I've had them on both boats. The first were retractable from mast halyards and the current
is not retractable but is adjustable. I found the extra halyards on the last boat get in the way. Raising the sail with lazy jacks deployed is not hard. It's getting the first batten past the second jack line. As you begin you just watch the sail flop back and forth and time the tug on the main halyard
. When the lower batten clears it usually is simple.
I used tiny blocks but only whip the jacks to the blocks. In a very high it will break apart and not be a problem getting fouled. It did that bringing the boat home and it seemed a good idea for fixed jack. I can adjust the new ones from the end of the boom. They are tied up high on the mast but thread together on each side so you can set the tension to match the belly of the sail. You don't want any chafe and you'll never just guess the right tension. I have slots in the sail cover
with zips on two legs and a flap with a twist fastener on the end. You line the slots in the cover to the jack lines and start fastening. The cover hangs loose and open on the bottom to dry out the sail. I have a few twist fasteners on the bottom so the cover won't balloon out.
My jacks are not tight so don't sing. You can't sail with them deployed tight.
Retractable has that advantage but if you forget to delpoy them soon you may not feel comfortable going forward. In any case jacks beat having the sail all over the deck
. Stacpacks are popular here. Dutchman systems are also nice but it takes time to train the memory of the sail. If you race
with a crew then of course you probably don't need them but sailing short handed it helps a lot in rough weather