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You should be concerned. Over time this leads to a reduction in sail life and wear. My preference is to get rid of the topping lift and switch to a rigid vang, but this isn't always reasonable on a smaller boat. The next option is to go with a very lightweight line that will blow free of the sail when the topping lift is loosened while sailing. Lightweight dyneema is a good option since it will have plenty of strength even at very small sizes.
 

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if your topping lift is rubbing while sail is up it's likely set to tight, or is too heavy a line.

Also if the rigid vang isn't viable (smaller boat, say 27 foot and under), there is always a boom kicker. I've found the kicker to be a great solution to work in conjunction with a boom vang. One must remember to secure the boom with the main halyard though, because the kicker is merely to provide SOME boom support while raising sail, providing boom lift in light air, and for reefing... it's not a long term boom support, that should always be on a halyard or top lift.

I've ditched my topping lift entirely, gone to a boom kicker, and have been quite happy... I use the main halyard attached to the furthest point aft on the boom, while the sails are covered. It also provides a decent amount of lift/twist in light air.
 

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I guess you could spend hundreds or more on a boom kicker or rigid vang, or you could use a bit of shock cord to keep it tight. We put a clove hitch around the topping lift where it exits the boom and run it down to a fitting on the mast. It keeps the topping lift tight, sail in tight or loose. Perhaps you could do something similar.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have a line made fast to a hook that is attached to the boom. The line goes through a block and fastens to a cleat on the side of the boom. The block is attached through the eye of steel line leading up to the mast. I can, and did so on my last sail, undo the hook once the sail is holding the boom, and fasten it to a point on the mast. Of course, I must remember to put it back in place before dropping the sail. Alternatively I could loosen the line and hope the wind just blows the line clear of the sail leech. Either way, it looks like I would need to make adjustments to the topping when raising the sail.
 

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you should always play around with the topping lift after setting the main...if you want it out of the way and not on the boom do so at the mast, but it can slap around so use the best method there to fasten it.

the topping lift is for some reason a thing of the past.these days..old timers and cruisers usually rig them up as a spare halyard...you can also rig it with a nice heavy duty block and use it as a mast climber

under way you can also induce bend in the boom with use of the vang to alter sail shape

and last but not least if rigged well its a nice dinghy lifter or hauler of things...with a simple block and tackle arrangement or solo.

if it rubs let it loose thats yor cheapest solution...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
letting loose is the cheapest solution and I am happy to go with that.

Final note: my topping lift is fixed at the top of the mast. There is no line I pull in...the block setup I described on the boom end is the only place or adjustment.
 

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aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh i was assuming you could adjust it...my bad...

on boats where the boom and sail have significant weight usually there is a small block and cleat on the mast to adjust with.

I see your issue now.

ps. is there a tang or fitting where you "could" attach a block to and add a proper topping lift?
 

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Easy solution for errantly behaving topping lifts:
1. apply two marks on the topping lift control line ... one mark denoting its proper length when not sailing, the other mark for when sailing. Adjust the length each time for the activity.
2. For 'sailing mode', attach a block to the topping lift and attach/run a small diameter 'bungee' cord to somewhere (middle?) on the boom. Adjust tension in the bungee so that the topping lift is pulled forward and is kept 'quiet' along the mainsails leech when sailing. Set the bungee tension so that when the boom rises such as on a broad reach the bungee will 'automatically' provide sufficient tension to keep the topping lift 'quiet'.
3. Topping lift adjustment is best controlled from near the gooseneck or base of the mast ... if its located in a 'convenient' place, you'll be more apt make the 'shift' in topping lift adjustment for 'sailing mode' or 'at the dock mode'.

Rigid vangs are best - no need for a 'friggin topping lift' !!!!!!
 
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