Monday, September 26, 2016

A Plea For Help

Eolian is a ketch.  And her mizzen boom extends out considerably beyond the stern rail.  As you might expect, this makes putting the sail cover on the mizzen rather a difficult proposition.

For 19 years I have been standing on the stern bulwark, draping my right arm over the boom and inching my way out until my body is at nearly a 45° angle.  Then, using only my left hand, I have to make up the common sense fasteners at the end of the sail cover.  Not exactly the safest thing I could do.

And now, arthritis in my right shoulder is making that a painful activity as well, as you might imagine.  Combine this with the fact that besides me, the mizzen sail cover is also old and rapidly failing (will it survive the storms of winter?  Who knows?), and well it is obvious that something needs to be done.

It's new sail cover time.

And in the intervening 30 (40?) years since that sail cover was made, a new idea has appeared:  the Stack-pack sail cover.  It really is a new idea, and like all new ideas, there are still some kinks to be worked out in the design, for instance where the cover wraps around the mast.  A walk around the marina will show you that there are multiple ways to create a stack-pack cover, and that standardization has yet to occur.

Flush with my recent success with creating new roof panels for our bimini and dodger, I am going to tackle making a stack-pack cover for our mizzen.  But before I start a project like this, I need to have the whole design in my head.  And I am not there yet.

For me, the critical part of the design is the attachment of the lazy jacks to the cover.  Should there be straps that they tie to?  I've seen several like that, including the custom one that Ullman Sails made for the Sun Deehr 56 across the dock from us.  Wouldn't the design be stronger if the straps somehow wrapped around or supported the battens?  How to actually do that?  Should the batten be at the highest point of the side of the cover? Or down the side a little like on the Ullman cover?  If I support the sail cover with webbing wrapped around the batten, won't it naturally try to be the highest point of the cover?  See, my concept of the stack-pack is that the lazy jacks, the battens and the webbing form a framework, and that the fabric is just a cover for the framework.

Sailrite, my go-to gurus for marine canvas, have a video up covering construction of a stack-pack, but it appears that it was their initial design that they documented in the video.  Their lazy jack attachment was made by burning holes in the fabric and tying the lazy jacks thru them around the batten.  That satisfies my desire to have the lazy jacks support the batten, but seems unnecessarily crude.  And there is nothing to keep the lazy jacks from creeping up along the batten until they are at the upper edge of the burned holes in the fabric, and then pulling on the fabric, making wrinkles.

So.  This is a plea for help. 

I can't start the project until I solve this dilemma.  If anyone of my readers has a stack-pack sail cover that addresses this, or better yet has constructed a sail cover that addresses this, I'd love to see pictures of how it was made, in particular how lazy jack attachment and batten support were done.



h2odragon1 said...

How about modifying or creating a sock, like they have for spinnakers?

Robert Salnick said...


Hmmm... that's an idea I had never heard before. Interesting. But I'm not sure how I'd get it to go past the mizzen sheet blocks. And there'd be a big wad of fabric at the end of the boom, no?


Jose Banzon said...

You could jerry-rig something, and work on Improving it as you use it!
Then copyrite it, and lisence it out!

Robert Salnick said...



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