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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #1  
Old 01-30-2004
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Topping lift

Am replacing the topping lift on my Hunter 26 this spring and have a couple of questions.

The first would be, what is the best type of line to use? The second is, how much a part of creating/maintaining sail shape is it?

PO had it set as basically a static line, which I retied to make it somewhat adjustable, but not easily. Is this something I want to improve on in putting on a new one?

Fair winds,

John
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Old 01-30-2004
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Topping lift

When the sail is up, the topping lift should be set so that it is completely slack. The topping lift has no effect on sail shape unless it is left too tightly set up and then the effect is negative. Depending on how your mainsail is shaped leaving the topping lift set to one single position can often result in the end of the boom sagging down into the cockpit a little more than most people prefer so a lot of boats are set up with adjustable topping lifts that are eased when the boat is sailing and tightened just before the sail is dropped. Topping lifts on a small boat can be small diameter (1/4") dacron double braid. You can also use 1/8" SS wire with nicropress fittings at both ends, cut short of the full length, with a rope tail.

Jeff
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Old 01-30-2004
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Topping lift

Whereas this forum is normally centered around high seas chatter I would like to add a caveat to the use of wire topping lifts on high seas boats with SSB radios using a backstay for an antenna. Most wire topping lifts are mechanically attached to the mast without an insullator. Bad practice.

What can and often does happen is the usually slack topping lift has a tendency to wrap itself around the backstay taking the energy path or ground to the mast where it does not belong. I have had the occasion to witness this grounding wrap phenomenon on my own boat and also the boats of others while underway. Unfortunately tightening the topping lift may interfere with the sail shape so my recommendation is to either eliminate wire altogether (rope too on a real wet and rainy day can cause the same problem) and possibly opt for a rigid vang.

My 2 pennies for today.

Capt. Bruce
http://boatskipper.com

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Old 01-30-2004
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Topping lift

I would suggest foregoing the topping lift and ordering a solid vang from the likes of garhauer marine. SUpports the boom when the sail is down; acts as a boom vang when the sail is up.
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Old 01-30-2004
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Topping lift

I rigged a block on my topping lift this past fall to make it easier to adjust. It has worked like a charm and is very easy to use.
There are pictures of this at http://photos.yahoo.com/koko9pelli

Hope it helps.

Bobbi
s/v Kokopelli
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Old 01-30-2004
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Topping lift

Thanks for the link, was trying to visualize how to set it up, and your''s looks simple and efficent.

Fair winds,

John
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Old 01-31-2004
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Topping lift

You are welcome. I hope it does help. I use a vang on my boat also but I have kept the topping lift...for one thing it enables me to raise the boom way out of the way at times. This rig has made doing that a simple easy step.

Bobbi
s/v Kokopelli
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Old 01-31-2004
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Topping lift

On a boat with a heavy boom and without a rigid vang, using a topping lift to balance the boom weight is quite acceptable in properly shaping the sail especially in light wind conditions. Especially if the main has tell tales positioned at the leach just add tension to the T''lift until the leech becomes unstable (loose) then loosen the T''lift until the airstream flow is correct - a good technique especialy when ''ghosting'' in light winds when the oncoming apparent air flow needs more ''twist'' at the head of the sail.
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Old 01-31-2004
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Topping lift

I would agree with you in many cases but I believe that the boat in question is a Hunter 26 which is probably a bad choice to use a topping lift to support the boom when sailing. I also somewhat disagree with the idea of using a rigid vang to support the boom instead of a topping lift on a boat this size. In order to support a small boom on a rigid vang there needs to be a lot of upward pressure preset on the rigid vang and so you are constantly having to adjust the vang or use excessive mainsheet pressure to over come that tendancy for the boom to lift. It really makes very little sense.

Jeff
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Topping lift

Garehauer does make a ridid vang for my boat, but I had already decided against that, as it seemed an unnecessary expense for a boat I''m only keeping a few more years. My main concern was getting the proper line for it, and thanks to Kokopelli''s excellent suggestion, I won''t be running it through the boom and back to the cockpit. Thanks all for the help.

Fair winds,

John
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