ASA and PSIA Instructor
Join Date: Apr 2000
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Re: Mainsheet Cleat: on traveler or fixed?
Having the mainsheet cleat aft and letting it to leeward is a terrible idea.
A moving sheet camcleat in front of the helmsperson seems not an issue, the tiller is not in the way of getting at it - having it in back of the helmsperson seems a much different matter, something I would avoid like a plague.
The most common occasion to go diving for the mainsheet is when you need to release it stat so you can duck a starboard tack boat, a circumstance that occasionally surprises even the best of us. If the sheet is at the opposite corner of the transom, aft and behind you, on the other side of the tiller, the first time you urgently lunge to release it, you are like as not to push the tiller down and round up, when your intended maneuver was to bear off. Maybe there'll be room for you to finish an unplanned tack without a t-bone, and maybe there'll not be a boat to windward, but if not...but it sure could be ugly.
Certified...in several regards...