Boom Gallos vs Topping lifts

  • February 15, 2021 6:14 PM
    Message # 10102071

    I have bumped my head enough and am thinking if losing the Boom Gallows and switching to a topping lift of some sort. It seems it might open up the back tiller space some more also. Does anyone have the pros and cons of both? If you have a good topping lift for a split back shroud I would like some ideas. Thanks for any response.

  • February 16, 2021 9:27 AM
    Reply # 10105109 on 10102071

    Hi Alan , I think you need both . The topping lift is even more important than the Boom Gallows . Here are some good reasons you want a topping lift . . One thing this article doesn't mention is the use of a topping lift if you are going to use the tabernacle to lower down the mast . I have heard people say "you can't sail without a topping lift". Hopefully a knowledgeable sailor will tell us why .

    When we are not sailing the topping lift holds the Boom , if I would let the Gallows hold it , it would be to low . 

    I made a dingy motor mount that  incorporates the Gallows upright post . It really works for us , because we are all cutter rigged the boom is longer than a sloop's boom . The boom goes far back enough that I can put a block and tackle on the end , raise the boom up a bit (with the topping lift) and handle the dingy motor no problem . 

    One time we got caught in a bit of wind , this was a while back so I forget exactly what happened , but the boom was whipping port to starboard in a violent manner . The Gallows tamed it easily .

    For me the Boom Gallows just belongs on a cutter , as does the Stay Sail Club Boom. Here are some parts to make it elegant . .

    Good luck , Mark .

    Last modified: February 16, 2021 10:08 AM | Anonymous member
  • February 16, 2021 1:18 PM
    Reply # 10106284 on 10102071

    Hello Alan,

    I agree with Mark, you really need a topping lift. We have found that a masthead rigged topping lift is valuable for many things. Our topping lift is rigged using a masthead sheave so the topping lift runs from the end of the boom to the masthead and then down to a cleat on the mast near the main halyard winch.  It can be used as a spare halyard, it supports the boom when the sail is down and we use it to scandalize the main when we are reefing.

    Having lost a main halyard at sea we used our topping lift as a temporary halyard replacement till we got into port.

    We use our topping lift to support the boom when loading and unloading heavy items like an outboard.  We attach a 4:1 block and tackle to the end of the boom for lifting and use the topping lift to swing, raise and lower the boom much like a crane.   

    For reefing, pulling in first on the topping lift raises the boom scandalizing the main and makes it much easier to lower and reef the main.  With the main halyard, reefing lines and topping lift all at the mast its a simple easy process to put in or take out a reef.  Once the reefs are tied in we ease the topping lift back out and continue sailing.

    Regarding the boom gallows, I understand what you're saying!  I've smacked my head into our gallows many times over the decades.  But I would not want to remove it.  I've found it handy to lean against when I'm standing on the cockpit seats.  I find that standing on the seats gives me better visibility when traveling thru heavy boat traffic, docking and when traversing crab pot and lobster fields.  I did raise our boom gallows height by about 6 inches, but it still is a few inches lower than the boom when the mainsail is hoisted.

    One other nice feature of the Boom Gallows is that it provides a handy post to hold on to when one needs to relieve oneself over the side.


  • February 17, 2021 11:16 AM
    Reply # 10110079 on 10102071

    Hello Alan,

    I mostly agree with Mark and Kevin.  I do not need a boom gallows, but want one and use it.  I do not need a topping lift, but want one and use it.  In my case, the topping lift is not a halyard.  If you have only one then it SHOULD be the topping lift.  But, you don't need that either if you have a proper rigid boom vang.  There are pros and cons to all of these equipment choices.  All of my choices are because of my own personal preferences.

    The main purpose of the boom gallows, topping lift and rigid vang is to hold up the boom. You need something.  Anything else they may do is gravy.  One additional benefit of the topping lift that Mark referenced is as a performance adjustment.  Though Cruisers seldom raise their boom while sailing, a racer may raise the boom in order to allow the top of the Mainsail to twist off to increase air flow as they believe it should be.

    Good luck with your decision.  Let us know your choices.      Dave

  • February 24, 2021 3:25 PM
    Reply # 10134870 on 10102071

    Thanks for the imput everyone. I think I will add the topping lift and see which I like and use more. I gave up peeing off the back as too spooky though.