Westsail Owners Alliance - Thread: "Dutchman Type Main Flaking System"
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Thread: "Dutchman Type Main Flaking System"

12,268 posts on 2,444 threads   •   From Mar 07, 2004 - Jan 08, 2012

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Dutchman Type Main Flaking System


Ralph and Sandra Weiland

Have just bought Dream Weaver (now Bloodhound, ya I know the tales of bad luck so all records of the original name have been removed from the boat) and expect to bend on sails in a week or so. The main has what looks like an older Dutchman type flaking system with the flaking line running alternately through grommets and rings hung on the topping lift. Between each grommet here is about a 1" ball attached to the flaking line with a set screw, I believe intended to limit the length of flaking line associated with each ring attachment. Age and sun have caused the balls to start going brittle. Two questions: (1) Anyone know where replacement balls can be found and (2) Is this truly a Dutchman or is it something else?
Cheers, Ralph


Brian Duff

How can there be a 1" ball attached to the monofilament between each grommet on the sail? You'd never be able to raise the sail...

Perhaps further detail will enable us to help better...


Ralph and Sandra Weiland

Brian,

Thanks for the reply. Strictly, this is not a Dutchman with monofilament running vertically from top to bottom through grommets in the body of the sail. I've attached a rough sketch of what I think the system looks like. (When I bent on the main there were balls missing and the cord was in two or three pieces, so this is my best guess until I try it out and modify according to what I find --- coming up tomorrow.) image{self-flaking}
There are 13 grommets in the sail's leach and there were 4 or 5 stainless O-rings through which the topping lift runs. I am using parachute cord (3/16" diam double braided) which runs between pairs of grommets through the O-ring on the lift. The chord is just long enough to be taut when its two grommets are on the boom (i.e., that part of sail is flaked) and the ring is at the bottom of the topping lift. The balls I am referring to are 1/2" diameter and attached to each end of the reefing chord by a set screw (although a simple knot would work as well and if the system is as shown, a loop through the grommets would suffice, eliminating the balls altogether, but we'll see when I try to use it.) I can find zero information on this type of flaker - not even a name - but I'm going to persist with it until I make it work, or it dissolves in sweat from trying. Any information anyone can supply would be extremely welcome.

Ralph


Ralph and Sandra Weiland

Here's the image when the back-slash is used...
self-flaking


Ralph and Sandra Weiland

Just a quick followup on this. The no-name flaking system worked like a beauty. It was the most effortless flaking I've ever done.

Ralph


Brian Duff

maybe 'cow hitching' the middle of each 'flaking line' will improve performance even more?

I have not seen that system before either, and I play with some boats. How long do the upper 'flaking lines' have to be and how effective are they at keeping upper part of the sail on the boom?

thanks for sharing this rather unique system


Ralph and Sandra Weiland

Brian:

First a question: What's "cow hitching"?

The upper lines have to be quite long. Think of the sail already flaked on the boom... For the last flake in the sail, the line has to run from the top grommet, over to the last ring on the stack at the bottom of the topping lift, and then back to the next grommet down. If you make the line a wee bit shorter, then as you flake, you will have to pull the rings down the last foot or so, and this seems to provide enough tension on the cord plus sail to keep everything stretched out just right, and neatly flaked over the boom. Did this for the first time yesterday afternoon in almost no wind (although if you're heat-to-wind there should be no serious lateral forces) and the sail pretty much flaked itself. I was on the boom's outer end and a friend was at the mast --- he may have been coaxing a bit, I wasn't watching him. Hope to get out tomorrow or Thursday in 15 knots or so and will try it again. Will let you know the results.

Ralph


Ralph and Sandra Weiland

The owner of this boat of longest standing is a marine surveyor in the LA area, by the name of Tom Bell. He owned it for the best part of 20 years. I suspect he installed the original flaking system, but I have no idea where the "design" came from. Maybe it originated with him. Who knows?


Ralph and Sandra Weiland

Forgot to mention a potentially important fact: The main has full battens which probably helps to keep the whole stack from falling off the boom if the tension in the cord isn't quite enough...


Ralph and Sandra Weiland

Yes, flaked nicely in a 15 knot breeze. I'm very pleased with the system --- just have to be sure the topping lift is NOT slack when you drop the main.


Mike and Ivana Meyran

Is anyone using the Dutchman flaking system. I was looking at lazy jacks until my brother recommended the dutchman. This system looks even simpler. Would love to hear any pro/cons on lazyjack vs dutchman (or this system)?


Mike and Ivana Meyran

oh yea, no battens in the main for me


Ralph and Sandra Weiland

I don't know if a battened main is necessary or not but if you have a dozen or so eyes along the leach, it's real easy to try. I suspect battens might help a bit, but as long as the chords are fairly taut, it's physically impossible for the sail to slip off the boom.

I don't have personal experience with lazy jacks but I've heard there can be problems with stuff (reefing lines) and the leach of the sail itself hanging up in them.


Ralph and Sandra Weiland

Back in June I promised to post a couple of pictures of the flaking system I use. Today I remembered the camera (9 months later). The system is called a Lazy Mate and I think was developed by/for the Catalina about 20 or 30 years ago. Here are three photos. The first shows the parachute cord lines running from the luff through a ring on the topping lift and back to the main one grommet lower. Lines near the head are very much longer than lines near the foot. Photo 2 shows the sail handler pulling down the rings during flaking and photo 3 shows the sail flaked but before sail ties are applied. I like the system a lot as it circumvents the struggle with handling the main collapsed onto the deck. Never had anything hang up either.
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