Adjust lazy jacks while sailing?

AndyL

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Jun 23, 2020
42
Hunter 36 Rock Hall
I am new to having lazy jacks and wonder what people do regarding any adjustment or releasing of the lazy jacks when sailing.

Ours look like the picture below and are attached to the stack pack. Each "junction" has a small block and I believe the top line runs up the mast and then back down to be cleated at the mast base.

Drawing.jpeg


On our last sail, I noticed how much the sail was pressing against the lazy jacks in 10-15 knots of wind. It looked pretty stressful for both.

Do people generally loosen the lazy jacks before hoisting the sail, then tighten them when ready to drop the sail?

Do you secure them somehow so they don't flap around when sailing?

Thanks,
Andy
 
Feb 26, 2009
593
Oday 30 Anchor Yacht Club, Bristol PA
They should be somewhat slack just like your topping lift. I've read but not seen , people use bungee cords to keep the appropriate tension on them but I don't know how it actually works in practice.
 

dmax

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Jul 29, 2018
502
O'Day 35 Buzzards Bay
Unless you're using the lazy jacks to hold up your boom, you can loosen them up to the point where they don't interfere with the main and leave them there - this has always worked for me on multiple boats with lazy jacks. If they flop around, you can rig up a bungy to pull them in tight. You obviously don't want the lazy jacks restricting the sail shape.
 
Oct 22, 2014
16,137
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Ease the lazy jacks and snug them along the boom and mast while sailing. Release the lazy jacks and pull them taught when you plan to lower the main. That is the lazy jack trim plan on my boat.

With the addition of the stack pack that may be a problematic on your rig. Depends on how it is rigged.
 
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Likes: mnmpizza
Jan 18, 2016
686
Catalina 387 Dana Point
Can't move to the mast with a stack pack. dmax is right, adjust em to where you can sail just fine with them deployed. They'll tighten as the boom falls to the topping lift/rigid vang level when the main is lowered.
 
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Likes: Sailfanatic
Feb 26, 2004
21,959
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
Unless you're using the lazy jacks to hold up your boom, you can loosen them up to the point where they don't interfere with the main and leave them there - this has always worked for me on multiple boats with lazy jacks. If they flop around, you can rig up a bungy to pull them in tight. You obviously don't want the lazy jacks restricting the sail shape.
That's what we do.
Ease the lazy jacks and snug them along the boom and mast while sailing.
Another option but two extra steps.
 
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Likes: jssailem
Jan 7, 2011
2,921
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
I have a mack pack, and I usually slack the jacks about 8 inches when I open the bag and attach the halyard…

That usually is enough to keep the sail from being deformed by the jacks.

when I am readying things to drop the sail, I usually tighten the jacks before dropping the sail.

Greg
 
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Likes: mnmpizza
May 24, 2004
6,799
CC 30 South Florida
The Curse of the Lazy Jacks; I hate them and only have them because they came with the boat and the large roach mainsail is quite heavy. First you have to open them to allow wiggle room so that when you point the boat into the wind you can raise the sail without having to precisely point up and not catching them in the sail battens. Then as they start flapping you have to bring them in some. At some point you will notice the belly of the sail leaning against them so you have to adjust that side and back and forth as you tack. And at the end of the the day bring them in so you can drop the sail. Then you have the adjustment lines which are wrapped around two small cleats on the sides of the mast; you don't want to tie them but can prevent them from unwrapping themselves. Having the zippered mainsail cover that opens up to receive the sail and is held by the lazy jacks is the only thing I like about them although that also requires combined adjustment with the jacks. My recommendation, if you have a sail light enough that you can manhandle it, stay away from them.
 
Feb 26, 2004
21,959
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
First you have to open them to allow wiggle room so that when you point the boat into the wind you can raise the sail without having to precisely point up and not catching them in the sail battens.
No, you don't:

Lazy Jack Trick

Many folks complain about full battens getting caught up when raising the mainsail. They then spend a lot of time moving BOTH sides of the lazy jacks to the mast.

We developed an easier way with our lazy jacks.

We have a small cleat on the forward starboard side of the boom. When we put the halyard on the headboard, we move ONLY the starboard side of the lazy jacks forward and snug them under the forward side of the horn of this cleat.

Then, when we raise the mainsail, instead of going exactly head to wind, we bear off a tad to starboard so the wind is coming from the port side of the bow.

We then raise the mainsail and it doesn't get hooked on the lazy jacks even though the port side jacks are still there.

Been working for 20 years.

Yes, we have to go forward again to unhook the starboard lazy jack for dousing the sail if I forget to do it right when the main is raised, but there's never any hurry. The drill is: after the main is raised, I unhook that starboard lazy jack, so they're both ready to go when we drop the sails at the end of the day.

So, for those of you with lazy jacks, consider doing only one side.

Your boat, your choice. :)
 

AndyL

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Jun 23, 2020
42
Hunter 36 Rock Hall
Thanks to everyone for all their responses.

I'm finally back on the boat today and will be taking a look at how they are rigged and will be trying some of the different suggestions.

Andy
 

Dil

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Jul 13, 2020
38
Hunter 30T Neptune
I recently replaced my main the roach was extremely different from the previous sail I had to move the points on the boom where the lazy Jack's gathered the main sail, once I found the right spot I was able to keep the jack lines constant no loosening or tightening with raising and dropping, the battens no longer had an overwhelming desire to get caught in hoisting,the main now gathers nicely on boom flaking is easy and not tedious.
 

AndyL

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Jun 23, 2020
42
Hunter 36 Rock Hall
FYI: I've combined a couple of the suggestions from earlier in the thread. I loosen each side by approx. 8" before raising the sail and I have added some bungee cord in parallel with the nylon, so that keeps them snug when they are loose. I think these two things help.
 

Apex

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Jun 19, 2013
1,054
C&C 30 Elk Rapids
I loosen about a foot (stack pack here) when raising. But pulling the lazy jacks forward down, securing with a velcro strap works best while sailing. Stowing the stack pack is easy, roll the pack up and it has built in straps with clips.
 
Sep 20, 2014
1,282
Rob Legg RL24 Chain O'Lakes
Why tighten them up by the mast? Seems it would be easy enough to put a cleat at the end of the boom, and just put a loop around it. If the diagonal line that goes from the boom to the mast is a continuous loop around the bottom of the boom, all you need to do is grab the hoop and pull it to a cleat on the bottom of the boom. Then you never need to leave the helm.
 

RoyS

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Jun 3, 2012
1,216
Hunter 33 Steamboat Wharf, Hull, MA
I adjust these all the time. My lazy bag has two lines that branch out near the bag. At the mast the two lines connect to small blocks and then run down to small cleats at head height on the mast. I loosen them when sailing immediately after raising the main sail. After dropping the sail I pull them up tight and close the lazy bag. Not a lot of effort IMHO.