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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail > Topping Lift
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Topic Review (Newest First)
5 Hours Ago 06:56 AM
SHNOOL
Re: Topping Lift

Once again (as old as this thread is)... a topping lift serves 2 purposes, to hold the boom up when nothing else is, and to counteract the forces holding the boom down (for sail shape).

As others have said, a top lift adds complications (drag, and trailing wind disturbance) while sail is up, and some prefer a rigid vang or a boom kicker instead. These two devices ARE NOT a complete replacement for a proper topping lift, however, the biggest issue is merely while transitioning between sail up, and sail down (kicker doesn't provide enough upwards force to support leaning on the boom).. this is usually mitigated once the main halyard is moved from the head of the sail to the boom end.

I personally hated dealing with the topping lift, and would frankly prefer the boomkicker (as I've had 3 on 3 boats, removing topping lifts on each boat). But that's just my preference. The boomkicker must be used with a vang (boomkicker provides upward force, vang provides down)... a rigid vang usually includes a downward force adjustment along with upward.

These are preferences and are completely up to the skipper. Some even keep a top lift as well as a rigid vang or kicker. On a larger boat this makes some sense to me, especially if you aren't racing.
8 Hours Ago 03:53 AM
harmonic
Re: Topping Lift

Its major function is to hold the boom up while you reef
16 Hours Ago 08:03 PM
Silversailor
Re: Topping Lift

Another advantage of a topping lift is that if it is properly sized it can double as a main halyard if the dedicated halyard breaks.
18 Hours Ago 06:07 PM
Gus
Re: Topping Lift

Another good reason to have one in place, If you are sailing without a rigid vang and the mainsail halyard broke free you will love the topping lift. If it is rigged properly it will prevent the boom from dropping on your head or on your crew. just like when you see inexperience sailors dropping the main without following the proper procedures.
11-06-2013 11:35 AM
tschmidty
Re: Topping Lift

So I will ressurect this thread yet again with my .02 on using the topping lift for sail shape. I don't have one on this boat but did on my 16 footer.

That boat did not have a traveler and so I would use the topping lift to counteract the main sheet forces when going upwind in lighter airs. This would let me sheet the main in hard to the middle of the boat but then use the topping lift to lift the boom and avoid flattening the sail too much. It also moved the boom in another inch or two. Seemed kind of wrong but it did work for me.
05-27-2013 01:21 PM
glassdad
Re: Topping Lift

It may be old, but it is still useful.
03-31-2013 10:26 PM
luck66
Re: Topping Lift

Alex, Thanks for the info re:topping lift. I did know you could put bag in a sail using the topping lift to aid light air sailing. I am not set up the way your boat is, always good to know new tricks.
03-30-2013 11:40 PM
jackdale
Re: Topping Lift

This is definitely a zombie thread - 2001.
03-30-2013 10:58 PM
Alex W
Re: Topping Lift

luck: the topping lift is used to add a little fullness to the sail when sailing in extremely light air. The boom weight will pull flatten the sail in the leech (like pulling the vang very hard). The topping lift is used to counteract that.

Most of the time I leave my topping lift looser than the main sail's leech, but tight enough to keep the boom off of the dodger when the sail is lowered. This means it basically doesn't need to be touched. However in light air I will use it to adjust sail shape.

If your main sail has a lot of roach then you may need to loosen the topping lift even more to prevent the sail battens from hanging up on the topping lift during tacks.

My topping lift is a fixed piece of 1/8" amsteel with an eye splice at each end. The lower eye splice goes around a small block, and 1/4" line goes from the boom, up to that block, and back to the boom and forward to a cleat. Amsteel is very soft on the sail leech (so chafing isn't a problem) and this setup is inexpensive, light weight, and easy to adjust.
03-30-2013 10:38 PM
luck66
Re: Topping Lift

dony, my undrestanding of of topping lift is: a line attached to the end of the boom to hold the boom off the top of the house. There are better ways to control twist and sail shape ie; vang, out haul, cummingham main sheet and halyard.
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