Skip to main content

2011 Best Boats: Topaz TAZ

Best Dinghy

Although it can be easily singlehanded, the 9ft 8in TAZ, from Topper International, can handle an adult and child, making it ideal for training or parent/offspring daysails.

Better still, this is a boat with a Bermudian rig that both prepares beginners for the rigs they will be handling as adolescents and adapts to their needs as they develop as sailors. Specifically, the basic rig flies a 48ft2 main, while a higher-performance “race” version includes an 11ft2 headsail. Combine the race rig with the TAZ’s slippery hull form (with a true “pointy bow instead of a square one” as one young sailor described it to us), and flared topsides that cry out for aggressive hiking, and you have a boat that will keep kids excited for years.

The TAZ weighs just 88 pounds and features Topper’s Trilam construction, in which a foam core is incorporated during the rotomolding process to create a hull that is stiff, light and durable. The TAZ is so buoyant that the cockpit stays well out of the water when the boat is capsized, making it a piece of cake to get it back on its feet again.

For decades, designers and boatbuilders have been striving to create a dinghy to challenge or at least join the ubiquitous Optimist as the trainer of choice. With the creation of the TAZ, Topper International may have done it. For more information, visit topazsailing.com

SPECS

LOA: 9ft 8in
LWL: 9ft 8in
BEAM: 15ft 11in
DRAFT: 3ft 11in
WEIGHT: 88lb
SAIL AREA: 47ft

[brightcove videoid="3989528006001" playerid="4343385270001" height="315" width="560"]

Related

DUFOUR_470.JM-LIOT-15

Boat Review: Dufour 470

Annapolis may be the sailing capital of America, but if you looked around the United States Sailboat Show last fall, you would have no choice but to conclude most sailboats are now built in Europe. The Dufour 470 is a good example of a modern French performance cruiser. DESIGN & ...read more

01-LEAD-IMG_6563

Close Encounters: Captain Sarah Schelbert

I met Captain Sarah Schelbert back in 2019 while on the boat trip from hell aboard a seaworthy but poorly run Triton 28 in the western Caribbean. I was trying to help the owner sail his boat back to Florida from the Rio Dulce, in Guatemala. Outbound from the river basin, we had ...read more

02-Voice-of-the-Oceans---sailboat-Kat-11

Raising Their Voices

Many of us who are cruising sailors have been sailing mid-ocean or walking along a perfect beach in the middle of seemingly nowhere, only to be appalled at the amount of plastic trash we find. Few of us, however, have taken that disheartening reality and turned it into a ...read more

IC37racingonSunday-Photo-by-Paul-Todd

IC37 North American Championship

This past weekend saw 20 IC37s off Newport, Rhode Island engage in fast and furious one-design racing with the win going to Peter McClennen’s Gamecock. “It’s huge,” said McClennen of the win. “I think of the one-designs of this club going back to the New York 30 [built in ...read more

01-LEAD-IMG_2056

South Pacific Storm Prep

Having set ourselves the task of transforming our recently purchased Open 66 ex-Vendée Globe racer, NV, into a performance family cruiser, my partner, Timo, and I found ourselves (extremely) high and dry as cyclone season approached. The favorite cyclone strategy in Fiji is to ...read more

00-Alexe-1---GUaGKDY4-single-boat-sailing-away-from-skyline,-Hill-Holiday

Cruising: Find Your Own Adventure

Whether they’re at the end of their collegiate career or after aging out of a summer sailing program, a lot of young sailors have a hard time finding a way to continue sailing as adults. Some of the barriers to sailing, including location, finances and time, can be hard to ...read more

00LEAD-IMG_2183

Heavy Hitters on Heavy Weather

“What’s the joke about heavy weather? You know it when you see it.” Figure 8 singlehander Randall Reeves drew laughs from the Cruising Club of America (CCA) sailors attending the forum “Heavy Weather Sailing: Bluewater Perspectives” as part of the CCA’s centennial celebration in ...read more

Nominne-Promo-2048x1149

Best Boat Nominees 2023

The more things change, the more they seem to stay the same. Some of it is timing. Some of it is just the way of the world. Either way, it can be fascinating to see the evolution of the boatbuilding industry over the years, as has been evident in SAIL magazine’s annual Best Boats ...read more