Thinking of removing my traveler. Thoughts? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 03-12-2013
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Thinking of removing my traveler. Thoughts?

Here's a picture of my traveler (I think...hopefully there's a picture down there.)

That block on the side of the cockpit (the seatback) is all messed up, and moving the traveler basically requires sliding it over by hand, and feeding the line as it goes. So my first thought was to replace the blocks. I also considered some other solutions that might make the whole thing work easier while reducing the footprint, for example blocks at the ends of the track.

But now I'm thinking about taking the whole thing off, including the track, and securing the mainsheet to that ring between the winch handle pockets (holding the transmission lever in the photo.) My typical sail shaping is somewhat rudimentary, just tightening here and there to make the luff and the telltales look right. I don't do any racing and will rarely get more than 25 miles from home (which means, never leaving the Chesapeake.) I'm almost exclusively weekend sailing. To be honest, the most important thing I do with the traveler is get the sheet out of the way of the companionway.

On the other hand, just pinning the sheet in the center would open up some seating options in the cockpit, and would keep things simple.

Unless there's some major performance issue I'm not aware of, the biggest potential drawback might be a future buyer who is disappointed that the boat doesn't have a traveler.

I'd love to hear some opinions. Will I not point as well? Can good use of the boom vang make up for a stationary mainsheet? Under what scenario would I regret not having a traveler?

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Old 03-12-2013
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Re: Thinking of removing my traveler. Thoughts?

Boom vang helps allot in keeping the sail trimmed right but you can single hand.. easier with a traveler. In a gust, a knock down can be more likely, because the stress on the main sheet will make it almost impossible to release, when you need to the most!

Suggest save your pennies and get a new one from Garhauer. I sit behind the wheel and just manage the main with the traveler lines.
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Old 03-12-2013
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Re: Thinking of removing my traveler. Thoughts?

Some random thoughts:

I'm on boat #3. First boat was a Tanzer 22, with fixed sheeting in the middle of the cockpit floor. Boat was fast and fun...never knew what I was missing.
Boat #2 was an S2 8.0. Traveller in a similar position to yours, right in the companionway. PITA.
Boat #3 is C&C35-1. Traveller is in front of wheel. IMHO, this is absolutely the best arrangement.

All this to say, I've been around enough to generate an opinion or 2.

Will you regret not having a traveller? Maybe. Why don't you try just moving the sheeting arrangement to the ring (as you suggest) for a while, without actually removing the traveller? Try it for a while, and see if you notice a difference.

You will likely notice an SLIGHT loss of pointing ability, and you lose a bit of flexibility in shaping the sail correctly, but ONLY when you change the sail's angle of attack. (this is essentially the sole purpose of the traveller - maintaining shape at various angles to the wind)

I think it's great that you are trying to simplify the boat - so go ahead and give it a shot. If you're unhappy, you can always switch back and THEN spend the money, knowing full well it's the right decision.

Good luck.

Andy
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Old 03-12-2013
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Re: Thinking of removing my traveler. Thoughts?

If you have a REALLY good, powerful vang and know how to use it you could get away without a traveler... however Denise's point about dumping power in a hurry is a good one.. nothing like being able to ease the traveler down to maintain control of the boat.

I wouldn't swap the traveler for a centerpoint sheet attachment, not only for the performance issues, but because now your mainsheet will forever be in way of the companionway, whereas now you should be able to slide it to one side or the other to move it out of the way.

I don't think your traveler is optimally placed.. closer to the cabin, or out on the aft edge of the bridge deck would make more sense, with the latter preferred - it will reduce chafe on the back of the cabintop on a run... Depending on the actual depth of your bridgedeck it may be easier to sit against the cabin wall with the traveller further away.

If it were me a decent traveler setup would be rapidly climbing the 'wish list'... It looks like a harken recirculating ball car.. are the ball bearings still in there? could be the control lines and broken blocks are the major issue...
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Old 03-12-2013
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Re: Thinking of removing my traveler. Thoughts?

The traveller in my old boat does not even have control lines, just pin stops. Releasing it and trying to adjust sail twist under tension is an adventure! Even so, it is helpful with sail trim to be able to reposition it. There is also not that much leverage on mine because it is out at the end of the boom. I don't think I'd trust the limited amount of movement in a traveller to counteract a knockdown. I'll always have the main sheet in hand and un-cammed, thank you in any gusty condition that could even remotely present a knockdown risk. Maybe you could move your entire sheet system to an end-boom configuration and free up some deck space.
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Old 03-12-2013
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Re: Thinking of removing my traveler. Thoughts?

Don't do it! Fix up your traveler so it works properly, and learn to use it. it wouldn't cost much to replace those cheek blocks with higher quality components, and once it will be a pleasure to use. I am not sure I would trust that ring as a mainsheet attachment point anyway.
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Old 03-12-2013
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Re: Thinking of removing my traveler. Thoughts?

Double everything Andy (aelkin) says above.
Rig it temporarily to the ring without removing the traveler. See how you like sailing without it. Make sure you have really good backing plates behind that ring.
If you use a vang instead of the traveler, I'd recommend using Harken trigger cleats on both your vang and your mainsheet to keep out of a situation where you can't release either one.
My favorite position (for the traveler, that is) is directly in front of the wheel.
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Old 03-12-2013
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Re: Thinking of removing my traveler. Thoughts?

Great thoughts. Thanks everyone.

Thing is, in my current configuration, the mainsheet is absolutely the quickest way to dump some sail. Reaching and operating the traveler is not going to happen quickly, and I definitely wouldn't want to have to do it in extremis. Any modification will need to address that. (And by the way, when releasing the mainsheet, why do I have to yank DOWN out of the cam rather than UP? The seat is in the way of a good downward yank!)

Andy, I almost literally smacked my own head when I read your advice to try the new position without removing anything. That's probably the way I'll go, and I truly didn't think of it! The small blocks and cleats are coming off anyway (either for replacement or removal,) so I'll still get the benefit of opening up some seating while I test it out.

Cheers everyone.
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Old 03-12-2013
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Re: Thinking of removing my traveler. Thoughts?

Regarding performance, a lot depends on the boat. My traveler makes a huge difference in pointing; I find it indispensable going close hauled (80's Pearson 323). I am no racer or expert in sail shape, but from my berth I need to beat to get anywhere, and I soon learned how important it was!

If you find yourself needing to run close-hauled, or just beat a lot, your traveler may just be your best friend.
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Old 03-12-2013
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Re: Thinking of removing my traveler. Thoughts?

ShockT, yeah, I would definitely examine the ring carefully prior to use. It is held in place by four big screws but I haven't checked the backing yet. Right above it there are two repaired holes that I suspect may be from a prior mount point for the mainsheet.
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