You are very correct. The topping lift holds the boom up. Once the main is up, the topping lift usually is released in order for the weight of the boom to stretch the main. The main will keep up the boom. There is ususally some 'roach' in the main which will cause the 'leech' of the main to chafe againt the topping lift. [if topping lift is in the way] We leave ours on as we usually stay on one tack for a fairly long time.
SOme yachts have a solid vang and therefore dont need a topping lift.
Just remember to reset the topping lift when reefing or dropping the main or you will find the boom about your ears.
Have fun on the ericson.
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Last edited by St Anna; 11-16-2009 at 01:03 AM.