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Join Date: Sep 2005
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If you get a rigid vang that can support the weight of the boom, then you can consider removing the topping lift. It's my preference as it eliminates what is a) a source of chafe on the mainsail leech, and b) another 'step' in setting and dousing sail (release on hoist and reset before dousing - not a biggie, but...)
We store the main halyard at the end of the boom when the sail's down, so any concerns about people leaning on the boom, kids climbing around etc are alleviated by this 'temporary' topping lift.
There is, of course, a cost - these vangs are not cheap, though some versions like the 'boomkicker' are simple, effective and less money though you do still need a conventional rope-and-tackle vang too. The Gerhauer is highly recommended and reasonably priced - and a lot of their gear is probably already on your Catalina.
1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"
".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)