Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: New Orleans
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It's more a question of how flat, how full, and how far in you want your mainsail, a question that can only be solved by trying it out. If you haul your traveler to weather, you can ease off a little on the mainsheet, giving you a slightly "fuller" main, with more "twist", than otherwise. It may help pointing, if you need it to stay above the leeward guy's backwind, though it may diminish speed somewhat.
Pointing versus footing has been the balancing act on a beat for centuries. Welcome to it. If you're windward, you try to point so you stay out of leeward boat's backwind. If you're leeward, you try to foot so you don't get blanketed by windward (general rule here, there are exceptions in particular cases).
I tell beginners to leave the traveler centered. Later, I'll tell them when to pull it to windward, or ease it to leeward.
Sounds like you're "learning by doing", which is the best way..