Mid-to-End Boom Mainsheet
Quick question, what would be the consequences (good and bad), of migrating the mainsheet from a mid-boom configuration to and end boom one? I would like to add a dodger, but currently the mainsheet and traveler are directly over the companionway. Thanks for any and all answers.
Edit: Boat is a Grampian 26.
Moving the mainsheet to the end of the boom will give you better mechanical advantage, so it will be easier to sheet in with the same power tackle.
It also, obviously, makes a larger dodger possible.
The bad (maybe)
If this puts your traveller mid cockpit - then you'll have a shin banger you didn't have before.
If it puts your traveller at the aft end of the cockpit, then unless you run the mainsheet forward somehow, using the mainsheet from your normal steering position will be more awkward (you need to reach behind you with your "off" hand).
IMO moving the mainsheet aft on the boom is better than going the other way.
btw - not really sure what you mean by your traveller being "directly over the companionway".
Faster-That certainly was fast!
Moving to the end would put the traveler at the aft end of the cockpit. This brings me to another question: must I have the mainsheet perfectly vertical from boom end-to-traveler car, or could I have the traveler slightly aft (10 inches) of vertical?
As far as steering with this goes: the boat was converted to wheel by the PO. The only gripe I think I may encounter with this setup is interference while standing directly behind the wheel.
A slight angle should not be a problem.. but with wheel steering (in a grampian 26!!??) you'll definitely be getting that sheet in the back of your head at times... is it possible to mount the traveller just ahead of the pedestal? I'm guessing there will be cockpit lockers in the way.
The sheet tackle will be mostly in your way when motoring and standing at the wheel - in which case you could move the traveller to one end... It will still be an awkward reach behind you.
This shows a Grampian 26 with sheeting at the end of the boom and tiller steering. Your current arrangement seems to be an exception rather than the norm. Maybe that was how your boat started out in life and the mid boom sheeting was changed along with the conversion to wheel steering.
Some other images, there may be more if you search.
http://www.grampianowners.com/G26/g26photo8.html (bottom RHS image)
The traveler being "up front" when the boat had tiller steering made a lot of sense. Easier on a short-handed crew or when single-handing. ISTM that with wheel steering, now, and assuming the wheel's at the back of the cockpit, it may make as much sense to move the traveler back to either the back of the cockpit or just in front of the wheel.
Faster's already pointed-out one of the big problems you're likely to encounter in moving it to behind the wheel: It's almost certainly occasionally (?) going to be in your way when you're trying to stand behind the wheel.
From what I've been reading...
If you're concerned about performance, there may be another consideration: Moving the sheeting back will reduce the mainsheets effectiveness at flattening the main. This is because, as you move the boom off centerline, past a certain point, you'll have more angle on the mainsheet, more quickly, than you have with your current sheeting. This will be exacerbated if the traveler is also behind the sheeting point on the boom. To easily see what I mean: With your current setup: Sheet the boom in tight(-ish), move the traveler car to one end, and see where the end of your boom ends-up.
You'll be able to use the boom vang to compensate. You may want to upgrade its tackle, however. In heavy air you may need to reef sooner.
What SemiJ says is true... and regardless of your mainsheet setup, a powerful, effective boom vang is one of the more important sail controls one should have.
I shudder when I see people sailing around with no vang whatsoever - and when I point it out the usual response is "we don't race so we don't need one"... Hogwash. Even just a fixed strop as a vang is better than none at all for downwind work.
But a good vang will compensate for a short traveller, and permit proper main leech tension whenever the mainsheet is eased out beyond the traveller limits.
Looks as if my initial concern about sheet to head clearance was justified. The issue of putting the traveler in front of the wheel is, as Faster pointed out, the interference with cockpit lockers. If I do this conversion, I will most definitely upgrade my vang hardware, as SEMIJim and Faster have suggested.
Alternatives: How could I go about keeping mid-boom sheeting and fitting a dodger? Or building some sort of structural support in front of the wheel for the traveler. Or moving the wheel/reverting to tiller? I am open to any and all options here. Again, thank you all for the knowledgeable responses!
Your companionway is too close to the mast to have a conventional ahead-of-the-dodger mid boom traveller.
A slightly more drastic change that may work for you would be to put the traveller just a foot or so back from the companionway, move the sheet attachment back on the boom accordingly, and then build yourself a "bridge deck" in the front of the cockpit under the traveller.
This might give you some clearance for a smallish dodger, the sheet would go just behind it, and you'd have the added advantage of sealing the lower part of the companionway which is a safer condition. The filled in section could be made into a small locker for winch handles, lunch, (a beer cooler!?) whatever.
Also, as long as you remembered to keep the mainsheet tail close to hand, using it from the wheel will not be so bad.
But its a bigger job, you'd have to add some steps or a ladder inside the companionway, and it would entail some careful joinery or glass work to make it all look good in the end.
However the possibility of all this rests on just where the pedestal was put, and how much room you have left.
I'd probably ditch the wheel, get rid of that weight and free up the cockpit some.
I had a bridgedeck project slated for later (very later), but I just may look further into that option. Reverting to tiller has been on my mind since purchasing the boat (wondered why they converted in the first place), and that would essentially solve most of the problem, as I could move the sheet straight aft. Unfortunately, I am in Michigan until January, and the boat is in NC, so I cannot actually sit in it and figure this out:( . Again, thank you all for the input!
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