Topping Lift Tips and a Hack

In our recent chapter on vangs I wrote about ways to get rid of the topping lift altogether, my preferred option, particularly for offshore boats.

But the bottom line is that if we don't have a really good rigid vang and a decent boom gallows, we will have to live with a topping lift and its associated problems:

  • Chafe of the leach.
  • Slapping around as the boat goes over every wave.

By the way, if you have only sailed inshore, don't make the mistake of not doing something about the above before you do a significant offshore passage. What you will hardly notice inshore with no swell on a day sail will drive you nutso at o-dark-thirty on an offshore passage in swell.

And if a topping lift is allowed to slap around for an entire long passage, like say a trans-Atlantic, I can guarantee you will make some sailmaker's day at the end of the voyage—I used to be a sailmaker and smile with fondness when I remember topping lift damage, which is deliciously expensive to fix because it messes up the leach tabling.

So here's a cool hack to fix the topping lift, see the above diagram:

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Meet the Author

John Harries

John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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