When to use the traveller - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 19 Old 08-27-2007 Thread Starter
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When to use the traveller

I had a question. When Im sailing I rarely use the traveller. I just use the main sheet to allow the boom to move out over the gunnels on say a beam reach. But when do you use the traveller? Do you need to use the traveller. Just confused about it, thanks!
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post #2 of 19 Old 08-27-2007
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The traveller makes a big difference in the effectiveness of your main. Rather than rehash a well-worked subject take a look at http://www.northsails.dk/UK/main.asp
Basically, move the traveller above centerline in light air to permit twist in the main, move to centerline as wind strength increases, then below center line to control weather helm as wind gets strong...
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post #3 of 19 Old 08-27-2007
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This is from a previous post: The main sheet traveler has the primary function of controlling the point of trim, inboard or outboard, of where the main sheet block attaches to the boat. I find the following baseline settings to work as the starting place to fine tune the main sail. Wind 0- 5 set the main boom slightly to windward of the boat’s center line. 5-10 set the main boom at boats center line. 10-15 set the traveler to the full outboard position; this reduces heeling and allows the air to escape more freely from the leach area of the mainsail. 15-25 set the traveler ˝ the distance between the centerline of the boat and the leeward aft corner of the boat. Letting the boom out any further will now bring into play the boom vang This is my approach others may have different thoughts.
There is a good discussion on this subject in the forums under Traveler usage
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post #4 of 19 Old 08-27-2007
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As a daysailor/cruiser and fairly new to sailing, I have usually left my traveller right at the center like you. I'm focused on learning things one step at a time and have considered the traveller more secondary to the mainsheet in this learning curve. Of course, I also don't go out when conditions are real heavy either so I'm usually only seeing 3-10 knots wind and I haven't had much need to work with it.
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post #5 of 19 Old 08-27-2007
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I have no experience with mine yet, but the instructions on my boat pointed out another consideration. The boat isn't just pushed along at the mast, it is also pulled along by the main sheet block, where it is being pulled up as well as to the side and forward. In heavier wind, it helps keep you from heeling quite as much if that pull is from the leeward side.
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post #6 of 19 Old 08-27-2007
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it gets much more complex and if you are just out for a simple day-sail / cruise with plenty of wind - leaving the trav in the center is fine. The traveller along with the hayard, mainsheet, cunningham and outhaul all contral various aspects of sail shape. You can even use the backstay adjuster. I am not an expert on the topic so I will not get into this much further as I am still learning but I recommend getting a book on the topic for a deeper understanding...as well as more experience on the water.

Don't drive yourself nuts though and enjoy each day on the water!
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post #7 of 19 Old 08-27-2007
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Gross oversimplification, but..

a downward pull flattens the main. A sideways pull trims or eases the main. Upwind, on a beat of close reach, the mainsheet is almost all downward pull and very little side pull. So how to keep that flat sail shape while moving the boom in or out to conform to the wind angle?

You got it..the traveler.

It's also useful if you don't have a powerful (or any) boom vang, and can help keep the boom down on a beam reach or close reach. If you're more downwind than that, the traveler becomes much less relevant.
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post #8 of 19 Old 08-27-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nolatom View Post
a downward pull flattens the main. A sideways pull trims or eases the main. Upwind, on a beat of close reach, the mainsheet is almost all downward pull and very little side pull. So how to keep that flat sail shape while moving the boom in or out to conform to the wind angle?

You got it..the traveler.
IOW: On a close reach or close hauled, you use the mainsheet to get the sail shape you want, then use the traveller to get the angle you want?

I'm trying to reconcile this with the comments by SF and kennya, which also make sense. (It would never have occurred to me to move the traveller to leeward, perhaps sheeting-in tighter, to reduce heel.)

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Originally Posted by nolatom View Post
It's also useful if you don't have a powerful (or any) boom vang, and can help keep the boom down on a beam reach or close reach.
However, if you do have an effective boom vang, do the same as above?

This is great. Don't know why I didn't ask the same question as saurav16, earlier on, as I was wondering the same thing

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post #9 of 19 Old 08-27-2007
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The boom vang really only comes into play on a beam or broad reach. The mainsheet and traveler can take care of the mainsail's shape from close-hauled to a close reach. Whether the the traveler can help on a beam reach depends on how wide the traveler track is.

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post #10 of 19 Old 08-27-2007
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when beating in at least 10 knots may be the best time to fiddle with it the first time. Your sheet will be pulled in most of the way, so for tacks you'll mainly leave the sheet pulled in and just move the traveller back and forth. On my boat in those conditions (beating in 10+) I move the traveler to leeward until the main is just getting a slight nudge of backwind from the genny right at the luff (mast side of mainsail) for max speed. your boat will be different, nothing more fun than watching the speed meter (gps, whatever) in a steady wind and tweaking tweaking tweaking to find the sweet spot. Anyway, those conditions will probably reveal the traveller's part best IMHO. Get everything trimmed tight, then move the traveller back and forth and notice the effect on speed and heeling. Interesting stuff.

Basically my sail trim routine looks like this after every tack/jibe:

1) genny shape - this mostly involves getting the right spot on the genny car track and sheeting. The cars move based on wind conditions, I pretty much know my boat and can just set them now but sometimes they need tweaking. set the leeward car, see how that works after a tack/jibe, then repeat.
2) Main sail shape - main sheet and boom vang control this.
3) Traveler location - conditions dictate.
4) readjust starting at #1 -> #3 until satisfied.

(masthead rig, tall thin main)

Last edited by tenuki; 08-27-2007 at 09:53 PM. Reason: meant lee, not windward
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