Climbing the mast or, what’s a topping lift?

One of the first things that new neighbors said when we arrived two summers ago was where’s your topping lift? Uh…what? So much to learn… A topping lift is a line that runs from the top of the mast to the back of the boom so it doesn’t crash down on the heads of sailors. We don’t have one.

Though we don’t have a topping lift we do have a rigid boom vang. This is a support/lifting arm that makes a triangle between the mast and the boom.

See the boom vang preventing the boom from squashing me?

And this means that our boom isn’t going to come crashing down on our heads either. So that’s good, at least.

Peter decided to climb the mast to find out if maybe the topping lift was just stuck somewhere up there. It wasn’t.

At the top! Photo courtesy Jamey Laird.

However, he was able to utilize the marvelous mast steps the original owners had installed. As far as I know we are the only boat in this marina with steps to the top of the mast.

It’s a long way up. Photo courtesy Jamey Laird.

He’s climbed the mast once since then to untangle the port and starboard halyards that were mis-rigged. Both times there were people stronger than me to catch the safety line if he fell. Not that he would.

The view from the top.

Someday my turn will come to climb 55’ in the air. Not today, though. Today it’s too windy and tomorrow doesn’t look so good either.

It’s a long way down…

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