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Re-activating Toppers: From 37 years old to like new

by Mark Jardine 5 Apr 2017 13:13 BST 5 April 2017

We spoke to Roger Proctor, son of Ian Proctor who designed the Topper dinghy, about a new scheme to re-activate old Toppers and get them back out on the water. At the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show a half re-activated Topper was on display, showing just how dramatic the transformation can be.

"This Topper was my nephew's and was given to him by my father. The boat was given to him in 1980 and it's number 10,000 - we're now on 50,000 - and it has been sitting on the slipway down on the River Dart," said Roger.

"What you can see is that the boat was pretty unloved, faded, and had growth on the hull. The great thing about polypropylene is that it's really easy to bring back to life. Just with a bit of elbow grease, white spirit and a heat gun you can make an old boat look virtually brand-new again."

"There are boats all around the country in dinghy parks which are unloved and people feel they don't want to sail them because they look too old; in fact a boat that you probably couldn't even give away, with just a few hours of work, can be a boat that's worth a thousand pounds."

The boat on show had the original foils and spars, but a new sail, and the centre mainsheet system and more powerfully kicking strap were fitted, bringing the boat up to 2017 spec.

"Topper International are doing a special deal for re-activating Toppers for clubs and schools and it's just a really easy way to get those old boats back on the water," said Roger Proctor. "We launched this scheme at the Dinghy Show and it's been non-stop with people amazed that this is what can be done to an old Topper. It's fantastic!"

The transformation really is dramatic as you can see, and it's another great scheme to get more people participating in sailing and out on the water.

For more information please contact the ITCA (GBR) via email at or via their website at