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Old 01-04-2016, 10:37   #1
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Main topping lift from mizzen mast

I was helping to rig a ketch today and the topping lift for the main was noticeable by its absence. My workmate assured me that it's rigged with a topping lift from the mizzen....I said it's impossible to have a topping lift serving the main boom from the top of the mizzen.. Ok, you could support the boom when alongside or on the hook, but how could you reef in any kind of wx. I cried bullshit on the whole idea. But one thing I've learned is that nothing is impossible. Even though I think this idea comes close?...
Anyone ever heard of this setup?
I'm serious btw...even if it sounds like trolling
Thanks....
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Old 01-04-2016, 11:25   #2
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Re: Main topping lift from mizzen mast

You are right not topping lift. Halyard for mizzen staysail.
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Old 02-04-2016, 00:06   #3
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Re: Main topping lift from mizzen mast

Sorry....Poor wording on my part..the question is not about what the actual line was...just the concept that you could rig a TL from an adjacent mast. The whole idea sounds nuts to me..Just wondered if there was something I was missing..
Thanks anyway for the reply...
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Old 02-04-2016, 04:48   #4
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Re: Main topping lift from mizzen mast

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Gringo.
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Old 02-04-2016, 05:29   #5
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pirate Re: Main topping lift from mizzen mast

Its a new one to me running a topping lift from the mizzen to main.. although I've noticed a few boats that have no topping lift, relying instead on the hydraulic boom vangs to support the boom.
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Old 02-04-2016, 06:16   #6
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Re: Main topping lift from mizzen mast

No you can't rig a useful topping lift from another mast.




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Old 02-04-2016, 06:29   #7
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Re: Main topping lift from mizzen mast

Actually, I do see the possibility and although I use a topping lift for the main on my ketch that is rigged from my main masthead, I do have my topping lift rigged in a manner than could use the mizzen.

Gringo 44 had said that this unusual topping lift would be OK "when along side or on the hook" and I agree. The question comes with the use of the topping lift when reefing.

My 1973 ketch has a old designed reefing system for the main in which the boom is rolled with a winch handle and I never use it. Like many with a split rig, my first stage of shortening sail in stronger winds is to drop the main and run with a well-balanced jib and mizzen.

Of course, I want my topping lift from my main masthead when I drop the main, but after putting the main away, I support my main boom from a point aft.

..... here's my main boom supported by the topping lift from the main masthead.

..... here's my main boom supported from aft (the mizzen) at the dock or at anchor.

..... Yes, my topping lifts are supported in the raised position by halves of a yo-yo. The mizzen topping lift is raised by it's half yo-yo to the backstay.

I know this is not actually having the topping lift from the mizzen and I do see fault with that; however, the mizzen can be used for topping lift adjustments.
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Old 02-04-2016, 08:20   #8
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Re: Main topping lift from mizzen mast

I previously owned a Herreschoff Rozinante, a "ketch-rigged yawl", and it had that exact arrangement. The topping lift for the main boom came from the top of the mizzen mast. - worked just fine! - easily adjusted, without the need to go forward to the base of the mainmast.
It was generally removed after the main was hoisted, and re-attached before lowering, so it was primarily used instead of a main boom gallows, to keep the boom up out of the way, protecting my fragile noggin.
I do not remember reefing the main being a problem.
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Old 02-04-2016, 08:56   #9
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Re: Main topping lift from mizzen mast

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Originally Posted by nitpik View Post
I previously owned a Herreschoff Rozinante, a "ketch-rigged yawl", and it had that exact arrangement. The topping lift for the main boom came from the top of the mizzen mast. - worked just fine! - easily adjusted, without the need to go forward to the base of the mainmast.

It was generally removed after the main was hoisted, and re-attached before lowering, so it was primarily used instead of a main boom gallows, to keep the boom up out of the way, protecting my fragile noggin.

I do not remember reefing the main being a problem.

That's not fulfilling the sail shaping role of a topping lift


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Old 02-04-2016, 08:58   #10
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Re: Main topping lift from mizzen mast

Purely by definition, a topping lift supports the boom on the respective rig, not the boom of an adjacent one. Running a line from the mizzen, such as a stay sail halyard, to support the main boom is nothing more than a poor man's boom gallows.

The same thing is sometimes done on a sloop rig with a small line running from the back stay to support the boom. These setups are not topping lifts.
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Old 02-04-2016, 08:59   #11
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Re: Main topping lift from mizzen mast

Sail shaping, what's that?
I don't have that feature on my schooner either!
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Old 02-04-2016, 09:09   #12
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Re: Main topping lift from mizzen mast

Part of the running rigging, topping lifts are primarily used to hold a boom up when the sail is lowered. [1] This line would run from near the free end of the boom(s) forward to the top of the mast. For small booms, the topping lift may be run from end of the boom to the backstay or next mast aft. When the sail is raised again, the topping lift is loosened or removed.
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Old 02-04-2016, 09:17   #13
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Re: Main topping lift from mizzen mast

We are a 58 foot ketch. I can't imagine a topping lift from any but that boom's mast. It must swing with the boom. It would work OK at the dock but you would inevitably forget it and risk serious damage or more. As others have noted, you must have it available for use under sail. Our boom is over 200 pounds and the TL is absolutely necessary in off-wind sailing or the leech is rubber band tight. I consider the TL running rigging. It runs in-boom to its own cockpit winch. At the dock/hook our boom rests in a boom gallows. If the boom has a hydraulic lift/vang then it is possible to operate without a TL. I have seen this on smaller boats with the TL short & integral to the backstay often with a small 2 or 3 part on the boom. This is deliberately short enough that you will not attempt to hoist with it connected.
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Old 02-04-2016, 13:57   #14
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Re: Main topping lift from mizzen mast

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Originally Posted by Pete O Static View Post
...............
.............. Running a line from the mizzen, such as a stay sail halyard, to support the main boom is nothing more than a poor man's boom gallows.
...........
'or it could be said that a poor man choose's a fifty pound chunk of metal and wood to do the job of a piece of line and half a yo-yo. This is not a matter of funds, but a choice for simplicity and function appropriate for the boom size and weight. With the gooseneck as the fulcrum, the required lift at the end of my main boom lever is about 15 to 20 pounds. Boom gallows would be a waste of space and weight for my application on my 12' main boom. Now, for a 20' boom with a gaff laying on it, that might be a proper choice.

The best choices are not always made by spending more money, but I do see the boom gallows that you favor in appropriate cases.
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Old 02-04-2016, 20:17   #15
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Re: Main topping lift from mizzen mast

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'or it could be said that a poor man choose's a fifty pound chunk of metal and wood to do the job of a piece of line and half a yo-yo. This is not a matter of funds, but a choice for simplicity and function appropriate for the boom size and weight. With the gooseneck as the fulcrum, the required lift at the end of my main boom lever is about 15 to 20 pounds. Boom gallows would be a waste of space and weight for my application on my 12' main boom. Now, for a 20' boom with a gaff laying on it, that might be a proper choice.

The best choices are not always made by spending more money, but I do see the boom gallows that you favor in appropriate cases.


"poor man's boom gallows" is a figure of speech. Not meant literally.
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