How to Install a Topping Lift

How-To - Code Flags

In response to reader requests, this page provides a description of the process for installing a topping lift.

I've installed a topping lift on my C-26, but Jim Hill was kind enough to send pictures and a description of the process he used for his topping lift. I've combined Jim's photos and description with my own experience to create the following tutorial.


Jim's photos (shown in the next section) depict the topping lift connections on the boom for his C-26.

"The upper clip on the line leading to the masthead is used to bring the boom up more for head room when docked or anchored. The lower clip on the masthead line is left attached to the boom in sailing position and at dock.

A separate line, tied to the backstay, is clipped to the boom end when anchored / docked, and clipped to the backstay under sail."

I have a C-26 as well, and have developed a virtually identical system on my boat. My topping lift runs from the top of the mast head to the end of the boom like Jim's does. The other end ties off to the mast on one of the pad eyes just below the jib halyard winch on the mast. When I'm not sailing, I run the extra length of cord around the jib halyard winch on the mast. When I'm sailing, I simply take it off the winch and let it hang free.

The only "problem" I run into with this setup is that I have to run the main up either when I'm going directly upwind, or on a starboard reach; if I run it up on a port reach, the main gets snagged on the topping lift.

I also have a wire attached to my backstay at a point a little higher than Jim's (which he has attached to the backstay connection plate). Mine is held onto the wire by a clamp that my boat's previous owner had installed. When I'm not sailing, it is clipped onto the same point that Jim's is. When I'm sailing, I simply unsnap the snap shackle to take it off.

See Jim's photos, provided below, to get a better idea of this setup. While these photos demonstrate the process for a C-26, owners of the other Chrysler cruising boats (C-20 & C-22) can use this process as well.


Many thanks to Jim Hill for taking the time to send in this description and photos! If you would like to ask him any questions about this process, send an e-mail message to

This page last updated on Thursday, November 4, 1999.