Originally Posted by sailordave
EXACTLY! And if you don't have a traveler, or as in my case a very short traveler, keep the vang on and ease the main. The big thing to remember is you have SIX control lines to shape the main. Halyard, cunningham, outhaul, vang, sheet and trav. Too often folks forget the cunny and the trav.
All of these should be used before you reef. Reefing before you've gone to full outhaul and cunny is often a waste of effort and may even be slower.
The traveler does not affect sail shape. That is the whole point! The traveler allows you to adjust the angle of the sail without affecting the shape of the sail. Even a short traveler is better than no traveler. Use it when you can!
Don't worry, it all seems daunting at first, but as your knowledge increases it all makes perfect sense. You should read up on sail shape, because it is the key to understanding all of the controls your boat has.