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Old 11-27-2011
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Traveler Location

In looking for the right 34-36 ft. sloop I note that some have the traveler in the cockpit (Beneteau first 36.7) while others have it on the companionway (Tartan 3400). Could some please educate me on why the locations are different. It seems that having it out of the way on top of the companionway is best. Yet I am sure that there are good reasons for having it in the cockpit. Perhaps it is best there for racing.

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Old 11-27-2011
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Further aft on the boom gives more leverage and is mechanically better. Some people don't like having their cockpit cluttered.
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Old 11-27-2011
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The boom end normally decides the place of the traveler. If it is near to the center of the boom you need more power to use the main. This means a lot of load on the boom where it should not be. And the sheet normally travels to the mast end and comes back to the cockpit which causes the sheet to pull the down. Onthe other hand tihs frees a lot of space to be used in the cockpit. This is a personal selection or rather the selection of manufacturers.
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Old 11-27-2011
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Cockpit locations offer easier, more direct adjustment and results in an overall stronger arrangement. Generally cabintop traveller setups in that size range require a winch for trimming which is a slower and less convenient arrangement, esp when all that's under a dodger.

I much prefer in-cockpit travellers for the ability to easily and quickly make adjustments, esp if it's reachable from the helm. However companionway travelers can complicate dodger installations if the bridge deck is narrow. Also, if they are not recessed properly they can really interfere with comfortable lounging in the cockpit using the cabin as a backrest.

This is very much, like so many other boat decision factors, a compromise. The so-called "german" system uses a cabintop traveller but runs a double ended mainsheet down each side deck to the cockpit for the same 'ready to hand' access that a cockpit traveler offers.. yet another option to consider.

Also keep in mind that a cabintop traveler/mainsheet combo does not negate the need for a really good vang.
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Old 11-27-2011
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Personal preferences

I think it's a matter of personal preferences. Travelers that are on the cabin top free up room in the cockpit but have disadvantages as noted by others above. Travelers that are in the cockpit are generally easier to use and more accessible to the helm station. Mine is in the cockpit just aft of the companionway and attaches to the boom about 80 percent back from the mast. I like where it is. It's easy to adjust by hand and is readily accessible when single handing.
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Old 11-28-2011
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In general, cruising oriented boats have the traveler on the cabin top and racing oriented boats have it in the cockpit. Having it on the cabin top greatly simplifies dodger and bimini installations and makes the cockpit more guest friendly. The mid-boom sheeting requires more power in the mainsheet system and the mainsheet control is not convenient for single handling. Having it in the cockpit allows end-of-boom sheeting and thus better control at the expense of the loss of convenience noted above. Tradeoffs.
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Old 11-28-2011
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In some applications, mid-boom sheeting also alleviates and/or supplements the boom vang. My first boat had the traveler along the stern edge of the cockpit (end-boom sheeting) and was both out of the way and easily accessible. However, A vang was need to control twist and lift. My current boat has mid-boom sheeting and places the traveler at the companionway threshold. Mainsail trim is very easy and direct, but the traveler does impede access to the cabin at times and takes up seating space. I imagine a traveler on top of the cabin would be the most convenient while at the dock/anchor, but as mentioned, it may not be ideal for sailing, either because of loading or boom attachment.
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Old 11-28-2011
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Length of boom comes into play as well. Lot's of owners of boats such as mine have actually moved their stern located traveller to the cabin top, and found that forces involved in sheeting necessitate a move back to it's original location. Like anything, manufacturer's choose location based on designer's input as well as "what pleases the masses". No different than the attention placed on interior amenities, rather than sailing characteristics on many boats. To each his/her own, they say.
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Old 11-28-2011
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While I personally prefer a cockpit mounted main sheet so that I can trim while steering, there are some advantages to mid-boom sheeting, not the least of which is safety. In fact, not so long ago there was a case of the skipper of a Beneteau 36 that was severely injured when an accidental gybe caught him under the chin with the main sheet and then held him--by the neck--against the bulkhead at the forward end of the cockpit. The fellow was badly injured and nearly strangled before the crew was able to get the boat under control and the sheet eased.

FWIW...
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Old 11-30-2011
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The travler on my 26ft Centaur is fixed on the transom.
Of the boats I have sailed on this seem the safest position if practicle.
Not likley to get in the way under normal sailing conditions and dosn,t take up any cockpit space.
Only leaves the boom to worry about in a crash gibe.
Safe sailing
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