Topping lifts hold up the end of the boom. It's expected to hold the boom up for years and years and years. It's kind of important. And no, I did not make a mess of them. They've always been a mess.
The topping lift keeps the boom up when there's no sail in place. After we raise a sail, we ease the topping lift. Then the sail can assume its designed shape. Since holding the boom up is well over 95% of the time and sailing is under 5% of the time, the block should be sized for the job and installed properly.
This is the block at the end of the boom.
(Non-sailors might try to call this a pulley.)
It's a "single block with becket".
(Not Samuel Beckett the playwright.)
The word becket means loop. The BOTTOM of the block has the becket — a bar around which a loop can be woven. I've got my finger on the bar, obscured behind a shackle. The TOP of the block has a shackle that can be connected to the boom. This is backwards. And has always been backwards.
Normally, the becket would be at the top, and the shackle would be pinned to the boom. Normally.
These small blocks have the becket held in place with a permanent rivet. To change out the topping lift line, you need to weave an eye around the becket.
Or. Buy a better block where the becket is held in place with a removable clevis pin.
Here's the long-term consequence of this:
That bad boi is bent.
The becket (at the top) is twisted from years of being shackled instead of having a nice rope looped around it.
Overall, the block held up nicely. No complaints on the overall survivability of the cheeks or the sheave.
It would probably still be in good shape of it hadn't been installed upside down.
And no, it wasn't me.
Here's the line I replaced:
That's lichen growing on the line.
The line had been up there a while. At least ten years since we bought Red Ranger.
Let's guess it was at least 10 years before that.
It's unlikely to have been the original topping lift. It seems like no professional rigger would have put the blocks on backwards.
It's supposed to look more like this:
That particular block is overkill for this job. But. It was in inventory.
I've got a Garhauer 25-14 UB on order. It's a little smaller, but otherwise the same thing. A removable becket. A swiveling shackle. Much easier to rig, and much more reliable.
New ⅜″ line. No lichen. Block installed right-side up. No twisting.