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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail > Topping Lift
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Topic Review (Newest First)
11-06-2013 11:35 AM
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
Re: Topping Lift

It may be old, but it is still useful.
03-31-2013 10:26 PM
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
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
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.
03-07-2013 03:06 AM
Re: Topping Lift

If you have one rigged with a masthead sheave, a topping lift can function as an emergency mainsail halyard, with a tagline they be used for hoisting flags, lights, radar reflectors etc. they make a good safety or tool bucket line when using a bosun's chair, when run through a block at the end of the boom, they can be part of a MOB retrieval system. etc etc. So. . . a topping lift can be a very useful thing.
dony s/v "Pretty Girl"
03-07-2013 02:55 AM
Re: Topping Lift

The topping lift greatly helps tune & controls mainsail shape; mainly twist, and is a really really great asset in light aires, It's not just there to hold up the boom!
Interesting and important thread in sail trim , thanks mates!
Dony s/v "Pretty Girl"
07-24-2001 07:02 PM
Topping Lift

I replaced the topping lift on my sloop rigged Bermuda 40 with a custom solid vang built by Garhauer. They will work with your measurements and send you extra springs of varying strengths so that you may obtain the lifting moment and degree of motion you desire. I can raise my boom some 10-12 feet above the cockpit (aft cockpit if you''re not familiar with the B-40) although that should never be necessary and I can retract it almost down to the helm using the springs for lift and a multi-purchase control line lead through a variable release line stopper for retracting. I have used the rig in winds of 20-25 knots w/o use of a winch although, if necessary, I can run the control line to one of the unused secondaries in the c/p. At the present I am using a 24:1 purchase but can easily double that by doubling the end of the control line if that proves to be necessary. When cruising I usually leave the boom (and flaked main) supported by the vang for ease of use. However, if I leave the boat for any extended period, say a week or two, I will generally support the boom weight with the main halyard lead to a bail for that purpose. I heartily recommend a solid vang for sail shape much easier and precise than fussing with other methods.
07-12-2001 04:43 AM
Topping Lift

My last boat was a 25 ft Cape Dory rigged with a topping lift. The best function this set up had over a rigid vang was to raise the entire boom high up out of the cockpit,(raising the gooseneck up the boom while leveling the boom with the topping life)so we could more comfortably entertain guests while at anchor or dockside without hitting our heads on the boom. Also helped avoid hitting our heads while scrubbing the topsides, . I don''t believe a rigid boom vang would have given us this range of height adjustment..
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