To the Editor:
This is in reference to the article dealing with systems to control the mainsail by J. W. Maloney, Jr. (“Main Management,” March/April 2000, Issue No. 104). After describing only the Dutchman, the Doyle StackPack, and a lazy-jack system designed by himself, Mr. Maloney writes: “These three systems are the most successful mainsail handlers.” He does not mention any other products or explain how he reaches this sweeping (and to us, erroneous) conclusion.
Most experienced sailors will already know about these systems, as well as the others on the market and in everyday use by voyagers. Since the article was apparently designed to acquaint newly addicted sailors with different ways to handle the main, it could be misleading to stop with just those three. The sailor, neophyte or veteran, who is starting to think about getting better control of his mainsail will want to know what all of his options are. So the purpose of this letter is to help him in the search for that one most suitable product for his particular boat and pocketbook.
There are two general-purpose, off-the-shelf lazy-jack kits widely available from Harken and Schaefer. Both of these kits can be found in marine supply stores (such as West Marine) and in catalogs. They can be installed by the owner or by a professional rigger. Then there is Mack Sails’ MackPack, which, like Doyle’s StackPack, incorporates a lazy-jack system with a sail cover, made to fit the sail, and usually is installed by the sailmaker. A relatively new system on the market is Sail Care’s Sail Cradle, which uses bungee cord in its construction, and can be installed by the owner. Each of these has its advantages and disadvantages. There are also many owner-designed and -installed systems, similar to that designed and described by Mr. Maloney.
Unlike any of the foregoing, the patented E-Z-Jax sail-control system is usually completely retracted under the boom, whether the boat is sailing or docked. It is deployed only when the skipper is ready to drop the main. This sets it apart from the others, and leads to a number of significant advantages. Designed to fit the individual boat, it can be installed by the owner or by a rigger. We will be glad to supply complete information to anyone interested in learning more. Just call the toll-free number listed below or visit our web site.
Where to get more information on all of these systems? The best source is the Internet (see the accompanying list of urls).