Topic : Traveller Controls

Hi All,

Can anybody tell me the right way to use the traveller controls?

While I have been getting used to the boat, I have set the (thwart mounted) traveller car in the middle and played the main with the sheet, but reading past topics and training info, I assume that I should be using the car more often.

Do I, then

1 - Hold onto both car control line and sheet and juggle in a big gust?

2 - Cleat the main and just use the traveller to react to big gusts and scrabble for the sheet if I need to lose more power?

3 - Cleat the main, use the traveller to react to gusts but give the main to the crew?

4 - Set the traveller every time we tack and use the main sheet as I do currently.


Posted: 16/01/2006 14:36:56
By: Steve3019
Can't tell you how to do it, only how not to.

1/ you will just end up in a mess
2/ is the best way we've found, but if the car gets stuck on the tack, which it sometimes does runnng over the ropes, then releasing anything means leaning in and....... What worked quite well was attaching the ends of the car control line to the sidedecks with shockcord, tends to keep it out of the way, and means you can always find it.
3/ Do I trust Jo that much?(It's OK; she doesn't read the Forum)
4/ Is what I'm happiest with, coming from transom sheeted 1620, but with centre sheeting it is much too hard on the arm for prolonged periods.

Rod A

Posted: 16/01/2006 17:27:34
By: Rod & Jo
Take it out and fit a hoop!!

Best bet is to cleat the main sheet and play the traveller. If it is so windy that you don't think you can spill enough wind by using the traveller only then i suggest using the main sheet in heavy weather and cleat the traveller just off centre on both sides.

Posted: 16/01/2006 17:51:10
By: Jeremy3550
The main aim of the traveller is to maintain a better sail shape across the easing procedure than is capable with just a mainsheet.  In modern merlins, tall hoops with a traveller on the top, carbon masts and modern sails have got around the problem largely, but in theory it should be possible to set-up a better leach profile with a traveller, which is then maintained when the sail is eased to blade the mainsail off more efficiently.

The aim is to set the leach tension up with the mainsheet and then adjust the traveller in response to gusts. In the case of very windy gusts then both traveller and mainsheet may be required. I believe the drill is to hoick the traveller up until the boom is in the centreline, which'll obviously be different for different wind strengths, and then set the leach tension (i.e. top tell tales flying correctly)with the main, and play the traveller as required. The other advantage is that you aren't inducing leach tension via the kicker as you do it mainly on the mainsheet and thus have a more vertical pull down, reducing the effect on the mast and thus the compensation required by lowers.

Having said all of the above, I've never helmed with a traveller, so hopefelly ex-chairman Pat will correct the above mistakes as he is the real pro in this area...

Posted: 16/01/2006 19:11:56
By: Deepy
Bit of a believer in just pulling the traveller up as far as it goes,wham on a whole load of kicker(pop on more lowers to counteract that),get your elbow in the crews face to get him/her out more then play the mainsheet but thats just for the windy days

no sublety on my behalf

Posted: 16/01/2006 21:19:49
By: Col B
I've been having similar problems on 2806, which has a full width traveller.  How do I tack, hold the tiller extension, hold the mainsheet, move to the windward side AND pull the traveller across and cleat it?  Usually I can't manage all that so end up with the traveller on the wrong side, so have to pull it up while simultaneously easing the main so as not to over-sheet, and steer!

Am I not dextrous enough, or did seventies Merlin sailors have three arms?

Posted: 17/01/2006 11:39:59
By: Nick Anderson
than that on occasions

Posted: 17/01/2006 11:43:13
By: Ancient Geek
Don't forget your teeth are useful add-ons!!

Posted: 17/01/2006 11:45:05
By: Garry R
Not mine they are all screw ins courtesy of a boom aged 15!

Posted: 17/01/2006 11:53:16
By: Ancient Geek
Mag editor's your man.

He won the Nats with a radius traveller in Panatella. Current owner says it's a lovely piece of kit too.

Posted: 17/01/2006 12:02:53
By: Jon
just cleat the main and use the traveller control lines dude.

Posted: 17/01/2006 12:08:41
By: Ben 3451
Bens right. you dont need the main sheet if using the traveller.
and Jon is right Panetella was a lovely bit of kit. It was dads boat when Pat won in it and about half a dozen people at my club missed it when it came up as a give away last year. Gutted!

Posted: 17/01/2006 13:07:48
By: Jeremy3550
As Panatellas new owner, I hope I've given her a new lease of life-she does look a bit different now, but at least she's in one bit and a lot, lot stiffer than she was! I've no plans to remove the traveller, despite it's age it still works a treat, and gives the main a great shape (still hog stepped). I'm experimenting with using traveller control lines that are the split end of the mainsheet-lengths of all these are going to be critical, but the big plus is (in theory) you can still uncleat the leeward control line without coming in from the side, as all the bits of rope are attached to each other. Cpmplex to describe, I'll let everyone know how well it works this season!

Posted: 17/01/2006 17:12:18
By: BmaxRog
Hope she is going well. I would have given my left nut to have beaten you to that little gem!!

Posted: 17/01/2006 17:36:06
By: Jeremy3550
I have a traveller on 2254 and I've set it up so that it auto-uncleats the leeward jammer as you pull on the windward side of the traveller control line. The trick is to have a separate line running across the thwart with a ring on each end through which the traveller lines pass, just before the latter go through the jammer; the thwart line is too short to allow the traveller line to be cleated at both sides at once. Very cheap, very light - you just have to get the length of the thwart line acurate.

Posted: 17/01/2006 18:14:22
By: Richard S
Sounds from your description like the cleats are on the car,is that the case? Panatella has none on the car, they're on the side deck, or will be when I've worked out the exact angle required!

Posted: 18/01/2006 09:03:58
By: BmaxRog
It would be interesting to see a Merlin sailing Aussie style upwind with the crews taking the main - has anyone tried this in a Merlin?  I suspect that it would not work on boats with a hoop.

Posted: 18/01/2006 09:11:47
By: Jon
Works absolutley fine, do it some times on long beats in strong winds on waves. You need to be fully hiked with the jib cleated, then the crew can use both hands on the mainsheet, far better control than the helm who only has one hand to manage the main. Even used to do it in the Heron with an end main when Natt was 9 or 10

Posted: 18/01/2006 12:13:23
By: Alan F
No, the jammers are on a vertical surface from the thwart up to the side decks. The traveller lines go out along the line of the thwart, through a turn-round block, then up to the cleat via the ring in the "pull-off" line. I have pictures available if you're interested.

Posted: 18/01/2006 17:39:44
By: Richard S
Had a similar arrangement on an old smokers I used to own. If you have a copy of Dinghy Systems by Mark Chisnell a picture of this arrangement is shown.

Works really well I hasten to add.

Posted: 18/01/2006 18:00:45
By: Richard Battey
infact there is a copy on ebay...


Posted: 18/01/2006 20:13:48
By: Richard Battey
Is the book any good? I'm always looking at improving my rigging Systems, and my brother is currently completely re-riging his albacore.

Posted: 18/01/2006 22:03:59
By: RussHopkins3374

I found the book useful, but then again I am not the most innovative of individuals!!

The book was produced by John Hodgart & mark Chisnell around about 1995 and covers pretty much all of the sytems relating to mainsheeting, jib, spinnaker, trapeze set up etc, etc. There are a couple of pictures of Merlin 3400 Dingbat (Dick Batt's old boat) describing the traveller arrangement and a Turner Tales showing the square hoop arrangement, along with many others each picture with it's own detailed narrative. I am sure you would find some useful tips.

Posted: 19/01/2006 08:45:27
By: Richard Battey
Thanks to all-I'll be experimenting!

Posted: 19/01/2006 10:06:32
By: BmaxRog
try the local library - mine has a copy, which can be transferred to any other library in surrey.

Posted: 19/01/2006 15:03:02
By: Mags
I have posted a bid for the book, as it is now out of print.  But after looking at Amazon think i may have gone a little OTT on the price!! I'm such a Dope

Posted: 19/01/2006 19:22:51
By: RussHopkins3374


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