Best dinghy: Topper Topaz Argo

The 2015 Boat of the year winner for Best Dinghy.

Roto-molded boats are a dime a dozen these days, but they’re essential to the base of the sport, particularly for sailing schools and community sailing programs, so getting a new model to standout is a challenge for companies like Topper. The boat has to be remarkably stiff, strong, fun to sail, and reasonably priced. The Argo, our judges agreed, hit on all four points. The Argo is only 14 feet, but it’s a generous 14 feet, with 6 feet of beam and a lot of volume. Its buoyancy was good, and seating, inside and on the coaming, was comfortable. With the Gnav vang, and the boom up high, it's easy to get across the boat.

In 10 knots of breeze and flat water, the judges rotated through, disembarking with smiles. “The boat moves along great,” said Allen. “The hull chine works; it heels until the chine digs and then it tracks perfectly. It’s a lot stiffer than roto-molded boats we’ve sailed in the past.”

Stewart agreed: “The tiller feels good, the boat balances nicely, and it’s lively with the spinnaker. I can see younger sailors would jump in it and have a blast.”

“It’s more than a youth training boat,” concluded Allen. “We were hiked, kite up, weight back, and the thing just ripped along. Nice and stable. I’d say it’s more of an intermediate dinghy. It can be dumbed down for lessons, but with the bigger kite, two adults would have fun with it, especially with the traps.”

DESIGNED FOR: Sailing schools, families, and getting youth sailors on the wire

REQUIRED CREW: Two to race, four to play

BEST ATTRIBUTES: Proven roto-molded construction, engineered stiffness in the hull, easy but powerful sailplan

PRICE AS TESTED: $12,000

Topaz Argo: Best Dinghy

The Argo looks and feels like a roto-molded recreational dinghy, but it performs like a conventional high-performance doublehander. Even with two adults, it was lively, turned on a dime, and all the controls were effective.Walter Cooper