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post #1 of 23 Old 06-25-2016 Thread Starter
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Mainsheet behavior

A client bought this boat 32' Beneteau First 32 Racer/Cruiser 1983.

I took him out on it last night and I noticed something and want to make sure I'm telling him the right thing.

The mainsheet is sheeted to the bridge deck and even as tight as possible, cam cleat only, no winch it is nowhere trimmed as tight as it should be.

It seems as though in order to be trimmed even close to close hauled you have to use the traveler.

Do I have this right? Most boats I teach on we don't bother with the traveler for beginner students.

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post #2 of 23 Old 06-25-2016
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Re: Mainsheet behavior

By "trimmed closed to close hauled" do you mean boom at centerline?

How many parts in main sheet tackle? Are the main sheet blocks good low friction bearing blocks?

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post #3 of 23 Old 06-25-2016
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Re: Mainsheet behavior

Your description might be a bit better, or a photo might help. However, in light to medium air the traveler might have to come above center to trim the main.

Mainsheets on the bridge deck are longer than those on the cabin top, so the angle from the center of the traveler will lead to the boom being further out than on a traveler on the cabin top unless you can pull the mainsheet in so taught it has no stretch. Maybe I could be explaining this part better, but I'm short on time i.e.: It's not completely odd to use the traveler to bring the boom towards the centerline of the boat.

I have never seen a bridge deck traveler lead to a winch. Normally, purchase is enough to move the boom.

When you say 'bridge deck', I assume you mean in the cockpit, forward of the helm, aft of the companionway.

Are you using a vang?
Is it possible the jib is over trimmed?
Outhaul trimmed?
Topping lift eased?
Main halyard trimmed?
Old baggy sail?
Battens installed?
Hell, is it even the correct main, designed for that boat?
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post #4 of 23 Old 06-25-2016
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Re: Mainsheet behavior

RG, above, is correct. I'd add that *all* conventional travellers must be moved above the centerline to center the boom. As RG says a cabin top traveller may not need to be as much as a brigdedeck or transom sheeted rig, but it must be up some distance.

I would guess that on a 32 foot boat with a bridgedeck traveller in a nice sailing breeze the boom-end would indeed be low by 6 to 12 inches unless the traveller is raised.

On proper boats, with headsails, in typical conditions, it is necessary to center the boom to give respectable pointing performance. Dinghies are an exception, as are overloaded cruisers, and heavy air of course.

My feeling is that the vang increases the need for raising the traveller. Because the tension, and therefore the centering force, of the mainsheet is reduced.
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post #5 of 23 Old 06-25-2016
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Re: Mainsheet behavior

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
A client bought this boat 32' Beneteau First 32 Racer/Cruiser 1983.

I took him out on it last night and I noticed something and want to make sure I'm telling him the right thing.

The mainsheet is sheeted to the bridge deck and even as tight as possible, cam cleat only, no winch it is nowhere trimmed as tight as it should be.

It seems as though in order to be trimmed even close to close hauled you have to use the traveler.

Do I have this right? Most boats I teach on we don't bother with the traveler for beginner students.

Wouldn't you make adjustments and then observe the behavior of the boat (speed and leeway)? Even a better way to teach.

I've sailed for 30 years and this is still how I learn to sail an unfamiliar boat. Rules of thumb are only that. Sea state, condition of sail, trim of other sails, bottom and weight all change things.

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post #6 of 23 Old 06-25-2016
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Re: Mainsheet behavior

I think with a properly shaped Main, trying to use it all in moderate winds fall off a bit and get all the tells flying with the main sheet then as you head up move the traveler. Moving the traveler lets all the tells work and pulling the boom to centerline if it can even be done without the traveler being high will kill the top tells . Hard on the wind the mainsheet opens up the top of the sail the traveler just moves the boom over. Think about it as moving the boom in two different directions even though the sheet does both. Make sure the vang is not interfering as well.

That's the basics, you may have the same problem I have now that no matter what I do hard up wind its hard to get everything right because the sail is so old.
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post #7 of 23 Old 06-25-2016
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Re: Mainsheet behavior

The Beneteau is as generic as they come. Rules of thumb will get 95% of the maximum pointing. For beginner students, and most recreational sailors a few simple rules will go a long ways. Here is the applicable one:

In a nice sailing breeze, one that moves the boat without putting the rail in the water, center the boom and make the top batten point straight back. Use whatever sail controls make that happen: Sheet, traveller, vang. Simple, now worry about the far more important headsail trim.

Boom not centered? Top batten down? You are not close hauled, you are reaching.

Lighter winds and heavier winds are different.

If the sail is old...well...get real...buy a new sail....until then tighten the halyard and cunningham as much as you can stand.
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post #8 of 23 Old 06-25-2016
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Re: Mainsheet behavior

Hey,

I don't know that type of boat but it sounds like the boat is not rigged properly. What is the power ratio of the tackle? I would think you need at least 6:1. Are there cabin top winches and line clutches that are empty?

I agree that for max performance the traveler will need to be raised to get the boom on center. However I would think the main sheet would have sufficient purchase to get it within a few inches of center, with the traveler centered.

Regarding a previous post about bridgedeck traveler and main sheet led to a winch, my 2002 came from the factory that way. The traveler was (i have moved it) located on the bridgedeck right in front of the companionway, and the mainsheet was led to a winch on the cabin top.

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post #9 of 23 Old 06-25-2016
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Re: Mainsheet behavior

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
Most boats I teach on we don't bother with the traveler for beginner students.
WADR, then perhaps you should, because it is a VERY important part of main sail trim, dontcha think?

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post #10 of 23 Old 06-25-2016
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Re: Mainsheet behavior

Speaking entirely from a novice point of view.....

I was out in my 19 foot WWP(roller jib furling, boom jack, two reefing points), with an experienced sailor who has only ever sailed his 30 foot Pearson(no furling jib, no reefing points, traveler but no boom vang)..... and his unfamiliarity with my boat made him as much a novice as I am. He claims his Pearson is clumsy at tacking, so was quite surprised at the agility of my small boat.
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