Friday, November 10, 2023

Replacing the Topping Lift

Time to replace the Topping Lift

Actually getting the boat out under sail for the Palm Beach Regatta on May 6th, we found that our Topping Lift was too short! While screwing up the process of Reefing the Mainsail, the bitter end of the line slipped through the line clutch and I had to go up to the mast in order to secure the Boom by securing the line on a spare cleat on the mast ( lot's of sailor terms there  - sorry ) 

The "Topping Lift' is a line that hold up the boom when the sail is not under tension. It's important, without it the Boom can crash down onto the Top of the canvas over the cockpit cabin entrance or down to the deck on either side.

The Reefing process - method of reducing the amount of sail in anticipating heavy winds - is to Stop the Boom falling when the sail is lowered, lower the sail, haul in on the two reefing lines, put the sail back up till it's taut and then ease the Topping lift.

Our problem was the skipper ( me ) forgot and didn't take the weight of the Boom before lowering the sail, so it went 'Boom!' when it crashed down on the port side towards the deck.

Ok, so the correct method for us to Reef is:
  • Take the weight of the Boom using the Topping Lift and and secure it in the Line Clutch
  • Ease the Mainsail till the Reefing points are down at the boom.
  • Tighten the two reefing lines 
  • Haul up the Mainsail to it's new shortened height
  • Ease the Topping Lift line and resecure it in it's Line Clutch.
Now, the Topping Lift line needs to be about 6' longer so that it never slips out of it's line clutch.
Original Topping Lift setup

The topping lift line runs from the cockpit line clutches, forwards to a multi line manager, over to the base of the mast and into a block where it turns up towards boom, then it runs along the outside of the boom to the aft end of the boom to another block then it turns up to a block that is secured to the wire line that goes to the top of the mast. From that block on the lower end of that wire, the topping lift line goes back down and attaches to an attachment on the end of the boom.  To lift the end of the boom we simply pull the end of the topping lift in the cockpit and that lifts the end of the boom, the line is then secured within a line clutch. To ease the boom down, we simply ease the topping lift. Got it? 

To change the line.
  • Tighten up on the Lazy jacks
  • Ease the Mainsheet ( so that's it's not trying to pull the boom down ) and the Vang ( ditto )
  • Remove the old Topping Lift line
  • Feed the new line along the path of the old one
  • Feed the new line through the Line Clutch
It's that easy. I'll time it, should take about 20 mins ( Peggy says that I think everything takes about 20 mins. )

All done. Now the boom could drop all the way down to the deck and there would still be enough line in he cockpit to take control of the boom.  We're ready for the next regatta up to lake worth.


See you on the water.

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