Height of traveler below boom - SailNet Community

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Old 07-07-2009
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Height of traveler below boom

I’m installing my 5’ traveler on an overhead arch above the companionway. The boom height is fixed. The higher I can mount the traveler the greater clearance I’ll have entering and exiting the cabin. I’m trying to determine the minimum gap I need between the bottom of the boom and the top of the traveler car.
I assume that this clearance is least when the boom is on the centerline, and the car is directly under the boom. At this point I need clearance for the mainsheet tackle, unless I attach this tackle to the boom somewhat forward of the traveler. The traveler is located close to the outboard end of the 12' boom. Is this reasonable practice? Any input is greatly appreciated.
Cheers, Jim

Last edited by jimthom; 07-07-2009 at 04:53 AM.
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Old 07-07-2009
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I don't know if you need any gap, as long as the mainsheet blocks fit and work properly. Remember, on many boats the boom rides a little lower when the main is reefed. Take this into account, or you may have a badly positioned traveler when you need it the most.
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Old 07-07-2009
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The issue you'll have with mounting a traveler higher up is strength. The taller the traveler base, the more leverage the sail will have against it... and the stronger the engineering has to be... a track mounted directly to the cabin top and bolted every four inches is very strong... mount the same track elevated by even four inches, the mounting system needs to be built up a great deal to handle the leverage it now applies.
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Old 07-14-2009
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Thanks for your insight. My arch is a modest affair, nothing like the Hunter arch. It's welded to the steel pilothouse roof with added structural reinforcement, and the traveler is very robust (Garhauer). I'll check with the sailmaker to make sure the reefs don't cause the boom to ride lower.
Cheers, Jim
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Old 07-14-2009
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A couple quick thoughts, first and the easiest, reefs are almost always cut so that the aft end of the boom is higher when the boat is reefed. You need a fairly large gap between the boom and the traveller when the mainsail is fully tensioned. The reality is that the leech of a mainsail stretches quite a bit in a strong breeze and you need to be able to pull the aft end of the boom down in order to take that stretch out of the sail and reduce heeling. There will be a small amount of deflection in the arch and traveler and since you have mid-boom sheeting, the boom itself will deflect as well. Cumulatively these combined factors could mean as much as a foot to 16" difference between the vertical position of the block with the boom at its normal sailing height and when hard on the wind in a strong breeze.

Jeff
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Old 07-15-2009
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Jeff's point about the mid-boom sheeting and how most mid-boom setups have a heavier boom spar is a good one. Moving the mainsheet attachment point forward on the boom can be an issue.
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