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Old 13-08-2018, 10:15   #31
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Re: Catalina 36 lazy jacks vs. "stack pack" options

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Originally Posted by dcstrng View Post
I've looked seriously at the "pack" system, and wondered about the long-term durability of the zipper, similarly the "lazy-jack" battan and chaffing issues, at least in my imagination; I'd forgotten all about the Dutchman set up, but don't know anyone using one -- I suspect there ain't no free lunch (and maybe I'm just making up excuses to not make any decision at all), but appreciate all the insight/experience...
The finished zipper on our mainsail cover (in front of the mast) has lasted pretty well (longer than the stitching), so I don't see why a chain zipper on the top of a stack pack should be much different.

If anyone is seriously concerned about leaks through such a zipper, there are waterproof chain zippers. I have one on my dinghy cover and it's completely waterproof and protects the teeth quite well.

Installation of a zipper should be done with a protective hem each side that meets in the middle to cover it from UV as much as possible.
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Old 13-08-2018, 10:17   #32
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Re: Catalina 36 lazy jacks vs. "stack pack" options

We switched to the Doyle cradle cover and away from just lazy jacks with a sail cover about 3 years ago. We jokingly call it the marriage saver, but there's some truth in that. Here in the PNW, with all the rain, the cover has been extremely durable, the zipper is beefy and no issues so far. Not sure how it would do in tropical weather.

First and foremost I view it as a safety item. Just yesterday we were coming back from a three day cruise, it was 20 knots gusting to 24 right outside the marina, with choppy waves and not a lot of runway to put the boat away. It takes less than five seconds to put the main away with the stack pack. That's less time we are exposed to the conditions outside of the cockpit.

We also love the cradle cover for light air conditions. We just drop the sail if things go super light and we have to motor for a bit, it takes wear off the sail.

I like that the sail doesn't get folded in the same places over and over again as well. It's been a worthwhile investment.

On the negative side, it definitely adds some windage in harbor. We've been exposed in harbor to 40 knot winds with gusts to 50+ and while it was fine, the boat really had a lot of additional heel it would not have had without the cradle cover.

Also, rolling up the cradle cover when we want great sailing performance takes a few minutes. During period of heavy rain the cradle cover does fill with water. We use our kicker to raise the boom in the rainy season and let most of it drain out, but there is some water in the bottom, so far there hasn't been mildew and it really hasn't been a problem. I could even imagine the cover could be a great way to collect rain in the tropics. In any case, on balance, these are small sacrifices.

Going back to my first point, safety, whatever system you go with, dutchman, jacks, cover, whatever, my priority would be to make sure you can lower, or raise, your main as quickly as possible. It will give you confidence and ability to relax. We just don't stress about the sails anymore if we're coming into harbor and it's blowing hard.
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Old 13-08-2018, 10:50   #33
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Re: Catalina 36 lazy jacks vs. "stack pack" options

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Originally Posted by Training Wheels View Post
.... After seeing the damage to my sail from the lazy jacks without the lazy bag, when I bought a new sail, also bought a new lazy bag. Protects the sail ...
The advantage of the EZJax or Jiffy-Jax is that being retractable when not needed, they lay along side the boom and mast, never touching one's sail. We never suffered any chafe from the EZJax in all the years we had them on our prior boat.

FWIW...
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Old 13-08-2018, 23:27   #34
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Re: Catalina 36 lazy jacks vs. "stack pack" options

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Originally Posted by Endlessummer56 View Post
Hi all... sorry if this isn't the correct forum for this question, I am totally new to this site and am looking for experienced advice.
I have just purchased a 1994 Catalina 36. It is equipped with the old, original sail and Dutchman system, which we are going to change because we are getting a new mainsail. My question is this... We are weighing just getting lazy jacks installed vs. a "stack pack", "mack pack", "lazy cradle", etc option. We have a good sail cover for the Dutchman, which we could use for a lazy jack system, although with not exactly the correct coverage or we could just go the whole stack pack install all at the same time. We are planning to do California/Baja "coastal" for now, and we are two smaller, and 60-ish people. We aren't planning on racing this boat, so the cover hanging on the boom isn't all that important for tweaking the sail shape for time. However, being a purist (and a racer on other boats), I am having a hard time being okay with the extra canvas being on the boom full time while sailing. Would love to hear any experience you all have had with this type of system, pro and con. Thanks!
Have you considered using the Dutchman system again? I also have a 1994 Catalina 36 with the Dutchman and when I replace my main I will do the Dutchman again.
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Old 17-08-2018, 07:16   #35
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Re: Catalina 36 lazy jacks vs. "stack pack" options

Another vote for the Dutchman System. I had a new sail built and reused the existing components from the old sail. New monofiliments, but that was the whole expense. Cruised for over fifteen years with it and would have no other.
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Old 17-08-2018, 07:28   #36
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Re: Catalina 36 lazy jacks vs. "stack pack" options

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Originally Posted by Endlessummer56 View Post
We are weighing just getting lazy jacks installed vs. a "stack pack", "mack pack", "lazy cradle", etc option.

I've owned lazy jacks with separate cover, Dutchman with separate cover, and cradle cover. Of the lot, the Doyle CradleCover has been the best solution for my cruising and club racing.


I had decided to move away from the Dutchman system when I replaced my then current mainsail. The annual removal/install was a minor bear, and although it flaked as advertised when my spouse and I were cruising, my race crew could never get it right!



I opted for a Doyle sail, as only Doyle has a local representative in my area. We were offered StackPac and CradleCover and chose the latter, as the former physically attaches the cover to the sail, meaning that if you had to remove one for service, then for the service period you lose both. And we have had to separate the two for a brief period, so it was a good catch. Our selection did mean that I had to elect for a loose-foot main, but I wanted one anyway.


We have been happy. When you drop the main while into the wind, it falls directly into the bag without fuss or spill-over. On my Catalina 320 this is a boon when single handing or sailing with my spouse who due to minor mobility issues cannot go forward on the cabin top. This means that a stop for lunch makes the whole worry-free, and in worsening conditions we can leave final flaking and closing of the bag until we are safely at the dock rather than attempting the tidy while corkscrewing on the way to harbour. This is a decision I don't regret.


Still and all what's a decision without a trade-off? It IS sensitive to hoist with our full batten main, so care MUST be taken to keep the battens out of the lazy jacks. We also have an external track and sail/batten cars. This means that the sail flakes significantly higher at the mast than OEM, so I need folding steps attached to the mast so I can climb to reach the point where I can completely open/close the top zipper - but I needed these anyway before the CradleCover.



Your needs/experience may not match mine, but the CradleCover has worked, and I do not regret the upgrade.


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Old 17-08-2018, 08:54   #37
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Re: Catalina 36 lazy jacks vs. "stack pack" options

Lazy jacks - easy DIY job, even easier if the mast is out sometime. I hung mine on the spreaders and you can do nearly everything without 'surgery' (depending on the make and type of boom you have) in the first instance and get everything exactly right. Don't go spending loads on a kit, just look for a general layout on the internet or other boats and get it right first
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Old 17-08-2018, 09:24   #38
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Re: Catalina 36 lazy jacks vs. "stack pack" options

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Originally Posted by olivert View Post
Lazy jacks - easy DIY job, even easier if the mast is out sometime. I hung mine on the spreaders and you can do nearly everything without 'surgery' (depending on the make and type of boom you have) in the first instance and get everything exactly right. Don't go spending loads on a kit, just look for a general layout on the internet or other boats and get it right first
If you do decide to go with lazy jacks I second Olivert's recommendation to DIY and don't buy a kit. Further, use small diameter Dynema/Spectra line, very simple to eye splice and very slippery. Resulting in no hard sailmaker thimbles chafing the sail and less or no chafe along the boom while reefed or furled.
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Old 17-08-2018, 10:41   #39
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Re: Catalina 36 lazy jacks vs. "stack pack" options

Silly us, we're 70ish and never got around to getting any of these systems. We have a 43ft boat and we've sailed around the world, and sailed this boat for over 30 years. We just drop the main on deck then fold it. No problem.
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Old 17-08-2018, 14:01   #40
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Re: Catalina 36 lazy jacks vs. "stack pack" options

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Originally Posted by wingssail View Post
Silly us, we're 70ish and never got around to getting any of these systems. We have a 43ft boat and we've sailed around the world, and sailed this boat for over 30 years. We just drop the main on deck then fold it. No problem.

I agree. Don't overcomplicate things. I have done heaps of miles on my 36 footer, most of it singlehanded and have none of the above. Having crewed on other boats with stack packs and lazy jacks, I learned to hate them. They always seemed to be in the way, or flapped and chafed the sails. Maybe this is why sailmakers love all of these systems and encourage them. The money they make from these expensive systems long term must really add up. I might consider a simple lazy jack system on a heavy full batten mainsail but only reluctantly and try to do without first. Normally I just drop the main, lean over the boom and roll it up rather than flake it. I have never understood why people are taught to flake sails. If people just rolled them up into the lower part of the sail like the old timers did they would be suprised how quick and easy it is and never flake sails again. It only takes me a minute or two. The stack pack systems I have used took longer and the zippers always seemed to jam or cause trouble. The lazy jack systems were a pain in the a$$ when you wanted to put the mainsail cover on. Also, the end result with a rolled sail is much neater looking, sheds water, and is more secure than a flaked sail.
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Old 19-08-2018, 02:44   #41
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Re: Catalina 36 lazy jacks vs. "stack pack" options

[QUOTE=opusnz;2698557] The lazy jack systems were a pain in the a$$ when you wanted to put the mainsail cover on.


I have cleat each side on the mast at boom height. I have enough slack in my lazy jacks that when in use an eye spliced in the line hooks around the cleat and when not in use I release that eye and pull the slack down to hook over the cleat. Bingo, job done, may take as long as 10 seconds and there are no lines complicating the sail cover, or spare line flapping around the sail. The lazy jacks are only rigged when I need them. To be honest, I never thought of only rigging one side until I saw the earlier post on this thread, but I will try that out - sounds very good
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Old 19-08-2018, 05:58   #42
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Re: Catalina 36 lazy jacks vs. "stack pack" options

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Originally Posted by wingssail View Post
Silly us, we're 70ish and never got around to getting any of these systems. We have a 43ft boat and we've sailed around the world, and sailed this boat for over 30 years. We just drop the main on deck then fold it. No problem.


I get it. I wouldnt be considering one if I was only doing long passages. I do a lot of short weekend cruises in between coastal passage cruising.
Those stack pack systems are really great for weekend, local cruising where the work of furling and covering the sail can make me want to forego sailing if my destination is only a few miles away.
Yes, I know “real cruising” is what you’ve done, but for those of us who still have to squeeze part time cruising in around work and kids school, anything that makes it easier is possibly worthwhile
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Old 19-08-2018, 11:35   #43
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Smile Re: Catalina 36 lazy jacks vs. "stack pack" options

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Originally Posted by Endlessummer56 View Post
Hi all... sorry if this isn't the correct forum for this question, I am totally new to this site and am looking for experienced advice.
I have just purchased a 1994 Catalina 36. It is equipped with the old, original sail and Dutchman system, which we are going to change because we are getting a new mainsail. My question is this... We are weighing just getting lazy jacks installed vs. a "stack pack", "mack pack", "lazy cradle", etc option. We have a good sail cover for the Dutchman, which we could use for a lazy jack system, although with not exactly the correct coverage or we could just go the whole stack pack install all at the same time. We are planning to do California/Baja "coastal" for now, and we are two smaller, and 60-ish people. We aren't planning on racing this boat, so the cover hanging on the boom isn't all that important for tweaking the sail shape for time. However, being a purist (and a racer on other boats), I am having a hard time being okay with the extra canvas being on the boom full time while sailing. Would love to hear any experience you all have had with this type of system, pro and con. Thanks!
May I point you to the indispensable site of MorgansCloud, they have an abundance of good articles regarding almost every topic of boating/sailing/seamanship etc.
There is an article dealing specifically with their LazyJack system: https://www.morganscloud.com/2013/09...ing-made-easy/. Please note that you may have to subscribe to the site - but these might be the best spent bucks of your sailing life
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