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Lazy Jacks... the good, the bad and the ugly

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I put them on my Chico which has a short boom I find them great just drop the main and clean up at anchor.I have a shock cord system and let them go and have a couple of plastic cover hooks by the goose neck to hook them over. I started out with the blocks  tied to the spreaders .I found that if I moved the blocks away from the mast it worked a whole lot better and weren’t prone to slap against the mast.Ive have had the mast out a couple of years ago so mounted the blocks on the spreaders .Just makes life that little easier 

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I'm interested to help moderate as I think everyone should be. Can I suggest a rotating system of moderators. ie someone help Matt for a month then someone else then someone else month on month about.

I have had them on many different boats from 28 to 46 feet and would not be without them. Always leave them up too. If you have full battens and good cars with a lazy bag you can just let the halyard

My take home from rehab's last post is that lazy jacks might prevent dousing the main in a hurry if the wind pins the main against the lazy jacks. I agree. They are fine when you can point into the wi

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Hiya Toltec, enjoying the lockdown? Or as a mate calls it, "The Great Suppression".

My system is very much like this pic attached. And, like Toltec, attached to the spreaders, not the mast at the top end - gives a much better angle for the sail to both fall into and raise out of (if you want to leave the jacks up).

You can add as many extension lines at the boom as you want - depends on the length of boom I guess. 

My 'tie off' is on the mast, not the boom - that way it's never covered with a sail when you're trying to get at it.

There's a small and cheap block  on the underside of each spreader. Then a block (but you can use frictionless rings now, or no block at all) on the next join down from the spreader. The rest are just lines running through each other.

Best way to set up is to attach the spreader blocks and then tie temporary knots/loops and tie off on boom - and let the main flop into it - you'll soon see what needs adjusting before you set it up properly.

When taking the jacks down, you untie at mast, reach toward stern and grab the nearest lazy line and the whole thing comes forward easily - I lie mine under the s/steel hook thingie that holds the forard reefing lines down. Simply tighten, and get a brew!


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14 hours ago, SanFran said:

Good stuff, thanks for the comments.  Yup, I'm closing in on 60ish, and feeling the need to make life easier on a 32 footer.  Who has the set up KM?   Local chandler or self sourced?

There are the odd 'kits' on shelves but most are cheap nasty and not as good as you could make yourself.

I'd suggest you copy Terrys very good set up, clean simple and best of all he can pull them out the way when sailing. So you'll need 2 small but decent blocks or low friction rings for the spreaders, a cleat on the mast (a clamcleat is fine) one each side, 4 more LF rings and the cordage...Oh and a cold six pack for assembly lubrication. Then all you need to do is get the line. Using Terry picture get some lengths which should include enough so the end of the blue line can come straight down the mast around the horns on the gooseneck (the ones you use to reef with). Then it's only getting the line you need.

Some use basic sashcord or braids like those (good but you need to tie knots or sew ends) some use 3 strand (just yucky don't go there), some get all jiggy with double braid (nice but huge fiddly work) or you can use one of the newer hollow core soft braids designed for the application. These are strong, soft and very easy to splice using a pencil so you can have ends as flash as any Pro (decent ones, there are some shockers using the term) would do. The spice required is easy peasy and even a newbie could do them well very quickly so don't stress that bit. 

Generally speaking the chandlers don't have bugger all technical cordage so it's unlikely they will have anything more then the old school basics. Drop me a PM telling me where you are and I'll see if I can aim you at someone who may have the good sh*t or at least some decent options. Worst case I can whip up a package easily, we do lots of them.

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I set ours up pretty much the same as the Pic above. We had two levels of spreaders however, so the set up was slightly more complex.
The only issue I had, was that the Main was a high ratio cut sail. So the top narrowed down very quickly. This resulted in the very top batten often getting caught in the jack line as I raised the main and if we were off the wind too much. Like for instance, we may have been under Headsail only and decided to raise the Main, but didn't want to round up into the wind and have the Headsail flap about against the Inner Forestay. I could never quite get the mounting positions just right. So in the end, I tied bungy to the Jack line and the opposite end on the lower spreader out wideWhen the jack line was pulled taught, the Bungy would allow the jack line to pull aft and in toward the Sail. When slackened off,  bungy pulled the jack line out and forward toward the mast. So I only pulled the jack line tight when about to lower the Main. The rest of the time, the bungy kept the Jack line clear.
I also had a stack pack. Like BP, I cannot oversell this idea. It is simply life changing to be able to just drop the Halyard and let it all fall into the bag, most especially if the wind is up.

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we have the same setup,  pull the lines forward when we are sailing/racing,  never leave them out when the cover is on,  dont put them out to raise the main,  but do put them out to lower,  on my last boat (1020) i made them strong enough to hold the boom up for the drop and it saved having a topper.  Current boat has a hard vang so not required to hold the boom up and do work slightly better when a bit looser.  We will strip the boat for racing but somehow the lazy jacks get to stay

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Was told about having them out under the spreaders, so seems the way to go.   One question though.... Is the halyard part yoked near the top from two lines, down to one, or are there two separate lines to the cleat on the mast?

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Mine has them separate. Less blocks/yokes, less friction. At the spreader attachment, mine are about a metre and a bit apart from each other - can't really see the point in yoking them but others might think differently? Plus, when not deployed and not yoked, they don't add to the tangle slapping the mast at 2am as they're not near the mast.

And I can tighten or loosen each side easily (they can need adjusting a little because they're attached at the spreaders - if you deploy them on a broad reach for instance, then when the boom comes back to the centre when you drop the sail - one side will be taut, the other slightly looser).

But they both tie off together on the same cleat.

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