Topper Factory Visit
Visit to TOPPER Sailboats
On 22 November 2018 Ten Club Members braved the fog and road works on the M20 to see how our local International boat builder produces its injection / rota-moulded sailboats and catamarans from its base in Ashford Kent.
TOPPER Sailboats are best known for the production of the Topper sailing dinghy that shares the companies name. With nearly 50,000 having been produced from just one mould since 1976, the Ashford Production Team join the Polypropylene deck and hulls using an electrically heat welded process; manufacture and assemble foils and spars before adding fittings and packing them to be distributed and sold around the world.
During the two hour tour, Russ Dent and his production team enthusiastically guided us through the stages of boat assembly. We saw aspects of manufacture on the Topper, Topaz, Mango, Argo and Omega and a stack of hulls from their Topaz Catamaran range. We asked questions about the boat construction and learnt how the boats are designed to be robust for day to day sailing as well as performing well on the water.
It was interesting to hear how Topper Sailboats endeavour to cater for real life sailing practicalities into the design and construction of their range of boats and to hear how they saw their market changing and developing to reflect how people now wanted to go sailing.
What most impressed was the quality of boat finish, workmanship and remarkably, how few people produced the whole Topper range!
The tour ended with Russ showing us a collection of discounted Topper merchandise ready for the 'Black Friday' deals at the end of the week and with Fred buying the new 6:1Topper Kicker conversion kit, ready for the next season when it becomes race legal.
The tour was enjoyed by everyone. If other members wish to visit this can be arranged in the future, just let Fred Lynds - Mono Representative know.