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Old 31-07-2009, 14:22   #1
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Rigging a Topping Lift

My topping lift line needs to be replaced, and I'm going to be running all my lines to the helm (on the starboard side of my boat), so the topping lift will need to be moved, as it's currently coming down the port side of my mast.

Should I move the topping to the starboard side of the mast?
Or should I run it back down to rear of the boom, and through the boom, same as the reef lines?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of each...other than the obvious, that for option 2 I'll need more line?
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Old 31-07-2009, 14:46   #2
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I liked to run mine down inside the mast to a cleat on the mast. You really only need to adjust your topping lift when you are at anchor and want to raise the boom up out of the way etc...

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Old 31-07-2009, 14:50   #3
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Quote:
Should I move the topping to the starboard side of the mast?
I'm not sure switching sides would help. Ideally you want as few bends and blocks as possible running lines aft. Every block makes the feel of the line a little harder and adds some friction. Look at the bigger plan of routing all the lines to see if you really can route them all. Lines down the mast have to turn from vertical to horizontal then change direction so they meet some place handy. You'll need clutches, cleats, and winches. Anything =attached to the deck needs a proper backing plate and proper bedding. It's a lot of details to work out and doing it on paper is cheaper. You may compromise making it simpler.

You'll probably want to look at deck organizers both flat and stacked if running a lot of lines. Mast foot blocks also need attachment. Sharing winches using clutches is more economical. You want the straightest possible leads on all lines. If it takes more than 2 blocks to get there I would consider making a priority of lines.
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Old 31-07-2009, 20:28   #4
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Yeah, but moving the topping lift to the other side, would mean less bends in the run. It would still be rigged exactly the same, just coming out the other side of the mast.

Already worked it out in real life...even better than paper. Visited an owner of the same boat as mine, that already did the mod a few years back. Only difference is he only ran the first reef point back. I want to do both. That, and based on you response in the other post, I'll go with bigger blocks than he did. His were just large enough for the size of the lines.

A few dollars can easily be saved by stealing one of the winches off the mast which will no longer be needed too.
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Old 31-07-2009, 20:32   #5
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A few dollars can easily be saved by stealing one of the winches off the mast which will no longer be needed too.
Not really bad but the winch in the cockpit will have more friction. Two speed would be nice. Both mine are on the cabin top. Once on each side and both are two speed. The Admiral can crank them.
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Old 31-07-2009, 21:31   #6
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Lines coming down the mast outside the mast disturb the airflow and create a need for Gilguys(sp?), those ties that prevent your halyards from slapping the mast. Lines outside the boom are a gallows waiting to string someone up. Stuff inside the mast or boom are acceptable and one is not preferred over the other. There are a couple of old standards as to what side halyards go on (ie: main halyard on stb side jib halyard on port). Now however with so many lines going aloft just about everything else is up for grabs.

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Old 01-08-2009, 01:12   #7
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I brought mine threw the boom . Like reef lines and into the cockpit . The topping lift controls mainsail shape mainly twist and is a great asset in light winds , It's not just there to hold up the boom, My outhaul runs parallel to it back into the cockpit so starboard has the main halyard ,topping lift , outhaul , and first reef, going to 4 clutches leading to a deck winch.
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Old 03-08-2009, 19:35   #8
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svquest2 - Def not going outside the mast, just switching which slot it comes out of. I'll still have main on SB and jib on port. I'm just going to be switching the topping lift and a spare halyard that's really just used for the bosun's chair

I'm thinking in order to keep friction down (less turns) keeping it in the mast would probably be preferred over the boom, as that would require 2 more turns?
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Old 07-03-2013, 00:40   #9
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Re: Rigging a Topping Lift

Very enlightening all comments, many many thanks mates!
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Old 07-03-2013, 01:17   #10
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Re: Rigging a Topping Lift

If you have one rigged with a masthead sheave, a topping lift can function as an emergency mainsail halyard, with a tagline they be used for hoisting flags, lights, radar reflectors etc. they make a good safety or tool bucket line when using a bosun's chair, when run through a block at the end of the boom, they can be part of a MOB retrieval system. etc etc. So. . . a topping lift can be a very useful thing.
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Old 15-03-2013, 17:55   #11
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Re: Rigging a Topping Lift

Depending on the size of the boat, consider adding a Boomkicker and get rid of the topping lift entirely.
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Old 15-03-2013, 18:48   #12
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Re: Rigging a Topping Lift

Quote:
Originally Posted by off-the-grid View Post
My topping lift line needs to be replaced, and I'm going to be running all my lines to the helm (on the starboard side of my boat), so the topping lift will need to be moved, as it's currently coming down the port side of my mast.

Should I move the topping to the starboard side of the mast?
Or should I run it back down to rear of the boom, and through the boom, same as the reef lines?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of each...other than the obvious, that for option 2 I'll need more line?
Running all lines aft adds heaps of friction and often creates a spaghetti like mess in the cockpit. Most boats I have run charters on or taught students on that have everything led aft, require far more time and effort than a boat where you do everything from the mast.

Many times I find you still need to go to the mast to reef.

If you have to, add some mast pulpits (aka granny bars) so you can feel safer while working from the mast.

There's a lot more to this job than you think, and if you're really bent on doing this, pay a rigger for a consultation. I've seen more owner created rigging abominations than I can count, and I've seldom seen a well done "all lines led aft" conversion that is actually usable.

Another resource you may not have considered is a good certified sailing instructor who can give you some tips and show you how to work more efficiently. I've been out with a lot of people who never learned proper techniques and really make everything harder than it needs to be.
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Old 15-03-2013, 18:56   #13
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Running a topping lift tail to the cockpit implies that it will not be disconnected from the boom end, ever, because that would violate the prohibition of going forward. For cruisers this can be a bad idea as the topping lift can abuse the leech and batten pockets of the main ... For thousands of miles.

The suggestion above to use a rigid vang is good, and leave the topper forward except at anchor.

The main wear can be reduced if the topper is sheathed in a smooth plastic cover - riggers do this.
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Old 16-03-2013, 00:40   #14
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Re: Rigging a Topping Lift

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Originally Posted by daddle View Post
The suggestion above to use a rigid vang is good, and leave the topper forward except at anchor.
The Boomkicker is not actually a rigid vang. It's a set of fiberglass rods and hardware that hold the boom up. It's used in combination with a conventional boom vang rather than replacing it. We've sold them for several years on boats up to 38' and they work well. There are actually some advantages to not going with a rigid vang.
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Old 16-03-2013, 04:42   #15
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Re: Rigging a Topping Lift

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Originally Posted by daddle View Post
For cruisers this can be a bad idea as the topping lift can abuse the leech and batten pockets of the main ... For thousands of miles.
Indeed, and can take a very small adjustment to get it behaving nice, not always easy to see from the mast. I ran my topping lift from the end of the boom through a block at the mast head back down to a jamming cleat attached to the back stay. Tidy & very easy to adjust from the cockpit. Can be handy in light airs to lift the boom a little as well. Works very well.
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