There are a growing number of Topper sailors who we would like to encourage to participate in racing more often, as well as encouraging new Topper members into the club.
Why Toppers is the question? There are other boats out there for juniors to sail so why does it matter what they are sailing? This is where the bigger picture comes into play. The Topper is the cornerstone of the RYA Junior sailing programme with club fleets in every corner of the UK. It is the only class in the RYA programme which is really nationwide.
So why does this matter if I only sail at Beaver? Options. Easy to buy and sell, easy to master for beginners, good racing at every level as you progress, and the most comprehensive RYA and class run training programmes.
How do I start in a Topper? You can try it out at the Beaver sailing school on Saturdays (we have a good fleet of Toppers) or jump straight in and buy your own. They are easy to find without having to travel far. The next thing is to get out racing on a Sunday or Wednesday evening. This is when you really start learning and progressing. Ask questions about everything that happens out there, read books, sign up for race training. The more you know the better you get, so you will want to know more. Before long you might fancy moving to the next level. Maybe the RYA North Zone Squad. It is aimed at people like you. Not too long into sailing but have mastered the basics of racing and want to learn more. Half a dozen weekends over the winter that might change your life. Having said that 40 sailors applied for 20 squad places last winter so you need to be ready for the challenge.
What makes Toppers such a good route to take if you want to get better at sailing and progress to a higher level? Whether it is the North East Travellers, the Nationwide Series or the Nationals or even the Topper Worlds you will find big fleets with great competition and a lot of people having a fantastic time. And what does all this add up to? In the 2011/12 Laser Standard and Radial Youth Squads 25 of the 27 sailors came through Toppers. In case you think being up North is a disadvantage half of these squads come from the North of England or further North!
Racing starts again at the beginning of March and the Beaver Topper Open is earlier this year on the 27th April.
If this sounds good to you feel free to have a chat with me or our Sailing School Principal, Alan Windust.
Have a great 2013 season.
JULIE HARRIS (Previous Fleet Captain & Topper sailor)