• Kemp Sails

Inventor of the Packaway?

Kemp Sails were arguably one of the first to develop this now common system, and we had some legal wrangling back in the late 80s to prove it - but that's another story...

We normally call them a ‘Packaway’, but other names such as ‘Stack Pack’ and ‘Lazy Bag’ are also common derivatives to refer to the “sail cover and lazy jack combination”, which these days has become a very common way to store and handle slab reefing mains on cruising boats.

So, what exactly is a ‘Packaway’ anyway? And why are they so popular?

In effect it’s an upside down sail cover that slots into the boom at the start of the season, and is supported by lazy jacks to form a cradle structure for the main. When the halyard is cut, the sail falls down but is supported on the boom so that you maintain control and visibility, and with the bonus that the cover simply zips up when you are ready. How easy is that!

Picture yourself at the end of a fantastic days sailing, but with no Packaway. Your berth for the night is getting close: it’s time to put the sails away. As a cruising sailor, the genoa is easy: just pull the furling line and away it goes. However, for the main, as soon as you cut the halyard there is cloth all over the deck: windage suddenly becomes a problem, and visibility for the helm is poor at best. That beautiful day on the water is going to end in stress, again... (This may explain why my parents first boat was called Tantrum!)

Situations like this are why we developed the Packaway, and over the many years since then, we have tweaked and refined it: we can confidently state it’s the best on the market - maybe not the cheapest, but head and shoulders above the rest in terms of design, and in quality of manufacture.

It’s a bold claim that ours are the best, but why do we feel so confident?

Firstly we have been making them for years, and as rather geeky sailing nuts we never just keep doing something because that's how we have always done it: we think, and we fiddle and tweak our products based on feed back from customers and all of our team, so we end up making the best kit possible.

Design features like the mesh vents to air the sail, the ability to roll the sides down and still have use of the lazy jacks, our unique attachment for the lazy jacks so they are not stitched to the cover (and therefore not so prone to UV damage) and options for rope foot and loose foot sails in a way that deals with the reef lines neatly, all make our product great.

What makes them the best is all of the above ingredients, and that they are put together by a team which only has one standard: perfection!


Rob Kemp, January 2019

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