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Tricks to prevent topping lift snags

May 17, 2004
3,284
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
Anyone have any tricks to keep the topping lift from snagging on spreader tips? When I’m going downwind the line blows forward around the spreaders. Then when I gybe it holds the main over and stresses everything. I don’t have a lot of slop in it, just enough so I’m not worried about it holding the boom up.
 
Feb 21, 2013
3,038
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
Can you keep the mainsail off the spreaders and adjust your point of sail so you are slightly on a broad reach?
 
Apr 8, 2010
1,585
Ericson Yachts Olson 34 Portland OR
Interesting problem for sure -- on our prior boat the top. lift would snag on the batten pockets unless I tightened it from the end of the boom with a 4 foot bungee cord to keep it from flapping around,
Current boat came with a rod vang. Good grief; if we knew how much better this would be we would have added one to the prior boat!! :)
 
May 17, 2004
3,284
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
Some good ideas to start. Thanks! I can sometimes go on a broad reach instead of a run, but sometimes in a race dead down wind with a whisker pole is the fastest. Those also tend to be the times when having an aborted gybe are the biggest problem. I do have a spring loaded rigid vang. We use the TL to keep some of the strain off the springs at the dock, but I guess I could unclip it before we put up the sail. I might also experiment with a bungee to see if there’s a way to keep some tension on it so it doesn’t foul, but still be able to stretch further if I haul in the vang.
 
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Oct 22, 2014
15,356
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
If your sail is cut right, there should be no use for the topping lift attached to the boom while sailing with the mainsail unfurled. The sail is designed to hold the sail leach taught and the boom extended to level.

The topping lift is just blowing in the wind. So secure it at the mast. You will need it again before you drop the main.
 

Joe

.
Jun 1, 2004
7,357
Catalina 27 Mission Bay, San Diego
Instead of using the topping lift to support the boom when the boat is resting, may I suggest using the main halyard instead. After dropping the mainsail, unclip the halyard and walk it back and clip it to the boom end. Now you can let it oppose the rigid vang in whatever position you desire. AND...... you'll have one less slapping halyard to contend with!!!! Once done, there's no need whatsoever for the boom topping lift.... you can get rid of it or disable it by wrapping the thing it around the backstay. For me, the primary reason to install a rigid vang to was rid myself of the annoying topping lift.
 
Jul 19, 2013
275
Pearson 31-2 Boston
Our solution to topping lift issues is to sister a 3 foot length of shock cord to the lower end of the topping lift (ie connected one end to topping lift fitting on boom, the other end three feet up the topping lift). Adjust the length of the chock cord so its tensioned when the main is down, then when the main is up and the sheet is eased, the shock cord takes up the slack in the topping lift, keeping it taunt even as the boom is eased to the shrouds.

Once you get the lengths correct, you never need to adjust the topping lift again, nor remove it...
 
May 17, 2004
3,284
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
Instead of using the topping lift to support the boom when the boat is resting, may I suggest using the main halyard instead. After dropping the mainsail, unclip the halyard and walk it back and clip it to the boom end. Now you can let it oppose the rigid vang in whatever position you desire. AND...... you'll have one less slapping halyard to contend with!!!! Once done, there's no need whatsoever for the boom topping lift.... you can get rid of it or disable it by wrapping the thing it around the backstay. For me, the primary reason to install a rigid vang to was rid myself of the annoying topping lift.
That would work well for lots of boats. Unfortunately I probably should’ve added in my original post that we have a furling main, so the halyard is always at the top of the mast with it.
 
Apr 8, 2010
1,585
Ericson Yachts Olson 34 Portland OR
We use the TL to keep some of the strain off the springs at the dock, but I guess I could unclip it before we put up the sail.
Sounds like 'problem solved' already. We have used the main halyard, clipped to the boom end when sail is furled, for 30 years. Works great and stops the boom from swinging back n forth -- with mainsheet kept tight.
This may be a rare case for a topping lift... !
 
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Joe

.
Jun 1, 2004
7,357
Catalina 27 Mission Bay, San Diego
That would work well for lots of boats. Unfortunately I probably should’ve added in my original post that we have a furling main, so the halyard is always at the top of the mast with it.
In that case, the simple short pigtail attached to the backstay is all you need.
 
May 17, 2004
3,284
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
I’ve got lots of complications- it’s a dual backstay (split from the masthead) that goes up through a Bimini. The Bimini is large enough that reaching the backstays is pretty hard without leaning all around at funny angles half outside the boat.

This might give you an idea of the layout -
1622725178327.jpeg


Incidentally those pigtails to the backstay scare me when I see them on smaller boats. If the sail fills before the pigtail is released it looks like it could get exciting.
 
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Mar 26, 2011
2,871
Corsair F-24 MK I Deale, MD
Personally, I like having a topping lift available as a spare halyard. It has come in handy a number of times on several boats. Snags have been rare, but I think multihull roach helps. I just have to watch it on the hoist.
 

capta

.
Jun 4, 2009
4,260
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
We found some extra heavy duty shock cord and hook it on the boom's tang and the base of the mast. It keeps the toppimg lift tight, but won't support the weight of the boom.