Topper Youth Transition

It is inevitable that most sailors will join the class as a junior and move on to a new class somewhere between the ages of 14 and 19. As a RYA Junior Pathway class, we fully support transition to the RYA Youth Classes, and have adjusted our Craftinsure National Series programme this year so that sailors can focus on their new classes in the autumn in time for the Transition Squad indicator events.

There is a wealth of guidance and advice in the RYA Youth Handbook, including details of all the Youth classes. The links below are to the individual class websites and are intended to help transitioning sailors (and their parents) to find out about the class and Training opportunities.

It is important that sailors plan their transition and consider not just what their friends are doing, but also their physical development, temperament and longer term plans – a 70Kg sailor is unlikely to be the ideal helm for a Youth class two man boat, but may well be an excellent crew. It is easy to consider the single hander route as an extension of the Topper experience and thus not consider the wider opportunities available in crewing or helming a two person boat. Finally, it is worth considering your sailing style – there is a considerable difference between the way you sail a 420 and a 29er for both the helm and the crew. If you are in a squad, your Head Coach will be happy to talk about your transition options with you.

In addition to the RYA Pathway classes, there are other options including; Coaching – a chance to give something back to the Topper class, Keelboats and other, non-pathway classes, some of which offer good youth training.

RYA Youth Pathway Classes

Laser Radial –

Regional training takes place around the country – see and Category Laser Radials

SailLaser are running a Get into the Laser course on the 30th and 31st May (Monday and Tuesday of the school holidays) at WPNSA. This is directly after the Topper National Series 2 and so is an ideal opportunity to stay on at WPNSA and learn more about sailing a Laser Radial (or 4.7) – boats can be chartered from SailLaser if you havent got your own. Details and booking via theSailLaser website.

29er –

Here are more details about the 29er Class

The 420 is an established performance two person trapeze and spinnaker racing
dinghy. There are 56,000 worldwide. This popular dinghy is sailed at school, club,
open, national and international levels. There are many second hand boats
available, active clubs and excellent tuition for all levels. Built in buoyancy tanks
make the boat very safe even when inverted. The 420 is a youth development boat
in the UK and in 42 other countries, and despite the
emergence of newer commercially driven classes and asymmetrics, the 420 is still
the top youth training boat. Most of the World’s top sailors started in this class and
easily moved on to succeed in other classes.
420 Class Open Training

The Class runs Open Training Events for its Members, designed to improve the
skills of those wishing for better performance and for those who aim to reach
excellence. Coaching is in small groups and all participants have access to any
coach during the event. Details of these events are published on the main Event
Calendar and on the special Training Event pages – click on link at bottom of
the page. The small groups come together every day to practice their skills in
race start and strategy. Debriefings take place after each session, with visual
aids and comment from the coaches. Open training events are coached by
ex-420 sailors who are qualified coaches and have a record of achievement in
this and other Classes. Many have won World Championships and Gold or
Silver medals, thus have first class sailing experience, but they are chosen for
their skills at working with young 420 sailors. Event supervision is by the Class
Training Officer, or his nominee (parents need to arrange accommodation and
supervision outside the formal training sessions, except where it is a fully
residential camp). Our training is in part sponsored by the RYA, who also may
select National Youth Squads and issue invitations to Transitional Training from
their observations at our training events.

Other classes popular with youth sailors

RS200 –

There is some RS200 training taking place at Datchet Water SC on the 2nd April, 1st October and 5th November with Sam Pascoe as head coach.