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post #1 of 5 Old 06-21-2013 Thread Starter
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Mainsheet Cleat: on traveler or fixed?

1968 Hinterhoeller HR28 currently with end-boom 4:1 sheeting on a t-track traveler mounted atop the coaming aft of the cockpit. The final mainsheet run goes from the upper fiddle to a standup block and cam cleat fixed in the center of the coaming. It is easy to reach from anywhere.

My mainsheet line and tackle are VERY tired, probably original. I was intrigued by a recent Practical Sailor article where 4:1 boom vangs were tested and deemed very capable as mainsheet tackle for smaller cruisers.

My core question is that using vang tackle as mainsheet tackle on my boat will have the sheet's cam cleat moving with the traveler... at times it'll be at one of the extreme ends of the traveler.

Can anyone with this arrangement give their view on its usability... or would you recommend feeding that final mainsheet run back to a fixed-center-cleating location?

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Re: Mainsheet Cleat: on traveler or fixed?

Our entire mainsheet tackle moves along the traveller, it's not an issue, but ours is on the bridge deck, not at the back of the cockpit.

If by 'vang' tackle you're simply talking about a self contained multipart with a cleated fiddle block, that's a pretty standard mainsheet arrangement.

I think your current setup might be improved by moving the aft center mounted cleat/block forward of the helmsman's position,(ie run it along the boom and down forward) esp if the boat is tiller steered.. it's a more natural reach, one hand on tiller, the other for the sheet with no reaching/twisting around to keep it to hand..

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".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
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post #3 of 5 Old 06-21-2013
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Re: Mainsheet Cleat: on traveler or fixed?

Many boats are set up with mainsheet tackle terminating on a traveler car that moves. I actually prefer this setup compared to a fixed mount.

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post #4 of 5 Old 06-21-2013
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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.

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post #5 of 5 Old 06-22-2013
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Re: Mainsheet Cleat: on traveler or fixed?

I would say that the vast majority of boats I have sailed on have had the cleat moving with the traveler, and it has never been a problem. I am not sure what it would be like right aft, but I can't see it making a huge difference. You don't actually have to reach the cleat itself to use it. As long as you have the tail of the mainsheet within reach you should never have to "dive" for the sheet.

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