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post #1 of 17 Old 04-12-2013 Thread Starter
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New to sailboat question

I just bought a Cal29 and I'm m completely new to sailing and have a question. What is the difference between what a sheet does and what a traveller does?

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post #2 of 17 Old 04-12-2013
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Re: New to sailboat question

Congratulations on the new boat! Sailing does not suck, and you have become part of a community of enlightened, and sometimes sodden, souls.

In brief, sheets control sail shape, the traveller controls the boom position (aiding in sail shape). That having been said, if you need to ask such basic questions, you need more help than you can get on a sailing forum. Go sailing with an experienced friend. 4 hours of actual sailing will teach you bags more than we can teach you here.

Many suggest sailing courses, and for some that is the answer. I think you should just get out and do it. Unless you pick the most horrible conditions, it's hard to make major mistakes. There is no single complicated element to sailing, there are just a lot of simple ones to put together. go as slow as you can while maintaining steerage while docking. Wear gloves. Have beer ready for your triumphant return.
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Last edited by Ritchard; 04-12-2013 at 09:30 AM.
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post #3 of 17 Old 04-12-2013
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Re: New to sailboat question

Wow! You are new. Congratulations on your new acquisition! In your case i would definitely run out and buy some used books on line and start reading.(the more the better) My next recommendation would be to hang out with some fellow sailors at the marina and pick their brain. Maybe pay for some lessons with an instructor on your boat as well.

Sorry i didn't answer your question. That question is almost easier to answer by taking you for a ride and visually showing you how sail shape reacts between sheeting action and traveller position.
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post #4 of 17 Old 04-12-2013
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Re: New to sailboat question

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Go sailing with an experienced friend. 4 hours of actual sailing will teach you bags more than we can teach you here.
Correct, experience is key. Sail, Sail,Sail
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post #5 of 17 Old 04-12-2013
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Re: New to sailboat question

If you're talking about just the mainsheet (there are also sheets for jibs, genoas and spinnakers), the mainsheet trims the sail for whatever point of sail you are on and needs adjustment more frequently (usually) each time you tack (or gybe) or is usually eased quickly when you get hit by a puff of wind (for example). The traveller is generally more left centered through tacks and gybes, but is normally used in varying wind strengths to control pointing ability and heel (travel down to depower if breezy, travel up in light wind to gain better pointing).

Ray
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post #6 of 17 Old 04-12-2013
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Re: New to sailboat question

Here's a simple answer to the question I think you're asking:

Letting out or tightening the mainsheet will allow you to move the boom left and right, but it will also allow the boom to rise or fall. The rising and falling of the boom may change the shape of the sails in ways that you don't want.

Moving the traveller, on the other hand, allows you to move the boom left or right without letting the boom rise or fall.
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post #7 of 17 Old 04-12-2013
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Re: New to sailboat question

Congrats on the new boat! I'm also a fairly new sailor but have become very passionate about it.

Another important related sail control line is the boom vang.

The traveller only controls horizontal movement of the boom.
The boom vang controls the vertical only (which controls the twist at the top of the sail)
The main sheet will do both, so a combination of vang and traveller are used to fine tune how it is being used.

Some boats have very limited travel on the traveller, so the vang is more heavily used. On other boats the traveller can cover almost 90 degrees of boom travel and the vang is hardly used at all.

I will say that these sail controls can be fairly subtle and it took me quite a while to fully understand how to appropriately use them. I now realize that I was over flattening my main sail when I first started sailing. If you are new to sailing there is a lot of merit to locking the traveller to the center and using a moderate amount of vang and only using the main sheet.
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post #8 of 17 Old 04-12-2013
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Re: New to sailboat question

Like others say... Sail it... and learn it... grab a dockmate for crew (experienced).

Books... there are great ones!
Chapman's guide is probably the best investment yet (although it'll bore you to tears if you read it, it's kind of an encyclopedia of sailing).

Online is great though... you can ask Mr. Goog anything and he'll answer anything you ask (if you ask it right)...

I like youtube for visuals... I just went and hit up "basic mainsail trimming"
You know those crazy teachers use videos too
see sailing upwind: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRIRdKQlUFg
sailing downwind: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ISZin-P-ik

NO I have no relation to this school, but I thought they were decent demo's on a colgate 26.

Stick around here, keep us posted on your progress, and welcome to our insanity!

"Rum Line" a 1982, S2 7.9 - Production boat limit tester, blue-water bucket owner, with wine taste on a beer budget.
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post #9 of 17 Old 04-12-2013
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Re: New to sailboat question

Amazon.com: Sailing Fundamentals (9780743273084): Gary Jobson: Books Amazon.com: Sailing Fundamentals (9780743273084): Gary Jobson: Books



I have found that the ASA books are the best for beginners. Buy them all used and keep them for reference.

Sail,Sail,Sail
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post #10 of 17 Old 04-12-2013
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Re: New to sailboat question

Last year was my first year with a sailboat. I spent the winter before reading about it and watching videos. They got me started but the biggest help was going out and doing it. Sail in an area where there are lots of other sailboats and try to mimic how they set their sails(try to keep up). Then go back and rewatch all the utube tutorials and they will make a lot more sense to you. If your a new boat owner you should read and understand the rules of the water before you set out. Also someone who wears a life jacket while underway is not a sissy. The smartest thing you can do is require everyone on board to wear one exspecially since your new to it. Lastly it would be very benifical to have someone on board who knows the waters you plan to sail on even if they dont know anything about sailing. Sometimes its hard to get someone who has their own sailboat to come on yours. Their love affair is with their boat and going on yours would be cheating.
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