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Old 20-08-2014, 13:30   #1
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What good is my topping lift?

Of course I know why it's there but it seems to give me more trouble than value. I have a hard hydraulic vang that holds my boom wherever I want it, and an in-mast furling main so I don't have to fuss with the boom for reefing, or at all really. Naturally under a good wind and full sail the boom bends up somewhat so the topping lift line goes slack. Depending on a few variables the slack line flogs against the leech of the sail which is irritating and could cause chaffing. Of course I can tighten up the topping lift and take out the slack, but if I forget to loosen it then when the wind unloads the sail and the boom un-bends the topping lift is way too tight. My bad, but it has happened twice now that the swege on the top loop of the topping lift wire line has separated and it all came tumbling down. When down I didn't miss having it.

The only time it is useful is when I need to remove the vang for any reason. Then I need the topping lift to hold up the boom. But in the very rare cases when I need this I could use my storm sail halyard as a temp topping lift. Can I just get rid of the darn thing or is there something I'm not thinking of and would regret it?

Thanks,

JR


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Old 20-08-2014, 15:42   #2
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Re: What good is my topping lift?

It is not unusual to take the topping lift off when sailing, and replace it when sails are taken down.

The topping lift can also provide a back-up "halyard" for the mainsail in the event that the mainsail halyard is damaged, broken or accidentally pulled to the masthead.

If your boat is fractional rigged rather than masthead rigged, the topping lift can be used to get to the top of the mast if the mainsail halyard is not available.
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Old 20-08-2014, 16:05   #3
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Re: What good is my topping lift?

take you topping lift off, go out sailing, then drop your sail and see how the vang likes it

but yes I can see that with a furling main that you can not really do this maybe that isn't quite a practical thing

but I don't think vangs are really met to support a boom up as much as how it down when sailing

so just take it off when the sail is up
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Old 20-08-2014, 16:06   #4
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Re: What good is my topping lift?

JR,

With a rigid vang installed there really isn't much point to it. I remove them as a matter of course on any boat with a decent vang. There is some justification to rig it as a backup main halyard, but what I do is run a chase line instead. This allows quickly installing a halyard if needed, but without the issues of having a second halyard aging while it does nothing.
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Old 20-08-2014, 18:17   #5
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Re: What good is my topping lift?

My boat with a furling boom has one, it was clearly a modification, I've been wondering why it was there, I know the PO had real issues trying to furl the main as the angle between the boom and mast was wrong, I've been thinking it was put there in an attempt to make furling easier.
I had assumed it was yet another one of those things that was needed, but due to my ignorance I just didn't know why
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Old 20-08-2014, 18:28   #6
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Re: What good is my topping lift?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
JR,

With a rigid vang installed there really isn't much point to it. I remove them as a matter of course on any boat with a decent vang. There is some justification to rig it as a backup main halyard, but what I do is run a chase line instead. This allows quickly installing a halyard if needed, but without the issues of having a second halyard aging while it does nothing.

Winner!!!

The topping lift holds the boom up when you reef or lower the sail on a conventional rig. That is its primary purpose. If you would like a second opinion check
How to Use a Topping Lift – Adjusting a Topping Lift

With in-mast furling and a rigid vang, the vang should be ensuring you have the correct angle when furling or unfurling the main. If you unhook the topping lift at the dock, the boom should not move, as the vang is holding it up.
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Old 20-08-2014, 18:45   #7
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What good is my topping lift?

Indeed one of the primary reason to invest in a rigid (spring loaded if controlled by line, or inert gas loaded if hydraulic) is to be able to dispose of the topping lift. The rigid vangs like many other things were developed for racing yachts looking for a way to reduce weight aloft. Also the sagging topping lift can cause chaff as mentioned, and interfere with telltales.

That said for most of the rigid vangs, while the boat is moored the boom will be too "floppy" or bouncy without either running the main halyard out to the end, or rerigging the topping.

Since you have a mast furling main you don't have a halyard to use for this purpose, so you probably have to keep the topper. But you can undo do it prior to setting sail, and put it back when done.



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Old 20-08-2014, 18:45   #8
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Re: What good is my topping lift?

Nice to hear everyone confirming what I was thinking. My topper just doesn't seem to add any value. And the way it is configured it won't work as an alternative halyard. 80% of its length is wire rope with the top pinned to the top of the mast. There is a block at the bottom giving 2:1 leverage to a line that runs down to the boom end, around a sheave, through the boom and then out to a cleat on the boom near the mast. Configured like this it also means I can't take it off while sailing and put it back on later. So it just stays there annoying me and looking not very ship-shape when it's banging around when the boat is otherwise sailing beautifully.


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Old 20-08-2014, 18:49   #9
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Re: What good is my topping lift?

Right about the main halyard not being useful as a topper, but I also have a dedicated halyard for a storm sail which can be used easily as a topper if I find the boom is too floppy.

I don't think I'll be putting my recently broken topping lift back in service, which also saves me a trip up the mast.


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Old 21-08-2014, 18:35   #10
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Re: What good is my topping lift?

I like having one as a spare halyard, useful for many things other than rasing the main, especially offshore...the more options the better. Used one once to jury rig around a failed side stay...kept the rig up while we diverted.

With a roller furling main, if you don't do or anticipate doing much long offshore work, then not so useful.
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