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Old 07-27-2006
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Difficult Dousing Dilemma

Hi all. Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I recently bought a '99 Hunter 420 with a Lazy Jack system. Second only to a furling main, I thought lazy jacks were supposed to make sail management a breeze! Instead, it's a real ordeal. It's hard to reach the sail on the boom because the boom is about 8 feet off the aft deck, and the bimini prevents reaching the boom amidship. So flaking the sail is incredibly difficult, and zipping the sail cover is equally so.

What I do now is drop the sail and wait till I'm in port. I use a stepstool and slowly work my way from back to front. Twice. The first round is to flake the sail and the second is to zip the cover. It takes forever and wears me out.

I'm not new to sailing, or flaking a sail. But managing the sail with the center cockpit configuration, high boom and that Hunter arch really takes the wind out of my sails!

So...can anyone provide some much needed advice?

thanks!


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Old 07-27-2006
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This is why I usually have tall (6'+) crew aboard...since I'm short.

Is your mainsail a full-battened sail or only have partial battens. Also, how many legs does the lazyjack system on your boat have—two, three or four??
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Old 07-27-2006
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hi. thanks for responding.

I'm short too

It's a fully battened, roachy mainsail. Heavy Dacron sailcloth, too. ugh.

And the lazyjack system has 3 legs. Not sure where you're going with this..so I'm curious!
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Well, lazyjacks seem to work best with fully battened mains...and if the system doesn't have enough legs, the main tends to get fouled on the lazy jacks rather than dropping nicely into them. Can you post a pic of the main flaked on the boom with the lazy jacks...that would give me a lot more to work with,.
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Old 07-27-2006
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Do you have battcars or any kind of sailtrack system on your main track? If the main comes down easily, it should pretty much flake itself, and all you should need to do is pull back some on the aft end of the sail to tighten it up. It's also possible that the previous owner didn't flake the sail well, so it has no "memory", to flake out properly when you lower it. Is the sailcover an integrated one, like the StackPack? If so, have you tried putting a tail on the zipper to pull it with?
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ok -- I'll bring my camera with me and shoot the works, and post. thanks for responding.
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Look forward to the pix... then we might be able to help a bit more..
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Old 07-27-2006
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Lazy Jack suggestions

Hi.

I am not an expert here... there are others that may know more than me, but I have owned three boats with them, and one with in-mast furling.

Don't just run to the inmast. It is easier than the LJ, but it has mixed results in a blow which could be dangerous. I have also noticed getting a lot better performance off of a "traditional" main system. I have the inmast now and like it, but if I could go back I would go with the Harken Battcar system or a in-boom furling. All that being said:

One responder said that the previous owner may not have "trained" the sail. That is my experience too. It takes a little while to make it flake like the pictures (and other experienced boats) flake. Here is how we did it... my wife would slowly drop the sail and I would stand about 1/4 way down the boom and force it to each side. We slowly dropped it, not fast. After a while, it set it.

Second, Try incresaing the tension on the LJ's. If they are too lose, the sail flops all over the place. If they are too tight, it will not lay out properly and can damage the gear. We set them where they would just barely loose when the sail was up but tight enough to flake the main when dropped. Incidentally, they will loosen over time and need constant maintenance.

Only drop the main when you are dead into the wind. The hunter 420 has a huge main... if it is blowing off the beam, your sail will follow off the boom. We also tied it off as soon as it hit the boom for that very reason.

What we hated about that system was the cars getting jammed in the track. Lubrication helped. Harken makes a good product... I think it is called Sail Lube... or something like that. They carry it at West Marine (it is expensive though, in my opinion)... keep your track lubricated as much as possible. Sorry I cannot remember the name of the lube, I do not use it anymore and the memory fades quickly with kids.

Hope that helps. I always found a little bit of swearing and beer made it look better too. Of course, I am sure I am the only sailor that has cursed his sails... well, maybe...

Take care. Fair winds.
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Old 07-27-2006
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Take a look at Dutchman system

You might want to look around you marina for someone that has the Dutchman system and get a close look. Our first two boats had Lazy Jacks but our latest has a Dutchman. Raising is easier since the leech can't catch on anything like with the lazy jacks, and flaking is much easier too. On the downside there is more work when taking the main on and off the boat since the Dutchman threads thru the sail.
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Unfortunately, the Dutchman system has a few problems that LazyJacks do not. It makes removing the mainsail much more difficult, as it threads through the mainsail. It can cause chafe on the mainsail, and can't be pulled forward like lazyjacks can. It is a fairly expensive modification to the sail and topping lift.

I still prefer the simplicity of lazyjacks.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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