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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  • 2 Post By johnnyquest37
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Old 08-29-2013
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What the heck do I do with the traveller?

I don't understand the difference between using the traveller and the main sheet. Both seem to position the boom to port or starboard. I've heard the traveller changes "the angle of attack" but I don't have the foggiest idea of what that means. I've played with both and don't know that I see a difference to the effect of using one over the other with respect to sail trim.

BTW - This on on a 35 foot sailboat.
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Old 08-29-2013
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Re: What the heck do I do with the traveller?

New instructional Video..THE TRAVELER

Here's a good place to start.
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Old 08-29-2013
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Re: What the heck do I do with the traveller?

First, use the mainsheet to trim the main. Then use the traveller to fine tune the trim by adjusting the angle of the boom to the wind. The mainsheet can only get you so close - the traveller picks up where the mainsheet leaves off. Also, the traveller can be used to de-power the mainsail without changing the mainsheet tension. Slide the traveller to leeward to "dump" air when steering becomes difficult but when you aren't yet ready to reef.
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Old 08-29-2013
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Re: What the heck do I do with the traveller?

my understanding of this is not complete, but this is what i was taught:

It has to do with sail shape. the traveller allows the boom to move laterally - port or starboard, while the mainsheet allows the boom to move both laterally and vertically.

the vertical movement changes the amount of curve in the sail shape, altering how it interacts with the wind.

if you want to change the "angle of attack" aka where the sail is pointing _without_ altering the shape of the sail, the traveller is the control to use.

generally the traveller is the more fine adjustment, while the mainsheet is the bigger adjustment.

I tend to use it to reduce weather helm, and to flatten the boat a little if it is otherwise well trimmed but heeling more than is optimal for the hull shape. having a knot meter will help you determine if your adjustments are having a beneficial effect.

experiment with using the traveller and you may find this to be more intuitive.

ive only been sailing for a few years, and my experience is limited to newer boats in the 30ish foot range, so my knowledge isnt too deep, but that is how i understand the use of the traveller so far.
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Old 08-30-2013
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Re: What the heck do I do with the traveller?

When I first started A very short time ago I would just leave the traveler alone and use the mainsheet. After I was a bit more comfortable with that I experimented moving the traveler.

Someone correct me please, but if the OP just sets the traveler midpoint for some time they should be fine.
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Old 08-30-2013
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Re: What the heck do I do with the traveller?

Yes, leaving it in the middle is fine. But I think the OP wanted to use it.
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Re: What the heck do I do with the traveller?

It also is good as a preventer. That is, on a downwind run, you can help lock the boom out to one side so that, if the wind changes or (not that it has ever happened to me...) if you steer off the wind a bit, the boom stays on that side rather than having an accidental jibe which can cause lots of harm to the boat.
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Old 09-03-2013
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Re: What the heck do I do with the traveller?

Even on a Hobie 16 the traveller is a valuable piece of equipment. As the wind picks up the traveller can be used to reduce heel and flatten out the ride. There is price to pay with pointing ability, but a balance is struck as you are making decisions based on sailing conditions.

Using the traveller is a practice makes perfect thing- get out there and experiment. It's all about getting the boat to do what you want it to do.
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Re: What the heck do I do with the traveller?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeLena View Post
When I first started A very short time ago I would just leave the traveler alone and use the mainsheet. After I was a bit more comfortable with that I experimented moving the traveler.

Someone correct me please, but if the OP just sets the traveler midpoint for some time they should be fine.
Midpoint is going to be fine with average conditions. And it will give best reaching, and upwind performance. And for some boats a little upwind of center is the sweet spot. Butttttt, as the wind pipes up and the boat heels over, it may be heeled past it's most efficent heel angle. Before sheeting out or reefing, travel out with the traveller and see what that does. Figuring out the interaction between sheeting, travelling, reefing, wind speed, boat direction, wave/chop conditions and boat speed is a boat by boat experiment. Experiment, watch the knot meter, and feel the boat's weather helm.

All that said, there is nothing wrong with set it and forget it with regard to the traveller. There are many ways to control the boat. The traveller is a great tool once you've mastered it, but leaving it centered isn't going to hurt anything.
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Old 09-03-2013
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Re: What the heck do I do with the traveller?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimgo View Post
It also is good as a preventer. That is, on a downwind run, you can help lock the boom out to one side so that, if the wind changes or (not that it has ever happened to me...) if you steer off the wind a bit, the boom stays on that side rather than having an accidental jibe which can cause lots of harm to the boat.
That sounds like a great idea. My new boat is my first boat with a traveler and while I have used it to adjust the trim, this downwind use has not occurred to me.
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