Topping lift

Does anyone else have an Elliot-Pattison, full batten main with a topping
lift installed? I built Roger’s lazy jack/topping lift and cannot get the
strings far enough forward on the boom to clear the top two battens while
still having enough leverage to hold up the boom while reefing etc. One of
these days I’m going to fall off the coach roof while clearing the sail.
I’m going to re-do Roger’s design to use as lazy jacks only because I
think it’s cool to do it for $25 and have a more durable system.
Eyeballing the clearance from end of boom to masthead sheaves makes me
think a topping lift won’t clear the roach. Anyone know for certain?


I have a full batten main with topping lift (but I don’t think it’s an
Elliot-Pattison main). The topping lift on my boat does not clear the roach
near the top, but I’ve never found it to be a problem with chafe or in any
other respect.

Gary Mynett
Dioscouri (hull #64)

Panacea has a full batten main made by Kern’s Sailmakers (Costa Mesa, CA).
I also had problems with the main hanging up in the lazy jacks. I installed a
topping lift and have had no problems with it. With the topping lift set for the
boom to clear the gallows the topping lift goes slack with the main raised and
it seems to stay clear. I now set the lazy jacks after I raise the main. With this arrangement the lazy jacks can be set with a little more slack than
if they were required to hold the weigh of the boom and the main seems to drop and stack a little better. When I had new covers made recently I eliminated
the slots for the lazy jacks (I drop 'em and put them under the cover) Getting the cover on the main is less hassel than it used to be and I saved a few $$ on
the cover.

Dennis Fitzgerald
S/V Panacea (#105)

If you want to take a turn into modernity? try a hard
vang. We have a full batten on top and lazy jacks
with the top halyiard led back down through the mast
and out at boom level. It could be led back to
cockpit–. The hard vang tightened up the system and
performs well. Disadvantage required moving the
dinghy to the foredeck.

nathaniel berkowitz, sausalito california
tel: 415 331 3314 fax: 415 331 1854

Our topping lift on Shamrock, hull 92, is run external at the mast head.
Old boat Challenger 32: We also used a fixed length topping lift attached to a tang at the mast head, with a block near the end of the boom. the control line was fixed at the rear of the boom, ran up to the topping lift block and back down to the boom, adjustment made at the gooseneck of the boom. This affair worked well, but we feel the mast?head?sheave arrangement of BCC?is much simpler and we don’t have a small block banging against the main sail.
Marty Chin, BCC Shamrock
Alameda, CA.

The topping lift on Fritha runs from cleats at the front of the mast through blocks just under the upper spreaders and then down to the aft end of the boom. Lines are spliced into this line and are tied under the boom. I’m considering attaching them to the boom similar to the Pardey’s method and add flaps to the mainsail cover. Just another project that waits in line with the others.
Doug Beu
s/v Fritha

Itchen’s topping lift uses the center sheave at the masthead, is external and cleats-off?on the mast, portside forward. If I was going to change anything?I would consider moving the?cleat to the starb’d side - easier to handle when dropping the main, or when reefing since the reef lines are run down the starb’d side of the boom.?But it works ok as is.?
Scott (Itchen; BCC #73?)

IDUNA is sporting Roger Olson’s reefing system, lazyjack system and whisker pole control system. If you are interested we will have the mailsail cover off and the whisker pole extended for the LHTR at Vera’s. The new Cape Horn Windvane System will be installed on IDUNA for the rendezvous. This is our second purchase of a Cape Horn and we will be pleased to answer any questions. We are also testing Roblon Spunflex rope for our haliyards. This is the same stuff the Pride and Sutana use - $150 for 200 meters of 10 mm rope.
Wow, Kate and Bernie, we will be there even if I have?to have one of the McAllister tugs I work on as?a deckhand, drag IDUNA there. Lenora and I are looking forward to this event - thank you, thank you for organizing it and hosting the cocktail hour.
Fair Winds,
P.S. The boat is ready and I just filled up our two jerry jugs with diesel. Sorry about that at the last rendezvous.


I’d be very interested in your experiences with the Cape Horn
system. We are thinking about one but are slightly hampered by
having a stern roller in the centre of the boomkin fitting.

On another note on Zuline we have a topping lift through a masthead
sheave as will as lazyjacks through small blocks at the second
spreaders. The legs of these lazyjacks retract to the mast when not
in use so that we can use an ordinary old mainsail cover with no
fancy slots.




I just installed a new Cape Horn System on “Devon” (BCC #65, ex-
Bucephalus, ex-Sanderling). With Yves Gelinas’ encouragement, I
mounted it inside the boomkin (offset to port). It’s completely
clear of my central anchor roller, and I don’t see how it would
interfere with its operation, although I haven’t set a stern

I’ve only sailed with the vane once. (Tomorrow will be the second
time.) But it seems to work beautifully. I love the protection
afforded by the boomkin. Installation went pretty smoothly,
although there were a couple of quirks. (One of the lower struts
needed a pad to extend it to the right length.)

Installation is not for the faint of heart. If you have all the
tools and are comfortable drilling into stainless tubing, it’s
certainly doable. I know that it’s not rocket science. But I hired
a rigger to help me. The result is much better than I would have
done by myself. Together it took us a good day of solid work.



thanks for the info. If you have any pictures I’d love to see them.
Did you opt for the version that has the shaft actually penetrating
the transom. I suspect not but I can’t quite get my head around the
versions yet.

The other thing I’d love to know is how it handles really light
winds, downwind and heavy going to windward. No doubt you’ll know
that in a little while.




I’m planning to take a bunch of pictures when I’ve finalized the
installation and will try to post them here. I’m traveling a bit,
but hope to have these in the next ten days or so.

Yes, the Cape Horn tower is mounted with struts (Toucana style, not
through the transom) as shown at the Cape Horn web site. You can
create a mental picture also by imagining four struts below the
boomkin (two forward and two aft) and two struts (obviously both
forward) above the boomkin.

Regarding the performance. I’ve only sailed a couple of times and
am learing how the system works. So far I’m pretty impressed and
I’m learning more each time that I hook it up.

Naturally, good coordination between the tiller control lines, the
course adjustment line and the general sail trim is necessary for
best performance. When set properly (and this is true of most self-
steering systems in my experience), it sails a straighter course
than you could hand steer.