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  #1  
Old 12-19-2012
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Traveler???

Reading sailing instructions and gear threads a lot lately, I've got a question about the hardware involved in common traveler systems.

Seems ta me that the object is to be able to swing the boom across to the opposite tack without going thru the gyrations of letting out-hauling in the sheet, to maintain existing trim. Why all the cars/lines/blocks and fancy rails? How many users change the car position and re-set all the gear; other than to get it out of the way in the cockpit? Is the line/block/car arrangement used to trim better than the main sheet? Is the car set changed often. once it's slid to the opposite tack? Is it used more as a movable vang or; a combination main and snubber?

Why not a simple 'bail and ring'? Perhaps a way to stopper the "ring" somewheres along the way? OK; mebbe bail & ring is oversimplified; but I seem ta recall seeing something similar on an old rig somewhere. Mebbe a simple car and track without all the gizmo sheaves and lines?

Am I missing the point of a traveler altogether? Please enlighten me.

Point being; I'm looking into moving from a boom-end sheeting system to a mid-boom and locating the attachment for it on the cabin top. Hardware prices being what they are; do I need ta spend those kind of bux to achieve that simple a result?

TIA,
Paul

Last edited by deltaten; 12-19-2012 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 12-19-2012
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Re: Traveler???

The traveler is one of the most important controls on the boat, it is the only way to control the angle of attack of the main.
The first thing I do on a boat that has pin stop traveler is to upgrade it to a line/block and cam cleat arrangement. Being able to use / adjust simply and easily is the best way to make sure you do adjust as needed.

Travelers let you point higher, reduce weather helm, heel less and - when the main / jib is balanced even steer the boat.

Frankly, there is no way I'd change a end boom sheet to a mid boom. Same reason - more control and less force - not to mention it makes single handing that much more difficult.
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Old 12-19-2012
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Re: Traveler???

The traveller is much more than
Quote:
Seems ta me that the object is to be able to swing the boom across to the opposite tack without going thru the gyrations of letting out-hauling in the sheet,
It adjusts the angle of attack of the sail overall, and allows different mainsheet tensions/leach tension for the appropriate boom position for the conditions. For example in light air the boom can be held near midships by pulling the traveller to windward, allowing a lighter sheet tension for better shape. Conversely in a breeze you lower the traveller to ease the angle of attack, and can pile on the sheet tension again get the right trim for the conditions.

There are others here who can give you more technically accurate data... but IMO after a good powerful vang the traveller is the next thing on the 'must have' list.
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Old 12-19-2012
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Re: Traveler???

The point of the traveler is to be able to control the angle of pull on the main sheet. Picture it this way; the sideways force on the boom is pretty much constant at whatever level is needed to keep it at the proper angle. If the traveler is to the windward, the sheet is pulling mostly sideways and there is little downward component to the force. If you move the traveler leeward, the sheet becomes mostly downward and you are now pulling the boom down and flattening the mainsail.

In other words the traveler position controls the shape of the mainsail for any given angle of attack.
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Old 12-19-2012
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Re: Traveler???

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucklesR View Post
........

Frankly, there is no way I'd change a end boom sheet to a mid boom. Same reason - more control and less force - not to mention it makes single handing that much more difficult.
Some boats are designed for a mid-boom traveler, others for an end boom traveler/sheet, and most somewhere in between. The forces on the deck or cabin top transmitted from the mainsheet are tremendous, and must be located at a heavily re-inforced location. To put a traveler (or worse yet, just a mainsheet block system) on top of a cabin that was not designed for these forces is asking for trouble. At best, the cabin top will flex and crack, as worst, you will suddenly have a "convertible" sailboat when you are trying to go to weather on a windy day. If you are making that conversion and installing a traveler, at least you will be distributing the force over several feet and multiple points. Don't try to do it without a traveler, and even then only if your current boom and cabin roof/cockpit/seat can handle the stresses. Sailboats, even large ones, have a tendency to "bend" in a bad way if subject to forces not intended for their structure.

The other issue as addressed in several other posts, is that the traveler is a critical sail handling tool. It is what allows us to maintain optimal mainsail shape for the prevailing conditions. Most of us that race or try to optimize sail shape use the mainsheet to set the sail shape, and the traveler to adjust the main to the appropriate position, including reducing weather helm, depowering, or shifting gears going to weather. It has much less function downwind, but still can be useful. While I'm not sure I value it next to a "good, powerful vang," I can't imagine trying to sail a larger boat well without it.
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Old 12-19-2012
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Re: Traveler???

Paul, per your bio here, you own a Watkins 27.
As pointed out by others, moving the attachment point for the mainsheet to the cabin top increases the loads on the boat (and boom) by a square-root sort of force increase factor, i.e. a Lot.

The thing is, as perfect for your needs as your boat is, that particular company never (...trying to find some calming words here...) put an ounce of material or a minute of engineering into their boats that was not required to market them successfully to the first owner.

Take the comments from experienced owners here to heart, and don't ask more from the structure than it was built to give.
Just enjoy your boat and sail it a lot, and try to sail in protected waters.

Ameliorating observation:
All boats, including heavily-built blue water designs DO have their own limiting "performance envelope" and all will have their failure points...
Hard Truth: many craft at the lower-price end of the production boat scale just have a much more modest limit of wind 'n' wave.)
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Old 12-19-2012
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Re: Traveler???

OK... think I got it!
I can get my head around main sheet angle vis boom position being better purchase and tension w/a traveler.
I (vaguely, soon to be better) understand main sail shaping , re; keeping the boom at a given (lower) position to point closer.
I like the idea and prospect of "Travelers let you point higher, reduce weather helm, heel less and - when the main / jib is balanced even steer the boat."

Absolutely clear now,thanks all

Here's what I'm considering doing;
The W-27 has a relatively short boom with the gear terminating center of the transom; and the main sheet gear crosses quite a portion of the stern of the cockpit when centered. I believe that when let out,the gear will cross even more. Even considering that the boom is quite high off the deck, the lines will cross from considerably lower, blocking movement and potentially causing (some) hazard to occupants??.
With the existing locations, there must be/will probably be huge amounts of line consumed in a down-wind run. Scaling the dwgs,there's close to 6 feet between blocks...times four runs of line plus handling end means no less than 30 feet or so. When the boom's out only to 85 degrees, it works out to over 75 feet! That's a lotta line needing to be hauled and possibly laying about the deck until it can be squared away!

Moving to a coach top system reduces that amount considerably. Centered boom position it's more like 17 fee and at the same 85 degrees, it's only 26', even considering having the bitter end running the length of the 'pit!
At somewhere around $2/ft. that's a bit of dollar difference. Not enuff to cover the expense of a traveler; nor moving the purchase; but.....

I understand that there are engineering problems/questions associated with this change; ie: less mech. advantage, possibility of boom not being strong enuff for the placement.. all TBD.

Next option would be the use of a traveler across the transom. All the advantages of a traveler, without the tech problems related to moving the position. It *might* get the lines outta the way some and will keep ( or, actually extend) the sheet length; but there will be advantages "traveler-wise".

All that said.....
It's only promulgating an intellectual exercise and trying to shorten the learning curve until I actually get the boat inthe water and move it under sail!

Any input welcome
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Old 12-19-2012
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Re: Traveler???

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucklesR View Post
The traveler is one of the most important controls on the boat, it is the only way to control the angle of attack of the main.
The first thing I do on a boat that has pin stop traveler is to upgrade it to a line/block and cam cleat arrangement. Being able to use / adjust simply and easily is the best way to make sure you do adjust as needed.

Travelers let you point higher, reduce weather helm, heel less and - when the main / jib is balanced even steer the boat.

Frankly, there is no way I'd change a end boom sheet to a mid boom. Same reason - more control and less force - not to mention it makes single handing that much more difficult.
I support all the statement here. The main sheet angle ( using the traveler) is proably the first adjustment i make when on a particular course of sail. As said you will increase the loads a lot when you make them mid boom. ( actullay very few are realy mid boom but 2/3 the way down the boom). As chuckles said you will be better off with a car/ line system rather than pin so you can adjust easily with loads on the line .

Personally since I dont race this is not really an issue for me. I have no problem when single handing coming around the wheel and making adjustments to my main. I have an aft cockpit boat where the end boom sheeting would just be a giant pain in the ass with the traveler in the way at my knees or under my feet stepping over it all the time.

It is one of the factors in buying a boat for me. It cuts off cockpit room, places highly loaded lines where a guest can trip them and get hurt, and prevents having full protected cockpit with enclosure in bad weather.The only end boom sheeted boat I would by would be a center cockpit with the traveler beind me.

I understand the advantages of htem, just not for the style of sailing I do. Race boat...different story.
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Old 12-19-2012
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Re: Traveler???


If they were useless, why do ALL race boats have them?
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Old 12-20-2012
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Re: Traveler???

Quote:
Originally Posted by deltaten View Post
OK... think I got it!
I can get my head around main sheet angle vis boom position being better purchase and tension w/a traveler.
I (vaguely, soon to be better) understand main sail shaping , re; keeping the boom at a given (lower) position to point closer.
I like the idea and prospect of "Travelers let you point higher, reduce weather helm, heel less and - when the main / jib is balanced even steer the boat."

Absolutely clear now,thanks all
The mainsheet controls the twist of the mainsail. Once you have set your desired twist, so that the sail has good flow, and is not stalled, you still want to be able to adjust the angle of attack of the mainsail, either to alter course, or to depower the sail by dumping a bit of wind. That is where the traveler comes in. For example, when I am sailing upwind, I get my sheet tension set, and then I have the traveler line in my hand. When a gust hits, I can ease the traveler quickly to keep the boat from heeling too much, and when it passes, a quick yank on the traveler brings the boom back to centerline again. The whole time I was in the gust, I still had optimum sail shape. Without a traveler you are messing with your sail shape every time you ease it. (in the absence of a traveler you can use a vang to try to maintain twist, since you need the sheet to control angle, but it doesn't work quite as well.)

So you are probably thinking "what is this 'twist' he speaks of?" Check out this LINK and it might help. I would cut and paste it, but there is some great animations that illustrate really well,and I don't think they will transfer.
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Last edited by SchockT; 12-20-2012 at 03:45 AM.
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