Dory Lazyjacks

I'm sailing a lug rigged dory with NO reef points. I have been going out in mild wind (< 10-12MPH, mostly 5-10mph). Still getting used to boat handling and raising/lowering the sail. I plan to copy Moonchasers design on "leading the lines aft". I realy like the idea of handling the sail from the seated position behind the daggerboard trunk and not leaning to far forward as I'm long legged at 6'4". While studying everything, I'm trying to figure out if lazy jacks would be of any advantage in this unreefed sail. However for some reason I can't understand the purpose of a lazyjack rigging. If someone could explain the theory of a lazyjack maybe I could understand the concept better. I have read some articles on it but still can't completely wrap my head around if it would benefit me. Most of my experience has been on a 27' marconi rigged sloop, some but little small boat time.  Building and using this boat has been great, I still haven't had enough of it yet, so my plans to move on to SW dory are postponed. I want to sail this one better. Thanks Dan

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RE: Dory Lazyjacks

���I love my lazy jacks...will reply later when I am at a real keyboard.

RE: Dory Lazyjacks


Lazyjacks are actually very simple. It doesn't make a difference if the sails are reefed or not, they still work the same way.

With a balanced lug (and many other sails), the spar at the top of the sail (called yard, gaff, etc.) is supported in the air by the halyard. If you want to raise the sail, you pull on the halyard. To drop the sail, release the halyard.

The halyard supports the spar, the spar supports the top of the sail, the sail supports the boom. When the halyard is tight and the sail is up, the boom hangs in the air above the hull and is kept in place by the sheet. Got that picture?

So now, release the halyard. The spar drops, the sail comes down all over the place and the unsupported boom falls into the boat (or maybe over the side), So you can't just release the halyard. Instead, with one hand you have to release just a little of the halyard, with the other hand you have to control the boom, with the other hand you have to guide the sail and with the other hand you have to be continuously securing the sail against the boom. See the problem?

Enter the lazyjacks. They are a network of lines that support the boom independently of the halyard and guide the sail as it comes down. Now it only takes 2 hands to drop and furl the sail.

In the picture below (click on it to enlarge it) the lazyjacks are the triangles on each side of the boom. By having one on each side, the sail is trapped between them and can't get loose. The lines going up from the peaks of the triangles meet up at the top of the mast and join a line that goes through a pulley back down to the base of the mast, the same way the halyard does.

The line is normally loose while sailing so that the lazyjacks don't interfere with the sail or boom. Just before the sail is dropped, the line is tightened. This makes the lazyjacks take over supporting the boom and sets up the cage to keep the sail from flopping off the boom.

Now, as the sail is lowered, it is confined on the bottom by the boom and on the sides by the lazyjacks. It can only move up or down. It's now possible to drop the halyard while gathering the sail onto the boom with just 2 hands.

As to why they're called lazyjacks? My guess is that sailors (jack tars) who used the lines to make their job easy were considered lazy by sailors who didn't. Or maybe they were named after the inventor's favorite pub.

Hope this answers your questions. Oh yes, they are worth their weight in gold, definitely worth rigging.

Have fun,




RE: Dory Lazyjacks

   Once again Laszlo you create a better understanding of the concept. I have plenty to contemplate over the next few months. I can't wait for Moonchaser's comments for the actual building process. I will continue this thread as I go forward.  Now I understand that the lazyjack line is only tight with raising and lowering of the sail, during actual sailing it is loose for the sail to assume it's aerodynamic foil.  Or should it only be hauled tight with lowering.  Thank you very much for this as I do have a better understanding of it all (I think).  HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL WITH FAIR WIND IN 2016.  Dan

RE: Dory Lazyjacks

   Good tips from Lazlo...

I'll give you a few links/ thing I found is that it is harder to determine the lengths of the lines than I thought it would be...basically, on mine there are three pieces of for a loop that goes under the boom and makes a big loop up each other line tied in the middle in front of the mast then the two lines from the knot go thru the hole in the mast and clip onto line 1 on each side, one more line tied onto the knot in line 2, then down to the mast thwart to a turning block/cleat.


here is the beginning of photos in my build journal for my lazy jacks

Once in this picture, then click the right arrow so scroll thru more pics of my lazy jacks


The most important feature of lazy jacks is that when you release the line, the sail/spars drops quickly into the lazy jacks...if they get hung up or fall slowly they wont work as well when you want them to, so on mine I incorporated a different way of feeding the's a link showing that:



Here is a video showing how fast the sail should drop:


I also turned the mast 1/4 turn so the hole thru the top of the mast that was originally for the halyard now is for the split line for the lazy jacks so I can adjust the height of the dropped gear...either above my head out of the way, or all the way down to the floor of the boat and while sailing can snug them up to the bottom of the boom to not get my hat flipped off!


Better detail of the top of my mast showing the quarter turn...used a big cheek block for the halyard, more friction free for the halyard than the hole in the mast, thus a faster drop and easier raising.


Also search the CLC forum for "lazy jacks" and you will find a lot of good reading!


Good luck!



RE: Dory Lazyjacks

Lazy Jacks are awsome!  I've used them on 70' gaff and marconi rigged schooners and my old Pearson 30.  For the money and effort they take you just don't get a better sail handling system.

One trick I used to make the line lengths easier to adjust on my Pearson was to put a series of padeyes on both sides of the boom.  I ran the "legs" that attached to the boom into the padeyes.  The "legs" did not wrap under the boom and up the other side.  Rather I tied figure eight stopper knots in the legs after feed through the pad eyes.  This allowed me to fine tune the length so everything looked uniform.

The only additional hardware I used in system was a pair of cheeck blocks about 2/3 up the mast and some stainless rings at any location the lines would need to slide.  I think the whole system cost me $50.  Very shippy looking and very simple.  

One change I would have made was to use small block hung under the mast spreader on my Pearson.  This would make a slight funnel shape to ease the sail in between them when lowering it slightly off the wind.  For a lug sail I think the yard would be enough to persuade the sail along the correct path without this funnel shape.

I will post some pics later this weekend.  I need to post them to an online location.


RE: Dory Lazyjacks


Loose while sailing, tight while raising and lowering. Speed is whatever you're comfortable with and appropriate to the occasion. The rig should handle a quick drop, but packing the sail between the boom and yard might be tighter and easier with a more controlled drop.

A change that I'm making to the lazyjacks on the Faering Cruiser is where the vertical lines are currently tied to the triangle peaks, replacing the knots with snap swivels. This will make stepping the mast easier (since I won't have the boom as a heavy pendulum) and allow the furled sail to sit on top of the hatches completely under the boat cover with the mast up. That might be a worthwhile change for the Dory, too.

Merry Christmas,




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