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Old 01-17-2001
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Dan Dickison is on a distinguished road
Lazy-Jack or Dutchman System

I own a Cherubini 48 schooner with a Doyle Stack Pack system. I am considering new sails and I am debating between a lazy-jack system and a Dutchman system. I would appreciate your insight.

Dan Dickison responds:

After we published our initial answer on this question, which favored lazy jacks over the Dutchman for performance reasons, we received a scathing rebuttal from the folks who make the Dutchman. That message implored us (in some pretty frank language) to check with other members of the marine industry who have experience with that product, so we dutifully did just that.

Our inquiries made it clear that it really comes down to a question of personal preference. One hands-on marketer of popular sailboats says that he's not at all hesitant to recommend the Dutchman System to his clients that prefer a sail-handling system for their mainsails. He said he thought the system was reliable, posed less windage, and was easy to use once you get the mainsail broken in. We also checked with some sailmakers who cautioned us about the lack of longevity in the monofilament lines used in the Dutchman system. They also commented on the complexities this system presents in keeping things straight when you put the sail on or remove it from your boat. There are, however, many other sailmakers who endorse this product.

Regarding the knock that lazy jacks occasionally get about their additional windage, one of the sailmakers we contacted recommended using 4 mm Spectra line, which is small enough to reduce windage, but still strong enough (approximately 2,000 pounds breaking strength) to stay intact.

It's now apparent that our first answer was wrong in that there's really no difference from one system to the next regarding the performance of the sail. We're going to take a leap and assume that ease of handling is the top priority for sail handling on your schooner. If so, either system should work for you.  

I hope this information helps you determine what method to use. If you'd like additional help on this topic, please feel free to call the sailmaking specialists at SailNet in St. Petersburg, FL. Lin Robson, in particular, can help steer you through this quandary—1-800-234-3220, extension 1238.

For a comparative overview of these two systems that has been prepared by the manufacturer of The Dutcham, follow this link: Dutchman vs. Lazy Jacks—Pros and Cons.

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