GP14 Sailing Forums Forum Topping lift set up

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    • #25860
      Chris Smith
      Participant

      Having read your piece on topping lift Oliver I want to install on my boat (shan’t be racing). Couple of questions please;

      what is the best means of attaching, particularly to the mast top – any recommendations?  And ideal rope type, and indeed length? What else do I need to consider?

      very good article by the way Oliver, am using it to help me install a mainsale reefing system and like the suggestion regarding starboard set up.

      On an aside is there any mechanism for searching for existing topics on the forum please?

    • #25861
      Oliver Shaw
      Moderator

      By fortunate coincidence I have A Capella on her road trailer and hitched up to the car outside the house at this very moment,  all ready for departure tomorrow morning for the Cruising Week.   So I can take some photos.

      The choice of rope is not critical;   I used polyester braid of about 5 or 6 mm diameter because I happened to have some to hand.   I think that for this particular purpose there is some merit in the method which I chose to produce an eye at the lower end (by forming the eye and then putting on a tight seizing to make the eye permanent (or at least semi-permanent);   this has one very big advantage over splicing,  for this one application,  in that it permits one to set it up to a very precise length.    It is of course possible to produce a spliced eye with a similar precision as to total length of the rope,  but that precision in splicing takes a great deal of skill.

      The rope is secured to the top of the mast using a small plastic fairlead,  which is screwed to the mast using self-taps.  You could alternatively use a strap eye,  and that could be either screwed or pop-rivetted to the mast,  as you can also see in the first photo.   I can’t now remember why A Capella has both fittings,  even though it was almost certainly myself who attached them,  many moons ago;   at any rate the strap eye is not currently used for anything.

      You are also going to need a suitable strap eye or other suitable securing point on the top face of the boom,  near the aft end.   I can’t remember whether this is something that I had to supply and fit,  or whether it was already part of the boom.

      I started the job by securing a sufficient length of rope to the masthead,   ensuring that it was longer than I was going to need.  I decided to terminate it in a carbine hook,  so that it can be just clipped onto the strap eye at the end of the boom;  I used the closed type of carbine hook,  which has a complete ring at the narrow end,  so the rope is captive;   with the open type there is a risk that when not under tension the rope could migrate down the carbine hook,  and then when the hook is opened it becomes possible for the rope to become detached  –  which we don’t want.

      Then on a day of light winds I rigged her,  including the mainsail,  and put some tension on the kicker.  At that point the end of the boom is as low as it is ever going to be in normal sailing,  and the length of the topping lift can be adjusted to match the height of the boom end.       Pass the rope through the ring at the narrow end of the carbine hook,  and just take up the slack,  but without putting any noticeable tension on the rope.    Apply a seizing to secure the end of the rope back on itself,  and cut off most of the surplus,  but leave a few inches spare,  to allow for later adjustments if found necessary.   Preferably use a hot knife to make the cut (so it melts its way through the rope,  leaving the ends neatly and securely fused,  so the rope doesn’t unravel afterwards.

      The second photo shows the lower end,  but in a completely different context.  The boat is prepared for a road journey,  so instead of the topping lift being clipped to the boom it is parked by clipping it onto the spinnaker pole ring on the mast,  and then it also serves to park the end of the genoa halliard,  etc.   But I hope you can still see what it is when shorn of the temporary appendages.

      Ideally you will find that this supports the boom at a comfortable height when the sail is dropped,  or while reefing,  but in normal sailing the topping lift is always not quite under tension,  so it never interferes with the shape of the sail.   But this is the stage where you examine your handiwork critically,  and if you find that you need to lengthen the rope by an inch or so  –  and if you had the foresight to leave a few inches surplus when you cut off the majority of the surplus  –  all you need to do is undo the seizing and give it the extra inch,  and put on a fresh seizing.

      Do make sure that the seizings (top and bottom) are as tight as you can make them,   and it helps to put on frapping turns as well.   Even stronger of course,  but I don’t think it is really necessary in this situation,  is a racking seizing.

      If you are unfamiliar with this aspect of ropework I am sure that there are many handbooks and also online instructions which will show you how it is done.

      Hope this helps,

       

      Oliver

      • This reply was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by Oliver Shaw.
      • This reply was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by Oliver Shaw.
      • This reply was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by Oliver Shaw.
      • This reply was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by Oliver Shaw. Reason: Correction of typos
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      • #25916
        Oliver Shaw
        Moderator

        One further update on topping lifts.

        I personally have never found the need to adjust it on a GP14,  although every yacht that I have ever sailed (including the three that I have owned at various times,  including the current one) has it adjustable.

        However I have just returned from the GP14 UK National Cruising Week,  and one of my fellow participants there was Simon Conway,  whose cruising expertise I respect.   He initially fitted a fixed topping lift,  but has recently made it adjustable so that when he needs to row he can lift the boom well clear above his head.

         

        Oliver

    • #25867
      Chris Smith
      Participant

      Oliver many thanks, am curious by the way. What is the disc in the second picture?

      • #25869
        Oliver Shaw
        Moderator

        The disc is to keep the forestay off the luff of the genoa while furling it.   If the forestay is allowed to foul the partially furled sail it then tends to get caught up in the wrap,  and jams the system so that it won’t furl any further,  which rather defeats the object.

        It is about the minimum satisfactory size,  because the forestay and the luff are naturally so close together,  and it does rely on carefully balancing the tension  in the forestay once the rig tension is set up.   Perhaps I may yet experiment with using an additional short length of shockcord.

         

        Oliver

    • #25871
      Oliver Shaw
      Moderator

      > On an aside is there any mechanism for searching for existing topics on the forum please?

      It would be useful to have,  and you are not the first person to have asked,  but we do not at present have a search facility.

      Last time the (then) Webmaster answered this it was not available on the particular package (at the current price) which we were using.   However we do keep our technology and our media channels under review,  so it is something which may yet come at some point.

       

      Oliver

    • #25872
      Windychippy
      Participant

      Hi Chris,

      Just another take on a topping lift. Fitted before I learnt to splice.  My rope length is 12.9m and this is plenty long enough, you can probably trim shorter if so desired. (Rope used is Liros Magic Sport Line 3mm breaking strain 185kg @ 60p per mtr. ) Was going to use Marlow Excel Racing 3mm Breaking strain 460kg @ £1:30 per mtr  but thats overkill and twice the price.  Each end of the line is simply tied off with a 17mm Parrel ball ( 55p each ).   For the adjusting end I fitted a Clamcleat ( £8 ) at a convenient height at the lower end of the mast and then fitted a Ronstan cheek block near the mast top (£14 ish ) I fitted a small saddle fairlead to the top rear boom end ( £5 ).  Feed a loop of line through the saddle and then the Parrel ball through the loop, all secure in 5 secs.  Hope the pics help. Don’t forget the Duralac  Learning as I go.

       

    • #25873
      Windychippy
      Participant

      Trying to upload again so fingers crossed.

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    • #25878
      Windychippy
      Participant

      Hope these help Chris, all the best.

      Dave R.

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    • #25880
      Chris Smith
      Participant

      Gentlemen my thanks.
      off to learn how to seize a rope. Quite like to learn a new skill

      • #25881
        Oliver Shaw
        Moderator

        It is standard practice on yachts to have the topping lift adjustable,  but on GP14s I have found that this can be overkill,  always provided that the length is correctly set in the first place,  as described above.

        But most certainly,  having it adjustable is not wrong.

         

        Oliver

    • #25882
      Chris Smith
      Participant

      Oliver do you have a view of length from mast tip to boom end (plus a tiny bit of contingency)?

      • #25883
        Oliver Shaw
        Moderator

        Apologies for possible duplication.    I replied by email,  but nothing has yet appeared.

        “Sorry;  I have never had occasion to measure it.

        “However there are three possible guidelines to set the rough parameters.

        “1)  I think it likely that the Class Rules   –  currently under revision,  but currently still in force  –  will give the length of the leech of the sail.   This is not quite enough;   add a generous bit over.

        “2)  On the website,  in the Members’ Area,  are two or three tuning guides    At least one of these,  and very possibly all,  give a precise distance from the masthead to the transom for a boat optimally set up.   Your topping lift will not need to go as far as the transom,  so this length will be a generous upper limit.

        “3)  As the very last resort,  you know the height of the mast and the length of the boom.   Then apply Pythagoras,  tacitly assuming that the boom makes (roughly) a right-angle with the mast,  and allow a generous bit over in case it is not quite a right-angle.

        “However we are not talking about serious money here;   an extra metre of relatively small diameter rope costs buttons.   So make sure that you have ample, and then whatever you discard can go into the bag for odds and ends of assorted ropes.

        “You do have such a bag … ?   ”

         

        Oliver

      • #25890
        Oliver Shaw
        Moderator

        >   an extra metre of relatively small diameter rope 

        I am reminded of a telephone conversation some years ago.   A group of canoeists were to paddle the full length of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal as a charity fund-raiser,   and I had signed up with the support group;   amongst other things I was specifically tasked with towing a trailer holding multiple canoes back to the start point after they had finished.

        Over the telephone the organiser gave me the necessary information,  including the size and weight of the trailer,  and asked whether my car could handle it.

        I said “It’s a Land Rover;   what’s another ton or two between friends?”

        In the end I never did get to assist,  because the car was stolen (from my own driveway) the night before the event;   but that is life.

         

        Oliver

    • #25884
      Chris Smith
      Participant

      Ahh thought someone would mention the Ancient Greek philosopher.

      a bag ? Brilliant gonna go buy one. No one tell my wife I promised no more spend  😊

      • #25889
        Oliver Shaw
        Moderator

        But spending on the boat is in a different category  …   …

        If she demurs, tell her how much you have saved by choosing a dinghy instead of a yacht!

         

        Oliver

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