The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Laziness Never Goes Unpunished

JHHG3-1000166We just had a gear failure that should not have happened. Here is the story of how being lazy, not once, but three times, added up to a lot of work:

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Jerry Levy

Increased boat size and complexity encourages laziness – as your story makes clear. 150 lbs. is a lot for a crew of 2!

Dave Benjamin

For situations where you have some sail constantly exposed, there are some self adhesive products that can be used for protection. Some will actually last quite a while. In any case it’s easy to renew. We like to use leather for additional protection on the clew and tack of cruising mains but’s it’s not absolutely necessary.

Dick Stevenson

John, I think it is a well kept secret how UV porous most main sail covers become after just a few years, particularly in the tropics. Many people are giving away years of use thinking their sail is protected when it is not. When we built our cover, we chose vinylized Sunbrella (it has some proprietorial name) which is completely opaque and, as an unforeseen bonus, completely waterproof. Definitely a bit bulkier and heavier, but not terribly so. Best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Dick Stevenson

John, No mildew problems and it is a laminate sail. I suspect the reason is we (usually) put the sail away dry and that the cover itself does not leak, so no moisture gets in between times. The cover is also open on the boom end and has air that can circulate from the bottom, especially if we leave the 1/4 turns open. Putting away dry is harder here in England. We pulled into Whitby last night with damp sails/lines and, despairing of drying, put the cover on more like a fly than a wrap. Dick

Dan Kalinowski

Having a sloop in Georgia and a ketch in Hawai’i, I prefer the ketch rig. Sails are smaller and easier to handle. Lazy? Maybe.

Paul Mills

Hi John,

This is a timely article. When we commissioned Sakari the mast track was late arriving, and so we ended up with a better Harken one, however the cars stack higher than anticipated and about 10cm of our main has stuck out from the top of the lazy bag – for more than 2 seasons….. luckily we have not been in sunny places, but I think the time has now come for me to make an additional cover for the head of the sail. I will also ask for careful consideration when it goes in for a service at the end of this season….



This past fall, a fishing buddy and I planned a quick evening hitting the trout and redfish on the grass flats.. Being a slow, incoming tide, we took my Avon inflatable with 2hp Mariner.. Yeah, yeah, there was a slow leak we knew about but, as long as we grab the foot pump, what tha heck..

In our hurry to get off the trailer and out fishing, we forgot the pump in the trunk of the car.. Still, no big deal.. The reds were keeping our hands full and to pull off the flats just cause we were sitting lower and lower in the water—well, you can forget that..

An hour before dark we declared “Abondon Ship”.. Pulled the beer out of the cooler, yanked the engine off the transom, turned it upside down and put it in the cooler with the 4 reds that were keepers.. Grabbed the boat cushions and walked to the edge of the flats pulling the cooler with engine and reds and swam 50 yards across the channel, climbed up a dock and swam back for the boat, fishing poles, tackle and beer..

Lazy and neglectful..?? No way.. We were providing entertainment and comedy relief for the dozens of retirees that were watching while sitting on their condo porches.. After pulling the boat up on the dock 1 retiree shouted out, “If you guys were a Block Buster movie, I’d rent you twice..!!”.. We bowed and waved to everyone while they applauded..

P.S. The reds tasted like 50 to 1 gas..


there are two “elephants in the room” with this post john and they both relate to the same situation…i recognize all these because i have seen them before in my direct experiences…first one: “we were both dog tired” second: the self-admitted out-of-character laziness…advancing years spare none of us and forced me to switch from my beloved jeanneau sloop sidra to my current pocket cruiser sans sails and with the gasoline-fueled engine that runs me at 30 knots cruising speed with comparatively little effort except for the fuel bills…not suggesting you make the same type of switch, but some adjustments in your expectations of yourself under sail may be in the offing…my cue was i did not like the feelings of being dog tired, which were beginning to occur progressively more frequently…richard in tampa bay (m/v cavu’s skipper, formerly s/v sidra’s skipper)

RDE (Richard Elder)

Hi John,
Buy a nice beamy trawler style “long range cruiser” and motor it out to Bermuda and back and you will change your mind about what the dark side consists of!


Hi John,
Didn’t think you were a Nordhaven type! For sure Steve Dashew has brilliantly re-invented the entire concept of voyaging under power. Is it applicable to an attainable budget? Not at the quality/strength/integrated design level that makes his boats exceptional.

And boaters in general (with the excepti0n of megabucks racers) are a conservative lot. My friend Kurt Hughes came up with a design concept for a 50′ lightweight catamaran motor yacht with long skinny displacement hulls and all accommodations on a single level that I massaged into a form that would be inexpensive to production build and extremely fuel efficient. Perfect boat for living aboard and coastal cruising the ICW or Pacific Northwest— even island hopping down island in the Caribbean. Ran it up the flagpole and not a single person saluted. “Not enough room compared to a 50′ motoryacht” and it “doesn’t look seaworthy like a trawler”.

(if anybody wants the brochure I’ll send it to you)


Hi John,

this goes a bit off topic, but with regard to a motorboat project we were briefly talking about when we met in Nuuk, i’d like to remind you of looking up Dieter’s website . His “Kaniva” is a really cool project and is scheduled to show up your side of the Atlantic next year. Yes, there are very suitable boats for aging sailors around, but we don’t let the old man in yet, do we ?


When you first raised main this spring: Any birds’ nest? How about muddobbers?


A muddobber (alternate spellings: mud dobber or mud dauber) is similar to a wasp (that’s the insect, not me and my Scotch ancestors). It builds a nest similar to that of a wasp, but made out of mud, which dries to hard dirt.
As you know—having been kind enough to help me remove the main last fall—I do take it off for the winter. A necessary step before mounting the winter cover.
But, after the main is bent on in the spring, Sea Devil sometimes sits at the pier without being taken out for a few weeks. Every few years a muddobber’s nest falls to the deck when I raise the main. Only found a bird’s nest in the main once: the birds prefer to nest inside the boom.
Here is the Ohio State University fact sheet on mud daubers:


Westbrook: As a Scotsman (born there and lived there until the age of 47), and with all due respect and with only a desire to correct an oft made mistake that I come across all the time in the US (where I live on my sailboat), Scotch is another name for whisky made in Scotland and Scottish is the word used to describe ancestral origins from Scotland. Again I emphasize all due respect and I am sure your ancestors would appreciate this grammatical correction. We Scots have enough of a reputation for alcohol consumption but being referred to by the name of a drink…

del monaco michele

I’m courious about what kind of UV protection you use on your headsail. The sailmaker bill for adding both Sumbrella or Weathermax is quite high. You spoke about “adesive fabric”, how it works? Has somebody tried a “genoa sleeve” ? does it ruins the sail in strong winds?

Denis Foster

Reading this. It is exactly what we did being a little lazy.
Our Genoa clew webbing had its UV deteriorated stitches tear.

Now getting it repaired. Is it better to have stitched SS ring or 3 (or more?) webbing straps oriented in the efforts pathways.

Does Tenara thread last longer is it strong?

Maybe having a leather sacrificial cover at the clew would have been more UV resistant.

Thanks for this great even if old topic, that reminds us a stitch in time saves nine.

Best regards.