Skip to main content

Best Boats 2015: Topper Topaz Argo

A few months ago, SAIL ran a story in which we considered exactly what it is that makes for a great small boat. And as fate would have it, the Topaz Argo from the UK’s Topper International meets an awful lot of the standards we came up with.

A few months ago, SAIL ran a story in which we considered exactly what it is that makes for a great small boat. And as fate would have it, the Topaz Argo from the UK’s Topper International meets an awful lot of the standards we came up with. Fast, well mannered, easy to sail and good looking, this is the kind of a boat that will appeal to sailors of all ages and backgrounds. Better still, because it is built using Topper’s proprietary TRILAM rotomolding technique—which sandwiches a foam core between and inner and out skins of super tough Metalicene polyethylene—the boat is virtually unsinkable and more than up to the task of withstanding years of use and abuse. 

Like the venerable Flying Scot, the boat is exceedingly stable for its 14ft 4in LOA, thanks to an aggressive chine and a generous 6ft of beam that also provides for plenty of sail-carrying ability. The rig has been configured for easy singlehanding, but the boat can also be raced by a crew of two, and there is plenty of room in the cockpit for three or even four sailors, making it an excellent trainer. For those in search of more horsepower on the racecourse, a “Sport” version is available with a single trapeze and A-sail flown from a sprit. Additional touches include a super-slick spinnaker launch and retrieval system, molded-in handholds beneath the gunwale for hauling the 243lb hull around before and after sailing, and a nifty channel in the chine designed to further reduce the spray flying up into the crew’s faces. The centerboard and rudder are both fabricated in epoxy: clearly this boat is more than just a learner’s toy.

For years—since the advent of yachting, really—it’s been all too evident that just about anyone can create a high-octane sailing beast that will thrill its crew when the wind is up. Far more challenging, however, is a boat that can give its crews a thrill while not scaring the wits out of less experienced sailors. The Topaz Argo is one of those rare boats that not only does both, but does both well. Let’s hope we see more of these fine little boats on this side of the Atlantic.

norbanks.com

Related

01-LEAD-Tablet-Holder-4

Fabricating a Tablet Holder

During the pandemic, I was stuck aboard Guiding Light, a Lagoon 410, in St. Lucia for over a month. During that time, as I worked on the boat, I started by doing a spring cleaning in my spares locker and finding some parts and material that I forgot I had. As soon as I saw them, ...read more

00-LEAD-AdobeStock_486335954

A Catamaran for a New Era

Anacortes, Washington, is an unassuming sea-salty town near the San Juan Islands of Puget Sound, and the Betts Boats yard is easy for a passerby to miss. But within Betts’ facilities, the dawn of an era in Pacific Northwest production boatbuilding could be breaking with the ...read more

X5_plus_slide-01

Boat Review: Xquisite X5 Plus

The Xquisite X5 Plus is a major update of the boat that SAIL awarded Best Large Multihull and Best Systems titles in 2017. The changes were not just cosmetic, but genuine improvements to an already fine boat, making it lighter, faster and less dependent on fuel. The builder’s ...read more

01-LEAD-AdobeStock_40632434

Cruising: Offshore Prep Talk

When I began preparing Minx, my 1987 Pearson 39-2, for extended Caribbean cruising, I had to balance my champagne wish list against my beer budget. Every buck spent on the boat before leaving would be one less frosty can of Carib down in the islands. On the other hand, I had to ...read more

m5702_RACE-AREA-6

Barcelona Venue Shaping Up

The decision to host the next America’s Cup in Barcelona ruffled the feathers of some fans, but the Defender is happy with how the venue is shaping up. The process of allocating team bases, spectator zones and the race village is underway. “I cannot speak highly enough of the ...read more

ELAN-GT6---273

Boat Review: Elan GT6

Elan’s first sporty “Grand Turismo” yacht, the 43ft GT5, launched in 2017, and was actually a bit of a mash-up. It combined an existing go-fast hull from Elan’s sexy E5 racer with a new deck and interior optimized for cruising comfort, and a somewhat detuned rig to create a ...read more

OVI-Gyre-22_KH_Crew-clean-deck-and-catch-nets_260622-11

Ocean Voyages Institute Recovers Nearly 100 tons of Plastic Waste

After 45 days at sea, the sailing cargo ship KWAI has docked in San Francisco with 96 tons of recovered plastic, including ghost nets and derelict fishing gear from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Ocean Voyages Institute, a non-profit organization based in Sausalito, CA, uses ...read more

01-LEAD-ARC-Multi_JMitchell-JM5_2883

Multihulls and the 2021 ARC

The days of multihulls being the weirdos of the sea are gone. Nothing illustrated this better than the 2021 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), which departed Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (in Spain’s Canary Islands) in November and wrapped up in December on the island of St. Lucia ...read more