Top Notch Sailing from Northern Ireland Topper's

Northern Ireland’s largest Junior Singlehanded class is the Topper. A class so many current Olympic, Professional, and amateur Sailors alike began their sailing journey. Over the years Northern Ireland Sailors have enjoyed success in this class with countless national Champions, Several Podiums at international events including even World Champions. This Success is never guaranteed, other regions and countries are continually developing their club sailing, training programmes and coaching practices to support the next generation of Topper Rockstars.
17 Aug 23
Ni sailors at British Topper Nationals

The 2023 Season was set to be a big one with a home event so to speak as the Topper World Championship hit Irish Shores hosted by Cork Yacht Club. Then followed immediately with the British Nationals in Plas Heli Sailing Club, Wales.

The regional calendar of Irish events provided lots of opportunities to learn and benchmark the sailor’s race craft before they came together for the Irish Nationals in Ballyholme YC in early July. The NI fleet boasted 4 out of the Top 5 with Tom Driscoll BYC crowned as the 2023 National Champion, Cormac Byrne SSC 2nd, Luke Simpson CAYC 3rd and Emily Macafee BYC Female National Champion and 5th overall. In the 4.3 Class NI Sailor Adam Green LEYC also took a podium place in 3rd.

Fast forward a few weeks and it was the Big one as around 250 Toppers amassed in Cork Harbour to race for the title of World Champion. Again, our Sailors put in a sterling effort with four in the top 25. This time Luke was the top Irish Boat achieving 6th Overall with Tom 7th. Cormac 13th and Emily 23rd. Adam again performed well in the 4.2 Class to secure 8th with Polly Robinson BYC 19th.

With barely time to get home our guys and girls hit the road again this time to Wales for the Topper British Nationals, an equally competitive challenge as the World Championships themselves. 

After a long week at the Worlds only 5 NI Sailors made the trip but again put in a fantastic effort. Cormac Byrne hit out with an incredible first day posting a 2, 1, 2 to lead overall, only to then suffer a Black flag in race to and have the scores amended. A tough blow but these things happen in championship racing. Lighter-winded played a part in the qualifying rounds as likely candidates struggled and some even missed the cut for the gold fleet. Consistency would prove invaluable and Luke managed the event very well to make the Podium in 3rd Overall. With more wind on the last day others managed to find form posting several top three results but after a tough start to the week had to settle for places just outside of the top ten. Tom 12th Emily 15th and Cormac 20th.

‘’Congratulations to our sailors on a great competition season. And hats off to the parents and coaches who supported them and drove them around the country and further afield to realise their goals.

These results are encouraging. I am pleased to see we (NI Sailors) are still competitive internationally. However, we much ensure we continue to progress the junior pathways here within our RYANI Performance Programmes and at club level.’’


Irish Nationals (BYC)

Topper Worlds (Cork, IRL)

Topper British Nationals 
 Adam Green   3 (4.2) 8 (4.2)  
 Charlotte Cairns

20th Female


43rd Female


 Chloe Craig

18th Female


44th Female


 Cormac Byrne 2 13 20
 Emily Macafee

1st Female


9th Female


 Hugo Boyd 26 91  
 Isabel Nixon  

34th Female


 Iseult Speirs

21st Female


26th Female


17th Female


 Joseph Robinson  23 101  
 Katie Brow  

21st Female


Luke Simpson 3 6 3
Polly Robinson

1st Female

7 (4.2)

6th Female

19 (4.2)

Rose Kelly

22nd Female


60th Female


 Sophie Cairns  

 70th Female


Tom Driscoll 1 7 12
Zoe West-Hurst

23rd Female


71st Female