Topping Lift from shroud cleat on the backstay?? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 28 Old 08-13-2015 Thread Starter
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Topping Lift from shroud cleat on the backstay??

My 28 footer does not currently have a topping lift, it uses an off-center crutch secured on the cockpit bulkhead next to the companionway. It works but the five foot long crutch is a bit of a hassle. So I am considering a topping lift.

I am considering putting a shroud cleat on the backstay a couple feet above desired boom height and running a short line from it to the aft end of the boom to serve the topping lift function. The much shorter line would permit less boom-swing than a conventional topping lift line from the masthead.

Any thoughts on this solution?
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post #2 of 28 Old 08-13-2015
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Re: Topping Lift from shroud cleat on the backstay??

What you are proposing will work. Common on many smaller boats. The disadvantage is you have to hook it up prior to dropping the main or the boom ends up in the cockpit. A topping lift that goes to the top of the mast is left connected while sailing and thus will support the boom when you drop the main. Same for the spring loaded strut types installed between the base of the mast and the boom.
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Re: Topping Lift from shroud cleat on the backstay??

If what you are describing is something to hold the boom up when the sail is down it will work fine. A topping lift is used to change the depth of the sail when underway. Since whenever the boom moves your solution would change the amount of lift of the boom it would clearly not work as a "topping lift.

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Re: Topping Lift from shroud cleat on the backstay??

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Originally Posted by svzephyr44 View Post
If what you are describing is something to hold the boom up when the sail is down it will work fine. A topping lift is used to change the depth of the sail when underway. Since whenever the boom moves your solution would change the amount of lift of the boom it would clearly not work as a "topping lift.
Interesting. The only use on my boat for the topping lift is to hold the boom up when the sail is down. Since I don't use it to change the "depth" of the sail when underway then what should I call it?
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Re: Topping Lift from shroud cleat on the backstay??

I do not like hooking a lift off the backstay. On a windy day, you do not want to be attempting to handle the back end of the boom which will be swinging in violent circles. You risk a black eye or losing some teeth.

Installing a proper topping lift from the top of the mast is the way to go, and will also serve to support the boom when reefing. A solid boomvang is an alternative, combined with the use of the main halyard as the topping lift. I find on most boats that setting the topping lift so it just goes slack when the main is raised, allows you to ignore the topping lift for the rest of the season, i.e. it does not need further adjustment at any time.
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post #6 of 28 Old 08-13-2015
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Re: Topping Lift from shroud cleat on the backstay??

I had this on my 22' boat. I have split backstays and when I bought the boat the boom was held up by a line that ran between the two backstays. It worked.

A couple times I forgot to unhook it and sailed away with the boom still clipped on. Didn't notice while close hauled, but things got interesting when I came down to a beam reach and tried to ease the mainsheet….

This spring I replaced it with a proper topping lift and I like that much better. It could also function as a spare halyard, if needed.
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Re: Topping Lift from shroud cleat on the backstay??

Our first boat, a 22', had the topping lift attached to the backstay...it did its job in holding the boom up. However, I completely agree with Minnesail...I also forgot to detach it from the backstay a few times, and it can be more of a pain than one would think to reattach it when it's time to take the sail down, and the wind and seas have kicked up. For a 28', which is what we currently own, I would also suggest a proper topping lift from the masthead, which is how ours is set up and it is a much more efficient setup. However, it will work...
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Re: Topping Lift from shroud cleat on the backstay??

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Originally Posted by hriehl1 View Post
I am considering putting a shroud cleat on the backstay a couple feet above desired boom height and running a short line from it to the aft end of the boom to serve the topping lift function. The much shorter line would permit less boom-swing than a conventional topping lift line from the masthead.

Any thoughts on this solution?
A shroud cleat holding the boom would carry significant weight from time to time (forgetting to disconnect, storms rocking the boat and pushing on the sail cover, people falling against the boom, etc.). Along with the clamping force of the actual cleat, I think this unnecessarily wears a spot in the backstay.
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Re: Topping Lift from shroud cleat on the backstay??

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Originally Posted by FSMike View Post
Interesting. The only use on my boat for the topping lift is to hold the boom up when the sail is down. Since I don't use it to change the "depth" of the sail when underway then what should I call it?
Not usually. I have been known to take the weight of the boom with the topping lift in light airs so as to let the sail fill. Not a trick I use often but it does work.
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Re: Topping Lift from shroud cleat on the backstay??

I used to sail a Catalina 27 with a Topping lift on the back stay as you describe.
It works.
I can't begin to list all the reasons I disliked it.
It tends to act like a sheet once its attached.
Particularly awkward if when reefing.
Rigged from the top of the mast is much better, if you can a solid boom vang is the way to go. I have one on my current boat its great.
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