The advice given on this site is based upon individual or quoted experience, yours may differ.
The Officers, Staff and members of this site only provide information based upon the concept that anyone utilizing this information does so at their own risk and holds harmless all contributors to this site.
IMO, Lazy jacks are helpful if you sail a big boat shorthanded (35-45'), but not usually on a smaller boat, or on most big boats with crew.
If you don't have lazy jacks, then you need to be able to furl the mainsail by yourself. You start by draping 4 sail ties around your neck. Then, in the cockpit, pull the leech of the sail aft, to pull the wrinkles out of it, and then flake it onto the boom in alternate layers, with about 9 inches of sailcloth hanging down on both sides. When the aft 3' of the sail has been flaked on the boom, put on the first sail tie. Continue that process, working your way forward and applying sail ties about every 2-3 feet. Use slip knots on the sail ties, so you only have to pull on them to remove them next time you sail. Put on the sail cover and you're done.
The problem with bigger boats, especially when you're shorthanded, is that there's much more sailcloth to control, and it's heavier, and the boom is higher and harder to reach. Those things might make lazy jacks helpful on big boats, but they really aren't an issue on a smaller boat.
The only situation where lazy jacks are really helpful is if you have to take down your sail in rough, unsheltered waters, such as a Great Lake or a big bay. When the wind is blowing over a long fetch, it can cause the boat to roll so much that it's difficult to work on the coach roof. I installed lazy jacks on my C&C 35 because I usually had to take the sail down solo in the main body of the Chesapeake Bay. I managed without lazy jacks for about 10 years, but, as I aged, working on the coach roof in those conditions became more difficult.
At the same time, I had a 25' racer that I raced sometimes with crew and sometimes solo, and didn't need lazy jacks, because I always took the sails down in the Severn River. Sometimes the boat traffic created chop, and, in that case, I sailed a little farther up the river toward the bridge to find smoother water to take down the sails.
I think lazy jacks are ok if you really need them, but otherwise they're just another thing you have to mess with and maintain.
Steve Milby J/24 "Captiva Wind" previously C&C 35, Cal 25, C25 TR/FK, C22 Past Commodore
I installed the kit from Catalina Direct and has been a great improvement. Allows me to drop the main sail from the cockpit without going forward on the cabin top. My next major project this fall is to install a Sailrite Pack Stack kit, using the current lazy jack lines.
One key feature of this system is that I can raise or lower it from the cockpit with the boom more or less amidships.
Another feature is that it can be easily disconnected when I remove the boom (ie. every time I drop the mast). The halyard stays on the mast while the legs stay on the boom.
And, not to be understated, the lines are held away from the mast when the system is stowed after the sail is bundled and covered: it doesn't slap the mast in the marina until the next time I hoist the sail.
The trouble with a destination - any destination, really - is that it interrupts The Journey.
Lee Panza SR/SK #2134 San Francisco Bay (Brisbane, CA)
Notice: The advice given on this site is based upon individual or quoted experience, yours may differ. The Officers, Staff and members of this site only provide information based upon the concept that anyone utilizing this information does so at their own risk and holds harmless all contributors to this site.