technical question

tgalea

Member
Joined
29 Dec 2001
Messages
202
Location
Malta
Visit site
hi all.

most of you will laugh at this but i'd really like to understand this.

I am completely new to sailing and am self-learning and using an old "Learn How to Sail" book.

My problem lies with a particular system of ropes, which adjusts the boom in a vertical manner. I've seen many people operate this on their boats but can't understand why an when to use it. Out of ignorance i'm saying "Wouldn't you always want the boom full extended downwards?"

My questions are; first of all what is the technical name for this; secondly i would appreciate some of your time to explain a bit of this to me!

Regards & Thanks,

Tyrone.
 

tony_brighton

New member
Joined
16 May 2001
Messages
804
Visit site
At the risk of scorn...

What you are doing with your kicking strap (or vang if American) - pulley system from the mast/deck join to a point about 45 degrees back on the boom - is controlling the sail shape. When close hauled, usually the mainsheet takes over much of the function of the kicker but the further you ease the sheet, the further the boom has a tendency to ride up unless you apply some kicker to hold it down (cos the mainsheet is no longer pulling it vertically downwards).
 

Athene V30

Active member
Joined
20 Sep 2001
Messages
5,451
Location
Playa del Ingles, Gran Canaria in Winter, the boat
Visit site
Re: topping lift?

The topping lift has other functions as well - in windy weather you will probably need to keep some tension in the topping lift to take some weight off the boom and risk stretching the sail when you haul in on the mainsheet when reefed

Also, this is an 'old sailors' trick - if you want to sail slowly and need to keep the main sail up for manouvering you can lift the boom with the topping list and make the mainsail spill wind, and keep it out of harms way!
 

claymore

Well-known member
Joined
18 Jun 2001
Messages
10,635
Location
In the far North
Visit site
Hello Tyrone
Like the other readers, I'm not sure which rope system you mean so:
1) Does the rope come from the top of the mast down to the end of the boom nearest the back of your boat (Thats the topping lift)
or
2) Does it come up from the base of the mast at an angle to a point a little distance back from the front end (closest to the mast) of your boom? - (thats the kicking strap)

The first one - as the others have pointed out stops the boom from crashing down on heads in the cockpit as you lower the sail, can be used to spill wind from the sail and can also be used as an emergency halliard if your main halliard snaps.

The second one is to help develop some shape in your sail by inducing some bend on your mast (if the mast will bend) and along the boom.

There are any number of good learn to sail books and videos. I teach sailing and its quite common to find people like yourself who have learned their theory from books then turn up to get the practical bits sorted out. It seems to work for them so stick with it.
regards
JohnS
 

tgalea

Member
Joined
29 Dec 2001
Messages
202
Location
Malta
Visit site
Thanks for your time and replies. Well basically then it is a topping lift which my boat has.

So what do you really do with this ?

Thanks again
Tyrone.
 

claymore

Well-known member
Joined
18 Jun 2001
Messages
10,635
Location
In the far North
Visit site
Hmm
As so often after posting, someone comes back with equally viable suggestions. Yes - if they are pulley systems then not likely to be a plain and simple old topping lift.
The kicker it could be but obviously you are right in that any of the 3 you've mentioned could be what he is looking at.
 

claymore

Well-known member
Joined
18 Jun 2001
Messages
10,635
Location
In the far North
Visit site
If it is the topping lift, then when you pull it the aft end of the boom will lift.
So use of it: When parked up leave the topping lift so that the boom sits more or less horizontal.(Also tie off your mainsheet arrangement and that stops everything flapping around when some motorboater flies past!)
When going sailing, take off the boom (sail) cover - the topping lift helps here by giving you a stable, level boom to work with. If you leave the topping lift on whilst you hoist your sail, it will make life easier in that the end of the boom wont be in the cockpit or won't have come crashing down on someones head because you forgot to let it off slowly. Once the sail is hoisted, let off the tension on your topping lift so that the sail can set as the sailmaker intended. This means that it will be supporting the full weight of the boom. One of the posts earlier suggested that the topping lift can ease some of the tension on a new sail and stop it from stretching which is a good suggestion.
Some people, especially when racing, undo the topping lift from the end of the boom and tie it off somewhere on the mast and then tension it. This keeps it nicely out of the way and stops it getting wrapped round the backstay etc. For day sailing and cruising you don't need to do this but do let off a bit of tension so that the sail can set nicely. If you don't - or rather to exaggerate this point, if you have the end of the boom too high, then wind will be spilt from the sail and you will lose some of its power. This is known as scandalizing the sail (see thread).
When coming back to mooring or pontoon or beach or whatever and you are dropping the main - take the boat up head to wind, tension the topping lift (its a good idea to mark the rope with permanent marker just where it ties off so that you can do this quickly and get it right each time) - then lower your mainsail.
Another use for the topping lift is to give you a level boom so that you could rig up a cockpit tent.
Hope this helps.
good luck
regards
John
 

DanTribe

Well-known member
Joined
8 Jan 2002
Messages
5,381
Location
Essex
Visit site
Love this modern technology. 15 posts to find out if we're talking about a kicker or topping lift.If we could do a mime we could have been on 20 Questions.[Or was that Whats My Line?]
 

Trevor_swfyc

New member
Joined
19 Jan 2002
Messages
706
Location
Crouch
Visit site
TG I don't think your problem is being taken at all seriously.

Its no luffing matter when you don't know your foot from your head and when you have no idea where your Cunningham hole is you will never be any good between the sheets. You need to traveller down to the library and if that doesn't help then you will have to try another tack.

Best of luck
Trevor
 

claymore

Well-known member
Joined
18 Jun 2001
Messages
10,635
Location
In the far North
Visit site
I think it was both - does that make it 16 - in which case we would have one as we had 4 of the 20 unused. Yes modern technology is good as you point out.
 
Top