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One of the items that we have listed on our huge “to fix/purchase” list is a new stack pack. Or, since Frost is a ketch, perhaps I should have written “two” of the items? The material on Frost’s present stack packs is old and faded, and the stitching has given way in many spots. Instead of getting new ones made, we could just have the ones that we have repaired. The old name of the boat is clearly visible on the sun bleached fabric of the main’s stack pack though, and simply covering that up with a patch of new fabric would look kind of silly. All that said, what we’re talking about is predominantly a cosmetic issue, so having new ones made is fairly low on the priority list.

Stack Pack Flashback 🙂

Should we actually go the stack pack route at all though? As an alternative to replacing them, we could just have new traditional sail covers made. That is what we have on ZTC (with separate lazy jacks), and the people we know here that have a similar vintage Amel Maramu have normal sail covers on their boat too. Stack packs with integral lazy jacks do make sail handling easier, but some people don’t like the look. Options, options.


  1. I have lazy jacks. One thing to watch is with full battens in my main I sometimes have a problem with the end of one of the shorter battens getting fouled in the lazy jack when hoisting the main. The only way to clear it is to go up on deck and fuss with the sail. Seems to happen most if I’m not perfectly into the wind. 5 degrees to either side is enough to a cause it.

  2. We added a stackpack to our boat 2 years ago and we love it! It is so much simpler and faster than flaking and covering. It is amazing how much more we raise the main now that we have a stack pack. With quick clips you don’t even need to zip it closed for short periods of time.

  3. I would think that when traveling down where you are heading that the concern would be tight and low profile when the sails are down, since you will be more likely to get into heavier weather. Anything you can do to reduce your total area to the wind and protect the sails from wind damage when they are down seems like an advantage.

  4. A huge stack pack bag is likely to cause you major problems in the stronger winds you will encounter further south. It is effectively a ‘sail’ that you can’t reduce or control.

    A smaller cover seems a good idea, and it will have to survive strong winds so it will need to be robust.


  5. We have lazy jacks that do occasionally get in the way of the battens, but one or both sides can be lowered for a few minutes. Our solution is to head directly into the wind and leave the boom loose. We also have a traditional sail cover over the boom and have jealously eyed those with stack packs for years. But, how many times have you seen a stack pack that is open on the top, and the zipper has been broken for a long time? You need to cover up the sail, to keep the UV degradation down, and it matters a lot. We will be replacing our 14 year old traditional sail cover with another traditional cover when we get to NZ. After all, it takes us about 5 minutes to take it down, and maybe 7 to put it up. We do this in preparation for, or at the end of every sail. If you were sailing every day, I’m not even sure its worth the advantage having a stack pack. Nope, we don’t want one. The zipper is the weak point and its more windage. Oh, and if you have a storm trysail (which we don’t have) which would probably fit to a separate track on the main mast, you’d need to figure that out as well.

    • When chartering we would often see sails draped half in and half out of stack packs. I think that starting with a boat that had a traditional sail cover instilled in us the discipline to always tidy everything up after anchoring for the day. That included zipping up the stack pack.

  6. I would rather be able to pull the jacklines forward (easier hoisting in rough conditions) and stow the cover (less windage).

    I wonder if the stack pack is not at its best chartering, when the boat is likely to sail somewhere every day, and to see the afternoon at anchor every day. When cruising for more extended periods, I find it does not come on and off that much; during the day we are sailing, at night there is no sun, and we then stay in a harbor for a few days with the cover on.

    But with a larger ketch and without fully battened sails I might feel differently. I would investigate the zipper issue. They always seem to fail on covers, so I might want some kind of ties as a back-up.

  7. Heading south you will surely encounter a higher frequency of stronger winds. I think the stack pack may create too much windage for higher latitude sailing. So I’m in favor for the sailcover.
    As for sail flaking, I’ve sailed on a couple boats with a Dutchman system and the owners were very happy with them. I’m intrigued by the simplicity and lack of fouling on hoist.

  8. It’s much easier for me to drop and secure a mainsail in a stack pack with lazy jacks than a traditional system. If your worried about the bulk of the stack pack acting as a sail, lower the lazy jacks and secure the stack pack with a few wraps of lines as you would a traditional main. The main issue is being able to control and secure the main as quickly as possible when the “oh shit” moment happens, as you’ll probably have much more to worry about than just the main.

  9. Stack pack? what stack pack? I see a serious six pack…

  10. I think there are different risks here. Can you get your sail down and contained quickly? A stack pack and lazy jacks is a huge help with this? Can you deal with thew indigo it creates? Only you can answer that! How would you rig a storm sail? On RG we had it set up to be able to bring the lazy jacks to the mast and then put a separate track on the mainmast. For bigger crossings we then had the stormsail already loaded on that track and lashed at the bottom of the mast. However, we never had to test the arrangements for real in heavy weather so I can’t speak from that experience. The real issue for me was that there was no way that inc conditions that demanded a storm sail we could have got the mainsail off, so there was no choice but a separate, slightly off-centre track. It would be interesting to know what Evans Starzinger did on Hawk.

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