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Dutchman vs. Lazy Jacks Pros and Cons
As a way of educating the sailing consumer, the manufacturer of The Dutchman System offers the following analysis of his product relative to lazy jacks.
Lazy Jacks Vs. The Dutchman System
- Have no effect on performance.
- Have no effect on sail shape (if properly adjusted).
- Will keep the sail from falling off boom.
- Are very reliable, non-mechanical, with little risk of failure.
- Are easily repaired in any port in the world for very little money.
- Both normally require slits in the sailcover, but each also offers versions so that lines can be brought forward, eliminating the need for slits in the sailcover.
- Full battens make either system work better. (A stiff sail is more important than full battens with the Dutchman.)
- Well proven for offshore use.
Knocks Against Lazy Jacks
- This system doesn't flake the sail, it just collects it into a pile on the boom.
- Can make it harder to flake some sails because lines have to be released to get them out of the way to neatly flake sail.
- Can make the sail hard to reach on boats with high booms, since sail piles up on top of the boom.
- Tend to put sharp creases in the sails, which can shorten its life span.
- Will often catch the sail as it's raised and lowered, especially if boat
is not head-to-wind.
- Can chafe sail, since they are unrestrained all the way up, or require loosening and being brought forward when sailing to avoid chafe.
- If brought forward, require an additional step for reefing (deploying lines)
Points in Favor of Lazy Jacks
- Tend to work better with softer fabrics/older sails.
- Least expensive solution.
- Owner can easily make them up.
- Can be rigged by owner.
- Simplest system.
- Very well proven (over 1,000 years old)
- Only system that works on gaff-rigged boats.
- May be more appropriate on traditional boats.
Knocks Against The Dutchman System
- $200 to $300 more costly than lazy jacks.
- Initial adjustment very important.
- Must be carefully installed by a skilled sailmaker.
Not as effective with older, soft sails.
- Not suitable for gaff-rigged boats.
- Adjustment more critical with Freedom/catamaran type roaches extending
out three to four feet or more.
Points in Favor of The Dutchman System
- Works well with sails made of stiff, high-performance fabrics.
- Allows sail to be loosely flaked, no sharp creases, better for sail.
- Lines run through fairleads about every 30 inches do not touch sail, with little/no chafe potential when sailing
- Will not catch sail as it's raised and lowered, can do so even beyond a beam
reach by easing main, sheeting in jib as needed to blow sail off spreaders.
- Well proven; sold since 1986.
- Standard on Catalina Yachts since 1993, recommended by most performance boatbuilders like J/Boats, SantaCruz Yachts, Sabre, etc.
- Always in place to assist with reefing. Intermediate reef points normally not needed.
- Easiest system to use; a few tugs (10-20 seconds) are all that's needed to straighten the sail.