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Old 13-04-2016, 10:52   #1
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Lazy Jacks - do I REALLY need them?

hi all.

am a newbie single-hander on a 31' sailboat.

folks have been telling me I need lazy jacks, and - while I definitely want them - I'm on the fence.

have sail ties. they seem to work. obviously things would be much nicer/neater with lazy-jacks, but it just seems like another could-do-without, and less lines in the way.

what are your thoughts?

thanks.
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Old 13-04-2016, 11:02   #2
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Re: Lazy Jacks - do I REALLY need them?

I don't have them either. Most of the time it's just fine, but there has been a couple of occasions when I really wished for them, when dropping the sail in some real nasty weather.
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Old 13-04-2016, 11:04   #3
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Re: Lazy Jacks - do I REALLY need them?

Welcome aboard. It really depends on you and the sail size. We didn't have them on our 5 ton 30 footer but they're really a must for short handed sailing on our current boat with the 630 sf mainsail. Short handed is the key word here.
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Old 13-04-2016, 11:08   #4
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Re: Lazy Jacks - do I REALLY need them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by theodyssey View Post
hi all.

am a newbie single-hander on a 31' sailboat.

folks have been telling me I need lazy jacks, and - while I definitely want them - I'm on the fence.

have sail ties. they seem to work. obviously things would be much nicer/neater with lazy-jacks, but it just seems like another could-do-without, and less lines in the way.

what are your thoughts?

thanks.
Can you douse your main and lash it today? If so you may be able to avoid needing lazy jacks.

Why do you think you need them?

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Old 13-04-2016, 11:18   #5
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Re: Lazy Jacks - do I REALLY need them?

Make them yourself for $20. It will be a good investment. One of those things you don't think you need until you have it, and then you look back and ask how you lived without it. Like a remote start on a vehicle in the rust belt- one you have one, you'll always have one.
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Old 13-04-2016, 11:21   #6
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Re: Lazy Jacks - do I REALLY need them?

I din't have them on our 25 footer, sailed it for 13 years. Couldn't imagine NOT having them on our 34 for the past 18 years. It all depends on what YOU want, not what some whack job on the docks says you should have.
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Old 13-04-2016, 11:23   #7
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Re: Lazy Jacks - do I REALLY need them?

You don't "need" anything.

If you find yourself cursing the main when you drop it and try to bundle it, you may find them useful, otherwise if this is a task you have no problems with, then why bother?


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Old 13-04-2016, 11:28   #8
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Re: Lazy Jacks - do I REALLY need them?

Sailed for years without them and didn't think I needed them. My latest boat came with them rigged and I do find them handy. Not for stowing the main but to keep the main captured around the boom and off the deck when you first drop it.

Most useful if you are single or short handed, have to drop the main and then run to drop anchor or some other urgent job and don't have time to tie the main to the boom. Keeps the main from flopping all over the deck or cockpit where it can get damaged or worse, you step on it, fall and bust your posterior.

I plan to change the way mine are rigged so I can pull them forward and lash them out of the way when hoisting the main. The way they're rigged now it's 100% the main battens are going to hang, every time. $#!@$#@!!!!
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Old 13-04-2016, 11:34   #9
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Re: Lazy Jacks - do I REALLY need them?

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
<Snip>

I plan to change the way mine are rigged so I can pull them forward and lash them out of the way when hoisting the main. The way they're rigged now it's 100% the main battens are going to hang, every time. $#!@$#@!!!!
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 17 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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Old 13-04-2016, 11:48   #10
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Re: Lazy Jacks - do I REALLY need them?

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

Your boat, your choice.
Very interesting suggestion. I always go for something that is simpler, saves time, work and potentially money. But that does raise a question, at least from one who has used lazy jacks so far on one single cruise. that is chafe.

I seem to recall seeing comments about the lazy jacks chafing on the sail, especially off the wind so I considered rigging them so both sides could be pull forward out of the way when on a long passage. What's your experience with the chafing issue?
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Old 13-04-2016, 11:55   #11
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Re: Lazy Jacks - do I REALLY need them?

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Originally Posted by theodyssey View Post
hi all.

am a newbie single-hander on a 31' sailboat.

folks have been telling me I need lazy jacks, and - while I definitely want them - I'm on the fence.

have sail ties. they seem to work. obviously things would be much nicer/neater with lazy-jacks, but it just seems like another could-do-without, and less lines in the way.

what are your thoughts?

thanks.
I used to have them, and took them down. They were more trouble than they were worth - the mainsail battens would catch on them, every time I raised it.

Sometimes I miss them when dropping the main. It can be a scary experience trying to secure the main in the middle of the Oakland estuary, as it can be pretty busy. I deal with this issue by keeping it raised into the slip, unless the wind is strong and unfavourable (rare).

I have the reefing lines brought back to the cockpit, so I have been known to double-reef the main before sailing into the slip, if the wind is stronger.

I think that lazy jacks can be great but the implementation has to be spot-on. You need a way to pull them back to the mast and secure them out of the way, preferably from the cockpit, before you raise the mainsail. My old ones did not have this feature, hence the "getting caught on the battens" problem.
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Old 13-04-2016, 11:58   #12
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Re: Lazy Jacks - do I REALLY need them?

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Very interesting suggestion. I always go for something that is simpler, saves time, work and potentially money. But that does raise a question, at least from one who has used lazy jacks so far on one single cruise. that is chafe.

I seem to recall seeing comments about the lazy jacks chafing on the sail, especially off the wind so I considered rigging them so both sides could be pull forward out of the way when on a long passage. What's your experience with the chafing issue?
I haven't had any issues with chafe. 18 years. My setup is a single block two line arrangement.

I'm not a long distance sailor. But my lines are long enough to bring both sides to the mast. I do that when I ocean sail.

So, I have the OPTION of doing both.
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Old 13-04-2016, 12:24   #13
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Re: Lazy Jacks - do I REALLY need them?

Lazy Jacks are one of the best improvements I've made to the boat so far. I've set them up as 'removable' - i.e. there's cleats on the mast where they stay when undeployed. (Like EZ-jax) - They never touch the sail except when dousing so no hanging on the battens, no chafe.

All my halyards are at the mast - so it really simplifies single-handing. I can drop the main while motoring in the harbor with otto driving quick enough I don't run over too many kayaks or SUPs.

Mine are made of paracord, 2 cheek blocks right under the spreaders. Thimbles for the connections within the jacks themselves. $30 or so.
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Old 13-04-2016, 13:37   #14
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Re: Lazy Jacks - do I REALLY need them?

They're cheap and they work. And they make dropping the main so much easier. I still need to use sail ties to secure everything, but often this can wait until I'm back at the dock. Dropping the main is as simple as coming up into the wind and easing the halyard. They also keep me off the deck if it's snotty.
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Old 13-04-2016, 16:34   #15
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Re: Lazy Jacks - do I REALLY need them?

Hi, there, "the oddessy",

No, you don't "need" them. Not for just daysailing, anyway. Where i think they are very useful is when you're reefing, because you don't have to tie in the reef, the lazy jacks control and contain the bunt of the sail.

We had no lazy jacks on Jim's 30 footer, and none on the 36 footer with a 12 ft. long boom, but now, with a 19 foot boom and us a lot older, we have lazy jacks and a boom bag.

So, keep on as you are, when you are ready to buy a new mainsail, then you might want to consider having the lazy jacks, plus or minus the boom bag. Even with the boom bag, you still have to tug the flakes of the sail to get a good "harbor furl," although zipping it up makes it look okay in any event. If you currently furl, rather than flake, you'll give up furling, because the lazy jacks make the sail flake down.

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