Dutchman vs. Lazy Jacks Pros and Cons - SailNet Community
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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

Both Systems:

  • 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.
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