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Old 03-31-2014
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Adding a topping lift, or the heck with sheaves

Hey all! Any help on this one would be much appreciated and it really is a two part sort of thing where one answer may solve both issues.

We have the mast down on our M25 1981 and are doing some mantainance and additions. We want to add a topping lift and were looking at the mast head (right name?) where the lines, in this case just a main halyard, come up run through sheaves and back down. Here is ours.
Aft


Forward


First off, I think the sheaves that are already there need replacing. Can these just be purchased somewhere like Mcmaster Carr? How do you pull it apart to replace them? Sorry for the green question but I have never seen a connection quite like these. Look like giant rivets.

Also, if I want to add a topping lift, can I add additional ones or do I need to change out the whole top to add a space. How do folks handle that one? Could you just hang a block for the purpose? Where would you hang it that wouldn't mess with the sail. Sorry. I am gabby.

Any suggestions? Gotta add an outhaul too for our new fancy sail sitting in the box while my lakes are still frozen. But the work can really begin. Keel cable and bolts inspected today, battery back in and charged, connected back to solar, everything removed for an internal scrubbing, etc.

Here to show you we are in this for real, this is what is behind me right now. Two down, 5 to go plus the cockpit if we are inspired after the interior.


Thanks for any help. This is my first real project that I can talk about on here. I promise to take pics
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Old 03-31-2014
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re: Adding a topping lift, or the heck with sheaves

I can't tell from the pics how the sheave pins are attached. Pics from each side would help.

You don't need a block at the masthead for a topping lift. You can dead-end it at the top and put a block above the end of the boom. A line runs from the boom end through the block and back down to the boom, through a small cheek block and to a clamcleat if you want. The clamcleat can be anywhere on the boom - near the mast or at the aft end.
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re: Adding a topping lift, or the heck with sheaves

Hi AlaskaMc
Just took a quick run outside to check my mast head and as I thought it is the same as yours. (I too have a Mac 25) My sheave blocks are just through bolted so just undo them and replace the sheaves and bolt them back in.
As for a topping , just forward of the backstay I have another bolt that goes through the masthead to which I added a block, ran a line through the block and down to the mast. After lifting the mast up I run one end of the line to the boom and the other end down the mast to a turning block to a deck organiser and then to a cleat on the cabin top. This works for me as I can raise or lower the boom from the cockpit. Hope this helps.
Anthony
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re: Adding a topping lift, or the heck with sheaves

Yes, absolutely replace those sheaves. Measure them, then look around for replacement sources. We replaced the sheaves from our Catalina 25 using the sheaves sold by Catalina Direct:. Their sheaves may work for you, too.

Regarding Brian's suggestion for the topping lift, if his description didn't make sense, check out the description and drawing here:
Topping Lift Kits from Sailcare
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Re: Adding a topping lift, or the heck with sheaves

Al,

consider a Boomkicker instead of a topping lift. Works along with your vang and about the same price as a topping lift kit. We love ours and we trailer every sail.

Don
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Re: Adding a topping lift, or the heck with sheaves

You can make a topping lift kit for well under $100. Use dyneema (Amsteel) instead of wire for the fixed portion of the topping lift, it is much lighter and will blow out of the way of the sail when sailing. Even the smallest dyneema will be plenty strong.

A basic topping lift on a 25' boat is about 30' of 7/64" dyneema ($10) with a brummel splice on each end, a Harken 2698 T18 block at the bottom splice ($17), and 10' of 1/4" double braid running from the end of the boom ($7), up to the block, and back to a cleat on the boom. If you don't already have a cheek block and cleat on the boom you'll need to add them, but you can still do the whole project for well under $100. It makes a much better topping lift then the kit from Sailcare.

This is what I mean by the dyneema topping lift flies out of the way of the sail:


That photo was taken in 6 or 7 knots of wind.
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Re: Adding a topping lift, or the heck with sheaves

Quote:
Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
I can't tell from the pics how the sheave pins are attached. Pics from each side would help.

You don't need a block at the masthead for a topping lift. You can dead-end it at the top and put a block above the end of the boom. A line runs from the boom end through the block and back down to the boom, through a small cheek block and to a clamcleat if you want. The clamcleat can be anywhere on the boom - near the mast or at the aft end.
I will grab some pics of the sheaves from the side today. It doesn't appear obvious how they were attached. Great idea on running it the other way and dead ending at the mast instead. That would be easy comparatively.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anthony1 View Post
Hi AlaskaMc
Just took a quick run outside to check my mast head and as I thought it is the same as yours. (I too have a Mac 25) My sheave blocks are just through bolted so just undo them and replace the sheaves and bolt them back in.
As for a topping , just forward of the backstay I have another bolt that goes through the masthead to which I added a block, ran a line through the block and down to the mast. After lifting the mast up I run one end of the line to the boom and the other end down the mast to a turning block to a deck organiser and then to a cleat on the cabin top. This works for me as I can raise or lower the boom from the cockpit. Hope this helps.
Anthony
Thanks for going and taking a look. I will need to go and check that when I take my pics. I don't think these are bolted but I will look again. If so, then this was the silliest question ever and should be easy to fix! My plan for the lift was exactly as you describe though as we wanted to have it for an extra halyard should we lose it up the mast. Great description! You don't have pics online anywhere do you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimgo View Post
Yes, absolutely replace those sheaves. Measure them, then look around for replacement sources. We replaced the sheaves from our Catalina 25 using the sheaves sold by Catalina Direct:. Their sheaves may work for you, too.

Regarding Brian's suggestion for the topping lift, if his description didn't make sense, check out the description and drawing here:
Topping Lift Kits from Sailcare
Makes perfect sense and thanks for the link. Diagrams are nice to see and part lists are handy to say the least. Thanks! I will check with Catalina as well on the replacement sheaves. I was thinking of delrin sheaves from Mcmaster-Carr and thought those would work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DonScribner View Post
Al,

consider a Boomkicker instead of a topping lift. Works along with your vang and about the same price as a topping lift kit. We love ours and we trailer every sail.

Don
My wife likes the idea of the book kicker too but can it be used to lift the boom out of the cockpit when at anchor? Looks like you would still have the boom at face level when at anchor. We spend many nights out on the boat so that was one of the goals of the lift.

Thanks everyone! I knew I could count on sailnet.
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Re: Adding a topping lift, or the heck with sheaves

When you are at anchor you can use the main halyard to lift the boom out of the cockpit. You should move the main halyard there anyway so that it doesn't slap against the mast and keep your neighbors awake at night.
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Re: Adding a topping lift, or the heck with sheaves

We secure our halyard so that it doesn't do such a thing. Never heard of moving it to the boom for neighbor annoyance avoidance. But then we are in Alaska and the odds of a "neighbor" doesn't come up often. But banging lines drive me good and nuts too. Good idea. Any thoughts on the jib halyard? We just usually clip both to deck fittings we have to keep them off the mast and out of the way. But if it can do something useful too that would be nice. Thanks.
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Re: Adding a topping lift, or the heck with sheaves

When I had a hank-on boat I would bring the jib and spin halyards to the bow pulpit, but anywhere away from the mast is good.

Almost every boat that I sail on uses the main halyard to support the boom when docked. It's the best way to lift the boom high off of the cockpit if you want to hang out in there. Most topping lifts (like the design that I described above) allow you to lift the boom up to a foot to support it while raising sail and to provide sail shape in extremely light air. They aren't meant to lift it farther.
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