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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 09-07-2008
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How does a traveller work?

Basic question. How does a traveller work? I don't have one on my boat but I have heard that they are good to have. My friend has an International Tempest with one and we are trying to figure out how to use it. If they make a big difference I may outfit mine with one.
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Old 09-07-2008
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Hi
The short version is that the traveller give more controll over the shape of the mainsail.

Example; if you have the lover end of the mainsheet attached in the centerline of the boat and ease on the main sheet the boom will go to levard and upwards inducing more twist in the sail. depending of the conditions this may not be a desired effect.

If you insted let the car on the traveller move to levard without adjusting the sheet you will still have the same downward pull on the boom maintaining the sail shape. This way you can adjust the sail angle without changing the shape. You can to a degree use the wang to shape the sail but forces on the rig will be less favorable. (with a traveller the lifting force on the boom get transfered to the traveller, giving a long arm to controll the shape = less force. Using the wang you will get much higher point load on the boom)

I think that you will find that most books/articles writing about mainsail triming will cover the use of a traveller.

Rgds
Knut
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Old 09-07-2008
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My evolving understanding is that the traveler can also help you when pointing up by trimming the mainsheet and bringing the traveler to windward. When I point up in decent winds I use my various main trimming tools to get them main in the shape that I want, and then I pull the traveler to windward until the boom is in line with the backstay. Any comments on this strategy are appreciated.
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Old 09-07-2008
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That makes sense. I do the opposite in light winds and it definetly helps. In stong wind it cuts down on the heel [my wife likes that] and with a boat that can only function efficiently w 20 degrees or less, its a plus.
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Old 09-07-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farmboy View Post
My evolving understanding is that the traveler can also help you when pointing up by trimming the mainsheet and bringing the traveler to windward. When I point up in decent winds I use my various main trimming tools to get them main in the shape that I want, and then I pull the traveler to windward until the boom is in line with the backstay. Any comments on this strategy are appreciated.
That might be okay depending on the boat. You've definitely got the idea, but normally you wouldn't want the boom quite even with the backstay (assuming you have a single, centerline backstay). It should be a bit to leeward. Try experimenting to see if you get any advantage this way.
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Old 09-08-2008
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Basically, the traveller allows you to use the mainsheet to shape the sail, while using the traveller to trim it, when sailing upwind. There's a thread on the traveller use that was previously posted, but I don't remember where it is. You might want to search for it.
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Old 09-08-2008
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Good advice above, especially from our Norwegian friend.

Most beginners leave the traveller in the middle, which is fine for the first few sails.

Later, you'll start moving it: to leeward if the breeze picks up, to keep the sail flat without bringing it too far in, so you don't heel too much.

Maybe a little to windward of center in light air, so you can ease the sheet and have a fuller main without letting the boom off to leeward too much.

The mainsheet and the traveller work in tandem. As a gross overgeneralization, when you ease one a little, you trim the other a little.
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Old 09-15-2008
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If you have a boom vang, I would argue against purchasing a traveler. I have a traveler, but I never use it. I set my vang for correct tension off the wind and then use my main sheet for all main trimming. I have won enough club races to know that this works just fine. My biggest objection to a traveler however, is that most people will set their traveler to windward when close hauled. This violates air foil theory. An air foil creates lift normal (perpendicular) to the direction of the wind over the top of the airfoil. For sailing, this means that when ever the leech of your sail is windward, the airfoil lift on that portion of the sail is actually slowing you down. If you keep your main set amidships and use your vang to keep your boom from rising, you'll never have this problem.
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Old 09-15-2008
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Originally Posted by pmalter View Post
.... My biggest objection to a traveler however, is that most people will set their traveler to windward when close hauled. This violates air foil theory. An air foil creates lift normal (perpendicular) to the direction of the wind over the top of the airfoil. For sailing, this means that when ever the leech of your sail is windward, the airfoil lift on that portion of the sail is actually slowing you down. If you keep your main set amidships and use your vang to keep your boom from rising, you'll never have this problem.
That's what I was alluding to in my post above. You explained it well.

However, depending on the geometry of the mainsheet and traveller system, it is often necessary to raise the traveller to windward in order to lift the boom to a somewhat-leeward-of-centerline position. In many cases it's not possible to achieve this desirable position with the mainsheet and vang alone, without over sheeting the mainsail.

You're obviously doing well with your approach, but just for giggles, you might fiddle with that traveller sometime and see if you can eek a little more lift out of your main.
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John,

Before I give you the substance of my response, two preliminaries: 1) 98% of all sailors agree with you (hence my "substance" had better be good); 2) your theory is correct -- high winds push open the leech of the main, hence; under almost all conditions you want to use your main controls to flatten your main more under high winds than under light winds.

I submit to you that the one exception however, is when you want to point as high as possible -- under this condition you want your main as flat as possible -- regardless of wind conditions. The flatter your main, the higher you can point -- even in light air, and; as long as your boom is always at least somewhat to leeward (otherwise the leech will be to windward -- producing negative lift) you will do just fine in light air. The reason why your advice is generally good is because most people keep their leech too tight when close hauled -- high winds will tend to offset this somewhat--but this is really detrimental in light air. Nonetheless, as long as your boom remains somewhat to leeward, a fixed amidships traveler will trim the main properly for light air--that's my 2 cents(percent).

Phil
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