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.
Author:
Publish date:
Updated on
 A combination of performance and practicality make the Topaz Argo a winner

A combination of performance and practicality make the Topaz Argo a winner

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

sailingabove-2

Swan Flyer: A Hot New One-design

In a racing scene that’s bristling with innovation, legacy builder Nautor’s Swan refuses to be left behind in its quest to dominate the champagne end of one-design sailing. Arriving hard on the heels of the radical Juan Kouyoumdjian-designed ClubSwan 50, the ClubSwan 36 offers a ...read more

Maiden sets out for Uruguay during the 1989-90 Whitbread race

Making Maiden

As recently as the late 1980s, the idea of an all-female sailing team in the Whitbread Round the World Race (the predecessor to the Volvo Ocean Race) seemed laughable to many. How could women handle the competition? They weren’t strong enough. They wouldn’t be able to take the ...read more

01-LEAD-J99

Four Very Different New Boat Designs

Following up on the J/121, which won a SAIL Best Boats award in 2018, the new J/99 represents a similar concept in a smaller package. Specifically, the new 32-footer’s deck layout and rig have been optimized for smaller and even doublehanded crews, with an eye toward meeting the ...read more

Dinghy Suggested CROP

Ask Sail: Dinghy Dilemma

DINGHY DILEMMA Q: We are in the throes of choosing a dinghy, and I would like to ask if you would recommend buying a RIB with a double-skinned hull rather than a single-skinned hull. Which provides better handling or stays drier? Also, aside from the heavier weight of a ...read more

Groupe Beneteau charging its boats in NEOLINE vessel

Transporting Sailboats Under Sail

Transporting sailboats under sail? That sounds like a cool concept, and it’s one that looks set to become reality in 2021 when shipping company Neoline brings its sailing cargo ships into service. Groupe Beneteau has committed to transporting boats between Europe and the United ...read more

01_vor120612_ross_0644

Sailing Master Ken Read

Images trigger memory. Preparing to interview the golden boy of American sailing, I thought I would find a picture that would show Ken Read at the peak of his sailing career, his heyday, to share and have a warm and fuzzy start to our conversation. It was a commanding image from ...read more

New-engine-being-lifted-over-stern

Know how: Replacing the Auxiliary Power System

One of the most complex tasks undertaken during Passion’s refit was the complete replacement of her auxiliary power system—engine, V-drive and fuel tanks. I needed more horsepower, which drove the need for more fuel capacity and a larger V-drive to handle the higher engine ...read more