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Old 30-10-2009, 14:46   #1
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Topping Lift - Fiber or Wire

My topping lift has seen better days, Part of me would like to go back with polyester line, the other part would like wire, but the thought of sail chafe scares the hell outta me. What does everyone else use and has you ever noticed problems one way or the other?
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Old 30-10-2009, 15:14   #2
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go with the polyster, cheap, soft, easy to use and replace

just a topping lift, why would it need wire
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Old 30-10-2009, 15:40   #3
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I've had both. I liked the vinyl covered wire, really no chafe at all. Mine was rigged with a block on the wire a couple feet above the boom. The rope was dead ended at the boom and the other end went to a turning block on the boom and to a cleat forward. No worries or issues "up the mast" that way. I hardly ever adjusted it at all.... just left it set to support the boom when the sail was down and it seemed to not whip around when sailing. I would say less sail chafe with vinyl wire.....
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Old 30-10-2009, 16:21   #4
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If you use lazy jacks, you don't need a topping lift at all.
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Old 30-10-2009, 16:48   #5
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Quote:
If you use lazy jacks, you don't need a topping lift at all.
Not really. Depends if the boom needs support. I don't support mine on the lazy jacks. My topping lift goes from the mast head down with wire but then switches to rope for the part that is adjusted. When you sail the topping lift serves no purpose.
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Old 30-10-2009, 16:58   #6
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I had a spectra topping lift (and light lazy jacks)

Figured if for some reason the main spectra halyard broke at least I had an additional spectra halyard as backup.
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Old 30-10-2009, 17:54   #7
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My topping lift functions as a spare main halyard. Its made of StasetX.
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Old 30-10-2009, 17:59   #8
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Also works for heeling the boat over after a grounding w/o having to disconnect your main or jib halyards. And ditto on the two above.
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Old 30-10-2009, 18:17   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
I liked the vinyl covered wire, really no chafe at all. Mine was rigged with a block on the wire a couple feet above the boom. The rope was dead ended at the boom and the other end went to a turning block on the boom and to a cleat forward. .


I have the same system but mine cleats off at the boom. No chafe and very easy to lift the boom up a little.
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Old 30-10-2009, 19:10   #10
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No chafe is what I was hoping to hear, I use mine all the time when sailing off the wind in light air to control sail shape. I don't have nor want lazy jacks, my main is so small all the extra clutter is more hinderance than help. My current lift is polyester, but the jacket has gotten stiff, green, brown, and a few shades of black.
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Old 30-10-2009, 19:39   #11
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I've got a fairly small diameter spectra topping lift with a 3-1 block set up using 1/4" line at the boom end. The spectra is about the same diameter as the wire topping lift it replaced. Scary thin for line but I haven't been able to break it. I went with Spectra 'cause the chafe from the wire lift ruined the tabling on the leech of my old main. The spectra doesn't chafe the sail and has a much lower moment of inertia so doesn't flail around in a seaway like the wire. With the wire, had to be constantly on it keeping it tight or it would whip the hell out of the Leech.
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Old 31-10-2009, 13:54   #12
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If you plan on full time cruising, a spectra spare main halyard/topping lift is the way to go. We have this setup onboard Totem. If your cruising locally, then polyester is cheaper than spectra and wire and should do the job just fine.
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Old 01-11-2009, 14:28   #13
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Not really. Depends if the boom needs support. I don't support mine on the lazy jacks. My topping lift goes from the mast head down with wire but then switches to rope for the part that is adjusted. When you sail the topping lift serves no purpose.
Paul,
Even if the boom needs support the lazy jacks provide that just fine.Older sailing vessels, even ones with very large booms, just used lazy jacks. They were gaff rig (which a topping lift would foul), and had very large heavy wood booms. A 1/4 inch piece of nylon line will pick up a Volkswagen.

Sailmonkey,
I had LJ's for 16 years on a 22' cutter. I loved my LJ's. But, like most things to work correctly they need to be set up properly. That is usually always the key.

Topping lifts come from racing, IE less windage. They have crews to help furl the main quickly so it doesn't blow all over and obstruct your view. Not so good when your single handing.

But if toping lifts float your boat, then by all means use them. (yes Martha, that was a pun ).
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Old 01-11-2009, 15:42   #14
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My preference: Rope rather than wire. Rope that could be used as a back up main halyard if necessary. So, to save weight aloft, I'll gove for a Spectra core / polyester cover, double braid. Main halyard is Vectran core, but I ain't rich enough to justify Vectran for the topper.

N.B. If you are planning on changing from rop eto wire, plan on changing the masthead sheaves too... sheaves have a different profile for rope versus wire, plus wore tends to wear the sheaves in a way that will chew through the rope over if you swap to rope without changing sheaves.
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Old 01-11-2009, 15:56   #15
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Quote:
My preference: Rope rather than wire. Rope that could be used as a back up main halyard if necessary. So, to save weight aloft, I'll gove for a Spectra core / polyester cover, double braid. Main halyard is Vectran core, but I ain't rich enough to justify Vectran for the topper.
Sort of depends on if there is a sheave at the top of the mast. Mine is a fixed wire that has a block on the end of the wire and a sheave on the end of the boom. You won't make a spare halyard out of that. A lot of the wire topping lifts are like that.
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