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Old 06-02-2014, 14:47   #1
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Boom Gallows vs Topping Lift

As many of you know I'm building a 1969 Spencer 42 sailboat.
I was planning to build a boom gallows to: 1. support the boom when not sailing. 2. strap the boom down when in a gale and using the storm tri.

I really didn't realize all the functions of a topping lift. Why couldn't a topping lift also be used, with the assistance of two side to side lines, to secure the boom in a gale?

This would mean one less peice of hardware to build, maintain, and bash your head on.

Any thoughts?

I will have to modify the mast head and have 4 halyards instead of 2 and bring them out just below the spreaders where the mast is double thick because of the joint.
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Old 06-02-2014, 14:53   #2
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Re: Boom Gallows vs Topping Lift

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Originally Posted by Chasing Summer View Post
As many of you know I'm building a 1969 Spencer 42 sailboat.
I was planning to build a boom gallows to: 1. support the boom when not sailing. 2. strap the boom down when in a gale and using the storm tri.

I really didn't realize all the functions of a topping lift. Why couldn't a topping lift also be used, with the assistance of two side to side lines, to secure the boom in a gale?

This would mean one less peice of hardware to build, maintain, and bash your head on.

Any thoughts?

I will have to modify the mast head and have 4 halyards instead of 2 and bring them out just below the spreaders where the mast is double thick because of the joint.
I took my gallows off for a few years but I'm gonna put it back for just the reason you cite---lash the boom for storm sailing. Even when I put a preventer on both sides the boom is too mobile for my liking and having a topping lift which I can use as needed but can idol when not is also a bonus. I am gonna also use the gallows to fit the forward portion of a solar panel roof--twofer!!!
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Old 06-02-2014, 15:20   #3
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Re: Boom Gallows vs Topping Lift

We have a topping lift only and no gallows. I find that when you are up there putting in a reef, the boom can sway around even though the mainsheet is on hard. It would be much safer if solidly restrained by a gallows.

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Old 06-02-2014, 15:28   #4
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Re: Boom Gallows vs Topping Lift

I've had both, gallows on two boats no gallows on a few. I didnt really miss the gallows, but it is nice at times. Not sure you need to modify any halyards etc for a topping lift...? is that what you meant? My favorite Topping lifts were vinyl wrapped cable with a block at the bottom. The topping lift adjusted from a cleat on the boom. You should have a topping lift if you add a gallows... keeps from banging the boom on the gallows when getting the main down. If I were building a boat I would likely not do a gallows and def not do a trysail.
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Old 06-02-2014, 15:46   #5
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Re: Boom Gallows vs Topping Lift

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... Why couldn't a topping lift also be used, with the assistance of two side to side lines, to secure the boom in a gale....
Yes, that is exactly what I do.

I have a pair of cleat on either side of the cockpit, depending on which side I would rather secure the boom. We have a cat and we exit the cockpit dead center aft, so even motoring, we secure the boom ~ 1' to one side or the other. But it can be centered just as easily

I have a short line (~ 4' x 1/4") with an eye in either end that clips to the end of the boom and loops around the cleat. I then tension the sheet and center the traveler to hold it tight. Tight as can be. When not in use I clip the cleat loop up to the end of the boom, where is swings harmlessly until needed. If I need to secure the boom, I can unclip the loop, cleat the traveler and main, and she is secured in seconds. To hoist, I simply release the main and traveler, clip the loop up to the boom, and get on with it. No need to adjust the topping lift.

I've had gallows, but this is faster and simpler. You really need a topping left anyway. I have a hard top and thought about adding one... and realized I would just remove it again as useless junk.
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Old 06-02-2014, 15:56   #6
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Re: Boom Gallows vs Topping Lift

i have only topping lift an d WANT gallows. is not only a good way to secure boom, is a back up to topping lift when that fails, and it will fail, and it is a fine place to anchor a bimini....or dodger...or pilot house....or....
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Old 06-02-2014, 16:02   #7
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Re: Boom Gallows vs Topping Lift

A little side benefit of gallows (or cradle on a cat) is that it means the boom and the topping lift is a whole lot less noisy at anchor.
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Old 06-02-2014, 16:06   #8
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Re: Boom Gallows vs Topping Lift

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i have only topping lift an d WANT gallows. is not only a good way to secure boom, is a back up to topping lift when that fails, and it will fail, and it is a fine place to anchor a bimini....or dodger...or pilot house....or....
^^^^ THIS!

I had a gallows on my old 45' cutter and loved it for all of the reasons above.

Now I have a catboat that has a topping lift, but it also has a boom crutch which is indispensable when your boom is as long as your mast!
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Old 06-02-2014, 16:14   #9
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Re: Boom Gallows vs Topping Lift

W32 has both, boom rests in the gallows when not sailing, a little snug down on the mainsheet and never any ponding of the boom. Toping lift is for lifting the boom prior raising the main, once the main has been set, topping lift lowered and the sail supports the boom. If you have the chance to install both have at it.
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Old 06-02-2014, 18:13   #10
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Re: Boom Gallows vs Topping Lift

Thank you all for all the good comments.
My mast currently only has two external halyards with double sheaves for each at the top. I'll open up the top of the mast under the sheaves and run them internal. That will take care of the topping lift and an extra halyard for ... how about a pole lift and stow.
Since I'm on the hard this is the time to do what ever hardware changes I think I may need in the cruising future. I plan to work on the boat at least another 6 months. Boom gallows it is.
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Old 06-02-2014, 18:50   #11
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Re: Boom Gallows vs Topping Lift

It will fail? What complete nonsence, unless folks don't inspect lines. Like assuming your boat will sink.

Noise? Again, only if rigged with squeaky blocks or old sqeaky lines. Mine is quiet.

Why the negativity. I didn't bring up the inevidable bangs and drops, or the chafe on the boom.

Wasted weight, space, windage and complication. I guess some like the look.
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Old 06-02-2014, 21:56   #12
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Re: Boom Gallows vs Topping Lift

I built gallows on all three of my cruising boats. Two, over the companion way and part of the dodger, and one on the aft cabin in a center cockpit boat. I consider a gallows as an essential piece of cruising gear. Since toppoing lifts are rarely as strong as a halyard, the thought of steering with the main down and the sheet tight against the topping lift is pretty scary. If steering under a trysail or just coming back to port with the main furled, and the topping lift lets go, your head can end up looking like a watermelon dropped on a sidewalk. Also unless you keep adjusting it, the topping lift can beat the heck out of the mainsail leach. Reefing is so much safer feeling if the boom is solidly set into a gallows. Pay your dime and take your chances. _____Grant.
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Old 06-02-2014, 23:45   #13
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Re: Boom Gallows vs Topping Lift

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Originally Posted by Chasing Summer View Post
Thank you all for all the good comments.
My mast currently only has two external halyards with double sheaves for each at the top. I'll open up the top of the mast under the sheaves and run them internal. That will take care of the topping lift and an extra halyard for ... how about a pole lift and stow.
Since I'm on the hard this is the time to do what ever hardware changes I think I may need in the cruising future. I plan to work on the boat at least another 6 months. Boom gallows it is.
For cruising I wouldn't like to be without gallows to hold the boom in place rock solid, handy in many other ways, something solid to strap water containers too, nice high handhold etc,. Topping lift I changed from down the mast to a jammer cleat attached to one of the backstay, instant adjustment without leaving the cockpit and doesn't use up any internal blocks at the masthead, just a diverter pulley shackled in a spare hole. Works a treat.
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Old 07-02-2014, 02:09   #14
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Re: Boom Gallows vs Topping Lift

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It will fail? What complete nonsence, unless folks don't inspect lines. Like assuming your boat will sink.

Noise? Again, only if rigged with squeaky blocks or old sqeaky lines. Mine is quiet.

Why the negativity. I didn't bring up the inevidable bangs and drops, or the chafe on the boom.

Wasted weight, space, windage and complication. I guess some like the look.
If Zee had changed one word from “will” to “may”, would that have been more acceptable?..

If it did fail, “Murphy’s Law” dictates it probably would happen in a Gale.
Then an integral boom gallows would be most appreciated.

One other consideration for someone with very long and heavy booms is that if it is resting on a low support above the Bimini, instead of hanging from a block at mast head…. The Center of Gravity of that weight, is considerably lower.

Not a big deal, but not to be dismissed if you can change it in an attractive and multifunctional way.
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Old 07-02-2014, 06:03   #15
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pirate Re: Boom Gallows vs Topping Lift

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Originally Posted by gjordan View Post
I built gallows on all three of my cruising boats. ... Reefing is so much safer feeling if the boom is solidly set into a gallows. Pay your dime and take your chances. _____Grant.
Quote:
Originally Posted by conachair View Post
For cruising I wouldn't like to be without gallows to hold the boom in place rock solid, handy in many other ways, something solid to strap water containers too, nice high handhold etc,. Topping lift I changed from down the mast to a jammer cleat attached to one of the backstay, instant adjustment without leaving the cockpit and doesn't use up any internal blocks at the masthead, just a diverter pulley shackled in a spare hole. Works a treat.
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... One other consideration for someone with very long and heavy booms is that if it is resting on a low support above the Bimini, instead of hanging from a block at mast head…. The Center of Gravity of that weight, is considerably lower.

Not a big deal, but not to be dismissed if you can change it in an attractive and multifunctional way.
I had been considering this very change. Windage is the only downside I see. The plus sides are many. My boat was built as a beer can racer to sleep 6. Six! That's so dumb, but they build what sells.

Had the factory been angling to build a modest family cruiser, it would have had a gallows. With the wind gen, the outboard, the barby, the bimini, the bicycle on the rails, and the dink on the coachroof, and all the rest of it, windage of the gallows seems a small price to pay.
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