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Precision Sails Ltd

Precision Sails Blog

Should You Add a Topping Lift to Your Boat

Posted by Darryl Hodgson on

Should I Add a Topping Lift to My Boat?

Setting up your rigging to suit your boat is paramount in achieving peak performance from your sails. On Ask Precision Sails we had a question from customer Jim who wants to know;

“Should I add a topping lift to my boat? And if so how do I rig it up?”

First of all what is a topping lift? A topping lift is a device which helps lift the boom and alleviate downward force.  It usually connects at the end of the boom.

Jim was having trouble with his new vessel as it doesn’t currently have a topping lift set up. He is finding the boom drops down once he lowers the mainsail.

So, yes, a topping lift is something that will defiantly help to solve this problem. There are two common ways that this can be rigged depending on the size of the vessel and the size of the boom.

Option 1

For smaller vessels with smaller booms, an additional line is run from the backstay that runs down on an angle to the end of the boom. This is a fixed option, set to hold the boom up when the sail is lowered but not tight enough that it pulls the boom up when the sail is raised.

This option is only suited to smaller vessels.

Option 2

The preferred method, and a common rigging format for larger vessels, is using a block or shiv built into the top of the mast to run a line for your topping lift that can be easily adjusted. The topping lift line will run from the end of the boom directly to the block at the top of the mast and then down the mast to either the base of the mast or to the cockpit to a cleat- ideal for easy and safe adjustments whilst sailing.

It is important to note that with an adjustable topping lift it is essential that this line is released once the mainsail is hoisted, allowing the sail to pull taut. In this position, the mainsail can achieve an effective shape and can be trimmed nicely for sailing at different points of sail. The topping lift will only need to be tightened again if you are preparing to reef the sails or once you are preparing to lower the mainsail, once again taking the pressure off the sail and taking the weight of the boom.


If you need a new sail to work with your topping lift, give us a call at 1-888-958-5638 or request a quote with the button below!

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