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corny 08-18-2009 09:15 AM

Lazy Jacks...yay or nay?
I read an article on Lazy Jacks in the latest Good Old Boat. Seems like a good idea to me...any time my wife or someone else doesn't have to go forward (on Lake Superior, where you have about 10 minutes at best even in summer before hypothermia does you in) seems like a good idea to me.

Our jib is hanked, we've already rigged a downhaul for it. Theoretically, lazy jacks seem to be a good way to get the main down in a fairly orderly and reasonable way so that it's contained above the boom.

Those of you who have (or have had) these, what do you think?

BarryL 08-18-2009 09:20 AM


My boat has lazy jacks and I like them very much. My next boat will definitely have some way of controlling the main when I lower it.

My previous boat was 28' in length and had a smallish main. I didn't have Lazy Jacks on that one and it wasn't too bad to flake the main without. I would not want to have to lower the main without the lazy jacks on my current 35' boat.


gstraub 08-18-2009 09:45 AM

I've sailed with and without lazy jacks. I like them a lot. It just keeps sailcloth and lines from being everywhere on deck when dropping the main.


JimsCAL 08-18-2009 09:52 AM

Putting the cover on the main with lazy jacks is a bit more of a pain

AE28 08-18-2009 10:23 AM


We have Lazy Jacks on our 12.5ft long boom. There are two lines on each side; three would be much better and four would be ideal.

The Lazy Jacks are great when lowering the main, especially if you're "in a hurry".

They're a bit of a pain when raising the main; you have to be headed into the wind to make sure the battens don't foul the lines.

And, as Jim mentioned, it takes a bit more work to put the sail cover on.


davewild 08-18-2009 10:25 AM

I have been a racing sailor for many years before "seeing the light" and buying a cruising boat a little while ago. I have never used Lazy Jacks but I imagine that if set up well they would be very helpful. Is there any body out there who has used a "Dutchman" system. It seems like a good idea but I would love to hear from somebody with experience. I think that if it works it would flake the main as it lowers, but does it work? I've seen a video put out by a manufacturer which looks ok, but it is on a model about 8 feet high on land with no wind. What about in the real world?(cold, tired, boat bouncing around, wind from wrong angle,inexperienced crew, as equipment gets older,etc)

LittleWingCA 08-18-2009 10:46 AM

I have Lazy Jacks on my boat and use them only when dropping the main. They are helpful if installed correctly. Mine can be raised and lowered and the installation is such that the starboard one always hangs up on the winches mounted on the mast, so someone has to go forward to raise them. This can be fixed if the tops are not mounted on the mast, but on one of the lower struts, typically where deck lights are mounted. This creates a "V" shape which makes funnelling the main onto the boom easier. After I get back to the dock, I can lower the Lazy Jacks so putting on the sail cover is not an issue.

montenido 08-18-2009 11:41 AM

I installed lazy jacks from a company called EZ Jax and they are one of the best things I have spent money on. I solo a lot and these make it so easy. Also, they retract when not in use and so they fit under your sail cover and stay out of sight.

BTW I have no commercial interest in that company, I just love the product.

Do it.

Cheers, Bill

capt.stu 08-18-2009 11:49 AM

I have Dutchman system on my Catalina 30 tall rig. While not perfect, it does let you drop sail fast if you need to, and controls the sail on the boom.

sigmasailor 08-18-2009 11:52 AM

Mixed feelings. They can be a pain when raising the main and can be handy when sailing shorthanded.

On our Sigma 33 with a loose luff (meaning the sail does not stay attached to the mast when lowering) you couldn't do without them when sailing singlehanded.

I made my own system with some lines and simple clamps so I could pull the lines along mast and boom so they didn't interfere with the main while hoisting it. I simply put them in place just before lowering the main (short trip to the mast required) and stowed them again after I flaked the sail to keep it on the boom for storing under its cover.

I hate the systems you find on most charter boats; no matter what you try the battens always get in the lines of the lazy jacks.

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