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Old 05-08-2014, 17:34   #1
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Problems if I remove my mainsail battens?

I have a sloop-rigged 38-footer that I single hand about half the time. The rigging includes a Doyle stack-pack that seems to do a nice job of keeping the sail reasonably stacked. The problem I'm having is that unless I am dead into the wind, with less than about 7-8 knots blowing, the battens in the main get caught half way up the lazyjacks. The same thing happens when trying to douse the main - the battens get hung up in the lazyjacks. As you can imagine, this is quite challenging when single-handing but it's also a problem when I have crew. One of us has to stand on the cockpit coaming about half way down the boom and lean over (a bit precarious) and 'help' the sail down, occasionally tugging at the sail to free a batten from the lazyjacks.

Am I doing something wrong or is this common? I'm tempted to pull the battens out and I know I'll be sacrificing something but not sure what the total impact will be to performance under sail or to the health of the sails. Suggestions?
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Old 05-08-2014, 17:56   #2
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Re: Problems if I remove my mainsail battens?

If it is a full-batten main it simply will not work without the battens. The entire leach will collapse. Batten-less mains are cut with a "hollow" or concave leach shape to prevent this happening. It is convenient, but there is a BIG performance hit associated with the change in shape.

One way of combating the hangup is to slack the lazy jack halyard on one side when hoisting, pulling the jacks forward and out of the way, and then keeping the sail on that side whilst hoisting. Also, if not already so arranged, move the lazyjack halyard blocks out on the spreaders as far as convenient. This opens up the angle a bit and helps avoid hangups.

We've not had hangup problems while dropping the main in general, so can't quite envision what your setup must look like to encourage the problem. In general, changing the angle of the lazy jack verticals might help, but I dunno 'bout that in your case.

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Old 05-08-2014, 18:06   #3
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Re: Problems if I remove my mainsail battens?

I was having the same problem. I pulled the lazy jacks out further on the spreaders and it has helped. See the thread below.....
Doyle Stackpack Question...
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Old 05-08-2014, 18:09   #4
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Re: Problems if I remove my mainsail battens?

Make that three. Try getting the main up single handed on a 44'er in 20+ Knots.

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Old 05-08-2014, 18:10   #5
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Re: Problems if I remove my mainsail battens?

Tie the lazy jacks to the tips of lower spreaders with a short piece of bungee cord. When the lazy jacks are eased the slot will be much wider as the bungee cord will pull the lines outboard.
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Old 05-08-2014, 18:14   #6
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Re: Problems if I remove my mainsail battens?

I had the same problem. New main I got rid of the full length battens. Much better now. and the Roach is actually fuller than the old main. its now as full as you can get

Rip yours out and see how it goes.


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Old 05-08-2014, 18:28   #7
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Re: Problems if I remove my mainsail battens?

Might be the way the batten ends are done on your sail. Usually they catch on the way up to but not too badly coming down. Maybe a sailmaker could add covers over the leach end of the battens, or prehaps the battens are too long or not tensioned in far enough and so stick out too far?

One thing that concerns me about taking the lazy jacks to the spreader ends is the possibility of damaging a spreader or pulling the spreader down if they get over tensioned. I guess the bungy fuse would prevent high loads by breaking or stretching, but you see lots of boats without bungy and very strong spectra lazyjacks that potentially could rip off a spreader in a gybe? I like vascos idea for this reason.
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Old 05-08-2014, 18:38   #8
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Re: Problems if I remove my mainsail battens?

Common problems with lazy jacks. You need to be dead to wind and good on the halyard release. Using an auto pilot I presume?
Lazy jacks on my boats didn't come back too far on the boom and it helps some, downside is the aft part of the main may spill out a bit until tied.
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Old 05-08-2014, 19:51   #9
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Re: Problems if I remove my mainsail battens?

Yeah, an AP would be a great help. I guess. I was using a wind vane driven with a tiller pilot. That didn't cut it in 22 knots. Or ever for that matter.

Got a new CPT to install as a result.
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Old 05-08-2014, 20:10   #10
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Re: Problems if I remove my mainsail battens?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hpeer View Post
Yeah, an AP would be a great help. I guess. I was using a wind vane driven with a tiller pilot. That didn't cut it in 22 knots. Or ever for that matter.

Got a new CPT to install as a result.
Thread diversion, but interested in why the TP didn't work on the windvane?

I also usually ease the mainsheet, this lets the boom wiggle around and gives you more chances to get the leech though the gap.

when I set up the system on the new boat I will try a set of rails on the boom to catch the sail and also spread the lazyjacks at the bottom. This will mean I can lower the lee lazy jacks completely and not have the sail fall off the boom...
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Old 06-08-2014, 05:13   #11
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Re: Problems if I remove my mainsail battens?

That particular incident was a couple of years ago but as soon as I got any head sail up it just overwhelmed the vane and pushed me off. I didn't want to keep slamming while working at the mast so I had slowed down, without the speed ( merger though it was) she just got pushed around.

Not saying I did things right, I did what I could at the time.

In general the tiller pilot works well enough, as long as they hold together. I had one wear out in short order, and the next two had bad gyros out of the box.
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Old 06-08-2014, 05:34   #12
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Re: Problems if I remove my mainsail battens?

On my Sigma (didn't have a stack pack) I completely moved the lazy lines to the mast when hoisting the main. Makes a bit of a mess on the deck but only for a short while. I moved the attachment point for the lazy lines to the outside of the spreaders to allow a nice wide opening. Just before lowering the main I would tighten the lazy lines and simply drop the main. Also didn't use the whole length of the boom to attach the lazy lines (to a point 1/3 and 2/3 of the boom I estimate). For a while I did this without batcars (just a rope slotted in the mast). When I got my batcars I would simply drop the main without lazy lines and collect the sail later (a 10 second job).
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Old 06-08-2014, 09:01   #13
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Re: Problems if I remove my mainsail battens?

Thanks for the suggestions. I may try each individually and then in combination to see what works best and is simplest. The one that concerns me (and this is echoed in the thread) is running the lazyjacks to the spreaders. Spreaders are not designed to withstand downward force, they are intended to withstand lateral force. As an engineer, I would not attempt to place any downward (or upward) force on the spreaders. However, the buingee idea of yanking the lazy jacks a little bit outboard by attaching them to the shrouds (which can tolerate a nominal bit of lateral tension) seems to achieve the same end result. This may even be a good solution for when I'm under sail because the lazyjacks tend to distort the shape of the main (and probably kill my power).

As for letting up on the main sheet, doesn't that result in just more flailing around and possibly create a problem of the boom bail or some other part of the block system failing from all the back and forth snapping? Not sure I want to tempt fate with that trick.
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Old 06-08-2014, 09:11   #14
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Re: Problems if I remove my mainsail battens?

Agree completely that removing (or pulling sideways) of lazy jacks improves sail shape significantly. For me the main reason to completely pull them towards the mast ASAP. Since I had no lazy bag the load on the lazy jacks is very limited; never had any problems with my spreaders but do understand your point. After getting my batcars I used the Lazy jacks briefly to bundle the sail to the boom. I used a loose traditional sail cover that would not fit if the lazy lines would be up. Have fun with your experiments; you are not the only one with these kind of problems.
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Old 06-08-2014, 09:41   #15
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Re: Problems if I remove my mainsail battens?

Lazy Jack Trick
Many folks complain about full battens getting caught up when raising the mainsail. They then spend a lot of time moving BOTH sides of the lazy jacks to the mast.

We developed an easier way with our lazy jacks.

We have a small cleat on the forward starboard side of the boom. When we put the halyard on the headboard, we move ONLY the starboard side of the lazy jacks forward and snug them under the forward side of the horn of this cleat.

Then, when we raise the mainsail, instead of going exactly head to wind, we bear off a tad to starboard so the wind is coming from the port side of the bow.

We then raise the mainsail and it doesn't get hooked on the lazy jacks even though the port side jacks are still there.

Been working for 15 years.

Yes, we have to go forward again to unhook the starboard lazy jack for dousing the sail if I forget to do it right when the main is raised, but there's never any hurry. The drill is: after the main is raised, I unhook that starboard lazy jack, so they're both ready to go when we drop the sails at the end of the day.

So, for those of you with lazy jacks, consider doing only one side.

Your boat, your choice.



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