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post #21 of 23 Old 02-15-2007
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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 ½ 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 but that another question. As I have stated this is my approach and the others may have different thoughts.
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post #22 of 23 Old 02-15-2007
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My two cents. To try to keep it simple. If the boom is sheeted to the centre of the boat, ie no traveller, all the force is straight up and down, which flattens the sail. The further you let it out the greater the force in the horizontal direction and the less vertically, so the sail becomes less flat. Draw the triangle where the hypotenuse is the mainsheet.

Put in the traveller and as the boom goes outboard to leeward you can keep the pull vertical, to a certain point, because the traveller isn't wide enough to cover the full range.

Without a traveller as you pull the boom in you increasingly pull more vertically and get a flatter sail, and as you let it out you get less vertical pull and a fuller sail which you may not want.

The practical effect of this is that you set the mainsheet and traveller to get the sail shape you want and then leave the mainsheet and trim via the traveller.

The shape in light winds is a balance between twist via less vertical downpull, and traveller to windward, and flatter shape in the very light, then more shape as it gets a bit stronger set through other controls ie outhaul, cunningham and halyard, through to flat shape with stronger winds using all those plus the traveller to leeward.

When I put a traveller on a class trailer sailer the effect was dramatic, in pointing ability, speed and standing up. You could see the results in racing. There's nothing like carving through the fleet as feedback.

In essence then use the mainsheet and the other controls to set your shape for the wind and conditions and your traveller for trim. This is the opposite to just using the mainsheet, with the traveller as only semi-moveable. It is also useful cruising, though then you don't have to trim so often.

I hope this attempt to explain the basic principles helps though after three years the original poster probably has it sorted lol.

Last edited by chris_gee; 02-15-2007 at 09:42 PM.
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post #23 of 23 Old 02-17-2007
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First I want to say this is a great discussion. Thanks guys. As a cruiser type sailor and occasional racer no matter what boat I am on I am always learning new tricks in sail trim. Each boat trims a little differently depending on what hardware and sail plan each boat has. When I got my present boat, 05 Hunter 33, I spent all last season trying to figure out sail trim on this boat. With no backstay, furling main, traveller over my head, and small jib, I had to relearn how to control the mainsail sail shape which is different from my other boat, a Tanzer for which I raced. The concepts are basically the same but which lines to tweak where a little different.
I cannot agree more with what is said about racers and sail trim. Once season on the race circuit is worth more than ten seasons cruising. I just believe it just makes for a smarter sailor and seamanship.

Since there was considerable discussion on the slot, I will share one of the new tricks I learned from racing last season to my current boat. When close hauled I could never achieve a good slot using the normal outside track for the jib lines. I have a coach roof track that I never figured out how to use properly until I did the Manhansett Race in Long Island Sound. What I learned was, I now have two jibs sheets attached to my jib; one for the coach roof track for close hauling and one for the outside track for close haul in big wind (20knots >) and running. This helps me from re-running my lines for different tacks since I am usually short handed in crew and on the Hunter I am cruising ( being lazy and enjoying the sail). When using the coach roof tracks, it creates a very nice slot, I get a little more speed out of the boat, especially in light winds and I find I have better control over the whole sail plan. Using this technique, I find my boat faster than the Bennie toys, Catalina's and other mass production boats while on the water. Just my one cent worth.
S/V Freedom
Here is me runing circles around the Volvo racers last year!

Last edited by Melrna; 02-17-2007 at 11:04 AM.
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