Westsail Owners Alliance - Thread: "LazyJacks"
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Thread: "LazyJacks"

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


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Mike McCoy

I just got my new (fully battened mainsail & yankee) sails from Kern. Being singlehanded I decided I could use some 'help' to make it easier to manage flaking this new/stiff sail (esp in a breeze ;).

I've looked at the catalogs and am surprised at the cost of lazyjacks ($2-300) for what appears to be essentially a few small blocks, cleats and some line (then again, I've never used lazyjacks so maybe they're priced accordingly).

Anyone have any pros/cons/recommendations for a particular manufacturer? Or, since I believe I understand the concept would it be cheaper if I just made my own?

Peter Sherman

I would say it would be cheaper to make your own.Anyone who can splice 3 strand line could do it. I think you would also have to spend some time adjusting or adapting a store bought set.

Bud Taplin

I have been supplying the parts for a lazyjack system for the Westsail 32 for just over $100.00, using 3/8" yachtbraid line. I also have a drawing of the setup if you want to do it yourself.

Colleen Crystal

Mike - I'd be interested to know how happy you are with the fully-battened main. Kern is recommended the same for me as a replacement. I'm just a bit hesitant about getting a stiff sail down in a blow (also Pardey's were pretty aggressive in recommended no battens for cruising boats). Has the group discussed the pros and cons before? Anyone?

Brian Duff

using a lazy jack kit with blocks, rings and polyester line can be very hard on your sail.
i use a kit made of dyneema single braids that is easy on the sail, easy to set and deploy, low windage, and light weight too. we often run the fall internal so as to avoid slapping lines, although a fairlead on the spreader achieves the same end.

lazy jacks that can be retracted remove one of the major drawbacks - with the lazy jacks stored there is nothing to catch the sail on the way up, and no windage while sailing. just deploy for dousing. oh , also when lazy jacks are retracted a normal sail cover works fine, so no holes are there to let light in....

like bud, I will provide drawings and splicing instructions for do-it-your-selfers...

Brian Duff
yacht rigger

Ralph and Sandra Weiland

Consider a dutchman system, and take a look at the "Dutchman type flaking system" thread about 7 or 8 items down in the discussion topics under "Sail Plan". It describes the system I use which is neither a dutchman nor a lazy jack and with a fully battened main it works amazingly well. Wouldn't be without it and wouldn't trade it for one of the other types.

Aaron Norlund


Consider a stackpack. Make dealing with and keep your main in good shape easy as it's really easy to zip up and keep it out of the sun.


I plan to make myself one of these. I just got an old Singer 111 compound walking foot machine, so I am going to be sewing up my own sail and hatch covers.

Fair leads,

Mike and Ivana Meyran

I am looking at flaking systems. would be interested in seeing your design

Mike and Ivana Meyran

Ralph, saw your system which looks like a good one. I dont have battens in my main so wonder if it still would work. Otherwise, i guess this would only entail a few reinforced grommets as the major investment. Aaron, have seen the stackpack, fairly common up here is mass (actually the picture doyle uses is here in marblehead). It looks like this incorporates lazy jacks anyway. I am low budget on this project so going simple, cheap, + effective. I looked at the Doyle dutchman flaking and they wanted 600 bucks for some fishing line and plastic clamps. lazy jacks seem pretty easy, although ralphs system seems like it could be just as simple/cost effective.

Ralph and Sandra Weiland

What's needed to make this un-named system work is for you to lash the boom to the gallows and then pull down on each ring as you lower the sail. This stretches out the sail a flake at a time so it drops neatly on the boom. If you hold the rings at the bottom of the topping lift during the flaking precedure, the sail is fairly tight lengthwise along the boom so it's physically impossible for it to fall off. The grommets don't have to be reinforced (mine aren't) as there is very little force on the sail just from stretching it out along the boom. One person can flake the sail by running the halyard down with one hand and pulling the rings down with the other. The cost is for 100' of cord (parachute cord in my case), about a dozen or so large beads that you can get at Hobby Lobby or other craft store, an equal number of grommets and half that number of stainless O-rings. Cost? Maybe $25 plus the cost of the rings. I agree that the Dutchman system is pretty expensive for what it is. Lazy jacks have a tendancy to catch the sail during hoisting. I guess there's no perfect system. If you like, I'll try taking a couple of pictures next trip out, showing the system when sailing and when dropping the main. Might give you a better idea of how it works and how there is no sail contact to cause wear.


Mike and Ivana Meyran

Thanks ralph. Would love to see some pictures. That would help a lot

George and Rayna Shaunfield

Ralph, I would like to see pictures too. I am not fully visualizing the system you have. As they say, "A picture is worth a thousand words." So, the equivalent of a few thousand would be good.


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