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Lemonshirt 11-23-2013 07:45 PM

Why use a topping lift
Having sailed only twice now, I'm a bit perplexed about the line that runs from the top of my mast to the end of the boom. I believe it's referred to as a "topping lift"? I can see that it conveniently holds up the boom when the sail is down. But when the sail is up, does it serve any purpose?

At first I think I had the line too short (boom too high). I couldnt pull the sail in close enough with the downhaul halyard. But too long and the cable can rub the sail.

Any problem with just not connecting it at all?

34crealock 11-23-2013 08:02 PM

Re: Why use a topping lift
Once you get the main sail up, slack off the topping lift enough so you can mange the sail without pulling on the topping lift. When you sheet in the main sheet too tightly you will stress the topping lift if it is not slacked off enough. If you leave it connected with a little slack in it and you have to drop the main in a hurry it will keep the boom from crashing down. You can use a length of sturdy marine grade bungy cord on the boom end of the topping lift which will keep you from breaking it if you forget to slack it after raising the main. Enjoy

Lemonshirt 11-23-2013 08:08 PM

Re: Why use a topping lift
oops! If I had taken time to read a few of the recent posts, I would have seen that this has been adequately asked/answered. sorry. my bad.
But thanks for taking a look anyway!

Faster 11-23-2013 08:14 PM

Re: Why use a topping lift
If the main is reefable, the topping lift will support the boom during the reefing process making that job much easier.

The downside of the topping lift is, as you've noted, it's tightening up before the sheet's all the way on, and the chafe the slack lift can create along the leach of the sail when it's up there and soft enough to not interfere with trim. There's no need for a topping lift if you use your main halyard to support the boom when the sail's down, for example, though you do have to set the boom on the cabintop before you transfer the halyard, obviously.

Nowadays a lot of boats use a 'boom kicker' or another form of rigid vang that provides support from below, negating the need for a topping lift for that purpose. We have such a vang, and 'store' the main halyard at the boom end as extra support when stopped. This also gets the halyard off the mast avoiding halyard slap.

If you want, you could put a quick release on the boom end of your topping lift and store it along your backstay or elsewhere to avoid the problems it poses when sailing.. just remember to reattach before when you drop the sail. As suggested a bungie cord might help here.

Barquito 11-23-2013 09:47 PM

Re: Why use a topping lift
I think my topping lift was designed just for entertainment purposes. I can spend hours fiddling with it to try to keep it from catching on my full battened main. :)

CorvetteGuy 11-24-2013 07:03 AM

Re: Why use a topping lift
Ours gets removed after the main is up and attached to a fixed point on the back stay. Quick to remove and attach, and stay out of the way of the sail.

Squidd 11-25-2013 10:29 PM

Re: Why use a topping lift
I have an adjustable block and line on the end of my topping lift

Nice to raise the boom at dock for extra headroom

Can be let down after sail is up with slight slack line

Is already attached to boom when it's time to reef and I got other things on my mind...

I had a fixed length topping lift, didn't like it would either forget to remove it after sail was up (poor sail shape) or it would go flying loose at the most inopportune times, or I'd forget to attach it and drop the boom when reefing or dropping sail

fj007 12-11-2013 03:01 AM

Re: Why use a topping lift
Thanks for asking this, i just picked up an old Flying Junior and it has a topping lift and i had no idea what it was for.

lowtide 12-11-2013 08:41 AM

Re: Why use a topping lift
In light air, the topping lift can be used to add more shape to the main, by lifting the boom without affecting the sheeting angle.


chucklesR 12-11-2013 08:47 AM

Re: Why use a topping lift
It's a tool for boom lift and sail support, like any other tool sometimes it is right and sometimes it needs to be put away.
On my boat if it's not adjusted properly the boom can rub the bimini when close hauled.

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