Stus-List Sailing with a boom topping lift

JOHN D IRVIN john.irvin at
Thu May 24 11:28:50 EDT 2012

I went with the Garhauer rigid vang a few year ago. Excellent solution!

From: Dennis C. <captbuy at>
To: Cn Clist <CnC-List at> 
Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 6:04:42 PM
Subject: Stus-List Sailing with a boom topping lift

Perhaps one of the more obscure sailing topics I could dream up, excepting cutlery organization, lefthanded corkscrews, etc.  However, a topic which I've found is misunderstood.  

In my mind, boom topping lifts serve two purposes, holding the boom up when the main is not raised and adding more twist (curve) to the leech of the main when sailing.  While the former is obvious the second is more obtuse.

Some sailors like to raise the boom slightly to shape the leech of the main.  This is used mainly in very light conditions when the weight of the boom (assuming no rigid boom vang) tends to tighten the leech and close the exit of the main resulting in a bit of inefficiency as the flow may detach from the leeward side of the main at the exit.  

The downside of sailing with the boom topping lift attached is damage to the main.  This is especially true if the topping lift is wire.  Even when loose, the topping lift can rub on the seams of the main.  Much of this chafe will occur at the batten pockets.  If the wear becomes excessive, the boat owner might see a batten get ejected the next time he sails in a decent breeze.

So, my advice is to not sail with a wire topping lift attached.  Either change it to line, detach it while sailing or install a rigid topping lift and use the boom topping lift only while the main is dropped.

I have a wire topping lift on Touche' for longevity.  I use Harken blocks 244 (fiddle with V-cleat) and 235 (single with becket) to make a small adjustable purchase which makes it easy to attach and detach the lift.

Dennis C.
Touche' 35-1 #83
Mandeville, LA

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