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post #3 of Old 01-30-2004
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Topping lift

Whereas this forum is normally centered around high seas chatter I would like to add a caveat to the use of wire topping lifts on high seas boats with SSB radios using a backstay for an antenna. Most wire topping lifts are mechanically attached to the mast without an insullator. Bad practice.

What can and often does happen is the usually slack topping lift has a tendency to wrap itself around the backstay taking the energy path or ground to the mast where it does not belong. I have had the occasion to witness this grounding wrap phenomenon on my own boat and also the boats of others while underway. Unfortunately tightening the topping lift may interfere with the sail shape so my recommendation is to either eliminate wire altogether (rope too on a real wet and rainy day can cause the same problem) and possibly opt for a rigid vang.

My 2 pennies for today.

Capt. Bruce

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