Proper Boom Angle...? - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 06-16-2009
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Proper Boom Angle...?

I'm used to being on boats with solid boom vangs, so I've never really paid attention to this before... But my new(used) boat has a topping lift.

So my assumption is that the proper adjustment for the topping lift is to set the angle of the boom to the mast to 90 degrees.

Yes/No ?
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Old 06-16-2009
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No, the topping lift is only to keep the boom from smacking you in the head if the leech blows out on the main. And to keep it out of the cockpit when the main is flaked.
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Old 06-16-2009
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How I use the topping lift

I have the reverse situation. I've always had a topping lift but never a vang.

I use the topping lift to raise the boom to help shape the mainsail in light air. The weight of my boom sometimes overtrimms my main so when I cast off the mainsheet and the sail still looks too flat I take the weight off by tightening the topping lift.

I also use the lift when not underway to get the aft end of the boom higher so I don't whack my head on it.
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Old 06-16-2009
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It all depends to the shape of your main. The boom will get a position in accordance with the shape (cut) of your main sail. You can increase this angle slightly, by using your vang or decrease it by using your topping lift. Although the main reason of the topping lift is to keep your boom in horizantal position when the sail is not on, you can use it to change the shape of your main sail also.

When you have no sail on the boom, it is best kept in a horizantal position (very near to perpendicular to the mast).
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Old 06-16-2009
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So is there a general "set-it-and-forget-it" angle that it can be adjusted to, the way a "solid" boom vang appears to fix the boom angle?

Or do you release the topping lift every time you put the Main sail up and allow the Sail to dictate the adjustment of the boom height/angle ?
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The proper setting of you topping lift can be found when sailing with the mainsail close hauled...the topping lift should have a little slack in it...i.e. not be restricting the trim of the main.

When the main is lowered, if the boom drops in an inconvenient way, take it up with the topping lift...if not, you haver atopping lift that doesn't need adjusting.

Never take load on the topping lift when the main is raised and being trimmed, especially if you have mid-boom sheeting, or you run th erisk of breaking the boom...
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I have a set-it-and-forget-it angle on my topping lift. When the sail is down, the boom is a little lower than it should be, but I can just slide the traveler to one side and it's out of the way. When the sail goes up, so does the boom, and the topping lift goes slack. I almost never mess with the topping lift.
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Old 06-16-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingfool View Post
The proper setting of you topping lift can be found when sailing with the mainsail close hauled...the topping lift should have a little slack in it...i.e. not be restricting the trim of the main.

When the main is lowered, if the boom drops in an inconvenient way, take it up with the topping lift...if not, you haver atopping lift that doesn't need adjusting.

Never take load on the topping lift when the main is raised and being trimmed, especially if you have mid-boom sheeting, or you run the risk of breaking the boom...
Ok... So normal procedure with a topping lift is to leave the tension on the topping lift until the mainsail is raised. Afterwhich, tension should be released and reset so that there's a small degree of slack, allowing the main to hold the full weight of the boom while sailing. Then after the mainsail is dropped, the topping lift can be retensioned to raise the boom just for head clearance.

Correct?

Now here's my secondary concern... I also have a two-line dutchman system running through the main. I don't know a LOT about it, but it would appear to me from the way it's adjusted. That if you allowed the boom to drop more than 6"-8" without disconnecting the topping lift snap shackle that's connected to the upper line, that it would snap both of the monofilament lines on the Dutchman.

Is that the way it's SUPPOSED to work?
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Old 06-16-2009
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There are three variations of the Dutchman System. If you use the Dutchman system correctly, before you drop the mainsail, you tighten up on the topping lift, and on my system adjust the two blocks connecting to the two lines so that the blocks are directly above the line guides in the sail. Before you tighten the topping lift, head upwind using the motor, and slack off the mainsheet so the boom is free to swing/luff, then tighten the topping lift. Now drop the mainsail by releasing the halyard. As the sail drops onto the boom, you may need to guide the ends of the sail just a little. For the real instructions, go to MVBInfo.com Home Page . Look for the appropriate owners manual for the version that you have.
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Old 06-17-2009
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Topping lift marks

If your sail is cut so you can't "set it and forget it" mark the topping lift line in two places with a marker - one for sailing and one for head room. Mark the line where is goes through a stopper or goes to a cleat. That way it's a quick and easy adjustment each time.
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