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Old 29-03-2012, 20:51   #1
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Talking My New Boat: Australian Top Hat 25

After looking at what seems like a hundred boats and nearly buying a dozen, private sellers and boat brokers can rest easy - I will no longer trouble them. The thick wad of dollars has changed hands and I am the owner of a 1979-ish Top Hat 25.

Top Hat 25's are an interesting boat, giving good standing room and having a reputation for solid sailing. Several Australians have sailed around the world in them, which amazes me.

I was hankering for a trimaran or a 30 footer mono, came close to making some purchases but always a deal-breaker came up. With the not-sailing time stretching out, I decided to re-evalute my preferences and change the way I was thinking. And so, the Top Hat came up, it fitted my changed preferences and I got it.








Just for those going through the same process of boat hunting and who may be interested when I said about changing my preferences, here is an example of what I mean.

My last boat had a hatch over the companionway and I had been on a boat without one and found it very awkward, so I said I would only have a boat with a companionway hatch. Also, with my partner having disability, she would need one.

Top Hats do not have the companionway hatch. However, after seeing one advertised which did have a hatch, I started thinking that it may not be such an insurmountable problem as I believed, especially if the price was such that I had money left over for making changes. It was pure coincidence that the next boat which ticked the boxes was a Top Hat.

Surprisingly, when checking it out, I did not find the lack of hatch a problem with entering or exiting the cabin. My wife has not yet tried it but there is a slight possibility that we don't need to have the hatch like I thought we did. Even if we do, that's okay we can get something done. For me, the key point is that I can now go sailing and the boat can be adapted so my wife can also venture onto the quite waterways, where if I had kept going the way I was, I may have found a boat tomorrow but more likely sometime way down the track. I don't want to waste good sailing weather : ). I like my new little ol' boat and can't wait to get out there under a full sail and blue water to the horizon.

Oh, it is moored at the Qld Southport Yacht Club and I will be sailing her up to Rockhampton sometime in the next month. If you are in the area and you see a Top Hat proceeding very cautiously, it could be be so please wave : ).
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Old 29-03-2012, 22:09   #2
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Re: My new boat: Australian Top Hat 25

They are a nice boat well done, last year a single sailor sailed up from NSW to the Whitsundays. Met hin on Bait Reef, he missed the entrance and got stuck on one or the stepping stones. I got on board and we bounced it off the reef, tuff boat only paint damage. Once my boats fixed we too will be heading north by the end of next month.
Also wandering if it is the same boat? I think he came from Camden Haven.
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Old 29-03-2012, 22:19   #3
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Re: My new boat: Australian Top Hat 25

Had one - good thing, tough as teak reasonable performer and generally a good cheap way to be on the water.
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Old 30-03-2012, 01:21   #4
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Re: My new boat: Australian Top Hat 25

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Originally Posted by SimonV View Post
They are a nice boat well done, last year a single sailor sailed up from NSW to the Whitsundays. Met hin on Bait Reef, he missed the entrance and got stuck on one or the stepping stones. I got on board and we bounced it off the reef, tuff boat only paint damage. Once my boats fixed we too will be heading north by the end of next month.
Also wandering if it is the same boat? I think he came from Camden Haven.
There is a Top Hat called Seaka owned by Phillip who sailed up that way, leaving Camden in April, back by October last year. So, same type of boat but different ones.
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Old 30-03-2012, 01:39   #5
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Re: My new boat: Australian Top Hat 25

Aloha and congratulations!
She looks like a tough little boat and I hope you have many future happy sailing miles aboard her.
kind regards,
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Old 30-03-2012, 02:24   #6
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Re: My new boat: Australian Top Hat 25

That's a MKII top hat, probably the best of the three marks. I had a Timber one, the originals were built in timber, not designated as a mark at all. Designed by john illingworth for single handed ocean racing, particularly the Syney/NZ race. great little boats. Here is their home site if you do not already have it.

Top Hat Yachts

Coops.
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Old 30-03-2012, 05:56   #7
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Re: My new boat: Australian Top Hat 25

Great news and great boat. I desperately wanted one of these in the 70's but never quite made it.
Enjoy
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Old 30-03-2012, 10:31   #8
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Re: My new boat: Australian Top Hat 25

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There is a Top Hat called Seaka owned by Phillip who sailed up that way, leaving Camden in April, back by October last year. So, same type of boat but different ones.
Yes that was him just found his blog. its a good read.
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Old 30-03-2012, 16:18   #9
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Re: My New Boat: Australian Top Hat 25

G'Day Troppo,

Well done, mate! Toppers are great little boats... we know two that have done major passages/circumnavigations... so we wish you the joy of your new command.

Where are you gonna keep her? Rocky is too far up the river IMO!

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 30-03-2012, 18:19   #10
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Re: My New Boat: Australian Top Hat 25

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Where are you gonna keep her? Rocky is too far up the river IMO!

Cheers,

Jim
Hi Jim, there are nicer places to moor than on the muddy mangrove river at Rockhampton about 30 nm from the sea. However, chicken mesh across the companionway and hatches keeps the sandflies out and with a bit of 4x2 hardwood you can dong the crocs before they climb right into the boat so it is not all bad.

My wife suffers from chronic pain and low mobility so quiet cruising on the river is a good start to our plan to get her out of the house more. Early morning and evenings, the water can be like glass and the scenery looks totally awesome. Ya don't even notice the muddy water. Then at times there are heaps of water birds that come onto the sandbars and make a real sight.

And seeing a fisherman hauling in a crab pot doing a tug-a-war with a croc munching the crabs (and pot) is one of those typical up-north river things which brings a smile to most people.

I'll go solo up and down the coast when I get the chance and the distance to the sea will become a bit of an issue but I'm okay with that. Overall it suits us and there is a nice boat club in Rocky.
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Old 30-03-2012, 21:21   #11
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Re: My New Boat: Australian Top Hat 25

Quote:
Originally Posted by troppo View Post
Hi Jim, there are nicer places to moor than on the muddy mangrove river at Rockhampton about 30 nm from the sea. However, chicken mesh across the companionway and hatches keeps the sandflies out and with a bit of 4x2 hardwood you can dong the crocs before they climb right into the boat so it is not all bad.

My wife suffers from chronic pain and low mobility so quiet cruising on the river is a good start to our plan to get her out of the house more. Early morning and evenings, the water can be like glass and the scenery looks totally awesome. Ya don't even notice the muddy water. Then at times there are heaps of water birds that come onto the sandbars and make a real sight.

And seeing a fisherman hauling in a crab pot doing a tug-a-war with a croc munching the crabs (and pot) is one of those typical up-north river things which brings a smile to most people.

I'll go solo up and down the coast when I get the chance and the distance to the sea will become a bit of an issue but I'm okay with that. Overall it suits us and there is a nice boat club in Rocky.
OK, so ya have the crocks, sandflies and mozzies sorted... whaddya gonna do about the drop bears?

Sounds like you have a workable plan, mate... good onya and on your wife as well. Ann (who has had all manner of painful afflictions to deal with aboard) and I wish you both well in your adventures.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 24-01-2014, 05:01   #12
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Re: My New Boat: Australian Top Hat 25

G'Day Simon,

A friend found this thread yesterday so I'm a bit late replying.
You can see my blog at
www.sailblogs.com/member/seaka

I always wondered where you got to after you rescued me at Bait Reef, I did see you at Whitehaven Beach but you got underway too early for me the next morning.
Tried to get to Tasmania last year but the weather beat us.
Anyway doing a full refit now for the next voyage later this year, don't know where yet.

To Coops, timber TH's are Mark 0's and were designed for JOG races in England but were quickly adopted by the racing types in Port Phillip, VIC where they still put up stiff competition to all the modern yachts - win a bit too! Mark 1 Baker built TH's are considered the prettiest and strongest built of the 3 marks.

What was the name of your timber Mk0 and do you know where it is now?

Phillip.
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Old 24-01-2014, 07:00   #13
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Re: My New Boat: Australian Top Hat 25

Great choice of a tough little aussie boat. They are very well respected as good sea boats and seem to be easy to sell when its time to upgrade.

It may be possible to add a sliding hatch all the same. Though, you may need to discuss it with a Good Shippie or Naval Architect to ensure you will keep the structural integrity of the cabin roof and associated fittings.

But congrats on the new boat. Enjoy
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