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: