable standard. Happy with my feet in the straps, hanging on a harness and  blasting up and down. I sailed in wayfarer's  as a kid with the YMCA most holidays and as a teacher have sporadically had the chance to sail with kids on school trips. Last time was a few years ago and I spent a couple of days in  a pico. I've also helped on my friends sadler 27.

I'm no sailor , but feel confident that, with some basic instructions and a bit of help I could get going.

One plan is to get a  cheap topper. I like the idea that it would fit in the back of my van and just go to the beach and sail. I live only a mile or so from West Bay in Dorset or could probably drive down the road to Charmouth. The idea being to have  a quick and easy sail at a local beach

I'm 5 11 and 12 and a half stone . All my reading suggests I'm too heavy fro a topper. am I ? I don't plan to race I just plan to go down to the beach and have a sail.

What I don't quite understand is that when I windsurfed a lot I just put up a bigger sail if I needed more power.

 My question is .    Just for fun, could one rig up a bigger sail  on a topper and thus move a heavier person with a little speed?

The reason I'm looking at a topper is they are cheap, light, plentiful and look fun, but all the u tube clips seem to show tiny people in them.

I'd really appreciate if anyone we could share some wisdom with me.


Posted By: Wiclif
Date Posted: 19 Jan 17 at 7:24pm
They were designed for smaller people, but they do carry weight quite well if it is windy.

A bigger sail, if you could find one, would be a bad idea, as the mast and boom are already working at their strength limits.

Since your name is oldbaldbloke, you may find that the boat is a bit cramped, and you might be better looking at a Laser or similar. Although, if you were happy in a Pico then the Topper would be much the same for ease of moving around

You will need a larger Sprinter rather than a (small) Transit sized van for a Topper to fit in the back


Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 19 Jan 17 at 9:44pm
I'd go along with the Laser suggestion given your hight and weight, if you could find a way to transport it. A Topper will feel cramped and slow (I tried one a couple of times when I was windsurfing and racing Raceboards. You'll find a Laser for Topper money and for cheap sailing they take some beating.

Posted By: Eisvogel
Date Posted: 19 Jan 17 at 10:21pm
I'd support this. I'm 6'4" and about 12 stone, and a Laser is just perfect for that.

Posted By: iGRF
Date Posted: 19 Jan 17 at 10:48pm
Be interesting to stick a big windsurfer rig on it and find out for yourself.. You don't need lessons to sail Topper if you can windsurf, there's this thing at the back to make it change direction, a rope to pull to make it go - Simples

-------------" rel="nofollow - Snow Equipment Deals" rel="nofollow - New Core Kite website

Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 19 Jan 17 at 11:43pm
Big smile I always wondered about a big raceboard rig on a Topper but, even down to weight (which I'll bet most weren't) it's a bloody heavy windsurfer.........

Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 20 Jan 17 at 7:57am
I don't know whether the hull would take a bigger rig. I wondered about transferring a 7.5m Minisail rig straight across. The current spars would have issues, I think. I sailed a Topper for a few years as an adult, but only weighed about 10 1/2 stone at the time. Great for a blast in a strong wind, frustrating to race in the light stuff.

Take a look at the Comet, too. Similar length, but more hull volume and a bigger rig.

Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Topper 44496, Minisail 3131, Minisail 3446

Posted By: PeterV
Date Posted: 20 Jan 17 at 12:00pm
If you're happy to accept the Topper for what it is there's no reason why you cannot enjoy it. It's great for carrying to a beach, sailing in swimming trunks and having a blast when it's too rough for anything else to go out. I'm the same size as you and I've done all this with ours despite also sailing a Finn.

Finn K197, Finn GBR564

Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 20 Jan 17 at 12:23pm
At 12.5 stone you can go sailing quite happily in a Topper, and it won't handle badly. The spars would fold up if you put a bigger sail on though. Grab a sail in one and see how you get on. But if if does turn out too small you can always sell it on. Always buyers for them, unlike more obscure boats.

Posted By: oldbaldbloke
Date Posted: 20 Jan 17 at 12:28pm
Hi everyone
Thank you for your responses.
I guess everything's a compromise.
I agree a Laser sounds great and probably makes most sense. However I think I then have to tow and drive to a beach further from home.

Maybe just accepting a topper for what it is and giving it a go is what I have to do . If it doesn't work my kids could use it.

I suppose I am looking for something that doesn't exist. Maybe I need to just start windsurfing again! Maybe that's how windsurfing was invented?

The thing is I live so close to the beach in Dorset and I wanted a solution where I could go to my local beach and sail with the minimum fuss. No trailer ,no driving long distances.

If any one has ever experimented with a bigger sail I'd love to hear , but I guess if it was doable someone would have tried it by now. Maybe the extra forces would break something.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 20 Jan 17 at 1:31pm
> Maybe the extra forces would break something.
The spars are a little bit more delicate than ideal as they are when the kids haul everything on tight.

Posted By: EddyP
Date Posted: 20 Jan 17 at 2:45pm
Think all of this has given me enough to work with too, I'm a little on lighter side so I think a topper is the way to go. Does anyone know any sort of 'test-drive' facility/retailer in the South? Does such a thing even exist?

Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 20 Jan 17 at 3:08pm
Most sailing centres have a fleet of toppers which can be hired out for a modest fee. Where abouts in the South are you?

Posted By: bicrider
Date Posted: 24 Jan 17 at 4:43pm
Just an idea but I am 6'4" and 17 stone and I sail my kids Pico with the larger Rooster race sail. Yes in the light stuff it is a bit cramped and to beat upwind I find myself sitting up past the main sheets cleats. But if I am not trying to race it and just out in a heavy breeze its great fun. Laser say the standard sail is 5.14m2 and the sport sail is 6.44m2 and made from mylar and has battens. But despite what Laser say about being able to go on a roof rack I would not and it is not a 1 man job if you do give it a try.

Dart 18 5054 "Willy Flipit"
Finn K333
Yellow (faded) Pico "Willy Tipit"

Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 24 Jan 17 at 5:05pm
Another question for the OP, You mention a topper fitting in the back of your van, it's 3.4m long, a Pico is 3.5m a Topaz is a lot longer at 3.86m. Where would you have to draw the line for it to fit in your van? The Topaz is not bad for singlehanding by a reasonable sized adult (a windsurfing pal of mine had one for some time before buying an L3k 18 months ago) but I suspect it might be too big. it's also a fair bit heavier than the Topper (60kg hull weight against 43kg and a more complicated thus heavier rig).

This is quite a useful resource for comparing boat's basic specs" rel="nofollow -  
PY numbers are pretty out of date mind you.

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