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Old 21-04-2015, 10:57   #1
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Why bother with thimbles on lazyjacks?

I made my lazyjacks mostly following the Guy Stevens instructions here:
Good Old Boat - Lazy-jacks: mainsail tamers article

They're roughed out now (joined with bowlines at the leg supports where thimbles would normally be spliced in).

What I keep wondering is why bother with thimbles at all? Is it solely to avoid a small amount of chafe? I don't keep my lazyjacks permanently deployed like some people do (they only take 30 seconds to put away, so I see no reason to leave them deployed, and I don't need them as a topping lift).

With the lazyjacks up for 2 minutes or so and joined with two interlocking bowlines at each junction they don't seem to chafe at all.

If I add SS or nylon thimbles, two of those will be next to the mast and probably make banging sounds against it in any wind at anchor. That seems like a big downside - I hate reverberations through the mast at anchor and go to great lengths to tension halyards or run them away from the mast to avoid that. I might be able to pad the thimbles or run them away, but it would be tough.

The other thing I considered was maybe the bowlines would snag on the sail during takedown, but that doesn't seem to be the case - I keep the tails short, and 3/16" double braid is pretty slick, so no snagging has happened so far.

So is the extra work of splicing in thimbles mostly just an aesthetics / tradition thing? (or for people who want to keep their lazyjacks deployed)?
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Old 21-04-2015, 11:30   #2
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Re: Why bother with thimbles on lazyjacks?

The last set I constructed (not for my boat) were are 1/8" Amsteel with spliced eyes. Very low chafe, low friction, very light, and very low profile. No hardware.

With polyester I would be a little concerned that friction will increase as the line weathers in the sun and becomes less slippery. My current LJs are polyester and have blocks. I've had a few line failures, and they were at the blocks (highest wear area).

So yeah, with polyester you probably need something for good longevity and smooth function.
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Old 21-04-2015, 13:41   #3
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Re: Why bother with thimbles on lazyjacks?

Hmm, I guess I don't see how the lines will chafe when they're not rubbing against each other. But maybe it's worth doing splices just for the fun of it. Just trying to figure out why everyone does them when the benefit seems questionable at best. Bowlines also allow for easy removal of the system if needed, or adjustments.

Edit: I should add that the line used is Novabraid XLE Performer 3/16".
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Old 21-04-2015, 14:03   #4
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Re: Why bother with thimbles on lazyjacks?

Used brass rings of something less than 1/8" material and about 1" diameter that i picked up cheap off ebay. They allow the double braid 1/4" line to find their natural position and the line to slide through them with minimal friction. Seems you'd lose the low friction advantage if you just ran line through loops in the rope.
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Old 21-04-2015, 15:12   #5
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Re: Why bother with thimbles on lazyjacks?

We leave ours up all the time. The lines go through rings similar to roverhi's, and are bowlined through the loops at the top of the mainsail bag. Had to replace one of the lines after 8 yrs. The UV and weather will cause wear on the line, but (at least in our case) it has not been severe.

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Old 21-04-2015, 19:18   #6
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Re: Why bother with thimbles on lazyjacks?

Well, I'm stupid. I'm a self taught sailor and have never sailed with anyone with more experience than me. So sometimes things, silly things, trip me up.

So what do you do with the lazy jack lines if they are not up? Just drop tension and let them lay slack?

Sorry, serious question.
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Old 22-04-2015, 01:16   #7
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Re: Why bother with thimbles on lazyjacks?

We just bowlined ours together, and besides sometimes having a bit too much friction when deploying them there has been no problem yet after two years. Inserting rings sounds like a smart and easy solution. We were stupid enough to use the thinnest and cheapest braided nylon rope we could find at the time which is very flexible, but it also works on this not too critical system. The rope is very stiff, though, and likely chafes on the mainsail. I'll change that as soon as I find time and inspiration, i.e. when the ropes break

When you remove the lazy jack you drop tension, then put them under something on the mast and tighten up again. Such they are out of the way for hoisting the main.

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Old 22-04-2015, 03:33   #8
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Re: Why bother with thimbles on lazyjacks?

I too leave the lazy jacks in place. I am a lazy sailor.
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Old 22-04-2015, 04:12   #9
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Re: Why bother with thimbles on lazyjacks?

The best reason for splicing is because it looks more seamanlike--there should never be a knot where a splice will do. An easy and inexpensive option is to use nylon thimbles. Gentle on the sail, and won't crack sharply against the mast.
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Old 22-04-2015, 09:21   #10
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Re: Why bother with thimbles on lazyjacks?

I too have lazy jacks ---when they are not in use while lowering the sail, I hook them over the reefing hook so that they run down the mast and along the boom and then tighten them and cleat off the end on a small cleat on the boom near the gooseneck----that way they are out of the way when sailing and won't chafe the mainsail. When it it is time to lower the sail I unhook them from the reefing hook, tighten the lazy jacks,and lower the sail. I thought they all were set up that way
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Old 22-04-2015, 14:58   #11
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Re: Why bother with thimbles on lazyjacks?

I like you just use bowlines and have never had problems with my lazyjacks. I can see no reason for thimbles except appearance.
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Old 22-04-2015, 17:54   #12
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Re: Why bother with thimbles on lazyjacks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by foothillsailor View Post
I too have lazy jacks ---when they are not in use while lowering the sail, I hook them over the reefing hook so that they run down the mast and along the boom and then tighten them and cleat off the end on a small cleat on the boom near the gooseneck----that way they are out of the way when sailing and won't chafe the mainsail. When it it is time to lower the sail I unhook them from the reefing hook, tighten the lazy jacks,and lower the sail. I thought they all were set up that way
Ditto
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Old 23-04-2015, 08:29   #13
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Re: Why bother with thimbles on lazyjacks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by foothillsailor View Post
I too have lazy jacks ---when they are not in use while lowering the sail, I hook them over the reefing hook so that they run down the mast and along the boom and then tighten them and cleat off the end on a small cleat on the boom near the gooseneck----that way they are out of the way when sailing and won't chafe the mainsail. When it it is time to lower the sail I unhook them from the reefing hook, tighten the lazy jacks,and lower the sail. I thought they all were set up that way
same here too... couple stainless steel rings, I've never noticed any clanging on mast or boom.
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Old 23-04-2015, 08:49   #14
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Re: Why bother with thimbles on lazyjacks?

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Originally Posted by hpeer View Post
Well, I'm stupid. I'm a self taught sailor and have never sailed with anyone with more experience than me. So sometimes things, silly things, trip me up.

So what do you do with the lazy jack lines if they are not up? Just drop tension and let them lay slack?

Sorry, serious question.
Bungee around the mast keeps them out of the way.

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Old 23-04-2015, 19:40   #15
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Re: Why bother with thimbles on lazyjacks?

I spliced in a couple Ronstan blocks on either side. They weigh nothing and look neat. Zero friction, zero noise, and I leave them deployed at all times.
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