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Old 08-19-2013
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Easing the Mainsheet

Our traveler is mounted forward in the cockpit. The mainsheet comes down to a cleat, which is hard to pop open from behind the wheel. I am going to fabricate a Y-shaped tool to help with this. Also, there are lines leading to port and starboard and then back, which moves the pulley on the traveler left and right. There are gybe preventers in the cockpit.

My question is, what combination of these lines do you use when easing the main out? It seems easier to just use the main line that comes down from the boom. I am having a hard time describing this, I hope this comes across as a valid question.
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Old 08-19-2013
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Re: Easing the Mainsheet

I understand the challenge you have wiht uncleating your mainsheet- when the main is full, it can be a bear- the trick is to pull the sheet in slightly to open the jaws of the cleat, before yanking down to release it. Depending upon the block setup you have, you may be able to flip the cleat over, making it easier to release.
Easing the mainsheet will ease the sail, adjusting the traveller will improve the sail's bite on the wind, allowing you to get more speed out of the wind with less heel and less helm pressure. The mainsheet is the line you use all the time to adjust your sail, the traveller you use only occasionally, usually when on a new point of sail.... unless you're somebody who loves to tweak all the lines, all the time, looking to grab another 1/10th of a knot .
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Last edited by bljones; 08-19-2013 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 08-19-2013
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Re: Easing the Mainsheet

The idea is to move the traveler down first and then when its fully down then you start toease the main sheet itself.

Its not an invalid question at all. Its quite important to control the sail shape to maximise the lift.

Racing can be very helpful for learning some of the tricks... not crazy agressive racing, just casual races at a local yacht club.

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Re: Easing the Mainsheet

Thanks for the help. We went out yesterday, there was about 5 knots of wind or so, with a few gusts here and there. Since I had the Admiral and the dog with me, I didn't roll out the jib, and didn't even bother to adjust the main much. It was easier to just change course here and there, in order to get a little more speed. It was a really nice sail, but the dog seems to HATE sailing. She loves boating, but she is not keen on sailing. AT ALL. Gotta work on that.
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Old 08-19-2013
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Re: Easing the Mainsheet

It depends on why you are easing.

If you are turning or there is a change in wind direction (but not velocity) then you dump the traveller (if there is any room to do so).

If there is an increase in wind velocity with the puff and you are already at a good angle of heel then you probably want to dump the main sheet to allow some twist in the leech of the sail. That will dump some wind.

You may find that cleaning the cleat or replacing it with a newer composite one will make it a lot easier to release from the wheel. The older metal ones tend to be harder to release.

You may also find it easier to sit beside the wheel instead of behind it. This gives you better visibility, allows you to see on the windward side of the boat, and gives you better access to the sheets. In wheel steering boats I sit in the same place that I would if there were a tiller and operate the wheel from the side. You can cross sheet the jib sheets (run the sheet once around the leeward winch, then across the cockpit to the windward winch) and have everything in easy reach.
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Re: Easing the Mainsheet

yeah, my dogs aren't thrilled with sailing either.....
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Re: Easing the Mainsheet

You don't need to fabricate a it's called a cam cleat and they are available for a few bucks.
Harken Standard Cam Cleat X-treme Angle Fairlead Fits 150

That should be perfect for you - mount a fairlead to direct the line from your winch to it and the cam cleat where you can reach it from the helm.
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Re: Easing the Mainsheet

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex W View Post
It depends on why you are easing.

If you are turning or there is a change in wind direction (but not velocity) then you dump the traveller (if there is any room to do so).

If there is an increase in wind velocity with the puff and you are already at a good angle of heel then you probably want to dump the main sheet to allow some twist in the leech of the sail. That will dump some wind.


You may find that cleaning the cleat or replacing it with a newer composite one will make it a lot easier to release from the wheel. The older metal ones tend to be harder to release.

You may also find it easier to sit beside the wheel instead of behind it. This gives you better visibility, allows you to see on the windward side of the boat, and gives you better access to the sheets. In wheel steering boats I sit in the same place that I would if there were a tiller and operate the wheel from the side. You can cross sheet the jib sheets (run the sheet once around the leeward winch, then across the cockpit to the windward winch) and have everything in easy reach.

UH, NO!
Shape the mainsail w/ your halyard or cunningham tension and your vang. Upwind you're probably going to have more tension on the mainsheet to get the sail shaped correctly. Your vang really is better off the wind.
If you take a gust you're better off depowering by dropping the traveler. That keeps the shape of the main but changes the angle of attack, thus depowering the main.

Let's say you're beating hard and you already have the luff fully tensioned (cunningham on) and the sheet all the way in. The max. draft on the sail is forward. If you ease the mainsheet the boom will lift slightly and the draft will move aft a bit (not as much if the cunny was off) and you don't want that if you're overpowered in the gust.

Plus remember, you want twist at the top of the sail when it's LIGHT b/c that's when the difference in AWA is greater from top to bottom due to frictional resistance across the water. When it's blowing hard, this difference is minimal and you want the sail flat as possible top to bottom. Another reason to use the traveler.
Go out w/ someone else so one person can steer a straight course and the other just plays the main controls.
Trim your main so the tells all flow w/ maybe the very top tell just breaking over the leech a bit. THEN start playing w/ the traveler. As the wind speed increases you'll start heeling more. Ease the trav down and you'll feel the boat start to stand back up. Keep playing like this and you'll see how you can "drive the boat" using the traveler. This keeps your speed up and reduces the drag from excess heeling. Of course if you take a humongous gust you just let everything go!

I will agree w/ Alex on one thing; sit beside the wheel, esp going upwind. You can see the tells better and feel the wind.
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Old 08-19-2013
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Re: Easing the Mainsheet

OP: instead of mucking around with old junk from the 70's (in my case it was the early 80s) why's not replace it with a good traveler?

Garhaurer is a great company. They actually made the track for my boat's traveler 5' 5" instead of "standard" of only 5' Also I used the old main sheet as the "new" boom vang, when we got the new mainsheet control.

It will be money well spent.


The lines are now both white with blue tracer.




The traveler lines are long enough to let me handle the main from behind the wheel and with a couple of handy cam cleats. that also double duty for single handing the jib sheets. It's good for single handing in moderate wind. (can't afford self tailers)

Someday I need a mainsheet control with more purchase then 4/1 but its ok for now.
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Last edited by deniseO30; 08-19-2013 at 02:00 PM.
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Re: Easing the Mainsheet

I'd just ease the mainsheet for a transient puff. Mainsheets usually have less resistance than traveler since no track friction.

If the puffs while sailing upwind get more frequent or wind picks up, then you start ease the traveler out a little to avoid over-heeling, but mainsheet is still your primary control. Then more traveler out if wind increases more.

When the traveler is all the way out and you're still having to ease out the mainsheet lots to keep the boat "on her feet", then it's time to reef the main.

So I think the traveler is your not-often adjustment to make the mainsheet more effective, but the latter is used the most. they serve different functions regarding sail twist, but judicious use of traveler will help keep the mainsheet from wearing out your hardworking sail trimmer.

Also you've probably discovered that with main alone, easing the main out a lot when you want to bear off makes bearing off a pleasure rather than a competition and struggle between your sail and rudder..


PS: Denise, the photos tell me you love your boat, and it shows. Very nice coiled mainsheet and clean cockpit and deck ;-)

Last edited by nolatom; 08-19-2013 at 02:13 PM.
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