mainsheet sheet control and adjustable genoa cars - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 21 Old 3 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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mainsheet sheet control and adjustable genoa cars

I have own my current Ericson 34-2 sailboat for just over a year and have started to create a project list and improvements that I want to make. No matter what conditions, I either shorthand and single handed sail most of the time. I set up my previous sailboat so that I could trim the sails within the cockpit and/or arms length but was it was a slightly smaller sailboat, slower and had a tiller at the helm.

Discussion point of two projects:

- Although I will be upgrading my old autopilot this winter / spring but I still want the need to be able to control / trim the sails at the wheel helm. My biggest issue is the mainsheet, which is the conventional production design with a cabin top mount traveler lead to a winch on the cabin top. I thought of rigging a german sheet design; I laid this out and I can make this work without much modification by adding deck mounted blocks and clutches before one of my winches at the cockpit. That would resolve the sheet tension but would not help at all with moving the traveler car to port or starboard. What I really would desire is to install a new mainsheet traveler set up just in front of my helm - this would nicely except I have one sail locker that would interfere with the install. I would need to modify or eliminate the sail locker or not use it... Moving the mainsheet traveler to the companionway entry would work as a install but this really would not provide much more access from the help to the mainsheet than a cabin winch.
My cockpit design is a fairly standard set up, similar to a Tartan 34-2 or Sabre 34-2, with a T-shape helm station.
Any thoughts on making this work?

- My other project of discussion was adjustable genoa cars. I have read so many good things about adding this but when I did, I was not pleased. I purchased Garhauer EZ glides; they no longer use the open ballbearings so they don't slide well under wind pressure and they are long and at times, binds up when I use them far aft e.g. going downwind, and they add line clutter on my side decks and additional lines at the my cockpit. This winter I will be installing new pinstop cars. Long and short, I have 1.25" t-tracks 3/16" and I don't want to replace the tracks with Harken tracks but is there a better car that fits a t-track that slides well by hand under wind pressure? I don't want to go back to my old worn pin-stop cars - if possible.

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Patrick
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Re: mainsheet sheet control and adjustable genoa cars

For the longest time I thought that I wanted a boat with the traveler directly in front of the helm so as to be able to trim the main.
My previous boat was set up with the traveler aft of the tiller. After having a boat with the traveler on the coach roof (what I thought was a big compromise before I purchased the boat) I discovered that simply having the mainsheet long enough to reach the helm is sufficient for the kind of sailing that I do. Just need to be able to dump the main in the puffs. I discovered that you really don't have to have that 1/2 knot of boat speed that a perfectly trimmed main might provide. I would think that a downwind sail upgrade might be a better way to improve overall boat performance. Was for me anyway.
As to the second point about adjustable genoa cars. I had Harken tracks and adjustable cars on my previous boat and never had any problems with them. I thought they were really a great upgrade.
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Re: mainsheet sheet control and adjustable genoa cars

Certainly having the traveler and mainsheet in the cockpit is far superior from a sailing perspective. It gives you a much better mechanical advantage on the mainsheet, so on a boat your size there would be no need for a winch to trim the main. This is why the vast majority of race boats have the traveler either right in front of the helm, or even behind the helm.

The downside is that it does clutter the cockpit, and limit your ability to have any kind of bimini deployed while sailing. In your case it sounds like it will also limit access to lockers. That in itself would not be an acceptable sacrifice to me.

My last boat was originally designed with a cabintop traveler, and the previous owner moved it into the cockpit for racing. I ended up moving it back to the cabintop because I saw the traveler as a safety hazard for my then toddler son. I just reworked the traveler so that each end of the traveler had a cam cleat and the tails were long enough so I could adjust it from the helm position. I would also pull the mainsheet on from the helm position, although the way I sail, once I set the sail shape with the mainsheet I adjust the angle of attack and depower using the traveler. I only ever used the mainsheet when I was making large course changes onto a new point of sail.

Boats of the era your boat is have relatively small cockpits, so you may want to think carefully before cluttering it up with a traveler if you are not racing.

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Re: mainsheet sheet control and adjustable genoa cars

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Originally Posted by SchockT View Post
Certainly having the traveler and mainsheet in the cockpit is far superior from a sailing perspective. It gives you a much better mechanical advantage on the mainsheet, so on a boat your size there would be no need for a winch to trim the main. This is why the vast majority of race boats have the traveler either right in front of the helm, or even behind the helm.

The downside is that it does clutter the cockpit, and limit your ability to have any kind of bimini deployed while sailing. In your case it sounds like it will also limit access to lockers. That in itself would not be an acceptable sacrifice to me.

My last boat was originally designed with a cabintop traveler, and the previous owner moved it into the cockpit for racing. I ended up moving it back to the cabintop because I saw the traveler as a safety hazard for my then toddler son. I just reworked the traveler so that each end of the traveler had a cam cleat and the tails were long enough so I could adjust it from the helm position. I would also pull the mainsheet on from the helm position, although the way I sail, once I set the sail shape with the mainsheet I adjust the angle of attack and depower using the traveler. I only ever used the mainsheet when I was making large course changes onto a new point of sail.

Boats of the era your boat is have relatively small cockpits, so you may want to think carefully before cluttering it up with a traveler if you are not racing.

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Good advice.

I’ve seen some change their cabin top system for more control and tweaking. However they gave up the comfort of their cockpit room wise.

Seemed like an ok trade off but when it came to bringing guests, dinner in the cockpit, maneuvering around it wasn’t worth it for most of them. It became an obstacle for all onboard on abetting the helmsman.

Some went back to their old ststems, some set up behind the helm systems. One sold his 34CTartan. A rather nice boat


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Re: mainsheet sheet control and adjustable genoa cars

We have a traveler in the cockpit forward of the helm. The boat originally had the German, two-winch mainsheet setup, but this was switched to a Harken endless double-sheet system instead. (The winches are much more useful for the spinnaker!) The doubled sheet has a pair of cams on the traveler base car. The tackle provides 4:1 pull on the sheet when both lines are pulled at the same time. It has 8:1 power when only one line is pulled - and either line can be pulled. https://www.westmarine.com/buy/harke...MaApUVEALw_wcB

We have the cams up on our rig, instead of down. We’ve used it to handle our 350 sq' main in winds up to and above 40 knots, so it should be sufficient for your 200 sq’ sail. We don’t have cockpit lockers, so having the traveler there doesn’t make any difference to us. Would it be possible for you to close off part of the locker where the traveler lands and simply have smaller hatches? Another option might be to have the traveler only cross the bottom of the cockpit, or to have the sheet base cam shackled to a padeye forward of the binnacle. Contra’s idea of just leading the sheet back to the helm and putting a cleat there might be the simplest. If you’re single handing you can head up to luff the sail so you won’d need the winch to trim it in, and easing it would also be easy.
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Re: mainsheet sheet control and adjustable genoa cars

Regarding adjustable jib cars, I know a lot of people on Sailnet swear by the Garhauer bearing cars that fit standard T-track. If you have bearing cars they should not be binding under load. If they are, there is probably something wrong with the bearings. I don't know if you can get replacement bearing kitsch, but new Garhauer cars are relatively inexpensive.

I don't think you will find many pin-stop cars that will move easily under load, although some of Harken's cars do have slippery teflon-like inserts. If you go back to pin-stop, you will have to make your adjustments unloaded, which really isnt that big a deal for cruising.

I would love to have adjustable leads on my boat, but if I were going to retrofit, I would want to replace the track with Harken CB track and cars. Unfortunately that is not a cheap upgrade, and as a result is low on the priority list!



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Re: mainsheet sheet control and adjustable genoa cars

I think perhaps just making the best out of what I have in place and provide some minor modifications by leading lines back to the helm and upgrade to a good autopilot, as I have all but ruled out moving the traveler in front of the helm. My starboard sail locker is useful but not 100% necessary but it comes all the way back to the helm and slightly curves into the T section, so there is no way to secure the traveler in front of the helm without major modifications to this locker seat, which is basically 'no turning back' type of modification and most definitely a de-valuing the sailboat for any type of resale at some point - so that is pretty much out. There is a de-attachable traveler built by Barton and goes between the inside of the cockpit seats but this would dramatically reduce the boom angle, control and performance.

I am going to re-layout the traveler control lines so they are not cleated at the traveler ends but on a cam cleat near the edge of cabin near the cockpit, so I can somewhat reach the lines and adjust without them getting hung up with the other cabin top lines.
Sometimes just having one other person, either your teenage son or daughter or wife or even a friend that is inexperience helps ease many of the issues with single handing.


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Re: mainsheet sheet control and adjustable genoa cars

ShockT: I notified Garhauer that they pitched at a certain location, more so on my starboard track and they were great to deal with. They told me to send them back and they would remake them. I did but it did not solve the problem. What I can tell, my track has a little more aggressive curve in one area of the track and the cars are quite long and they pitch the track. I think they can be tweaked by filing down the track where ever they are hitting but I don't want the problem to re-occur when I am out sailing which would be a problem.
I agree, although Garhauer is a good company, if I had to do it again and wanted to spend about 3 times the costs of Garhauer, I would install new Harken tracks and their cars with capsulated ballbearings. Again, this is not a knock on Garhauer - good company.

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Re: mainsheet sheet control and adjustable genoa cars

I have made similar observations as yourself. With my C&C 32 I want to move the traveler from the coach roof to the cockpit, but I think before I do, I may try to route traveler controls to the stern. I think if I can get that level of control it'll be looking for most of the time I single hand. The mainsheet on the roof requires a bit much effort as well, and I am not fond of it. So I may eventually move it to the threshhold at the companionway.

As for adjustable cars, I don't know what to say other than I created poor mans fully adjustable cars on my Wavelength 24, they were great, but I never adjusted them under load. To me the advantage is more about being able to set them at any distance you want when not loaded up. I know others start out with the cars far back (more open leech), and then tension as you harden up, to maintain optimal trim throughout the tack (where you over tack, and open up to power up, and then harden up and sheet in, and close the leech). I found even racing that a more properly timed tack, and not to fast or slow through the tack is infinitely more important.

I'll be watching this thread for recommendations though.

I have limited funds to make changes, and right now I think I have a shortened mainsail and raised boom that are my most pressing (and costly) problems to deal with. For the record I am still considering racing the boat next season.

Freedom, a 1983 C&C 32 sailing Smith Mountain Lake, VA
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Re: mainsheet sheet control and adjustable genoa cars

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Originally Posted by SailingUphill View Post
I have made similar observations as yourself. With my C&C 32 I want to move the traveler from the coach roof to the cockpit, but I think before I do, I may try to route traveler controls to the stern. I think if I can get that level of control it'll be looking for most of the time I single hand. The mainsheet on the roof requires a bit much effort as well, and I am not fond of it. So I may eventually move it to the threshhold at the companionway.



As for adjustable cars, I don't know what to say other than I created poor mans fully adjustable cars on my Wavelength 24, they were great, but I never adjusted them under load. To me the advantage is more about being able to set them at any distance you want when not loaded up. I know others start out with the cars far back (more open leech), and then tension as you harden up, to maintain optimal trim throughout the tack (where you over tack, and open up to power up, and then harden up and sheet in, and close the leech). I found even racing that a more properly timed tack, and not to fast or slow through the tack is infinitely more important.



I'll be watching this thread for recommendations though.



I have limited funds to make changes, and right now I think I have a shortened mainsail and raised boom that are my most pressing (and costly) problems to deal with. For the record I am still considering racing the boat next season.
Adjustable genoa cars are not something that is typically adjusted through every tack. The idea of not fully sheeting in right away when coming out of a tack is correct, but that is accomplished with the sheet not the leads. Moving the cars back coming out of a tack is going to cause excessive twist, which does not power up, it depowers.

The reason racers want to be able to adjust the genoa cars under load is to be able to fine tune the twist of the sail as it is adjusted for course changes, mostly when footing or reaching. You don't want to have to depower the sail even for the few seconds it takes to move the car.

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Last edited by SchockT; 3 Weeks Ago at 11:39 PM.
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