Having problems gathering/flaking my main alone after I drop it. Want to add lazy jacks and not sure if I should also add a topping lift while I'm at it and why. Any advice? I'm owned by a 1984 Catalina c-25.
When you go sailing for the day or on trips of a couple days, how often do you have to gather/flake the mainsail? On 35 foot and larger boats handling a mainsail is a lot of work but, from experience on a 25 foot boat the lazy jacks and applying the sailcover is much more of a pain than gathering.
I permanently installed the reefing lines in the mainsail reefing grommets, I made them a little longer than needed for reefing. When I flake and gather the mainsail I also find these reefing lines and let the ends drop down both sides of the boom. While I have the sail material gathered in my arms I reach down and grab the dangling reeflines and switch them under the boom and when I lift them both up on each side of the boom and sail, they act like a lazy jack line, I then tie these lines as sail ties. No extra handling of ties, placing in cabin, finding when needed and trying to hold the sail material while I get a tie around it.
Topping lift would be the first mod I would add to a sailboat, it adds more benefits than any other mod. If you sail in very light winds, use the topping lift to lift the end of the boom up to add twist to the top of the mainsail, only do this in very light winds.
I have a catalina 25 and use the topping lift when I reef and when I lower the main. When you lower the main sail, raise the topping lift and then start at the aft end of the boom and pull the sail toward the aft end of the boom. Keep pulling the sail back while flaking it. Keep saying to yourself, pull back, pull back and with a little practice flaking the sail will become a piece of cake. Pull back on the sail and after you have it flaked about a foot, place the first tie on it and then add a tie about every two feet or so while pulling back on it and flaking as you go.
First winter I had my O'day 25 I dropped the mast to install a mast step organizer and blocks & lines on the spreaders so I could build my own lazy jack system.
Two seasons later and the lines are still hanging from the blocks and tied off to cleats.
I ran my main halyard and reef lines back to the cockpit. I found I could easily stand in the companionway to flake and wrap the aft two sail ties. I also installed a down haul line on the main sail headboard. Pulling this line taught keeps the luff of the main tight to the boom until I get back into the slip. Then the final sail tie and cover goes on. No need for lazy jacks.
I plan to pull the port lazy jack line and use the starboard line to fly a burgee.