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Old 11-05-2016, 13:49   #1
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Boom Vang and or Topping Lift

Would anyone be able to answer my question about a topping lift? I have a 1985 C30 that has a rigid boom vang and I do not currently have a topping lift. I do have a short line attached to my backstay with a quick snap that I attach to the aft of the boom when I am not sailing to help control swing. I have been reading that there is no need to have a topping lift when you have a rigid vang, is this correct? When I am not sailing should I release the downward tension on the vang to help the boom lift out of the way? If a topping lift is necessary is it difficult to rig myself? Mast is down and boat not going in for a couple of weeks. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.
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Old 11-05-2016, 14:57   #2
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Re: Boom Vang and or Topping Lift

I have the opposite problem, two topping lifts. One is a normal halyard and quite useful not as a topping lift but to clime the mast. The second is a fixed wire at the masthead and a short adjustable length at the boom end. It will come off next time I am up the mast as in 8 years it has never done anything useful.

A topping lift can be useful, but it could be stored at the mast base so long as it doesn't clang which would be really annoying.

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Old 11-05-2016, 14:58   #3
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Re: Boom Vang and or Topping Lift

On the rare occasion when you might want to top up the boom, you can use the main halyard to do it, when you're in a berth, so no, you don't need a topping lift.

One of the nice things about not using one is that they tend to chafe the mainsail, especially if it has a lot of roach.

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Old 11-05-2016, 15:42   #4
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Re: Boom Vang and or Topping Lift

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
On the rare occasion when you might want to top up the boom, you can use the main halyard to do it, when you're in a berth, so no, you don't need a topping lift.

One of the nice things about not using one is that they tend to chafe the mainsail, especially if it has a lot of roach.

Ann
I'd definitely concur with this. As being able to dispense with a topping lift is one of the great perks of a rigid vang.
Just ensure that your vang/it's return force, is up for handling someone leaning heavily on the boom, or falling onto it, without the boom then dropping down 2', & throwing them further off balance.

If your intuition is nagging you, telling you that you might need a topping lift. Then you can put a block at the masthead now, rigged with a messenger line. With both of it's ends run to a cleat on the mast. So that, at will, you can install one if needed. --> Cheap insurance.

But on boats with rigid vangs, I've never seen one, nor elt the need for one. And that's to include boats numbering into the triple digits.
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Old 11-05-2016, 16:01   #5
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Re: Boom Vang and or Topping Lift

I have a rigid Vang and no topping lift on the main, with a cable and snap shackle from the mizzen mast to main boom end to control swing at anchor. Works great. At anchor I ease the Vang completely, attach snap shackle cable, then put just a little tension on the Vang to keep the boom swinging to a minimum. Otherwise a wake on the beam sends the boom swinging pretty hard. Full battened main - topping lift would be more hassle than help.
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Old 11-05-2016, 17:07   #6
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Re: Boom Vang and or Topping Lift

Thanks to everyone who responded. It appears that the consensus is that if you have a rigid boom vang there isn't any need for a topping lift. I will leave my rigging the way and also continue to store my main halyard at the end of the boom when not in use.
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Old 11-05-2016, 17:19   #7
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Re: Boom Vang and or Topping Lift

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Thanks to everyone who responded. It appears that the consensus is that if you have a rigid boom vang there isn't any need for a topping lift. I will leave my rigging the way and also continue to store my main halyard at the end of the boom when not in use.
That's what I do, except I store the main halyard on a flag halyard cleat on the starboard shroud --- less distance to grab and take it to the headboard.
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Old 12-05-2016, 09:02   #8
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Re: Boom Vang and or Topping Lift

So if you have topping lifts such as I do, would the conversion to rigid boom vangs be something to be budgeting for? Appears to be a significant expense, so would the upgrade be worth the cost -vs- spending that kind of money on some new electronics, etc?

Thanks,

Jeff
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Old 12-05-2016, 09:28   #9
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Re: Boom Vang and or Topping Lift

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
That's what I do, except I store the main halyard on a flag halyard cleat on the starboard shroud --- less distance to grab and take it to the headboard.
Stu,
I have attached my main halyard to a stanchion base for years(similar to your use of the flag halyard). But, it does create chafing on the halyard where the halyard exits the sheave/mast box. I now attach my new halyard to the boom's end when not in use where there is a straight, unimpeded run without friction or chafe. Good luck and safe sailing.
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Old 12-05-2016, 13:15   #10
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Re: Boom Vang and or Topping Lift

I thought the whole reason for having a rigid vang was so that you could ditch the topping lift...which chaffes on the main, and is no end of trouble when setting and dousing the sail.

I had a rigid vang on one of my boats, and loved it.
Yes, release the downward tension and let the boom go up a bit, so you have some headroom in the cockpit.
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Old 12-05-2016, 13:32   #11
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Re: Boom Vang and or Topping Lift

The topping lift provides two important features: 1. a way to prevent the boom from suddenly crashing into the cockpit if the halyard lets go(ouch); 2. a way to raise the boom out of the way when you really do not want it bumping folks in the head while at anchor.
It also can act as a backup halyard.
We preferred adding boom gallows for all the masts to be able to really tie down booms during big storms and hurricanes as well as providing a convenient way to keep the boom from moving so we can use it to support sun awnings. It also comes in handy when in a rolly anchorage as a steady handhold
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Old 13-05-2016, 07:33   #12
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Re: Boom Vang and or Topping Lift

I have an inmast fueling main so I appreciate having my tipping lift for a couple of reasons; Main halyard can't be used to go up stick and the tensioning effect that stabilizes boom when not sailing.
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Old 13-05-2016, 07:55   #13
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Re: Boom Vang and or Topping Lift

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Yes, release the downward tension and let the boom go up a bit, so you have some headroom in the cockpit.
Or just move the boom off center, using the traveler. I two block our mainsheet and keep the boom snug so it doesn't move around, plus it keeps the boom "solid" when I flake the main from the cabintop after dropping it.
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Old 19-05-2016, 13:40   #14
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Re: Boom Vang and or Topping Lift

I have a rigid vang with no topping lift - however I want to install one... just to have another halyard running to the top of the mast. Never know when ya might need one! Hell, people seem to need ten halyards just to climb the mast these days!
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Old 19-05-2016, 13:58   #15
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Re: Boom Vang and or Topping Lift

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Originally Posted by reed1v View Post
The topping lift provides two important features: 1. a way to prevent the boom from suddenly crashing into the cockpit if the halyard lets go(ouch); 2. a way to raise the boom out of the way when you really do not want it bumping folks in the head while at anchor.
It also can act as a backup halyard.
We preferred adding boom gallows for all the masts to be able to really tie down booms during big storms and hurricanes as well as providing a convenient way to keep the boom from moving so we can use it to support sun awnings. It also comes in handy when in a rolly anchorage as a steady handhold
Neither of the reasons given for the topping lift applies to the OP's situation since he has a rigid vang.
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