Features February 2008 Issue

Taming the Main: Sail-Handling Systems for Bigger Mainsails

Dutchman, Lazy Jacks, and Cover-combos State Their Case for Replacing the Extra Crew Member

More often than not, boat buyers these days are looking for bigger boats with mainsails to match—and the larger the mainsail, the bigger the chore of flaking it. That’s where sail-flaking aids like lazy jacks, cover/lazy jack combos, and the innovative Dutchman systems come into play in the battle to tame the main. Practical Sailor’s close comparison of these options provides valuable insight into what is the best sail-flaking device for you and your boat. Find out what you need to take the gymnastics out of mainsail- handling. Mainsails up to about 250 to 300 square feet are easy enough to handle that flaking aids are optional rather than essential. However, if you have a boat with a 300- to 500-square-foot mainsail, take a look at what PS testers have to say about the Dutchman, lazy jacks (E-Z Jax, Harken jacks, etc.) and StackPack-type of systems (Mack Sails, Schaefer, and Doyle Sails, etc.).

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