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Old 11-07-2020, 12:30   #1
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Using lazyjacks as a topping lift

I skyed my topping lift and failed to jam it and the weights through the masthead sheave when I went up. I currently use my main halyard as the stopgap topping lift at the dock, but I noticed the boom can also hang from the lazyjacks. I hadn't heard of lazyjacks used for that purpose and I was wondering if there was a reason why.

The boom is only 11' and the jacks have 2 legs with a ring connecting the legs (on the same line) and the upper line running up to the mast. I envision continuing to use the halyard as the dockside topping lift to avoid slap while using the jacks underway. It would be annoying to adjust the jacks underway and impossible under load.
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Old 11-07-2020, 13:30   #2
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Re: Using lazyjacks as a topping lift

So it's down at the bottom of your mast somewhere? If I were you, I'd find a way to retrieve and re-run your topping lift...

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Old 11-07-2020, 14:04   #3
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Re: Using lazyjacks as a topping lift

The topping lift is completely out. I used it to retrieve a skyed main halyard. I noticed that the halyard was wrapping around the lift as it flopped about and I successfully used the friction that generated to get the halyard into boathook range, leaving me my new problem.

The reason I don't want to rerun the lift is that would require a 1 week delay to my summer cruise to get access to the crane again.
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Old 11-07-2020, 14:40   #4
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Re: Using lazyjacks as a topping lift

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Originally Posted by CFS Klopas View Post
I currently use my main halyard as the stopgap topping lift at the dock, but I noticed the boom can also hang from the lazyjacks. I hadn't heard of lazyjacks used for that purpose and I was wondering if there was a reason why.
When lazy jacks are used also to perform the function of a topping lift on the boom, the lazy jacks are known as lazy-lifts.

That's been the term in use since at least as early as 1938. Emiliano Marino, in his 1994 book The Sailmaker's Apprentice, briefly discusses lazylifts (without a hyphen).

The historical origin of lazy jacks and lazy-lifts is the same: the rigging of a Chinese lugsail junk, aka junk rig. The lazy jacks on a lugsail function as lazy-lifts. Chinese lugsail-rigged junks have likely been using lazy-lifts for more than 2,000 years (some say since about 300 BCE).

I use lazy-lifts on Led Myne. Haven't sailed with a boom topping lift for 20 years.

Lazy-lifts have some advantages, including facilitating reefing of the mainsail at most any point of sail.

One approach, the one I use on Led Myne, is to make your lazy jacks using elastic cordage, such as laid nylon. Then adjust the length of the lazy jacks so they lift and hold the boom to the level above deck that you choose. You can then use mainsheet tension to oppose the topping of the boom by the lazy-lifts, allowing the boom to be held firmly by opposing forces.

Other approaches include using a non-elastic cordage. Your choice, depending on what you do with your boom.

Both approaches usually include a means of dynamically (or at least easily) adjusting the effective length of the lazy jack lines (or at least the lazy jack lines at the distal end of the boom). I do that with horn cleats on either side of the boom, but I know others who use trucker's hitches and so on.
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Old 11-07-2020, 16:40   #5
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Re: Using lazyjacks as a topping lift

I used Spectra when I replaced my lazyjacks (errr.....lazylifts. Cool new term!) so if my hard vang ever fails on me (again) then I will be prepared. It is not possible (that I know of) to reef a mainsail on a larger boat without something holding up the boom. I'd be curious to know how others might do it without breaking the gooseneck or taking out the dodger or someone's head. For the OP, you'd still have to climb the mast to set up such a system, but I think it would be worth it.
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Old 11-07-2020, 18:45   #6
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Re: Using lazyjacks as a topping lift

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Originally Posted by CFS Klopas View Post
The reason I don't want to rerun the lift is that would require a 1 week delay to my summer cruise to get access to the crane again.
You have to use a crane? What will you do when you need to go up the mast when out cruising?
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Old 11-07-2020, 19:14   #7
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Re: Using lazyjacks as a topping lift

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What will you do when you need to go up the mast when out cruising?
Motor. I'm on Lake Michigan, the distances are reasonable and I have zero intention of going up anywhere besides a harbor.. I've never seen anyone besides me go up in my marina with maybe 50 sailboats.

Due to my lack of friends, the crane is the only way to get help. My previous follies trying to climb: https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...ap-196158.html
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Old 12-07-2020, 08:18   #8
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Re: Using lazyjacks as a topping lift

If your lazy-jacks are attached to your mast, and not spreaders, the space between port and starboard jacks is about the width of your boom. If the lazy jacks are also doing the job of topping lift, they will be tighter than if they are merely guiding the sail down and into some kind of stack pack. I doubt the sail will flake properly in the narrow space. Abrasion might well be an issue. While sailing, abrasion will continue, unless you release the lazy jacks somewhat. Then, you'll need to re-tighten them before dropping the boom.


For us old guys, that's a lot to remember.



BTW: If the lazy jacks attach to your spreaders, you are placing a point load (and inducing bending) on something intended only to carry axial compression loads.

I'd be keeping my topping lift, but I also use it for my anchor-riding sail since I can't get to the backstay (bimini in the way)
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Old 12-07-2020, 08:56   #9
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Re: Using lazyjacks as a topping lift

Hi. If your lazyjacks are tight enough to do the topping lifts job, they are going to be Seriously interfering with the shape of your mainsail under way. Unless you adjust them every time, & when you want to reef.
Good idea for junk rig maybe but since the advent of bermudan rig we have forgotten the meaning of the term “embayed”....
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Old 12-07-2020, 09:02   #10
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Re: Using lazyjacks as a topping lift

I think this may marginally work in a smaller boat as an impromptu solution BUT.


Aside from load and chafe, you may want to lift the boom when you are sailing and this would force the lazyjacks into the sail deforming its foil shape. Etc.


I say: fix that lift or fit a gas kicker.


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Old 12-07-2020, 09:02   #11
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Re: Using lazyjacks as a topping lift

Lots of Old pubs in the UK called the Hope & Anchor, because when you are being driven ashore because your vessel wont sail to windward, your last hope was to anchor...
Being able to sail to windward is a priority for any real sailing boat. Best to sort out your topping lift i think.
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Old 12-07-2020, 09:32   #12
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Re: Using lazyjacks as a topping lift

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Originally Posted by CFS Klopas View Post
Motor. I'm on Lake Michigan, the distances are reasonable and I have zero intention of going up anywhere besides a harbor.. I've never seen anyone besides me go up in my marina with maybe 50 sailboats.

Due to my lack of friends, the crane is the only way to get help. My previous follies trying to climb: https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...ap-196158.html
A friend had the same problem so we tied her boat alongside mine, which has mast steps, and pulled the top of her mast over to mine and were able to climb mine to replace her halyard. No crane required.
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Old 12-07-2020, 09:42   #13
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Re: Using lazyjacks as a topping lift

I have lazy-lifts on my Pogo 12.50. They do not interfere with the main whilst sailing as the leach of the sail then takes the strain and the jacks are faily loose. You might need to reinforce the bag material with canvas strops which are then supported with strops under the boom, this prevens the bag from ripping under the strain.
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Old 13-07-2020, 12:17   #14
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Re: Using lazyjacks as a topping lift

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Originally Posted by Clivevon View Post
Being able to sail to windward is a priority for any real sailing boat. Best to sort out your topping lift i think.
Is the reason windward performance is effected because the jacks tighten and deform the sail?

I'm going to experiment with the boom adjusted lower than I would prefer dockside so the leach can bear the load under sail. I'll let everyone know how it goes.
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Old 13-07-2020, 15:26   #15
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Re: Using lazyjacks as a topping lift

Oh for pity's sake, someone just tell him it's okay to use his lazy-jacks and not bother to re-run his topping lift.

Will someone please volunteer?
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