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Discussion Starter #1
the cal 27 i just bought has no topping lift. i was thinking about installing one, then i got an ad for 35% off of a boom kicker. according to the product info, the boom kicker does the job of the topping lift better than a topping lift. it sounds like a great solution to the problem. does anyone have any experience with a boom kicker? i am curious if they are as good as they sound.
 

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They work well.. You still need a vang because the kicker only pushes up. (Assuming we're talking about the twin f/g rod style kicker)

I like to dispense with the TL because it avoids leech chafe from the topping lift flailing around. This is a relatively inexpensive way to accomplish that.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
They work well.. You still need a vang because the kicker only pushes up. (Assuming we're talking about the twin f/g rod style kicker)

I like to dispense with the TL because it avoids leech chafe from the topping lift flailing around. This is a relatively inexpensive way to accomplish that.
http://http://shop.sailboatowners.com/detail.htm?group=395


this is the one. it isn't supposed to be a boom vang replacement. i thought it sounded like the perfect solution to my topping lift problem. i just wanted a second opinion. looks like that'll be my next purchase. are you familiar with this model?
 

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I can't tell about that specific model since I have no idea what model is on my boat, or my last boat, or the one before that. But the style, with two fiberglass rods acting like springs is very common on smaller boats (up to 30' or so) and work very well. Mine was strong enough to support the boom wi the mainsail and cover on, and did so for years with no issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I can't tell about that specific model since I have no idea what model is on my boat, or my last boat, or the one before that. But the style, with two fiberglass rods acting like springs is very common on smaller boats (up to 30' or so) and work very well. Mine was strong enough to support the boom wi the mainsail and cover on, and did so for years with no issues.
another vote towards getting one!
 

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I am looking at making the transition from topping lift to boom kicker or rigid vang this year.

The topping lift gets in the way while under sail (chafes the luff)... it works great to hold the boom up, but that extra weight aloft is not helpful either.

These kickers should work well for your Cal, just be aware some booms aren't perfectly shaped for the "standard" kit. Mine for example has a "lip" on the bottom which prevents directly attaching the bracket (catalinadirect makes a boom kicker custom kit for it).

But generally, if your boom is nicely round, and there is room at the bottom of your mast, and you already have a vang, then a kicker is a great addition. Keep in mind you'll want to move the mainsail halyard to the aft end of the boom once you secure the main... Also if you are this acutely aware of the problems related to the topping lift, you'll likely want to remove it completely from weight aloft. The price you link to seems quite good.

A boomkicker completely supports the boom for a VERY short period of time, when the sail is down, and you haven't moved the mainsail halyard yet to the aft end of the boom.

The ADVANTAGES of the boomkicker are easily seen when you are in extra light air, it allows the boom to come up some to keep the shape of the lower portion of your main (more draft). A topping lift can be used the same way, but in my experience that usually happens in variable air... and you need the top lift for a bit and then not...

A boomkicker HAS to work in conjunction with a vang. The vang works against the upward force of the boomkicker.

As an alternative to the boomkicker/vang combo, is a rigid vang. Garhauer Marine Hardware -7211578
 

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I added the k1250 Boomkicker to our Olson and love it. It keeps the boom out of the cockpit when dropping the main, and since I single-hand quite a bit, that's a huge plus for me. It's also very simple to install.
 

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An alternative that is even cheaper to is to make your topping lift out of very light dyneema line (1/8" or smaller, 2mm stuff is good but harder to splice). It can be a fixed length about 12 to 18" shorter than your main's leech with a fixed very lightweight block at the end (<20 grams). Run a line from the end of the boom up to that block and then to a control point.

This lightweight topping lift will blow out of the way of the main in even the tiniest breeze. It costs about $40-50 total depending on your main sail size. There are two splices to make, but they are easy brummel splices in single braid. The dyneema is more than strong enough for the needs here.



You can see my topping lift blowing out between the leech of the sail and the backstay. You can also see that my mainsail could have a lot more roach, and the next one will.

I don't even adjust my topping lift very often. I leave it set like that so that when the main comes down the boom drops slightly until the topping lift goes taught. Occasionally in very light air I'll use the topping lift to avoid closing the mainsail leech and to keep shape in the sail.
 

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Never had a topping lift, just used a pigtail to the backstay. Bought a boom kicker and installed it last year, it was a great upgrade. I love it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Never had a topping lift, just used a pigtail to the backstay. Bought a boom kicker and installed it last year, it was a great upgrade. I love it.
yeah. that's my thing. my holiday has a topping lift. this boat only has the pig tail. every poster has been positive towards the boom kicker. i am going to check out that link for the rigid vang, though, before deciding. that might be a better option. my cal also doesn't have a vang, so, if the rigid vang is a good price, that would kill two birds with the same stone.

ok. wow. that's salty. i can make my own vang for much less. i am going to check around for deals, though, before i decide.
 
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Rigid Vang is kind of a racers option... they are usually quite pricey.

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Rigid Vang is kind of a racers option... they are usually quite pricey.

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk
that explains it. good option but out of my range. not trying to turn a $300 boat into a $3000 boat. i can't afford to. good thought, though, were i in a different financial bracket.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Keep in mind you'll want to move the mainsail halyard to the aft end of the boom once you secure the main.

A boomkicker completely supports the boom for a VERY short period of time, when the sail is down, and you haven't moved the mainsail halyard yet to the aft end of the boom.
so, the boom kicker can't be used to completely replace a topping lift without the aid the the main halyard? is it just this type? i ask because:

Mine was strong enough to support the boom wi the mainsail and cover on, and did so for years with no issues.
 

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Depending on how you set it up (initial tension) will determine how effective the kicker will be at 'holding up the boom'.. and how much resistance it might offer the vang. However well it may provide support, though, if you're in the cockpit and stumble a bit and lean on the boom it will give under your weight.

So in the interests of stability at a mooring or dock, use the main halyard as a temporary topping lift. It will extend the life of the kicker, and at the same time avoid halyard slap as you're 'storing' the halyard well off the mast.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Depending on how you set it up (initial tension) will determine how effective the kicker will be at 'holding up the boom'.. and how much resistance it might offer the vang. However well it may provide support, though, if you're in the cockpit and stumble a bit and lean on the boom it will give under your weight.

So in the interests of stability at a mooring or dock, use the main halyard as a temporary topping lift. It will extend the life of the kicker, and at the same time avoid halyard slap as you're 'storing' the halyard well off the mast.
ok. cool. then i am getting one while the price is good. i have the necessary hardware to make a vang. i just need to get the line. that's a whole lot cheaper than a rigid vang. hell, the cost of a rigid vang is three times what i paid for the whole boat!


one question for you. i haven't heard from Michael in a bit. i was wondering if you had any idea how i should set up the main sheet. my holiday 20 has the sheet routed no more complex than my dinghy. however, i am sure i will want mechanical advantage for the bigger sail. not sure how much, though, and i can't find anything cal 27 specific, on line. you always seem to have good info, so i am sure you might have a good suggestion.
 

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I'm sure you know very well you'll be putting much more money into this than the initial 'cost' :p ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I'm sure you know very well you'll be putting much more money into this than the initial 'cost' :p ;)
LOL. yes, but hopefully not on one small part.
 

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one question for you. i haven't heard from Michael in a bit. i was wondering if you had any idea how i should set up the main sheet. my holiday 20 has the sheet routed no more complex than my dinghy. however, i am sure i will want mechanical advantage for the bigger sail. not sure how much, though, and i can't find anything cal 27 specific, on line. you always seem to have good info, so i am sure you might have a good suggestion.
Well, maybe.... ;)

Here's a simple 4:1 diagram from Harken



With good, low friction blocks I think this amount of advantage would be plenty for you.. with cheap blocks it will take more effort, but still doable, I'd think.

Is the traveler aft or fwd of the steering position? If it's aft I'd recommend running the business end of the mainsheet along the boom and drop it back down to a block ahead of the helm position. (imagine the drawing upside down, without the cleat shown at "B").With a tiller steered boat reaching behind to adjust the sheet is an awkward move. With the sheet forward it's a natural left hand for tiller, right for sheet on Stbd tack, vice versa on Port.

Ideally both traveler and sheet are forward in the cockpit (relative to the helmsman) but in any case control lines can be led to good positions with some thought. The advantage of an aft traveler is primarily a clear cockpit without shin bangers or other obstructions to moving around.

Our cockpit has a bridge deck traveler, but the sheet is on a snapshackle so at anchor we move it to the toerail to get it out of the way. No issue when not sailing, convenient and easy to use while under way....
 

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Here's a link to a 'for sale' page.. this one has the traveler and sheet forward where I like it.. is yours similar?




Cal 27 "Firecracker"
 
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