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Old 08-04-2021, 17:03   #1
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Best Lazy Jack System for 30' Pearson, single-hand?

Suggestions are appreciated.

I don't care to go out on the deck more than necessary, and adding lazy jacks looks like an idea worth investigating.

Are there any specific details to look for?

There are a few brands listed on eBay, some considerably more expensive than others. I don't mind the extra expense for the convenience and safety of having more or better-enginneered parts.

This is a DIY project.

Cheers!
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Old 08-04-2021, 17:52   #2
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Re: Best Lazy Jack System for 30' Pearson, single-hand?

First I've heard of lazy jack "brands"...aren't they custom made of whatever suitable line there is, with thimbles as desired and adjustment as preferred?
Of are you thinking of jacklines? There are many lengthy and contentious threads covering every detail of those...
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Old 08-04-2021, 20:05   #3
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Re: Best Lazy Jack System for 30' Pearson, single-hand?

On two different sail craft over 30 years I have used retractable lazy jacks. Except for dropping the main they are stowed along the boom and are hoisted into position by a line run from the catchment up to cheek blocks below the spreaders and back to the goose neck.

My most recent set was made from 1/8" dyneema and Ronstan shocks (small aluminum block replacements). Use a standard sail cover, but does require going to the mast to set the jacks before dropping the main. Secure the main with sail ties and restore the jack assy back along the boom and mast out of the way until time to drop the main again.


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Old 09-04-2021, 00:54   #4
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Re: Best Lazy Jack System for 30' Pearson, single-hand?

Made up my own with a similar design to these https://nautos-usa.com/collections/l...ainsail-system. Used brass rings in place of blocks, installed small cheek blocks about halfway between spreaders and masthead to haul it up. Store the LJ's against the mast when not in use by hooking them under the cleats at the mast. Used !/4" double braid on 35 footer and 3/16" on my 28 footer.
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Old 09-04-2021, 10:07   #5
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Re: Best Lazy Jack System for 30' Pearson, single-hand?

I owned a Catalina 30 for over 18 years and had a Dutchman System installed by my sailmaker. It truly made single-handing MUCH easier, particularly in bad weather. I've used lazy jacks on other boats and I find the Dutchman to be easier and to provide better control of the sail. I'm sure others will chime in with alternate opinions. This is JMHO.
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Old 09-04-2021, 10:07   #6
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Re: Best Lazy Jack System for 30' Pearson, single-hand?

Before you decide to do a lazy jack system, take a good look at the Dutchman system. I had that on my 30 footer and, while it takes a couple of times to get the hang of it, it is quite simple and works very well with no lines that get in the way. The only drawback is you have to have the mainsail modified for the lines to go through it.
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Old 09-04-2021, 10:07   #7
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Re: Best Lazy Jack System for 30' Pearson, single-hand?

I HAVE USED THE DUTCHMAN SYSTEM FOR 6 YEARS AND IT IS THE BEST!
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Old 09-04-2021, 10:38   #8
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Re: Best Lazy Jack System for 30' Pearson, single-hand?

I have never used the Dutchman system but I have used lazyjacks a lot & they definitely have their issues. I wouldnt not have them though.

You can make them easily yourself. The less friction in the system the longer they will take to chafe through, so small blocks or rings - your choice.

If your LJs live along the boom except when dropping the sail it means they wont impede raising the mainsail & wont chafe the mainsail under way. But neither will they support your stackpack sail cover under way if you have one. Most people with LJs do.

If you do have a stackpack sail cover made, plus reefing lines led back to the cockpit, make sure you can still see the gooseneck from the cockpit so you can see when a reef has been fully taken in.
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Old 09-04-2021, 10:55   #9
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Re: Best Lazy Jack System for 30' Pearson, single-hand?

When I bought my current IP the PO had installed the Dutchman system. It does a great job of capturing the main coming down, but awful bunch of lines. Always up, slits in the sail cover, holes/grommets in the sail, in the way of sun awning, and looks like sh##. I won't tolerate a topping lift let alone that contraption. Got me a rigid vang, new mainsail and cover, threw that mess in the garbage, never looked back. YMMV.


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Old 09-04-2021, 11:20   #10
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Re: Best Lazy Jack System for 30' Pearson, single-hand?

I did my own retractable. 1/8 or 3/16 line. Ronstan makes some small plastic blocks rated, IIRC, about 300 Lb that are ideal for lazy jacks. Retractable means the only time they are deployed is when dousing the main. No chafe.

Exact design details are totally dependent on the sail dimensions. I have a fifteen foot boom and four vertical lines at the base. For a thirty footer you probably only need three.

One pitfall to avoid is battens hanging up. The aftmost vertical needs to be far enough aft so the battens do not fold over it. Long battens are a big help.
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Old 09-04-2021, 11:32   #11
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Re: Best Lazy Jack System for 30' Pearson, single-hand?

The Harken system is the simplest and worked well on our 28' Catalina. We currently use custom ones made from Dyeema that work just as well (although no better).
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Old 09-04-2021, 11:57   #12
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Re: Best Lazy Jack System for 30' Pearson, single-hand?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailon1 View Post
Suggestions are appreciated.

I don't care to go out on the deck more than necessary, and adding lazy jacks looks like an idea worth investigating.

Are there any specific details to look for?

There are a few brands listed on eBay, some considerably more expensive than others. I don't mind the extra expense for the convenience and safety of having more or better-enginneered parts.

This is a DIY project.

Cheers!
I had the same concern, not wanting to be out on deck any more than absolutely necessary. The system I've put it means I never have to go on deck to raise or lower or tie down the main.
I am a little confused by asking for brands and then saying it's a do-it-yourself project since you could theoretically build your own lazy jacks from line and blocks or rings.
My boat is a 28 ft. close enough to mimic your size. Easiest would be to buy a lazy jack kit from West Marine around $350. However, if you really want to enjoy the benefits of dropping your sails and not have to fight with a sail cover, I suggest you include a "Lazy-Cradle" or "Stack pack" arrangement. I looked at Doyle's, Mack Sails and UK Sailmakers.
I see others recommend Dutchman systems. That however directly involves modifying your main sail so lines can run through it. Doyle's stack pack attaches the catch bag to the sail as well. I bought UK Sailmakers Lazy Cradle because it will work with any loose footed main sail, rolls up against the boom, if you want, during sailing and allows for pulling the lazy jack lines back out of the way, again if you want to. It cost me $100 a foot, complete. They had a guy come out and be sure it fit correctly the first time.
I have the lazy jack adjustment lines, the primaries, come all the way back to the cockpit so I can tighten or slack the jack lines for raising and lowering the main sail. To make the system work I put a downhaul on the main sail so it will drop completely into the bag. The whole thing keeps my sail on top of the boom, fully enclosed when down and doesn't seem to interfere when sailing.
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Old 09-04-2021, 11:59   #13
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Re: Best Lazy Jack System for 30' Pearson, single-hand?

Hated my Dutchman as it negatively influenced sail shape & was never so happy as the day I replaced it with Jiffy Jax. Not a bug name but reasonably priced, well constructed & insanely rapid order turn around. I really appreciate how the jack lines come forward and are secured to the mast when under sail. And did I say they go up in a jiffy? Jiffyjax.com
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Old 09-04-2021, 14:11   #14
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Re: Best Lazy Jack System for 30' Pearson, single-hand?

I would think it depends upon the type of mainsail cover you have. Is it a zip on top or a remove and stow type. I like the taco shape that has the gommets for the lazy system with the blocks on the mast that is adjustable when off wind to allow for sail shape. Some systems use the frictionless rings. Mine uses the small blocks. And I can loosen mine for off wind use.

I do recommend to have a rod batten sewn into the top of the mainsail cover on both sides so the lines lift from the batten instead of a single point of failure grommet. gives a nice shape while not in use.
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Old 09-04-2021, 14:26   #15
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Re: Best Lazy Jack System for 30' Pearson, single-hand?

Love my Dutchman system with full battens except for the sail cover, which can't be an attached bag like some other systems. In our case, I can't reach much of the main boom if it is any where close to centered, due to the width of our cockpit cover over the midship cockpit. The Dutchman lets me release the halyard and just ignore the main until I'm anchored. It cannot affect sail shape in any way if properly installed and adjusted. It does require a full-time topping lift.

But on a 30' boat where you can easily reach the boom, I think Dutchman is overkill. But be aware that lazy jacks can be a huge PIA, often catching on standard battens of sail as it is lowered.

The right solution is first full battens and a good sliding track system, then lazy jacks. Probably all not worth the little effort it takes to secure your main right now, assuming you have either an autopilot or a responsible helmsman as crew. I sailed a Cal29 with standard main and no lazyjacks for many years and can't remember ever feeling like I had a problem securing the main.
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