Throatwarbler-Mangrove

Lazy Jack upgrade

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Boat is a performance cruiser, 40' LOA, P=47'5", E=17'0", laminate main with four full battens, one season old, always carefully flaked.

 

PO installed a Harken Lazy Jack kit. Two-part cascade, with three legs on each side. I think it's a PITA, but Mrs. T-M vigorously disagrees. Ok, it's kinda nice to have when short-handed, especially in a blow. OTOH, battens hang up in it when we're hoisting, battens sometimes hang up in it off the wind, interferes with proper flaking, the zippers in the sail cover are a PITA, it's a PITA to adjust, weight aloft, windage, chafing and the bitter end is too short to bring all the parts forward. Plus the lines need replacing anyway. I'd like to downsize the line from 1/4", plus be able to easily bring the entire mess forward along the boom and mast. We'd pull it into position just before dousing and re-stow it before putting on the sail cover.

 

Here's what I'm thinking, and want to bounce off folks here:

 

I'm leaning toward HMPE single-braid. New England Ropes STS, because somebody I know can give me a break on NER. I figure that a Brummel splice is going to be easier than double braid eye splice with the skinnier line. Plus less weight aloft and windage. Does that make sense?

 

The top of the old one is a pair of 6' wire pendants, each fixed to the mast, with a small bullet block on the end. I'm thinking about replacing the wire with 5 mm = 5/16" (right?) STS. The plan is a pair of 29mm air blocks shackled to the existing eye strap on the mast, leading down to a clam cleat (?) just above the gooseneck. The pad eye on the mast is 35' above the gooseneck, so I figure 35' + 6' + some extra = 42' (right?).

 

The other two parts are currently 1/4" double braid. The upper pair each has a bullet block spliced to one end, and an eye splice terminating in an eye strap on its respective side of the boom. It passes through the block at the end of the pendant, and the block end supports the lower part. The lower parts are made from a single line. It has an eye splice dead ended with eye strap on the middle port side of the boom It passes up and through the block on the end of the port upper part, then back down to an eye strap fairlead under the boom, back up the starboard side to the upper part, then down to a cheek block and cleat. I think I can go to 3mm = 1/8" STS for those two parts. I'm dithering as to whether to make the lower part in two separate pieces, each dead ended to the boom, or to keep it in one piece for adjustability. I also am a tiny bit concerned about the stamped eye straps chafing at the splices (is it really a problem? what to do about it?).

 

Yeah, I know, TL;DR. If it's too unclear, I'll try to do a drawing.

 

To summarize, the questions are:

  1. Is single braid HMPE the right stuff?
  2. Are 3 mm and 5 mm, respectively, going to be the right size, or should I move up?
  3. Are clam cleats the right thing to use in this application?
  4. Do I still need to adjust the lowest part, since I can adjust the top?

Your thoughts?

 

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I can only respond to part of your question. 5mm is closer to 3/16". Divide mm by 25.4 to get inches.

 

I have a 37' racer cruiser with a main similar to what you describe. It's on batt cars. Came with a simple set of lazy jacks which were also a PITA. After about 3 trips, I cut them off and hurled them and haven't regretted it in 2 years.

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Sure you can use STS.

 

Sizing is a bit small but there should be enough strength to hold things up if need be. Might think about adding some cover to whatever end your going to adjust to get a hand on it.

 

Clam cleats. I'd rather use a normal cleat. It's less likely to go shaken off. Personal preference I guess

 

I wouldn't bother with having the lower section adjustable.

 

You could also think about using ferrules, or something similar instead of blocks if you wanted.

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I changed my original Harken lazy jacks ( installed by the PO) over to 1/8 amsteel and low friction rings. Bullet blocks remain on the boom.

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Get rid of the wire and 5mm high modulus OK. Cam cleats OK, but horn better but also have the forward jack section on a cleat so you can adjust where there is more bag. Use it and see if you like it as ones man's pearl is anothers oyster.

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I'd skip the blocks on the mast and use low friction rigns inside of a dyneema loop cow hitched to a fair lead up the mast.

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I'd skip the blocks on the mast and use low friction rigns inside of a dyneema loop cow hitched to a fair lead up the mast.

+1 PO had small blocks that slapped the mast and abraded the paint. New system will have simple spliced loops as described above. Easier on mast and sails.

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No need for any kind of blocks or rings. Just use dyneema and eye splice, then thread the top braid through the bottom splices. This will work just fine and eliminate potential chafe on the sail. Then you can use Ronstan shocks between the double braid and the dyneema. Use V cleats with a fairlead as they make it easy to lift and release the jacks, but are low profile to keep other lines from catching. 3/16" is a good diameter of Amsteel. You can get white, which looks great with a white sail.

 

IMG_5064.jpg

 

IMG_5046-e1414367696808.jpg

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Was going to say as well - skip the blocks and any hardware at all, they're hard on the mast and the sail. our lazyjacks on a 42'er are made from old 1/4" dyneema, with just eye splices in the dyneema where blocks would be. It's a bit more friction, but for our purposes no problems. Also sail on a 72'er with double braid lazy jacks done the same way, no blocks, just line run through eye splices, and it works just fine for pulling the jacks forward etc.

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I used 1/4" dyneema (it's cheap, plenty strong, and has minimal windage) but the line itself doesn't have enough weight to drop reliably when it's time to stow the jacks. It can be quite ungainly to try to pull it down because the lower lines run through the splices instead up pulling. For this reason, I used some ss rings at the eye splices. They're smooth so they don't chafe the sail and they add just enough weight to the system to let it fall reliably when uncleated.

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We use 1/4" three strand, white. The boat is 45' LOA. We have had the boat 15 years, we are on our second set. We use small blocks, but do not have an issue with them "banging" against the mast, as they gather up at the base of the boom, when the lazy jacks are retracted and lead under the reef hooks. Ours cleat at the back of the boom using small nylon horn cleats - on our second set of these, and will probably replace them again in the next few months. The first set used line through splices, but we found this slow to deploy and retract, the small blocks are easier.

 

The lazy jacks are lead to the lower spreader, and are attached about a foot from the mast, creating a bit of a "basket." So if you must ,you have a little more leeway when raising the sail. The system has worked well, and I estimate that we have less than $75 in both sets.

 

With the smaller line, and our size mail, we find it better to drop with the boat facing into the wind. We have a Strong Track, and the sail comes down quickly with no effort on our part other than making sure the halyard is free to run.

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My 36' has a similar system as described by the OP installed by the PO. I have two problems with it - first is the tangs where the upper wire leads attach to the side of the mast have just enough profile to snag the halyard if there there is a decent wave state when I am in irons preparing to raise the main. No amount of tensioning the halyard will solve this as it is just the right length to whip cowboy style as soon as I release the tie/down tension line on the headboard prior to a fast raise. This happens often enough and it is a pita because I have to remove the halyard from the head board and walk it back around the mast- and I can barely reach it on tip toes due to the height of the slug stack and I am 6ft. I think I can solve this by moving the upper attachment points under the first set of spreaders and creating the basket effect ccruiser mentioned.

 

Second problem is they are fixed and don't retract. So the battens always get caught on the way up. I think it was intended to retract somehow, because there is a very long tails on the lines on either side of the boom aft end. But I need to rig some bungy cords or something. I have looked online and can't seem to find/visualize how best to do this.

 

Any suggestions are welcome. Out of frustration, I left it off the boat when rigging last season but my wife wants it back on as she's not crazy about flaking / lashing the main when it gets snotty. And getting a new wife would cost way more than getting new jacks, so that suggestion is out.

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The tails are usually on the forward lead ends and go up to the blocks or whatever turns them on the spreaders and then down towards the boom and the rest of the jacklines. To stow, you just flake the tails, uncleat the forward leads, pull the jacks down, hook the forward leads under a horn cleat or similar near the gooseneck, and re-tension the forward leads to stow the jacks and keep them reasonably tidy. I would think that having the jacks stowable and the tails at the boom aft end would lead to a huge PITA factor.

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Thanks Stream, I will revisit this spring. I may have reeved it backwards somehow.

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They are not a PITA, have had them since 2002, boat has traveled extensively in the Caribbean and up and down the East Coast, they are easy to use, and we have never had an issue. There is no tail when they are not deployed, they are cut to fit, and so end at the cleat when withdrawn. When deployed the tail is either flaked on deck (as are yours I assume) or coiled and placed between the jacks and the boom, (yours would be coiled and stored on the cleats?) until the main is put away. So where do you see the PITA?

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The PITA is not from the tail itself but from its placement at the aft end of the boom.

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The PITA is not from the tail itself but from its placement at the aft end of the boom.

Why? Have never found it to be an issue in 15 years of using them in that position. And there are advantages to this placement - less line needed and less line (one line as opposed to two lines against the mast) when retracted.

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It's highly boat-dependent, of course. On some boats the end of the boom is hard to get to (over a dodger, up high, etc.)

 

I'm not arguing that one way is inherently better than the other. My point was that if you design the jacks such that you retract them by hooking them under a horn at the gooseneck and then re-tension the tail to keep them there, it makes sense to have the tails near the mast so you can do it all in one operation rather than having to run to the end of the boom to tension them, assuming you can get to the end of the boom at all.

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Agree it is boat dependent, but actually if properly sized they are tensioned when they are hooked over the reef hooks, no need to do any tensioning at the end of the boom or elsewhere. You are correct that if the end of the boom is off the boat you have to wait to deploy them until you come head to wind for the drop, but I have found that takes just a few seconds, and the whole process lasts less than a minute (deploy and drop, tie a couple of ties on until you can properly stow the main ehile waiting for the bridge to open, going to or in the slip or once you have anchored). Was just responding to your PITA comment. Also not asserting one way is inherently better than another for all boats. I have friends who have done it your way. :)

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Anyone know where I can get a nice retractable lazy jack system with rings/loops(no blocks)?

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Your local rig shop or chandlery if you want to do it your self

2 hours ago, x-79 said:

Anyone know where I can get a nice retractable lazy jack system with rings/loops(no blocks)?

 

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1 minute ago, mgs said:

Your local rig shop or chandlery if you want to do it your self

 

yep , splicing really ain't that difficult .

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I used the above mentioned Ronstan shocks with Marlow 4mm (5/32") 12-strand polyester. I went with 12-strand polyester rather than dyneema to give a little more stretch. The 12-strand polyester is about as slippery as dyneema, and as easy to splice.  I spliced in some Brummell hooks where the line comes back down by the mast so I can easily let off the lazyjacks to run them to the gooseneck and roll up the lazybags along the boom.I added some velcro straps to tidy up the mess along the boom.  I'm very happy with the setup. For comparison, on my main P is a little over 61 feet.

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