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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  1. Six Reasons To Leave The Cockpit Often
  2. Don’t Forget About The Sails
  3. Your Mainsail Is Your Friend
  4. Hoisting the Mainsail Made Easy—Simplicity in Action
  5. Reefs: How Many and How Deep
  6. Reefing Made Easy
  7. Reefing From The Cockpit 2.0—Thinking Things Through
  8. Reefing Questions and Answers
  9. A Dangerous Myth about Reefing
  10. Mainsail Handling Made Easy with Lazyjacks
  11. Topping Lift Tips and a Hack
  12. 12 Reasons The Cutter Is A Great Offshore Voyaging Rig
  13. Cutter Rig—Should You Buy or Convert?
  14. Cutter Rig—Optimizing and/or Converting
  15. Cruising Rigs—Sloop, Cutter, or Solent?
  16. Sailboat Deck Layouts
  17. The Case For Roller-Furling Headsails
  18. UV Protection For Roller Furling Sails
  19. The Case For Hank On Headsails
  20. Making Life Easier—Roller Reefing/Furling
  21. Making Life Easier—Storm Jib
  22. Gennaker Furlers Come Of Age
  23. Swept-Back Spreaders—We Just Don’t Get It!
  24. Q&A: Staysail Stay: Roller Furling And Fixed Vs Hanks And Removable
  25. Rigid Vangs
  26. Rigging a Proper Preventer, Part 1
  27. Rigging a Proper Preventer—Part 2
  28. Amidships “Preventers”—A Bad Idea That Can Kill
  29. Keeping The Boom Under Control—Boom Brakes
  30. Downwind Sailing, Tips and Tricks
  31. Downwind Sailing—Poling Out
  32. Ten Tips To Fix Weather Helm
  33. Running Rigging Recommendations—Part 1
  34. Running Rigging Recommendations—Part 2
  35. Two Dangerous Rigging Mistakes
  36. Rig Tuning, Part 1—Preparation
  37. Rig Tuning, Part 2—Understanding Rake and Bend
  38. Rig Tuning, Part 3—6 Steps to a Great Tune
  39. Rig Tuning, Part 4—Mast Blocking, Stay Tension, and Spreaders
  40. Rig Tuning, Part 5—Sailing Tune
  41. 12 Great Rigging Hacks

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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