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Best Lazy Cradle/Stack Pack System

Feb 16, 2021
89
Hunter Legend 35.5 Bellingham
I have a 1993 Hunter Legend 35.5 that has a failing mainsail cover, as well as a stiff new sail that flops all over the boom when dousing. I'm looking for a stack pack/lazy cradle system to make dousing much easier, especially as I'll be often single handing while my wife is managing our 18 month old. I'm looking at the Vela Lazy Cradle (Vela Sailing Technology - Lazy Cradle Mainsail System - Boom up to 5.5 meters), but I can't find much info or reviews on it. It comes in at under $800, including shipping, which is significantly below the cost of others I've inquired about (UK, Ullman, other local manufacturers). Does anybody have experience with Vela's system? Thoughts or recommendations? I love a smooth functioning system, and will pay for it if necessary, but would rather not waste the money if not necessary. We're in the PNW.
 
Oct 22, 2014
16,081
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Well welcome @skunther to the SBO forums. Congrats on your Hunter 35.5. You have some great sailing water up there in Bellingham.

I recently built my own lazy jacks on my 14 ft boom from a design by @Hayden Watson . I have it on the boat and have yet to try it out. The idea looks great but unlike the Vela system you are looking at, mine is just the lines to capture the sail. I have to secure it to the boom and put my cover on the old fashion way.
 
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dmax

.
Jul 29, 2018
489
O'Day 35 Buzzards Bay
My previous boats have had lazy jacks like jssailem that just capture the sail - they can be built very inexpensively and work well. My current boat has the Dutchman system which is pretty slick as the sail flakes as you drop it (The Dutchman — UK Sailmakers). You still need to secure the sail and put on the cover. It also requires modification to the sail (grommets for the line to run through). The Vela system looks quite nice - it's basically lazy jacks tied to a cover, I don't see any problems in it working, very simple. You could save money by building the lazy jacks yourself (probably less than $200) and just buy their cover. The only downside I see is that the cover remains on the boom but that's the price of convenience.
 
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Feb 21, 2013
3,774
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
You have four options: Dutchman system retrofitted to the sail, have a “lazybag” made, which would incorporate a sailcover for true ease of handling, off-the-shelf lazyjack kit from Harken, Schaefer or EZ-Jax OR rig your own system per Lazyjacks for Your Mainsail - Sail Magazine The article claims the Dutchman system is the most efficient way of controlling the fall of a mainsail so that it flakes evenly along the boom. It employs two or three (depending on the length of the boom) vertical lines, secured at one end to the boom and at the other to the topping lift. The lines are threaded through plastic grommets let into the sailcloth; as the sail is dropped, they guide the sailcloth onto the boom. Put the sailcover on, and you’re done. My experienceis with lazy jacks on a Hunter 31..........it was very not efficient since it did not have a lazybag for the sail to flake into. You might find these articles helpful:

Dutchman System - MyBoatsGear.com
Lazy Jacks (myboatsgear.com)
Doyle Stackpack - MyBoatsGear.com
 
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DougM

.
Jul 24, 2005
2,180
Beneteau 323 Manistee, MI
I have a Neil Pryde lazy bagsystem and I don’t recall paying a price as high as you were quoted. Its convenient, but I think if I had to do it over again I would rig my own lazy jacks and have my sail cover made with reinforced slits in it so I could secure it,and run the jack lines under the boom. Then I have the option of slackening the jack lines so that I could rig a boom tent when moored.
 

Rick D

.
Jun 14, 2008
7,004
Hunter Legend 40.5 Shoreline Marina Long Beach CA
When I got the boat 22 years ago, it had some type of sail bag system. I hated it. Ultimately, I got rid of the sail bag and retained the lazy jacks which I would retract while underway. I used that for about 15 years and then took another stab with a Quantum bag unit. They have improved greatly. However, I should say that it was designed specifically for my own requirements. About $2K. Good luck with whatever your decision will be.
 
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Jan 7, 2011
2,908
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
I find the Mack Pack very convenient. I can unzip it at the dock, attach the halyard, and be ready to sail I can drop the sail and have the sail stowed and covered by the time I get back to the slip.

I can ease the jacks and retract them (especially now that I have a new loose-footed main) to make sail shape the bes. If I am out for a quick sail, I may not bother with that and just ease the lines a little.

My first boat had lazy jacks, but a traditional cover...I hated that thing!

installation was not very difficult, and the measuring instructions were pretty good, so we got a nice fit.


Greg
 
Apr 8, 2010
1,620
Ericson Yachts Olson 34 28400 Portland OR
After decades with the basic main sail with sail cover, we changed to a "split cover system" a few years ago. Ours is the UK Lazy Cradle, and the design seems very similar to their competitors, The incorporated lazy jack system is really really nice. We have a large main sail.

Having the sail cover remain on the boom all season is an interesting compromise. To achieve some appearance of seamanship when under way, you do have to use the built-in securing straps to roll up and tidy up each side panel. You can ignore them when going for a short sail but they rather make you look like a clueless charter boat sailor... :)

The larger change in everyday usage, by FAR, is how you manage the new long zipper on top. If... you have a dodger, you may find that the rear one third of the sail is difficult to reach when putting it away or preparing to sail. While not a big change from rigging the conventional cover, it can be more fiddly to work with.

Choose and balance your desires and compromises... carefully.
 
Jul 27, 2011
4,530
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
I have a fairly new mainsail so I know the issue of unruliness well. Whereas I can’t speak to the ease of the system you are looking into, I can, perhaps, add something to the discussion here of alternatives. I’ve crewed on several boats with the stackpack system and considered one for me. Yes, it solves one problem or “headache” of securing the unruly mainsail, but it creates others. They’re just not in my experience the smooth, easy, one-step alternative they look to be. For one thing, they still require use of lazy jacks so what actually is gained? I note above that Tally Ho finds his system very convienient.:thumbup:

When I installed the new mainsail I up-graded my lazy jack system to four pairs of legs instead of three. They are fully adjustable so I can slide the guides for the legs on the boom to where they need to be. I can fully loosen the legs when hoisting, then tighten them after hoisting to produce a very “tight enclosure” so when the mainsail is dropped it pretty much stays atop the boom, even if it might not “flake” itself coming down the way I would want. Frankly, I don’t recall seeing a mainsail properly flaking itself into a stackpack either. But you don’t have to “deal with it” as much b/c you can just zip up the cover and the sail is put away in whatever the condition it came down, etc. So it looks great. And that is convenient.:plus:

But since your principal issue above was “dousing” while essentially single-handing, there is effectively no difference here between a four-leg adjustable lazy jack system and a stackpack system. If the sail comes fully down as you wish, it will lie atop the boom either way. It’s true that for securing the sail you would need to strap on the sail ties lacking the bag to keep it secure after coming down.

If I may continue, any concern about “proper” flaking would be another issue. I’d welcome insight there from the stackpack users. To do this on the Bavaria when the mainsail does not have to come down fast all at once, I flake it down single-handedly using a halyard parking bracket at the mast. (There is a bit of maneuvering beforehand.) I can stop off the halyard at the mast where I wish (say one-third down) and then tend to flaking of that much sail, proceeding fwd from the leech. B/c we have a dodger it helps to swing (and secure) the boom outboard some to where I can stand on the cockpit coaming to reach the end of the boom (cf. Post #9), and to apply the sail ties. Once secure, return to the mast to lower more sail, stop-off, flake, tie, and etc. again.

No, not perfect. I still have to lug the mainsail cover back on, which is a chore.:( So for ease of operation, a zip-up probably has it over the old fashion way but does not add much regarding “dousing” while single-handing.
 
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Jan 7, 2011
2,908
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
I have a fairly new mainsail so I know the issue of unruliness well. Whereas I can’t speak to the ease of the system you are looking into, I can, perhaps, add something to the discussion here of alternatives. I’ve crewed on several boats with the stackpack system and considered one for me. Yes, it solves one problem or “headache” of securing the unruly mainsail, but it creates others. They’re just not in my experience the smooth, easy, one-step alternative they look to be. For one thing, they still require use of lazy jacks so what actually is gained? I note above that Tally Ho finds his system very convienient.:thumbup:

When I installed the new mainsail I up-graded my lazy jack system to four pairs of legs instead of three. They are fully adjustable so I can slide the guides for the legs on the boom to where they need to be. I can fully loosen the legs when hoisting, then tighten them after hoisting to produce a very “tight enclosure” so when the mainsail is dropped it pretty much stays atop the boom, even if it might not “flake” itself coming down the way I would want. Frankly, I don’t recall seeing a mainsail properly flaking itself into a stackpack either. But you don’t have to “deal with it” as much b/c you can just zip up the cover and the sail is put away in whatever the condition it came down, etc. So looks great. And that is convenient.:plus:

But since your principal issue above was “dousing” while essentially single-handing, there is effectively no difference here between a four-leg adjustable lazy jack system and a stackpack system. If the sail comes fully down as you wish, it will lie on the boom either way. It’s true that for securing the sail you would need to strap on the sail ties lacking the bag to keep it secure after coming down.

If I may continue, the concern about “proper” flaking is another issue. I’d welcome insight there from the stackpack users. To do this on the Bavaria when the mainsail does not have to come down fast all at once, I flake it down single-handedly using a halyard parking bracket at the mast. I can stop off the halyard at the mast where I wish (say one-third down) and then tend to flaking of that much sail, proceeding fwd from the leech. B/c we have a dodger it helps to swing (and secure) the boom outboard some to where I can stand on the cockpit coaming to reach the end of the boom (cf. Post #9), and to apply the sail ties. Once secure, return to the mast to lower more sail, stop-off, flake, tie, and etc. again.

No, not perfect. I still have to lug the mainsail cover back on, which is a chore.:( So for ease of operation, a zip-up probably has it over the old fashion way but does not add much regarding “dousing” while single-handing.
KG has raised some good points...
Flaking - for me, my sail is not put away in a pretty flake. But, I am experimenting with a suggestion I read here recently about using the reefing lines to pull the sail down and tight, as you are lowering it. That may provide a pretty flake. For me, I point into the wind, set the AP, and drop the sail...then push it down into the bag to clear the zipper, and I am done. I can’t ask for more convenience than that.

Zipper - I don’t have a dodger, but my Mack Pack has a cord connected to the zipper than I can use when standing at the mast (or anywhere along the boom) to zip or unzip the bag. You don’t have to follow the zipper along the boom.

Certainly and good lazy jack system will be a great help in lowering the main, but for me, the integrated cover is icing on the cake.

Greg
 
Dec 27, 2012
585
Precision Precision 28 St Augustine
I had Mack Pack knock off made by a local sailmaker. It was less money and high quality. I love the convenience of dropping and zipping. You may want to check with a local shop if one exists in your area.
 

danm1

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Oct 5, 2013
125
Hunter 34 Mamaroneck, NY
Just got a Doyle cradle last year. Didn't notice any appreciable loss in boat speed, but the Hunter 34 moves pretty well in light winds to begin with.
Anyway, the big difference for me is bothering to raise the main for daysailing. Before, I would often just use the Jenny in 10 knots, especially if single handing, mostly because getting the sail cover on was a pain. Now I don't worry about it.
 
Jun 25, 2004
1,108
Corsair F24 Mk1 003 San Francisco Bay, CA
I made my lazyjacks system with about $25 worth of material (two cheek blocks, a bunch of 2mm dyneema, some 1/8” (3mm) Marlow, single braid pre stretch, two small horn cleats which were already on the mast, and 4 plastic low profile faileads for under the boom)

I installed the cheeek blocks on the mast at about 70% up from the tack of the sail towards the head.then I mocked up a four line system for a 10’6” foot on the mainsail. I adjusted it until it worked well, and then took measurements for the finished length of the lines. I put eyepspices in the dyneema in stead of using blocks or rings. (I’m not a great splicer, but it’s easy to splice 12 strand dyneema following YouTube videos.)

I straighten out the flakes at my leisure after dropping the main. the lazy jacks are retractable to the mast, so I can use a regular mainsail cover.

the mainsail is about 245 sf.

 
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Feb 26, 2004
21,950
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
Yup. Alameda Marina.
@DrJudyB
Ach, too bad we missed each other last year, or was it the year before, when you got up here or wasn't able to. I'm sure of either or neither! :)
We kept our C22 and C25 there from 1983 to 1998 on the next to westernmost dock. Nice friendly folks back then. Hope the condo conversion isn't creating too much havoc.
 
Jun 25, 2004
1,108
Corsair F24 Mk1 003 San Francisco Bay, CA
@Stu Jackson,

Stu,

The condo conversion is wrecking havoc. We left Alameda Marina after 20+ years last fall, because the construction. The docks were in good condition, but the construction shut down all but one toilet stall in the whole place. the dirt and dust was awful.

We moved to Emeryville SafeHarbor and have been there since.

Judy