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Stack Pack (and lazy jacks) for main - anyone have tips for making?


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Yes, “hire a sailmaker and rigger” is probably the best tip :-)  

Lots of info on the web, of course, but curious if anyone here has any personal experience making a stack pack cover for mainsail (and lazy jacks).  So far, I know only what I’ve read, but as far as sewing goes, we’ve done all our own canvas work and upholstery (and sometimes clothing! :-) ), so we’ve got that side of things covered.

Re: stack pack, I came across this site where someone describes improving on Sailrite’s (probably rather basic) version/method of making a stack pack:  https://sailingeurybia.com/sewing-sail-pack-1/

As far as lazy jacks, I came across Good Old Boat’s article: https://goodoldboat.com/lazy-jacks-mainsail-tamers/

Anyone here made either of these and have any tips or thoughts?

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Check out the thread Jules did, hers came out great, some pics of ours are on it too.  Just did a regatta here and worked fine. The spreader in the back is a big help keeping square, endless zipper pull too.  Use the #15 all plastic zipper and pulls. PVC pipe for batton was fine.  I have ethe same issue as Jules with water collection so putting mesh or grommet drains in low points when building will help. Took a couple days to build.

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1 minute ago, SASSAFRASS said:

Check out the thread Jules did, hers came out great, some pics of ours are on it too.  Just did a regatta here and worked fine. The spreader in the back is a big help keeping square, endless zipper pull too.  Use the #15 all plastic zipper and pulls. PVC pipe for batton was fine.  I have ethe same issue as Jules with water collection so putting mesh or grommet drains in low points when building will help. Took a couple days to build.

Thanks a lot, Sassafrass!  
 

By “the thread Jules did”, I assume you mean a thread here in CA?   Or can you point me to it somewhere else?

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Madame knocked off, with personal changes, Mack Sails’ ‘Mack Pack.’ Look around at other packs, see what you like or don’t, change to your needs. It’s not a complex fabrication. And the nice thing about sewing is that you can go back and change

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Not impressed with the 'oldboat' lazy jacks.

What I have as supplied by the spar maker 25 years ago.

features....

static tail means less string required.

Cleats maybe 24 inches back from the the mast hold the bulk of the sail in check even when jacks are in harbour stow.

To stow away everything tucked under the cleats and jacks re tensioned.... they are then away from the mast so no slapping in a breeze.

Rough sketches plus photoes of the system.... spaced pretty much equally along the boom....

 

IMG_1825.jpg

IMG_1826.jpg

P9220133.jpg

DSC_0806.JPG.jpg

DSC_0810.JPG.jpg

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2 hours ago, Cisco said:

Not impressed with the 'oldboat' lazy jacks.

What I have as supplied by the spar maker 25 years ago.

features....

static tail means less string required.

Cleats maybe 24 inches back from the the mast hold the bulk of the sail in check even when jacks are in harbour stow.

To stow away everything tucked under the cleats and jacks re tensioned.... they are then away from the mast so no slapping in a breeze.

Rough sketches plus photoes of the system.... spaced pretty much equally along the boom....

 

IMG_1825.jpg

IMG_1826.jpg

P9220133.jpg

DSC_0806.JPG.jpg

DSC_0810.JPG.jpg

Thanks a lot for this.  Tried and true :-).  And a design that avoids mast slap is very good indeed.

Is this how it’s set up? (My mocked up pic below.)  The red line runs through the top pulley and then attaches to top of the bottom pulley.  Blue line is fixed and runs through bottom pulley.  Static line is only attached to top pulley.  (I had to draw it out...for someone reason, as simple as it is, I just couldn’t grasp the point of the bottom pulley! Seems like it could work without a pulley there, but I’ve taxed my brain quite enough already :-) :-) )

208DC7CB-75FA-42B8-9591-2BFCECB3E232.jpeg

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4 hours ago, Cisco said:

Not impressed with the 'oldboat' lazy jacks.

What I have as supplied by the spar maker 25 years ago.

features....

static tail means less string required.

Cleats maybe 24 inches back from the the mast hold the bulk of the sail in check even when jacks are in harbour stow.

To stow away everything tucked under the cleats and jacks re tensioned.... they are then away from the mast so no slapping in a breeze.

Rough sketches plus photoes of the system.... spaced pretty much equally along the boom....

 

DSC_0810.JPG.jpg

I’m just now realizing that you don’t have a stack pack type of mainsail cover set up...

So, how does your mainsail cover attach/work?  How do you manage not having a super easy and convenient way to cover the main as soon as you drop it?  With an expensive new mainsail coming my way shortly, I’m a bit concerned about having an easy way to keep it covered  after it’s dropped...laziness being what it is, a system that’s easy to use will get used immediately and frequently :-) ). I’m trying to see how a mainsail cover could attach with lazy jacks on the boom.

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The lower/aft pulley is need to equalise the tension.... otherwise one leg  would be under load and the otherslack or something like that .

 

The sailcover?   top pic  is 'roadkill or plan view.... slots in line with lazy jacks .... harden half eye at top... secured with velcro.

Side elevation gives the idea hopefully.... when sail cover is about to go on I take the primary jacks and hook them under the reefing horns so they exit via the throat of the sailcover.

If sail cover may be on for a week or two I take everything frd to the horn as shown in second pic in previous post..

IMG_1829.jpg

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Just plain lazy jacks with a regular sail cover: Mine came from the local hardware store.

I thought of it just as a mock up but it has become the finish product. Ingredients: 1/4" 3 strand, 2 tiny cheek blocks, 1/4" thimbles, 2 cleats, 6 eye straps. 

Deployed: 

1934779654_Lazyjacksdeployed._.thumb.jpg.1620ebecbe2e841841f2fc89304d1a38.jpg

Stowed: 

1332935606_Sailsandtelltales(1of1).thumb.jpg.b06afb06e031195ab1ef170316034574.jpg

The one mistake was to mount the turning blocks at the spreaders. They needed to be raised about 5' above, but I don't think you can mount that block too high with a long footed main (too low is usually recommended.)

Other realizations: In use, the legs are not tightened when deployed, I leave a little slack. This forms a better 'basket' that cradles the flakes and tends to guide the flakes on top of each other. Then add 4-5 loose sail ties, just to hold the flakes, uncleat jacks, gather and stow at the mast, finally, tighten the sail ties. All compact, easy cover. 

This main is tough to tame but we've come to terms. 

1289441680_Hovetofurlingmain.thumb.jpg.8a46f7212e5129100bc49570ba644f42.jpg

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, Cisco said:

The lower/aft pulley is need to equalise the tension.... otherwise one leg  would be under load and the otherslack or something like that .

 

The sailcover?   top pic  is 'roadkill or plan view.... slots in line with lazy jacks .... harden half eye at top... secured with velcro.

Side elevation gives the idea hopefully.... when sail cover is about to go on I take the primary jacks and hook them under the reefing horns so they exit via the throat of the sailcover.

If sail cover may be on for a week or two I take everything frd to the horn as shown in second pic in previous post..

IMG_1829.jpg

Frank - Thanks a ton for this- super clear now.  Appreciate you taking the time to draw it all out!  I started stressing a bit last night looking at the cost of a stack pack/sail pack system - even making it yourself, the materials are quite pricey, close to US$800 apparently (thread in Fix-It where Jules details her very nice work).  Not to mention the time involved.  That, in addition to a new sail cost, plus rigging work I’m also doing —I had been under the impression, getting a new main made, that I “needed” (really should have) a sail pack type main cover.  Well, it seemed like a really good idea for heading offshore, a simple way to control and stow (UV protect) the main if it’s dropped.

But now that I’m actually having to think through the whole “how-do-I-cover-the-main/how-do-I-make-sail-pack” thing —and seeing how you do it— I’m not entirely convinced that a sail pack is all that good.  For the record, I’ve only got real experience with one, on a Santa Cruz 50 offshore - but maybe it was really just the lazy jacks that made the most hugely favourable impression on me at the time, i.e., the ability to rapidly and easily deal with a lot of sail when dropped.  And it’s a massive mainsail - probably semi-required for such a huge sail.  We’re only 33 ft. (but the boom did just grow an extra 3 ft. now that I’m lengthening it!)


Sail pack pros:

-very easy to put UV cover on main: just zip it up. (If it’s easy to do, you’ll likely do it more frequently); no mainsail cover to  try to find a convenient place to stow somewhere below.


The cons seems more, and make one much less desirable, I’m coming to think:

-high cost, even doing it yourself; relatively complicated to make (compared to a simple sail cover); potential fouling of battens and halyard when raising/lowering sail b/c of non-retractable lazy jacks. (Probably especially if single handed, b/c of need to keep bow directly into wind to prevent stuff catching on lazy jacks); quasi-permanent “stuff”/windage mounted on boom

In sum...maybe later...hmmm... :-)

 

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24 minutes ago, Kris Cringle said:

Just plain lazy jacks with a regular sail cover: Mine came from the local hardware store.

I thought of it just as a mock up but it has become the finish product. Ingredients: 1/4" 3 strand, 2 tiny cheek blocks, 1/4" thimbles, 2 cleats, 6 eye straps. 

Deployed: 

1934779654_Lazyjacksdeployed._.thumb.jpg.1620ebecbe2e841841f2fc89304d1a38.jpg

Stowed: 

1332935606_Sailsandtelltales(1of1).thumb.jpg.b06afb06e031195ab1ef170316034574.jpg

The one mistake was to mount the turning blocks at the spreaders. They needed to be raised about 5' above, but I don't think you can mount that block too high with a long footed main (too low is usually recommended.)

Other realizations: In use, the legs are not tightened when deployed, I leave a little slack. This forms a better 'basket' that cradles the flakes and tends to guide the flakes on top of each other. Then add 4-5 loose sail ties, just to hold the flakes, uncleat jacks, gather and stow at the mast, finally, tighten the sail ties. All compact, easy cover. 

This main is tough to tame but we've come to terms. 

1289441680_Hovetofurlingmain.thumb.jpg.8a46f7212e5129100bc49570ba644f42.jpg

 

 

 

Great summary, Tom. Adds info to round out Cisco’s description.  (He speaks in ‘Strine so sometimes I don’t catch everything he says :-). Pics are a huge help.).

My thinking has recently turned to, (1) damn, I’m going to have a very expensive piece of sail cloth on my boom shortly.  What’s the easiest way I can cover it ASAP to keep it alive longer?  And (2) if I did an offshore cruise to, say, San Francisco and thence to Hawaii and return, what would we want to deal with a (now larger) main?  I think the compromise is reasonable to me - as you put it, come to terms with taming the main with a procedure/steps instead of the cost and complexity —but ease— of a sail pack.

Just gotta be diligent about putting the cover on when you can.  Think I might sew up a small-ish Sunbrella storage bag that would stow at mast pulpit or somewhere behind mast, etc to stow mainsail cover in when it’s been removed - to make it easier to get out and put on (instead of digging for it below [“where the hell did we put it again? Can’t find it...”])

 

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Just a couple things:

1. In my experience, with my particular pack and jacks anyway, the pack itself never fouls the halyard or battens, it's the jacks that do if they're left up

2. Having a pack doesn't prevent you from being able to retract the jacks

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3 hours ago, IStream said:

Just a couple things:

1. In my experience, with my particular pack and jacks anyway, the pack itself never fouls the halyard or battens, it's the jacks that do if they're left up

2. Having a pack doesn't prevent you from being able to retract the jacks

Well, this complicates my summary conclusions above :-) :-) - hadn’t realized you could have a sail pack and also have the jacks retractable (to prevent snagging battens).  
 

With a pack, do the jacks always attach at the top edges of the pack (assume so; but maybe they could attach to boom instead?)

When you retract the jacks, I guess it would basically only be when the sail is being raised - i.e., so the jacks won’t ever really be loose/retracted for long, i.e., prone to slapping the mast at anchor (when the sail would be down and jacks out, not retracted).

It seems like I should plan on making some basic jacks for now, to control/help nicely flake my soon-to-be new main, and simply modify my quite old basic sail cover to fit around them (per Cisco above).  And then, if I want, plan for a pack, with a eye to setting up to have the jacks be retractable.

Would say it’s really “worth it” to have the pack?  Or maybe it’s basically “necessary” for you, with a big boat?  I’m just trying to gauge if it’s worth the expense/effort to make one for our 33...can’t quite wrap my mind around any humongous benefits (jacks, most definitely)...but certainly seems highly convenient.

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Mine foul the battens if given the chance when raising the main.

To avoid it - in a perfect world - I take off the sail ties and put the wind very fine on the port bow.... port lazy jacks are led back to the cleat so just restraining the bulk bit of sail at the mast.

Wind put fine on stbd bow... main hoisted... port side jacks set up again. I always have them set up - even if a bit slack - so no drama when I go to reef.

I never tie down my reefs - just leave them in 'slings'.

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On my pack, the jacks attach at the top edges by wrapping around a fiberglass batten that's captured in a sleeve at the top of the pack, one per side. 

I think the only time you'd really want to retract the jacks is when under sail for long periods of time, on passage. For day sailing or just bumming around for a week over the summer, I just leave them up and am careful about pointing into the wind when raising the main to keep my (full) battens from catching on the jacks. I suppose I could retract them before raising, but that would let the main fall out of the pack and might create its own set up problems. My jack lines are made of 3mm dyneema which is light enough that there's no mast slap under any circumstances.

I absolutely love my pack. It makes mainsail handling on my 50'er feel more like it does on a 30'er. I wouldn't call it a necessity but it is a great luxury.

If you're going to start with just jacks, get the upper blocks as high up on the mast as you can, ideally just below the first spreaders. That'll make them work better and will potentially allow you to adapt them to a pack with mods only to the lower attachment points. It's also pretty trivial to make them retractable. Just put a couple of hooks or cleats on the side of the mast at the level of the gooseneck and extend the tail so when you pull the jacks to the hooks for stowage, you still have enough line to work with. Once they're hooked, just put tension on the tail and they'll stay hooked. You may need to be a bit careful with your jack design geometry to make sure things aren't flopping around but it's all workable with a little forethought.

 

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6 hours ago, IStream said:

On my pack, the jacks attach at the top edges by wrapping around a fiberglass batten that's captured in a sleeve at the top of the pack, one per side. 

I think the only time you'd really want to retract the jacks is when under sail for long periods of time, on passage. For day sailing or just bumming around for a week over the summer, I just leave them up and am careful about pointing into the wind when raising the main to keep my (full) battens from catching on the jacks. I suppose I could retract them before raising, but that would let the main fall out of the pack and might create its own set up problems. My jack lines are made of 3mm dyneema which is light enough that there's no mast slap under any circumstances.

I absolutely love my pack. It makes mainsail handling on my 50'er feel more like it does on a 30'er. I wouldn't call it a necessity but it is a great luxury.

If you're going to start with just jacks, get the upper blocks as high up on the mast as you can, ideally just below the first spreaders. That'll make them work better and will potentially allow you to adapt them to a pack with mods only to the lower attachment points. It's also pretty trivial to make them retractable. Just put a couple of hooks or cleats on the side of the mast at the level of the gooseneck and extend the tail so when you pull the jacks to the hooks for stowage, you still have enough line to work with. Once they're hooked, just put tension on the tail and they'll stay hooked. You may need to be a bit careful with your jack design geometry to make sure things aren't flopping around but it's all workable with a little forethought.

 

Thanks for all the detailed info.  Helps me sort of “piece out” the options.  I think I won’t go with a stack/sail pack for now - a combination of budget, mostly, and not necessarily wanting something permanently attached to the boom, at least until I know what I want.  I can definitely see the desirability of one on a larger boat.

Out of curiosity, is your mainsail full batten?  From what I understand from a sailmaker, you can’t really do (can’t do well, anyway?) a stack pack/sail pack without full battens, because they ensure the sail flakes and lay flat/smoothly in the pack.

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Hi Jud,

I should qualify myself by saying that I have built around one hundred lazy bags, every one custom measured and made for its boat. I have my own design philosophy and not everybody agrees, but I am 'taking over' the local harbor one pier at a time.

A few definitions :

- Lazy bag : a mainsail cover attached to the boom with boltrope and/or ties and lifted upward by lazy jacks. The closure is on the top surface and is usually a zipper. It is neither necessary nor desirable to use metal parts. The mainsail is almost always loose footed. Stackpack is an Americanism (trademark).

- Lazy jacks : a system of connected lines from the mast used to help guide the mainsail to the boom or lazy bag when lowering. Lazy jacks can be lowered out of the way for hoisting, but nobody ever does that. It must be adjustable in height, just as the topping lift is. I recommend that each side have their own cleat (mooring style) on the mast at gooseneck level and rise to pulleys about 2/3 mast height (above the lower spreader and below the upper). Mast slapping needs to be considered. For the diramations, I do not like pulleys because they are made of metal and are always banging on the same spot on the sail. I prefer to use soft nylon thimbles. Once the initial tensioning of the jacks is made, the diramation lines become kinked so the pulleys don't do anything anyway.

- Sunbrella : a trademark name for a French brand of the generic acrilan fabric. Acrilan is not particulary strong and it does chafe easily. It does do one thing really well; it resists sunlight, for years.

- Dacron : a trademark name for the generic polyester synthetic fiber. Polyester is strong and chafe resistent. Its downside is that it does not resist the ultraviolet bandwidth of sunlight. One season out in the sun, the tearing strength of a sail is compromised. Two years of full exposure will reduce polyester to microplastic waste. You can test this with your fingernail. Scratch the stitching of your bimini. After a couple of years the stitching on the top horizontal surface will break, while the bimini fabric is fine. A sail without a cover should be removed after every sail.

 Ok, we all on the same page?

Geometry of the lazy jacks

I left my sharpie on the other computer, so you'll just have to get out a piece of paper and draw along.

If the boat is 10 meters long then the mast will be about 12 m tall off the deck with spreaders at 4 m and 8 m.

Let's draw the boom parallel to the deck 100 cm up. The boom is 550 cm long from the back of the mast to the end of the extrusion where the boomcap fits. Make tick marks on the boom every 137 cm to divide it into quarters. These serve to locate the direction of forces on the diramations.

Next draw a line from the mast 100 cm above the boom to a point 30 cm above the boomcap. This is roughly the profile of the lazy bag. Make tick marks at the top of the profile beginning at the mast at 50, 200, 350 and 500 cm. These  are the attachment points of the lazy jacks to the lazy bag.

From the underside of the upper spreader draw a line 150 cm long in the direction of the mid boom. This is the lazy jack halyard. From the end of this line draw two lines 300 cm long in the direction of each quarter tick marks on the boom. From the ends of these two diramations, draw the four lines to the attachment points.

Note that the lazy jacks don't really pull straight up on the lazy bag. If you try to save money by shortening the diramations, then you can develop some thread breaking low-angle loads especially at the end. This drawing using your boats measurements is a good way to guesstimate the line consumption of the lazy jacks and the angle for each webbing loop on the lazy bag.

People that install lazy bags, never go back to sailcovers. They are just too convenient.

My head hurts.

 

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5 hours ago, t.rex said:

lazyjack.thumb.jpg.473eb31e351d0bb9913e52362ed723e3.jpg

Rex - Brilliant !  Thanks for all the details.

My wife sews very well, but isn’t in the sailing world/marine industry (sewing just a serious hobby, not work) so sometimes doesn’t always catch certain design/construction features that someone who is would intuitively know.  But I can see how between your detailed description/drawing and instructions elsewhere, we could figure it out.

Can definitely see how having a lazy bag you wouldn’t want to go back to a sail cover, especially if using the boat very frequently - i.e., live aboard cruising for extended periods.

I see you have the “control” end of your lazy jacks at the mast, whereas Cisco (above) does his differently, at the boom - to avoid mast slapping of the control line/halyard. Per one of iStream’s posts above, he said uses 3mm Dyneema (at mast lazy jacks halyard/control line), which is light enough not to slap in the wind, he says.  (He has a lazy bag/sail pack, whereas Cisco doesn’t - perhaps that’s the key difference for where the control line would/could go? Or maybe doesn’t matter, if you use a light line, like iStream.)

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The reason for the cleats at the mast and not on the boom is to limit the chafe damage to the acrilan. The lazy jack halyard on the boom is external to and presses against the sail cover/lazy bag, whereas at the mast, the halyard can be led 'underneath'.

There is also the fact that the lazy jack halyard being much longer is also more forgiving:

- Do you pull up on the topping lift and lazy jacks to give yourself more headroom at the dock ?

- Do you remember to ease the lazy jacks before sheeting in the mainsail ? 

- 2 mm unobtainium would rip a spreader off the mast. 3 mm dyneema will slowly rip the stitching at the outboard attachment. 4 mm three strand nylon will last forever and with the money saved, you could buy me a beer.

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FWIW, I haven't had any issues with my 3mm dyneema.

At the mast, the jack halyards go through small cheek blocks so the fasteners are in shear. Prior to changing to dyneema, the jack halyards went through small blocks on the underside of the spreaders so the only thing keeping them in place was a few fine threads in aluminum.

At the bag, the jacks wrap around the fiberglass battens running along the top of the bag so the forces are well distributed and don't tear out any stitching. 

The reason I went to dyneema was to isolate the compliance in the system to the bag itself. Though the dyneema has essentially no stretch, the bag has plenty of give and holds a better shape as it fills with the sail when I drop it. 

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I had Doyle build me a stack pack, which I was very happy with even if it's one of the more expensive ones out there. I asked them to omit the lazy jacks they normally include, and they shaved off some $. 

Instead, I also used 1/8" (or 3mm) Dyneema, with low friction rings at the joins - because everybody knows Dyneema is faster than Sta set.
I sketched two possible designs in Google Sketchup to help visualise, and pull measurements from.

image.thumb.png.cd2816373d186660292558a20fac568b.png 

I ended up going with the design on the left. I calculated from SketchUp the lengths of the various pieces, and at the joins spliced Tylaska FR3 low friction rings. This video gave me some ideas & helped refresh my memory on the brummel splice, one-side-fixed.

Then, I put two pad-eyes on the spreader (instead of cheek block on the mast) about 1/3rd of the way out, and attached a block to that. Idea was to help with sail raising, to make life a bit easier. 

Total cost was about $180 all in, parts from Defender. 

 

 

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Sorry, didn't mean to get on IStream's case for his choice of materials. Dyneema is great stuff. The manager of the sail loft won't let me near it. For lazy jacks we usually use 4 mm braided polyester in the same color as the lazy bag.

Regarding non-stretchy lines, this reminds me of the time when I retrieved one of my lazy bags that the client claimed had failed at the outboard attachment point. I call it the Electric Winch Syndrome:

So we go aboard this 50 footer, heavy, junk on the trunk, with the boom skyed way up to allow headroom in the cockpit. The mainsheet is still on the electric self-tailing winch and when I ease, it groans like a maxi going round the weather mark. All this at the dock!

We remove the lazy bag from the boom and the owner-installed lazy jacks. They must have been at least 9 mm diameter.

Obviously my fault.

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No worries, t.rex, I agree that the dyneema is massive overkill from a strength perspective and the 4mm braided poly is plenty strong enough. I went with the dyneema mainly for its (lack of) stretch characteristics. 

 

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On 3/30/2021 at 5:21 AM, Kris Cringle said:

Just plain lazy jacks with a regular sail cover: Mine came from the local hardware store.

I thought of it just as a mock up but it has become the finish product. Ingredients: 1/4" 3 strand, 2 tiny cheek blocks, 1/4" thimbles, 2 cleats, 6 eye straps. 

Deployed: 

1934779654_Lazyjacksdeployed._.thumb.jpg.1620ebecbe2e841841f2fc89304d1a38.jpg

Stowed: 

1332935606_Sailsandtelltales(1of1).thumb.jpg.b06afb06e031195ab1ef170316034574.jpg

The one mistake was to mount the turning blocks at the spreaders. They needed to be raised about 5' above, but I don't think you can mount that block too high with a long footed main (too low is usually recommended.)

Other realizations: In use, the legs are not tightened when deployed, I leave a little slack. This forms a better 'basket' that cradles the flakes and tends to guide the flakes on top of each other. Then add 4-5 loose sail ties, just to hold the flakes, uncleat jacks, gather and stow at the mast, finally, tighten the sail ties. All compact, easy cover. 

This main is tough to tame but we've come to terms. 

1289441680_Hovetofurlingmain.thumb.jpg.8a46f7212e5129100bc49570ba644f42.jpg

 

 

 

mine was two very small harken cheek blocks midway up on mast and a series of eye loops in small stuff cordage. all in 36 dollars. Like yours - simple, inexpensive and elegant is best.

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A timely topic - has me doodling spider webs onto my sail plan when I should be writing reports...

I've had the parts for this project in the "project bin" for a couple of years.  Such a simple thing but... confusing.  

Does a 30-foot boat with single-spreader rig need lazy jacks? Well, when one drops the sail, it falls around the helmsman's ears, so I'd say yes. Can't dock the boat like that and there isn't always a convenient place to drift and flake the sail.    And the old sail cover is on its last legs and never really fit the new sail anyway.

Re: leading the halyard to the spreaders.  I installed a couple of blocks for this purpose last time the mast was down.  Seemed better to through-bolt than to secure with threads.  Dunno if there are issues with loads on the spreaders.  Maybe the resulting angle is too low? PO added a topping lift but it's rigged kind of stupidly.

Come to think of it, how does the sail bag /stackpak affect reefing? I guess one has to cut it to stop short of the gooseneck and horns? I guess the clew lines would have to run on the inside of all this - need to leave gaps for that in the bag. Or make it sort of "loose footed" 

t.rex provides a nice formula to follow - when scaled to fit.  Not sure a 12-foot boom needs four falls... 

Comparing spreader-height halyard block vs. 2/3-sail-height I see the big difference is in the angles at the aft end. (obv) Well shoot - should have done this before drilling holes in the spreaders.  Are the loads great enough for this to make a big difference?  Does that extra line up high aid in catching the sail, or is all the action down near the boom anyway?  Another example of the old "design-build" vs "build-design" conundrum.  

image.thumb.png.3c29dacfb4fff7c72fd337d277f19d74.png

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On 3/30/2021 at 5:21 AM, Kris Cringle said:

Just plain lazy jacks with a regular sail cover: Mine came from the local hardware store.

Totally agree - I used cheap nylon single braid from the local hardware store to "prototype" my lazy jacks about 12 years ago and they are still going strong!

I have cheap plastic cleats just below the gooseneck that are used to stow them 99% of the time, except when lowering and flaking the sail.  

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1 minute ago, toddster said:

A timely topic - has me doodling spider webs onto my sail plan when I should be writing reports...

I've had the parts for this project in the "project bin" for a couple of years.  Such a simple thing but... confusing.  

Does a 30-foot boat with single-spreader rig need lazy jacks? Well, when one drops the sail, it falls around the helmsman's ears, so I'd say yes. Can't dock the boat like that and there isn't always a convenient place to drift and flake the sail.    And the old sail cover is on its last legs and never really fit the new sail anyway.

Re: leading the halyard to the spreaders.  I installed a couple of blocks for this purpose last time the mast was down.  Seemed better to through-bolt than to secure with threads.  Dunno if there are issues with loads on the spreaders.  Maybe the resulting angle is too low? PO added a topping lift but it's rigged kind of stupidly.

Come to think of it, how does the sail bag /stackpak affect reefing? I guess one has to cut it to stop short of the gooseneck and horns? I guess the clew lines would have to run on the inside of all this - need to leave gaps for that in the bag. Or make it sort of "loose footed" 

t.rex provides a nice formula to follow - when scaled to fit.  Not sure a 12-foot boom needs four falls... 

Comparing spreader-height halyard block vs. 2/3-sail-height I see the big difference is in the angles at the aft end. (obv) Well shoot - should have done this before drilling holes in the spreaders.  Are the loads great enough for this to make a big difference?  Does that extra line up high aid in catching the sail, or is all the action down near the boom anyway?  Another example of the old "design-build" vs "build-design" conundrum.  

image.thumb.png.3c29dacfb4fff7c72fd337d277f19d74.png

 

1 minute ago, toddster said:

Does a 30-foot boat with single-spreader rig need lazy jacks? Well, when one drops the sail, it falls around the helmsman's ears

Probably not. Get a longer boat.

A well proven method of design is to very carefully copy every feature of a successful existing design. Especially so with canvas projects.

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8 minutes ago, toddster said:

A timely topic - has me doodling spider webs onto my sail plan when I should be writing reports...

I've had the parts for this project in the "project bin" for a couple of years.  Such a simple thing but... confusing.  

Does a 30-foot boat with single-spreader rig need lazy jacks? Well, when one drops the sail, it falls around the helmsman's ears, so I'd say yes. Can't dock the boat like that and there isn't always a convenient place to drift and flake the sail.    And the old sail cover is on its last legs and never really fit the new sail anyway.

Re: leading the halyard to the spreaders.  I installed a couple of blocks for this purpose last time the mast was down.  Seemed better to through-bolt than to secure with threads.  Dunno if there are issues with loads on the spreaders.  Maybe the resulting angle is too low? PO added a topping lift but it's rigged kind of stupidly.

Come to think of it, how does the sail bag /stackpak affect reefing? I guess one has to cut it to stop short of the gooseneck and horns? I guess the clew lines would have to run on the inside of all this - need to leave gaps for that in the bag. Or make it sort of "loose footed" 

t.rex provides a nice formula to follow - when scaled to fit.  Not sure a 12-foot boom needs four falls... 

Comparing spreader-height halyard block vs. 2/3-sail-height I see the big difference is in the angles at the aft end. (obv) Well shoot - should have done this before drilling holes in the spreaders.  Are the loads great enough for this to make a big difference?  Does that extra line up high aid in catching the sail, or is all the action down near the boom anyway?  Another example of the old "design-build" vs "build-design" conundrum.  

image.thumb.png.3c29dacfb4fff7c72fd337d277f19d74.png

FWIW, my jacks look more like your blue ones, with the turning blocks just below the first spreader. It works fine, but I've got a full-batten main and I think that makes it more forgiving of jack geometry. 

As for reefing, mine is done from the cockpit so the issue of the back at the gooseneck is moot. 

 

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I can only speak to my arrangement but the reefing line to my tack just lives inside the cover. When the cover is open and the sail raised, it doesn't have to go through a hole in the bag or anything. On my boat, the reefing line to the clew fastens to the boom and goes up to the reefing clew before going to a sheave at the boom end and then to the reefing works inside the boom. That requires one penetration of the bag near the anchor point on the boom. 

This seems like the kind of thing that t.rex, having made so many of these, can speak to better than I can. 

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1 hour ago, toddster said:

One would still need to make provision for the lines to pass through the cover, no?  

If you stow the lines against the mast and boom once the sail is folded they will fit inside a standard cover with no modifications. 

You only need to modify the cover if you want to leave the lazy jacks deployed with the cover on.

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1 hour ago, toddster said:

A timely topic - has me doodling spider webs onto my sail plan when I should be writing reports...

I've had the parts for this project in the "project bin" for a couple of years.  Such a simple thing but... confusing.  

Does a 30-foot boat with single-spreader rig need lazy jacks? Well, when one drops the sail, it falls around the helmsman's ears, so I'd say yes. Can't dock the boat like that and there isn't always a convenient place to drift and flake the sail.    And the old sail cover is on its last legs and never really fit the new sail anyway.

Re: leading the halyard to the spreaders.  I installed a couple of blocks for this purpose last time the mast was down.  Seemed better to through-bolt than to secure with threads.  Dunno if there are issues with loads on the spreaders.  Maybe the resulting angle is too low? PO added a topping lift but it's rigged kind of stupidly.

Come to think of it, how does the sail bag /stackpak affect reefing? I guess one has to cut it to stop short of the gooseneck and horns? I guess the clew lines would have to run on the inside of all this - need to leave gaps for that in the bag. Or make it sort of "loose footed" 

t.rex provides a nice formula to follow - when scaled to fit.  Not sure a 12-foot boom needs four falls... 

Comparing spreader-height halyard block vs. 2/3-sail-height I see the big difference is in the angles at the aft end. (obv) Well shoot - should have done this before drilling holes in the spreaders.  Are the loads great enough for this to make a big difference?  Does that extra line up high aid in catching the sail, or is all the action down near the boom anyway?  Another example of the old "design-build" vs "build-design" conundrum.  

image.thumb.png.3c29dacfb4fff7c72fd337d277f19d74.png

Hi Toddster,

I'm envious of your graphics capabilities.

Maybe you can help me get across a point about how the lazy jacks guide the sail into the lazy bag. Let's add a new lineset in green.

- You nailed the position of the lazy jack halyard block (2/3 mast height)

- Shorten the distance from the halyard block to the first diramation to the equivalent of the cyan color. (100 cm?)

- Shorten the distance from the first diramation to the second fall to the equivalent of the cyan color. (150 cm?)

The point is; if the sternmost line in the lowest diramation is steep, the sail will tend to be ushered in the lazy bag if you are approximately head-to-wind.

The lower angled cyan color lazy jacks risk to hang the leech outside the lazy jacks if you are not perfectly head-to-wind.

 

Regarding your question about reefing, the zipper opens from luff to leech and actually beyond the lazy bag using some webbing. So the reefing lines that exit the boomcap don't wear on the zipper, pass through the reef clew grommet, then through the stern section of the lazy bag where parts of the bottom have been intentionally left open to pass the reef lines around the boom.

You're right, a 12 foot boom doesn't need 4 falls. You should see the looks I get when I try to convince owners that they only need 3.

 

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1 hour ago, t.rex said:

Hi Toddster,

I'm envious of your graphics capabilities.

Maybe you can help me get across a point about how the lazy jacks guide the sail into the lazy bag. Let's add a new lineset in green.

- You nailed the position of the lazy jack halyard block (2/3 mast height)

- Shorten the distance from the halyard block to the first diramation to the equivalent of the cyan color. (100 cm?)

- Shorten the distance from the first diramation to the second fall to the equivalent of the cyan color. (150 cm?)

The point is; if the sternmost line in the lowest diramation is steep, the sail will tend to be ushered in the lazy bag if you are approximately head-to-wind.

The lower angled cyan color lazy jacks risk to hang the leech outside the lazy jacks if you are not perfectly head-to-wind.

 

Regarding your question about reefing, the zipper opens from luff to leech and actually beyond the lazy bag using some webbing. So the reefing lines that exit the boomcap don't wear on the zipper, pass through the reef clew grommet, then through the stern section of the lazy bag where parts of the bottom have been intentionally left open to pass the reef lines around the boom.

You're right, a 12 foot boom doesn't need 4 falls. You should see the looks I get when I try to convince owners that they only need 3.

 

Like this?  Drawing is getting a little busy.  Shortening the upper segments makes the lines more vertical at the expense of more string aloft.  Looks like the most dramatic effect here is on the forward falls.

image.thumb.png.c2cc87fb27c497c70c24a7a7205036fb.png

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My lazy jack set up has only 1 triangle line per side of the boom(as opposed to the 2 triangle patterns being shown) and the line leads back to the cockpit for tightening. Other than that I don't really touch them(other than pre drop tensioning), they stay up during sailing and when the mainsail cover is on. I have slits sewn where the lines run up from the boom. With careful steering and paying attention to the battens, it's pretty straight forward to get the battens clear of the lazy jacks when hoisting. The last couple of battens probably account for almost half the sail and because they're the longest they clear the lazy jacks, so its only at the beginning of the hoist that you have to pay attention. I used to loosen the lazy jacks a bit pre hoist but its not really necessary. Tightening pre drop helps with the fold.

Full battens drop into place pretty nicely. Its on harken cars, and if you just let go of the main halyard, the sail gets within %80 of folding itself. A couple of adjustments to the fold, then I'll put a couple of sail ties on, loosen the lazy jacks while putting the cover on, then once the cover is on, moderately tighten back up the lazy jacks back up. You can get the lazy jacks set fairly well without the slits in the cover, but the slits are maybe a tiny bit better aesthetically. It might not be a bad idea sew the cover(if you go this route) and put it on with the lazy jacks in place and then finalize the slit locations at that point... frankly I ran the lazy jacks out of the bottom of the cover(and up to the running blocks...or low friction rings if that's what your going to use) for years and there's no real major difference. The whole process of putting away the main takes maybe 5 minutes for one person, so no big deal really.

There is no external lazy jack halyard(not sure why you'd want or need one with this set up).  Just the two wires coming down from the mast and two small running blocks. The lazy jack line cleats on the boom, runs along the boom to the first running block, is lead up to the first aloft running block, back down to the boom, under the boom, back up to the second aloft running block, back to the boom, to the gooseneck area, and eventually back to the cockpit wear it is on a small stopper for loosening or tightening. 

I've noticed the two triangle set ups mainly on bigger mainsails than mine. I sail a masthead, 31 ft. So maybe that and the full battens allows me to use the 1 triangle set up. I'll not be the judge of exactly what length of boom/foot is the cutoff for the 1 triangle set up, but with full battens it seems like some of the boats in this general range and slightly above should be able to do it. The bottom two battens help with the remainder of the sail that lives aft of the lazy jacks(maybe one small sail tie as well) when dropping/folding so you don't really need to run the lazy jacks back as far as you might without full battens.

Anyway, it seems every deal is a little bit different with lazy jacks. The height that you attach at the mast though seems fairly constant. There's a harken video out there somewhere about a basic installation of lazy jacks and they show the basic height calculation, which seems to be about the same as what you guys are showing in the drawings.

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12 hours ago, toddster said:

Such a simple thing but... confusing.  

Does a 30-foot boat with single-spreader rig need lazy jacks? Well, when one drops the sail, it falls around the helmsman's ears, so I'd say yes.

image.thumb.png.3c29dacfb4fff7c72fd337d277f19d74.png

Yes - notwithstanding suggestions to the contrary that they’re not necessary on a boat like yours.  My new boom —on a 33’ single-spreader boat— now extends out into the cockpit - dropping the main will absolutely result in the sail falling around the helmsman’s ears: exactly my new issue.  Or, if singlehanding, without lazy jacks, sail that’s fallen down will be an issue for me to deal with alone in the cockpit in heavy weather. 

I find that lazy jacks are “confusing” insofar as they seem to basically be all the same, yet there are several subtle variations on them.  Like cocktails.  There are lots of variations, but they’re simple at root, and they all work the same way to get you hammered if you drink enough of them.  If you try to install one of the lazy jack types, it’ll probably work fine, perhaps after a few tweaks.  Then sit back and have a drink or two.  

Now, sewing up a high-quality lazy bag/sail pack: that’s another fucking thing altogether!!

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Thanks Toddster,

You've done a nice study in the geometry and forces. I hope everyone is seeing that the higher up the lowest stern diramation is, the better the lazy jack is holding up the outboard end of the lazy bag AND is putting less strain on the attachment points AND is shepherding the leech into the lazy bag.

You're right in noticing it's a lot of line especially on the forward falls where the sail slides do most of the work.

The reality is often different when the rigger guy and I show up at the boat with a coil of dacron braid, scissors, a cigarette lighter, needle and thread.

Me: "How high is the halyard block from the boom ?"

Guy: "Nine meters."

Me: "Ok, let's cut the stern diramation 10 meters [folded in half makes 5], the bow diramation 8 m, and the upper diramation 9 m. With the splices and bowlines we should  have a nice short halyard."

Guy: "Nah, I'm gonna cut everything to 9 meters. It's easier."

Me: "No, but there's forces and angles to consider."

Guy: "Fuck you, I'm gonna cut everything to 9 meters. We always do it this way."

Me: "Sigh"

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5 hours ago, t.rex said:

You've done a nice study in the geometry and forces. I hope everyone is seeing that the higher up the lowest stern diramation is, the better the lazy jack is holding up the outboard end of the lazy bag AND is putting less strain on the attachment points AND is shepherding the leech into the lazy bag.

To this point, this is why I set my jacks up as a cascade with the aft-most line leading directly up to the halyard (stern to the right):

image.thumb.png.0b4e22025d0d3a331a2a9bb2dfc96219.png

This lets me get away with the highest point below the first spreader rather than higher up. Though the tension is distributed differently, that hasn't been an issue in practice.

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  • 1 month later...

Any reason not to just duplicate the Harken setup using 3mm dyneema and 5mm Antal low friction rings? Seems like less line aloft(and overall) as well as good instructions and a parts list. 

harken_lazy_jack_diagram_large.jpg

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5 hours ago, inneedofadvice said:

Any reason not to just duplicate the Harken setup using 3mm dyneema and 5mm Antal low friction rings? Seems like less line aloft(and overall) as well as good instructions and a parts list. 

harken_lazy_jack_diagram_large.jpg

The pulley blocks seem like overkill to me, but I could be wrong.  If anything, I’d maybe prefer something simple, with no moving parts, and ideally cheaper, like an LFR or stainless steel ring.  Maybe someone else has another idea - I don’t see why you’d need blocks for an application as simple as this.

Myself, I plan to pay a sailmaker to make for me. At this point, doing everything myself, every giant project from dropping rudder and replacing bushings, helping with rebuild and reinstalling engine, replacing ten portlights, rebuilding and installing a furler, etc, I just can’t be bothered to make lazy jacks, I realized. (Especially since it seems like we’ll get a stack pack/sail pack made and those lazy jacks are a bit different.  I haven’t been convinced that not having a sail pack is a better idea...)

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12 minutes ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

The pulley blocks seem like overkill to me, but I could be wrong.  If anything, I’d maybe prefer something simple, with no moving parts, and ideally cheaper, like an LFR or stainless steel ring. 

just bare dyneema eyes work fine.  I was going to use thimbles but North said (and experience proved them right) they are not needed.  The bare dyneema is slippery and does not wear (in this application) and does not rub/chafe the sail seams.  So you just make the whole thing out of like 3 mm bare dyneema with spliced eyes with no metal at all.

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I'm contemplating getting rid of or significantly modifying my lazy jacks. They are fairly nice for keeping the main contained when you drop it, but they can be a pain in the ass when raising the main. In their current position they tend to snag the battens when you raise the main. If the wind shifts or you are not pointed directly into the wind +/- ~2 deg the 2nd and 3rd batten are likely to snag on the way up. 

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is it possible to use lazy jacks with a conventional main sail cover.  thinking I could install the LJ's, drop main,  use sail ties tie up main,  stow LJ's against boom and mast  and then slap on traditional mainsail cover...  Its one of the the few peices of canvass on my boast that is in good shape.

or shoudl I just suck it up and use the material from the sail cover to make a new one that woudl fit the LJ and stack?

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14 minutes ago, Marcjsmith said:

is it possible to use lazy jacks with a conventional main sail cover.  thinking I could install the LJ's, drop main,  use sail ties tie up main,  stow LJ's against boom and mast  and then slap on traditional mainsail cover...  Its one of the the few peices of canvass on my boast that is in good shape.

or shoudl I just suck it up and use the material from the sail cover to make a new one that woudl fit the LJ and stack?

My thoughts exactly - I would like to use my existing sail cover. The only downside I can think of is two more lines that need to be bungee-corded off the mast to prevent slapping noises. I usually secure the head ends of the halyards to shroud cleats or the toe rail to keep them quiet without the need for bungee cords. I moor my boat in front of my house, so I am pretty sensitive to mast slapping noises. The noises in a marina drive me fucking nuts.

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I have bare dyneema lazy jacks with a conventional cover. It just makes the cover slightly more a bit of a pain to put on....

I'm thinking of a stack pack, but the last thing I need to more windage and how does one avoid the need for: a) extra fittings on the mast b) the need for a topping lift to support the back? 

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59 minutes ago, Elegua said:

I have bare dyneema lazy jacks with a conventional cover. It just makes the cover slightly more a bit of a pain to put on....

I'm thinking of a stack pack, but the last thing I need to more windage and how does one avoid the need for: a) extra fittings on the mast b) the need for a topping lift to support the back? 

My reasoning for a stacklack

1) Re: windage, a Santa Cruz 50 I sailed on had one, very, very experienced sailor - so maybe it’s a good idea?  (On the other hand maybe a high performance boat like that doesn’t care about windage from a stack pack.  I can’t see they’re *that* much more windage than a standard sail cover.   The sail will be stacked up/flaked in the boom anyway and covered, no?

2) it will “force” me to cover a $4000 sail (a lot of money to me) when not in use.  Pull a zipper: done.  I have a propensity to be lazy about dragging out cover, spreading it on boom (and it’s longer now, less convenient to deal with).

3) related to laziness, on a minor scale, I don’t like having to stuff/stow cover below.  Minor pet peeve - no “good” to store it.  I’d like to avoid keeping “outside stuff” down below.  Stack pack solves that.

4) existing cover is old/worn out.  To re-see even doing ourselves will be pretty pricey in materials/time.  Get a stack pack made for double the cost, made someone else.  I’ve got no time for stuff like this.

 

Lots of ways to justify NOT getting a stack pack, too, I’m sure... :-). On balance seems like a reasonable idea.

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1 hour ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

My reasoning for a stacklack

1) Re: windage, a Santa Cruz 50 I sailed on had one, very, very experienced sailor - so maybe it’s a good idea?  (On the other hand maybe a high performance boat like that doesn’t care about windage from a stack pack.  I can’t see they’re *that* much more windage than a standard sail cover.   The sail will be stacked up/flaked in the boom anyway and covered, no?

2) it will “force” me to cover a $4000 sail (a lot of money to me) when not in use.  Pull a zipper: done.  I have a propensity to be lazy about dragging out cover, spreading it on boom (and it’s longer now, less convenient to deal with).

3) related to laziness, on a minor scale, I don’t like having to stuff/stow cover below.  Minor pet peeve - no “good” to store it.  I’d like to avoid keeping “outside stuff” down below.  Stack pack solves that.

4) existing cover is old/worn out.  To re-see even doing ourselves will be pretty pricey in materials/time.  Get a stack pack made for double the cost, made someone else.  I’ve got no time for stuff like this.

 

Lots of ways to justify NOT getting a stack pack, too, I’m sure... :-). On balance seems like a reasonable idea.

No 2 is a driver for me to get one.   

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"always care for your horse before you care for yourself"

Old document - tips for a Calvary man

Replace horse with boat.

You must properly flake and cover your mainsail - every time.

It is important to do the right thing at the right time every time.

This will keep you and the boat safe.

I can still hear the voices of both my old racing watch captain and my grand father (who was West Point Calvary) saying this.

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39 minutes ago, estarzinger said:

"always care for your horse before you care for yourself"

Old document - tips for a Calvary man

Replace horse with boat.

You must properly flake and cover your mainsail - every time.

It is important to do the right thing at the right time every time.

This will keep you and the boat safe.

I can still hear the voices of both my old racing watch captain and my grand father (who was West Point Calvary) saying this.

100% agree.

Call me paranoid.... and possibly it will harder when I stay someplace for weeks or months, but I always try to keep my boat ready to head out in 10-15min with nothing falling over.    When anchored I like to leave my main halyard attached to the sail and tied off so that it doesn't chafe.  I was wondering if a stack pack would make it easier to have the cover on and do this or if a stack pack makes it easier/faster to get my sail up if I need it vs the traditional cover I have now. It takes me longer than I'd like to my current traditional cover off. 

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1 hour ago, estarzinger said:

You must properly flake and cover your mainsail - every time.

If the main is big, hard to do without a stackpack. In fact hard to flake even with it - I can't do mine, and settle for just getting it sort of straightened out. 

The stackpack makes setting the main quicker without a doubt. Unzip and hoist. It only saves a few minutes - every single time you do it. Also, the cover - the wet cover if it is raining - stays outside. 

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1 hour ago, estarzinger said:

You must properly flake and cover your mainsail - every time.

It is important to do the right thing at the right time every time.

This will keep you and the boat safe.

What's the logic behind this? Less UV exposure? I always figured sail ready to hoist = safer.

I've always pulled the cover when I left the home dock, then put it back when I got back, and had the sail securely tied down but otherwise ready to hoist. This is coastal cruising, only a few weeks at a time, but has always felt like a safer option than having to remove the cover before hoisting.

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3 hours ago, DDW said:

If the main is big, hard to do 

Yea, scale does make it a bigger job. I could flake Hawk's main single handed - but it was somewhat smaller than yours and I had the hard dodger to stand on - would have been more difficult without that.  On a 112'er (sloop) two of us could do it, but it had a park ave. boom which both supported the sail as we got it sorted and which we could stand on.  It can be a bunch easier if you can set autopilot to 0 awa and flake it on the way down but needed to be decently calm and steady winds.

Idk what it is but I can flake a main with another man totally easily we usually dont even have to talk, we just flake the thing . . . but the various women I have tried with somehow we have a totally different sense of the desired geometry and even talking it thru does not make it smooth - True for flaking jibs out also.  It puzzles me a bit because the women I have sailed with are totally awesome in almost every other way.

3 hours ago, andykane said:

What's the logic behind this? Less UV exposure? I always figured sail ready to hoist = safer.

UV reduction is a big benefit of covers.  Also keeps 'stuff' off the sail (from bird shit to atmospheric pollution). North says really extends life of sail.  Regarding UV the common sunbrella cloth used in covers loses most of its UV protection qualities after about 3 years.  North told me to put a taffeta inside layer on my cover to maintain UV protection for the structural like of the sunbrella.

Flaking reduces windage (by quite a bit on my boats) vs just a tumbled down sail. You can compress a tumbled down sail with sail ties but again North sail that could crush the fabric and shorted life.  And regarding that - said that crushed fabric under clew reef points was a big failure point and getting it flaked under their so not cruising as you tighten in the reef again big life extension.  My sail covers would only fit over a flaked sail - seemed proper and I liked the trim tailored look.

Honestly I never really thought all that much about why of this - I was just brought up it was the proper thing to do demonstrating moral fiber and not looking like a lazy slob ;) 

 

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9 hours ago, estarzinger said:

"always care for your horse before you care for yourself"

Old document - tips for a Calvary man

Replace horse with boat.

You must properly flake and cover your mainsail - every time.

It is important to do the right thing at the right time every time.

This will keep you and the boat safe.

I can still hear the voices of both my old racing watch captain and my grand father (who was West Point Calvary) saying this.

Make it count.  Climbing, when you place protection —a nut or a cam—  in a crack, your life or someone else’s may be on it, so make it count.  Do it properly.

”Do the right thing at the right time every time.”  Quite simple, in fact - harder to action.  Every time.

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On 5/27/2021 at 5:39 AM, Marcjsmith said:

is it possible to use lazy jacks with a conventional main sail cover.  thinking I could install the LJ's, drop main,  use sail ties tie up main,  stow LJ's against boom and mast  and then slap on traditional mainsail cover...  Its one of the the few peices of canvass on my boast that is in good shape.

or shoudl I just suck it up and use the material from the sail cover to make a new one that woudl fit the LJ and stack?

I had removable lazy jacks on my prior boat. Deploy them, drop the main, sail tie the main, move them back to the mast. Use the normal cover. Does not get in the way during hoisting the main. Really liked them. Easy to get the main flaked nicely. I used paracord and thimbles (collective gasp for somebody using plebian shit like paracord for boat stuff....)

I have a stackpack on the current boat. It's ok. Gotta be careful on hoist to not tangle a batten. Tough to get the main flaked, but I'm also too short. Not less work overall, but does mean the cover's always there and I don't need to find somewhere to keep it. The jacks are skinny braid with loops tied in the end. (P.O. installed) - I'll likely switch over to dyneema sometime. 

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Re: “… crushed fabric under clew reef points was a big failure point and getting it flaked under their so not cruising as you tighten in the reef again big life extension.”

just a slight thread drift. If you rig your clew reef pendant up from the block, to the clew, and back down the same side of the sail to a hard point on the same side as the block then the entire bunt falls off to the opposite side and no bunching; long as tack is rigged similarly. 

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  • 1 month later...

This week I finally finished and installed my sailpack and lazyjacks.  And discovered that it crosses the threads (literally) with one of Jud's other topics.  

So far, this system works great!  I think I can stow the sailpack away just by lowering the lazy jacks and tying up the pack halves with some sail ties.  But it didn't interfere with the main much on the test sail.  Despite the advice above, I went with my original rigging plan to the blocks I'd installed on the spreaders.  It holds the pack nicely open.  And. it stays out of the way of the mast steps.  But I may have to repent.

IMG_3146.jpeg.7ab7c27e32a45e60bbcf4162dd940b7c.jpeg  

 

Today for some reason, I started thinking about the trysail - the trysail track starts outside the lazy jacks but finishes inside them.  Even if they are lowered and pulled back to the mast.  You could not raise the trysail from its stowed position at the mast base without completely removing the jack lines. Or somehow threading the sail through them.  This is obvious looking at the mast IRL, not so obvious in a 2D drawing, back in the office.  Obviously not a concern if you don't have or plan to have a trysail!  

Carol Hasse on the topic:

"

In addition, sheets must be routed around any lazy jacks or stack-pack “legs”. Finding a fair lead for both windward and leeward sheets should be determined through practice, then recorded and available to crew as part of ship’s trysail setting protocol.

With the trysl bent on, tack pendant belayed, and sheets led, the sail can be raised. Here again, we may run afoul of lazy jacks or stack-pack “legs”. Only practice (preferably with lazy jacks engineered for this concern) will help you devise a protocol for setting the trysail."

So, I guess it is possible.  Now I'm wondering exactly what "engineered for this concern" looks like, exactly.  All that immediately comes to mind is quick-release clips (e.g. carabiners) where the lines attach to the pack.  Nah.  Obviously the procedure cannot get very intricate or the whole enterprise would become too complicated.    Sitting there looking at it, it didn't seem possible.  I guess that if the trysail is sheeted to the quarter (as opposed to the boom, as some people suggest) it must remain entirely outside the lazy jack system.  (If sheeted to the boom, it must go entirely inside the lazy jacks. I don't think the sail that I have would work that way.) So I may have to move the attachment points up the mast to a point higher than the head of the trysail.  Or get/make a different sail.

Still head-scratching.  Just when I thought I was making progress...  

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Interesting dilemma - hadn’t thought of that.  Hell, by now, I’ve been waiting nearly three months for my new mainsail to arrive - been so long, I kind of forgot to start thinking about the cover (sail pack) and lazy jacks!  Will keep that in mind when planning these two things.

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I thought about the problem a little more, and decided that I just have to go to the boat (in the middle of the night, when nobody is watching) and try various ways of hoisting.  If the TS can be hoisted inside the LJ, they could then be retracted to the mast.  In the above linked document, Hasse suggests hoisting the TS in the lee of the main, before dropping it - a nifty trick if you're on the right tack, maybe.

Just now I was filing some recent downloads and found that I have one of Hasse's slide sets about storm sails that she distributed after a "safety at sea seminar."  There are about a hundred pictures with no text. IDK if I still have my notes?  I have no recollection of this but a set of the photos appears to tell a story about rigging a trysail with a stack pack.  One photo does indeed appear to show a quick-release arrangement on the forward lazy jack leg.  Will have to carefully study these to see what can be discerned.  Still seems to be bordering on too much complexity.

220609069_lazyjacktrysl.thumb.jpg.36859da90f4e8314058c92977743ace8.jpg

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18 hours ago, toddster said:

I thought about the problem a little more, and decided that I just have to go to the boat (in the middle of the night, when nobody is watching) and try various ways of hoisting.  If the TS can be hoisted inside the LJ, they could then be retracted to the mast.  In the above linked document, Hasse suggests hoisting the TS in the lee of the main, before dropping it - a nifty trick if you're on the right tack, maybe.

Just now I was filing some recent downloads and found that I have one of Hasse's slide sets about storm sails that she distributed after a "safety at sea seminar."  There are about a hundred pictures with no text. IDK if I still have my notes?  I have no recollection of this but a set of the photos appears to tell a story about rigging a trysail with a stack pack.  One photo does indeed appear to show a quick-release arrangement on the forward lazy jack leg.  Will have to carefully study these to see what can be discerned.  Still seems to be bordering on too much complexity.

220609069_lazyjacktrysl.thumb.jpg.36859da90f4e8314058c92977743ace8.jpg

I admit this is something I’ve never thought about...and I’m glad you raised the issue, as it gives me time to weigh whether to have a stack pack type arrangement made or not...especially since I’m still waiting for delivery of my new mainsail, three months later, so a mainsail cover system has dropped off my radar screen.  Did I mention it’s been three goddamn long months waiting :-)

The plan was, once the sail arrives and sailmaker comes to fit the sail, that he would, afterwards, measure for making a stack pack.  Now, however, I’m having second thoughts (and might go with only lazy jacks and regular cover: my original thinking behind a stack pack was that, humans being prone to laziness, having the cover integrated with the boom virtually ensures that you’ll cover the sail when it’s down: one zip - vs. having to drag out a cover, etc).  But, if a stack pack makes setting up and using a trysail arrangement that much more complicated, perhaps not worth it?  (They’re quite pricey, too, for petals of a commensurate benefit?7 Dunno.  
 

If you just have lazy jacks (and not a stack pack with lazy jacks incorporated into it), what little I’ve gathered browsing the web suggests that the lazy jacks needs to be retracted/brought forward to mast in order to set a trysail.  But I know nothing beyond what I’ve cursorily read - I don’t even have lazy jacks.

Maybe @estarzingerhas some insight, as he’s certainly sailed with a trysail - but dunno if he had a stack pack type system on Hawk?

(Re: Carol Hasse article on trysails that also discusses stack packs), wonder if it’s useful to simply call them to ask about suggested solutions? Or perhaps it’s simply “depends on the set up on the boat”?)

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In this case, I think there's no difference between stack pack and lazy jacks.  It's the lazy jacks that cause the problem.  Imagine your extra trysail track going down the mast to about a foot off the deck or so, where your bagged trysail is stashed.  Draw the lazyjacks back to the mast - they wrap around the trysail track so you can't hoist.  

The stack pack was not difficult to make.  The most tedious part was cleaning and mopping the garage floor to make a big enough cutting area.  Sunbrella is a bit hydrophobic and is a magnet for oily dust.  It came out OK but might be a smidge too tall at the aft end.  Some day I may fix that.  Or not.) The only drawback I've encountered so far is that it's not easy to reach inside and yank on the leech to make the sail flake properly - on its own, it ends up in a bit of disarray.  Maybe full battens would help with that.

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4 hours ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

If you just have lazy jacks (and not a stack pack with lazy jacks incorporated into it), what little I’ve gathered browsing the web suggests that the lazy jacks needs to be retracted/brought forward to mast in order to set a trysail.

Jacks should brought forward to the mast at all times other than when you are dropping the main. When hoisting they need to be out of the way or battens get caught, when the main is flaked & under the sail cover they just interfere with the cover and create windage and if deployed under sail they chafe the main.

Deploy them, drop the main, tie it off, retract the jacks and put the cover on.

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4 hours ago, toddster said:

In this case, I think there's no difference between stack pack and lazy jacks.  It's the lazy jacks that cause the problem.  Imagine your extra trysail track going down the mast to about a foot off the deck or so, where your bagged trysail is stashed.  Draw the lazyjacks back to the mast - they wrap around the trysail track so you can't hoist.  

The stack pack was not difficult to make.  The most tedious part was cleaning and mopping the garage floor to make a big enough cutting area.  Sunbrella is a bit hydrophobic and is a magnet for oily dust.  It came out OK but might be a smidge too tall at the aft end.  Some day I may fix that.  Or not.) The only drawback I've encountered so far is that it's not easy to reach inside and yank on the leech to make the sail flake properly - on its own, it ends up in a bit of disarray.  Maybe full battens would help with that.

Re: the ability to lead lazy jacks lines forward with lazy jacks only vs. stack pack with lazy jacks (those that are attached to the battens that support the fabric the length of the pack along the length of the boom) - is it the case that these lazy jacks (that are part of a stack pack) can’t (or can’t easily?) be led forward to mast - as compared to a lazy jacks-only system, which can be set up so that the lazy jacks retract/can be brought forward to mast?

 

 

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54 minutes ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

Re: the ability to lead lazy jacks lines forward with lazy jacks only vs. stack pack with lazy jacks (those that are attached to the battens that support the fabric the length of the pack along the length of the boom) - is it the case that these lazy jacks (that are part of a stack pack) can’t (or can’t easily?) be led forward to mast - as compared to a lazy jacks-only system, which can be set up so that the lazy jacks retract/can be brought forward to mast?

 

 

LJ can be led to the mast either way, though maybe an extra step with the SP.   It depends on how you build and rig it.  Once the LJ are slack, the SP needs to be "reefed" or removed.  Seems easy just to reef it up alongside the boom with sail ties. Or sew some ties right into it for that purpose.   Some people attach the LJ to both the boom and the SP so that they can be treated completely separately.  

Whether people regularly do stow them is another question.  

Far more pics out there of "raised" than "lowered" SP but they can be found.

 attachment.php?attachmentid=1886&d=11909

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3 hours ago, toddster said:

LJ can be led to the mast either way, though maybe an extra step with the SP.   It depends on how you build and rig it.  Once the LJ are slack, the SP needs to be "reefed" or removed.  Seems easy just to reef it up alongside the boom with sail ties. Or sew some ties right into it for that purpose.   Some people attach the LJ to both the boom and the SP so that they can be treated completely separately.  

Whether people regularly do stow them is another question.  

Far more pics out there of "raised" than "lowered" SP but they can be found.

 attachment.php?attachmentid=1886&d=11909

Thanks for this - didn’t know there was a “way” to secure them  (the flaps of the stack pack) when the sail is up.  Since my sail still isn’t here (did I mention already that it’s been a 3-month wait? :-) ), I’m glad I’ve got the time to think this through.  If the sail had arrived, say, last week, out of sheer need for a cover (I’m taking off for three weeks this weekend), I may well have simply bit the bullet and asked the sailmaker to make up a stack pack (I’ve got neither the time, skills or equipment to make one), but at quite an expense —C$100 per foot of boom length).  But I’m now more closely weighing pros/cons of stack packs.

I had thought one of the cons was that they (with their lazy jacks) would be in the way of trysail set up.  But, it appears not (per Carol Hasse’s note in her article above, if they’re “engineered for this concern",  trysail as you noted. (Whatever that exactly means.) Regardless, a trysail can be made to work with them. 

For an offshore cruising boat that is being single or doublehanded —in particular— I cannot think of a reason, other than cost, *not* to have a stack pack - but I’m willing to be convinced before I plunk down my money (or perhaps try to make one on a friend’s machine over the winter).  Cost is a legitimate argument against them.  But I can’t think of any other.

I just talked to someone I know with a fast 50 footer, with considerable (decades) offshore racing and shorthanded cruising experience, who says he wouldn’t be without one for shorthanded cruising.

Yet, on the other hand, these folks (for example), a couple sailing a Tayana 37 lots of miles offshore from ice to tropics, and who have obviously put considerable thought and money [links] into fitting out, elected not to have a stack pack.  I’d like to know why not, as it seems eminently practical to me for this kind of voyaging/small crew (except for the “impractical” cost of having one made).

In short, for this kind of offshore sailing/small crew, what don’t people like about them?

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I suspect, or at least for me, it has something to do with the particular pressures of your anchoring or docking situation.  And whether you have crew.  When I was in an even more rural marina, the last mile home was motoring through a fairly quiet canal system.  There was plenty of time to leisurely flake and cover the sail while the boat puttered in on autopilot.  Sometimes, in winter or the shoulder seasons, I can sail in to my current boat basin and drift around while securing the main, before starting the motor and proceeding to dock.  But sometimes in the high season, it’s a three-ring circus with cruise ships, kids sailing dinghys, jet skis, and half a dozen other boats zooming around in the same small space.  One doesn’t dare leave the tiller for more than a few seconds.  Or sometimes the wind is up and there is no leisurely drifting.  There is a need to just drop the sail now and deal with it later.  

And the boat design.  As mentioned earlier, dropping the sail naked on my boat leaves it draped around the helmsman’s shoulders, blinding him and blocking access to the deck. And still catching wind.  Some boats with different relative helm positions might not have that problem.  

Sailing the right boat out of quiet anchorages… the need might not arise.  

Costs:  For a 12-foot boom, I needed about five yards of Sunbrella (<$200US) plus about a hundred bucks of sundries.  And maybe fifty bucks for the lazy jacks.  Yeah, I know you lengthened your boom. Hoist on yer own petard, as it were.

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On 7/20/2021 at 10:15 AM, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

Maybe @estarzingerhas some insight, as he’s certainly sailed with a trysail - but dunno if he had a stack pack type system on Hawk?

Sorry been away on a hill climbing bike trip.

We did not have a stack pack, rather just a normal sail cover.  I've sailed with stackpacks, prefer them on bigger boats where the sail cover starts to get harder to manage, but so long as the sail cover can be handled easily by one person think it is all just simpler and more straightforward with a normal sail cover.

Regarding the trisail, the port lazy jack was extra extra long and it could be taken forward under the trisail bag on deck and then secured forward of the trisail and trisail track - all reasonably easy and straightforward.

 

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On 7/21/2021 at 2:12 PM, estarzinger said:

Sorry been away on a hill climbing bike trip.

We did not have a stack pack, rather just a normal sail cover.  I've sailed with stackpacks, prefer them on bigger boats where the sail cover starts to get harder to manage, but so long as the sail cover can be handled easily by one person think it is all just simpler and more straightforward with a normal sail cover.

Regarding the trisail, the port lazy jack was extra extra long and it could be taken forward under the trisail bag on deck and then secured forward of the trisail and trisail track - all reasonably easy and straightforward.

 

Thanks for this, Evans.  Sorry to pull you away from a good hill climbing ride :-) 

What you say makes sense, as far as I “understand” it.  I think I need to actually see a set up in person to get it.  The person I know with loads of offshore single handing experience with a 50’er said the same thing the other day when I asked him about his set up - extra long lazy jack lines on one side of the mast, to enable the trysail to be hoisted.  I’ll have to go see it in person so that it actually makes sense (as I’ve never actually seen a trysail in a bag and in its own track at the base of a mast.)

I’m still stuck on the idea of a having stack pack - dunno why.  Probably b/c I’m conflating them with lazy jacks- which do seem quasi-essential, especially shorthanded (which I assume you had on Hawk?)...so, thinking that if one has lazy jacks, ya might as well just incorporate a sail cover into it...but I do like the idea of keeping it simple.  Easy to get distracted by “shiny new things” ...especially when still waiting for new sail to arrive :-)

As I think on it a bit more, I think I just need a better, sensible place to store a simple cover when it’s off.  Not having one is what I think drove me toward the stack pack idea: all in one.  (But at a big price.)  Simple is good.

 

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Well, I'll tell ya, after one whole week with a stack pack, it sure makes day-sailing a bit easier.  Just drop the sail and, "Hey! It's gone!."  Where'd it go?  It's not hanging all over the cockpit...  And one less thing to stow and get out again.  Now to get rid of the armload of firewood hatchboards.  

I left the lazy jacks up today in 15-20 knots true, and couldn't see that they were chafing or really touching the sail at all.  I spose if I was going more than a couple of hours, I'd stow them away though.  (Though I did reef the stack pack - gotta try out all the modes.)

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4 hours ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

I’m still stuck on the idea of a having stack pack - dunno why.  Probably b/c I’m conflating them with lazy jacks- which do seem quasi-essential, especially shorthanded (which I assume you had on Hawk?)...so, thinking that if one has lazy jacks, ya might as well just incorporate a sail cover into it...but I do like the idea of keeping it simple.  Easy to get distracted by “shiny new things” ...especially when still waiting for new sail to arrive :-)

As I think on it a bit more, I think I just need a better, sensible place to store a simple cover when it’s off.  Not having one is what I think drove me toward the stack pack idea: all in one.  (But at a big price.)  Simple is good.

I think this is how I'd break it down personally to decide between the two (stackpack and regular cover) for single or shorthanded cruising;

If I had the following, I'd probably stick with a regular cover;

- lazyjacks to 'manage' and collect the sail during hoists and drops

- easily accessible boom (i.e. it's easy to access the full length of the boom so you don't have to clamber around or use a boat hook etc to get the cover over the clew)

- the lazyjacks were adjustable so after the sail is dropped and secured, the lazies can be led forward and secured at the gooseneck so a simple cover can thrown over the top of the sail. I can not be bothered with a cover with multiple splits/cut-outs that go around the lazies when they are left up - I've used and made a bunch of these over the years for clients and it always amazes me how much patience these people have...

If your mainsail is at all unruly and prone to fall of the boom, or the lazies don't lead forward, or the boom is not very accessible then go for a stackpack. The ease of use factor is huge and unless you're racing the windage really isn't going to affect sailing performance. Also, for longer passages or days when you're feeling very energetic you can ease the lazyjacks and roll the stackpack into the centre of the boom and secure it out the way. 

I use rod batten in the top edge of the side panels to give the cover some stability and stop the sections between the lazies collapsing (way more durable than PVC tube, put some PVC patches at either end of the pocket to stop the ends chafing out), back to back webbing to create the take-off points for the lazyjacks (stop the stitch below the batten pocket to start the attachment loop), reinforcing in tack and clew section to prevent against chafe and 'half moon' panels at the front of of each panel to close over the luff stack behind the mast so all your lines/halyards remain accessible.

If you stick with a simple 'blanket' cover then using WeatherMax80 rather than Sunbrella will be an improvement - much lighter so it's easier to drag around when putting on/off and will have a much lower stowage volume than the acryllic Sunbrella equivalent. 

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6 hours ago, NZK said:

I think this is how I'd break it down personally to decide between the two (stackpack and regular cover) for single or shorthanded cruising;

If I had the following, I'd probably stick with a regular cover;

- lazyjacks to 'manage' and collect the sail during hoists and drops

- easily accessible boom (i.e. it's easy to access the full length of the boom so you don't have to clamber around or use a boat hook etc to get the cover over the clew)

- the lazyjacks were adjustable so after the sail is dropped and secured, the lazies can be led forward and secured at the gooseneck so a simple cover can thrown over the top of the sail. I can not be bothered with a cover with multiple splits/cut-outs that go around the lazies when they are left up - I've used and made a bunch of these over the years for clients and it always amazes me how much patience these people have...

If your mainsail is at all unruly and prone to fall of the boom, or the lazies don't lead forward, or the boom is not very accessible then go for a stackpack. The ease of use factor is huge and unless you're racing the windage really isn't going to affect sailing performance. Also, for longer passages or days when you're feeling very energetic you can ease the lazyjacks and roll the stackpack into the centre of the boom and secure it out the way. 

I use rod batten in the top edge of the side panels to give the cover some stability and stop the sections between the lazies collapsing (way more durable than PVC tube, put some PVC patches at either end of the pocket to stop the ends chafing out), back to back webbing to create the take-off points for the lazyjacks (stop the stitch below the batten pocket to start the attachment loop), reinforcing in tack and clew section to prevent against chafe and 'half moon' panels at the front of of each panel to close over the luff stack behind the mast so all your lines/halyards remain accessible.

If you stick with a simple 'blanket' cover then using WeatherMax80 rather than Sunbrella will be an improvement - much lighter so it's easier to drag around when putting on/off and will have a much lower stowage volume than the acryllic Sunbrella equivalent. 

This is excellent and very clear - thanks a lot for breaking it down.  I thought I was “overthinking” things - but I have the luxury of time to —unexpectedly— since my new main is significantly delayed (fortunately, it turns out). 

Re: leading lazy jacks lines forward to mast to avoid having a cover with fiddly slots in it (i.e., just a standard blanket type cover), I suppose this means dealing with them slapping at the mast, say, at anchor in high winds?  (I feel like this was already discussed up thread, but I can’t recall...it was either different ways to run the lazy jack lines to avoid them at the mast altogether, or maybe using 3mm Spectra, which is light so doesn’t catch the wind as much...something like that.) 

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56 minutes ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

Re: leading lazy jacks lines forward to mast to avoid having a cover with fiddly slots in it (i.e., just a standard blanket type cover), I suppose this means dealing with them slapping at the mast, say, at anchor in high winds?

If you mount the upper blocks a little way out under the spreaders it keeps the jacks away from the mast. Helps some to prevent battens snagging on them too.

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2 hours ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

Re: leading lazy jacks lines forward to mast to avoid having a cover with fiddly slots in it (i.e., just a standard blanket type cover), I suppose this means dealing with them slapping at the mast, say, at anchor in high winds?  (I

To be honest the best solution i've seen for this is looping a line or sail tie around them and lashing that out to the shrouds to pull the lines away from the mast. You can use thick bungees with a clip (whip a loop in the other end to hitch around the lazies) which is quicker and neater but the bungee won't last as long in the UV.

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