Lazyjacks, Bill Burke's setup

A good sea furl is indisputably an invaluable traditional skill, but remember that lazy jacks have been used on everything from Gloucester fishing schooners to modern freestanding rigs with wishbone booms. It's not a question of traditional skills vs something modern compensating for a lack of these skills...

For those with full-battened mainsails, a sea furl can be more time consuming. The full length battens on the mast slides or cars do not roll as easily as a main with standard battens. It works best if the sail can be flaked into the "cover" formed by a large bight of the foot of the sail, and lazyjacks facilitate this.

Another big advantage of my lazyjacks (yes, as you can tell I do have them on OSPREY) is that I don't have to head up into the wind to drop the main temporarily (ie to tie in a reef). I can simply ease the sheet to luff the main while the jib is still drawing, drop the main onto the boom in the lazyjacks, sheet it back amidships to tie in the reef, ease the sheet back out and reset the main. It can all be done without going dead in the water, keeping the jib drawing and without all the slatting, pounding and such that usually accompanies heading into the wind in reefing conditions... As I often singlehand, it's also just nice to have them when I choose to use them, although that may be only a portion of the time...

My lazyjacks are very simple. Two small diameter, plastic coated wires fixed to the mast 18" above the spreaders with a block on the lower end 3 feet or so above the boom. Each block has a line running from a small eye on the side of the boom, up thru the block and back down to another eye on the boom. Both ends of these lines clip onto the boom eyes with small brass clips when in use. To stow both clips are unhooked from the boom and clipped into a loop of bungee cord (about 1 ft high) on the after lower shroud turnbuckle. The bungee cord tensions them just right to hold them out of the way alongside the shrouds. Its a very simple system with no moving parts that you can't reach. This photo is an old pic of my boat where the previous owner left the lazyjacks set up with the sail cover on - it shows the setup well.

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Last modified: Friday 15-Sep-2006