Topic : Traveller Rope

I've had 3389 for around 2 months now and in that time I've snapped the traveller puller rope around 5 times.  The original was worn when I got it, the second turned to to be too weak and snapped.  Third time I used Kevlar but the outter parted and it slipped through the cleats. Fourth time I tried a thinner Kevlar but the tension seems to have made it too thin and it no longer cleats on one side. I'm going to order some more but rather than waste too much money I thought I'd ask what's normally used? Currently thinking about just using a 3mm D12 or V12 core without an outter sheath but I'm unsure as to whether this will slip or similar. Any suggestions?

Posted: 01/05/2011 08:38:57
By: Matt - 3389
Use a rope with no outer cover,3mm or 4mm will do.You could also put a small plastic rope stopper at each end of the track.

Posted: 01/05/2011 19:10:29
By: broz
I have tried D12 and SK78Maxx - both without sheaths - and returned to the rope that Glen T had on BAU, which is a 5mm spectra with covering. The easy splicing nature of the D12 was it's downfall - it compressed in the cleat, flattening off and then slipping. I was anti the 5mm for a long while, but it works, low stretch (the D12 will streth, especially when wet) and goes around the 20mm turning blocks OK. Stopper knots at the traveller and onto the 2:1 line. 

Note that we have the 1:1 element of the system going into the cleat. Some have the cleat biting on the 2:1 part, which may not give so much trouble as we had.

Posted: 01/05/2011 20:38:49
By: Andy Hay - 3626 Business as Usual
I have been using Mark Barnes's preferred solution for some years now - 5mm 8plait prestretch.  Grips really well.  However the new Winder/Taxi solution seems to be a thin rope to go round the blocks (making it easier to pull) with a thicker bit to bulk it up inserted into the bit that grips in the cleat. Haven't quite worked out how to splice it yet!

Posted: 01/05/2011 23:13:24
By: JC
Go for 8-plait.  It will not last that long but nothing else will either. It's cheap.  The problem with a rope with a cover is that when the cover wears through (it will!) then the inner will not grip in the cleat and the cover bunches up stopping the traveller from moving.

Posted: 02/05/2011 20:29:21
By: Andrew M
Maybe i'm unique but i haven't changed mine in 18 months, and they show no sign of wear. I'm not using anything too special either, it's a soft 8 plait which measures 4mm but i think it's supposed to be 5mm. I think it's made by Kingfisher, i'll see if i can find some and post up what it is.

As an aside if your hoops are eating rope there is usually something wrong. Nearly every square hoop i've fixed has had pulleys out of alignment or rope chafing on a sharp edge and this is obviously a source of wear. It's often also why hoops are temperamental and won't cleat when pulled across.

A lot of newer boats haved the 2:1 purchase after the cleat and while this does cut out a lot of the friction it also asks a lot of the rope in the cleat, and the cleat itself. I tried this with a previous boat and it was a nightmare, I quickly reverted to having the 2:1 running down the hoop posts.

Posted: 02/05/2011 21:05:33
By: Chris M
I think it also depends on the cleat as some are harder than other on the ropes. I have servo's on mine and they eat through a rope in about 4-5 months. I replace them about 3 times a year. The cleats are quite hard on them. I have just changed my 5mm rode for 4mm Dynema with a core and wait to see how long it will last.

Posted: 03/05/2011 09:20:30
By: Jez3645
This is just a regular maintenance matter. But one of those frustrating ones.

After much trials I have reverted to 5 or 6 mm 8 plait stuff. Usually this is the cast off from somewhere else. At present its an olde spinnakere halyarde although I cant imagine why I chose that rope for a spinnaker halyard in the first place. It seems to last a few months before wear and tear requires a change. Does not take long to change but length is critical. Check it regularly.

Posted: 03/05/2011 10:43:50
By: Steve Watson
I changed my cleats on Monday. I think they were the origionals, not eating the rope (18 months old as I saiod earlier) but showing their wear. If you are ever attempting this on a Winder don't expect it to take five minuites - took me nearly an hour. It's definately a job for a contortionist.

Posted: 03/05/2011 22:27:36
By: Chris M
Yes it is. When mine were fitted originally they were put in with standard nuts not nylock nuts and so came loose. Just trying to tighten then was a pig let alone change them. I had to go a buy a stumpy screwdriver to get to them. Have you got holt cleats in there?

Posted: 04/05/2011 09:08:15
By: Jez3645
No, servos.

Posted: 04/05/2011 11:12:12
By: Chris m
No, servos.

Posted: 04/05/2011 11:12:15
By: Chris m
No, servos.

Posted: 04/05/2011 11:12:57
By: Chris m
What 3 of them?!

Posted: 04/05/2011 11:35:47
By: Jez3645
Smart phone with brain drain!!

Posted: 04/05/2011 12:23:25
By: Chris m
Use the thick yellow shit from P&B.  As someone said, no braid.  Think it was 5 or actually 6mm from memory.

Posted: 05/05/2011 14:39:16
By: Jon E
Mine is done in kingfisher swiftcord 4mm

Posted: 07/05/2011 12:37:59
By: Chris m
I've been trying the recent Marlow Excel Control lines with technora in the outer - so far it's looking quite good, wears well and it's only £1.16 per metre so I've got 2 metres as spare for each side when it needs changng.

Posted: 07/05/2011 15:43:53
By: KM
It snapped again today, seems to be the turning block at the bottom of the hoop thats shredding the outer, its not quite straight with the line off pull and quite small, not sure how this can be changed.  Is it likely to be strong enough with some spacers lifting it out?  I'm concerned the extra leverage will rip the fitting out.

Posted: 08/05/2011 18:07:22
By: Matt - 3389
As long as the gap is packed with something that won't move you should be fine. I've often attached the bottom pulley to the hoop itself and this does seem to solve a few problems.

Posted: 08/05/2011 21:30:55
By: Chris M
Well my 4 mm Dynema lasted about 2 minutes. No sooner had I set off from the beach then the rope started sliding through the cleat! Need 5mm stuff!! Tied off again for another open meeting, thats now 3 opens in a row that it has been tied off.

You could try a slightly bigger block too. If the sheave is wider it will enable the rope to go through a sharper turn without rubbing on the case of the block.

Posted: 09/05/2011 09:52:08
By: Jez3645
The lead on the block has got to be right.  I have consistently forgotten to take the spray lubricant to give my traveller a squirt, very surprising how much difference it makes!

Maybe you are spending more time with head out of boat with the traveller tied off Jeremy! If it's a bit breezy as it's been then having the traveller in the middle of the hoop isn't a bad idea anyway

Posted: 09/05/2011 10:26:42
By: Andrew M
Interestingly Andrew I did find on Sunday that in the first race with little wind it was a problem, but once the wind picked up in the second race and we were raked it made little or no difference, if anything it helped as we seemed to be going allot quicker than the boats around us. I still need to fix it though!!

Posted: 09/05/2011 11:36:52
By: Jez3645
Matt, we had the same on BAU so I swapped the turning blocks on the bottom of the hoop for ti-lite or equivalent (I ended up with the 20mm Selden ones). The rope attachment allows the block to swivel to the load path, whereas a hoop fixed attachment reduces the amount of swivel. Of course, being a tied on block it should be taken out for weighing, but if I am within 40g of the minimum weight I'd be amazed.

The fixed head block that I removed didn't turn as the stainless steel strap had distorted so much ....

Posted: 09/05/2011 12:49:42
By: Andy Hay - 3626 Business as Usual
I spent most of Sunday morning changing the Servos on my Winder. Have gone for alloy Holt cleats as 1/ harken not available and 2/the alloy should be harder wearing with the rope running through the cleat.

Having done it once I reckon it can be done in under 10 minutes with no contortions next time.

Posted: 11/05/2011 14:07:01
By: johno
Been replacing strings on Headcase 3650.

Traveller rope bit that goes through the cleat, found this thread from a few years ago.

Was wondering which products people are using now?

I've just tried 5mm covered Marlow Excel racing and found that the non tension side doesn't release too well preventing the uncleats ring wire from moving far enough to the new side to allow the new side to cleat.

Going to try a bit of 5mm covered English braids dinghy dyneema to see if it works better.

Getting the lengths is a fiddle too.

Posted: 28/01/2017 10:00:47
By: Gareth Griffiths NHRC
Gareth, the key to getting these old style travellers working is 1) not to use servo cleats and 2) to make sure the geometry of the thing is correct in every part, the line up of the fittings has to be spot on, as must the length of the ropes and the uncleater. I use 3mm dyneema rather than wire to allow adjustment. To answer your real enquiry, people nowadays are using the cleat free traveller, The cleat free traveller Jon Turner builds works very well indeed.

Posted: 28/01/2017 16:17:57
By: Ben 3767
Cheers Ben.

I'll see how Irtysh goes tomorrow. Ten merlins starting at Lymington Town tomorrow.

Posted: 28/01/2017 18:59:21
By: Gareth Griffiths NHRC
Chris Martins English Braids dinghy dyneema worked really well.

Posted: 30/01/2017 21:26:14
By: Gareth Griffiths NHRC
I am intrigued by the idea of a cleat-free traveller. How does it work?

Posted: 16/02/2017 16:04:00
By: Richard Saunderson
Instead of the Servo 11 cam cleats they are using one of the Allen halyard locks on each side, the line that comes down on port and starboard from the traveller car has a grommet swayed to each.

Posted: 16/02/2017 20:04:25
By: Gareth Griffiths NHRC
Instead of the Servo 11 cam cleats they are using one of the Allen halyard locks on each side, the line that comes down on port and starboard from the traveller car has a grommet swayed to each.

Posted: 17/02/2017 06:32:17
By: Gareth Griffiths NHRC
Richard, Jon Turner's cleat free traveller is of a completely different design to the one described by Gareth and can be discussed with him - 07712436745 / [email protected]    

Posted: 17/02/2017 17:02:39
By: Ben3767

Hi Richard

It's Steve Harling that designed and makes these.

Speak to him. 07881 621341 (MR3713).

Posted: 20/02/2017 13:15:04
By: James
I added a couple of Ronstan low friction rings above the thwart for the traveller ropes to run through to pull them outboard as they don't always want to cleat..

Simple and effective solution. 

But thinking that the not always clearing problem is caused by something else...! Maybe the uncleater or the covered rope being too large a diameter?

I am using 5mm English brades.

Posted: 21/02/2017 22:22:59
By: Gareth Griffiths NHRC
has the uncleater got a kink in it? the length is very critical.

Posted: 22/02/2017 08:05:22
By: Chris Martin
Hi Chris

It needs replacing, it looks a bit old and its length is likely the issue.

Do you know the correct length?

Posted: 24/02/2017 21:12:23
By: Gareth Griffiths
Hi Gareth - is that ''how long is a piece of string'' ?
This may be nonsense, but I find it depends how long the other bits of string are....
Assuming we're on Stbd - and the traveller pulled over to port, lets say just after a tack - there should be some slack in the stbd traveller rope, not a lot, but some - I would like maybe 25mm free pull to take up any slack and before there's any tension in the uncleating strop. Moving another 25 mm should uncleat the opposite (port) cleat and start moving the traveller up to stbd.  When its up to stbd, there should be the same 25mm of free play in the port traveller string.  If there isn't any slack you won't get the stbd one cleated very easily. if at all. 
the 25mm slack may be too much for some people or less  than others, but that's the sort of slack I aim for,
I fixed the length of the traveller string so I carry spares of the exact length ready to swap out if they get frayed or stop working well.  My uncleating strop is dyneema with 16mm blocks at each end and rarely if ever gives any trouble. I set the length of it to allow the traveller strings to be 1m on my boat so I don't have to buy 2m to replace a 1.2m long piece of string lol. The strings are 4mm xl racing.
The big thing mentioned earlier is to get everything aligned as perfectly as possible to reduce drag and aid quick uncleating 
I'm probably doing it all wrong but it seems to work. 

Posted: 26/02/2017 17:53:31
By: Kieron Mason
Cheers Keiron 

Posted: 27/02/2017 23:27:38
By: Gareth Griffiths NHRC
If you can get at and measure the distance between both cleats that the traveller strings cleat in, I guess the strop just needs to make sure only one can be fully cleated and the other is well clear, then tune the length of the traveller string to suit, leaving the bit of slack.  There probably is a distance the strops are made to when new, fine if the set up is exactly as a stock boat.
Looking forward to seeing the Lymington fleet on the water sometime in the not too distant future Cheers 

Posted: 27/02/2017 23:54:43
By: Kieron Mason
Fleet is looking good at lymington, it is up to 13 boats and regularly six starting each Sunday. 

Posted: 28/02/2017 17:33:34
By: Gareth Griffiths NHRC
Reading this thread made me feel so smug I could not resist going to press!
The strings on Gangsta last at least a couple of years and have never worn through at the cleats.  The latter are small Harken jobs which have not been changed in my 16 years of ownership and I suspect are original fittings, 21 years old. For the strings I have found multi-plat non-prestretch polyester measuring just under 4mm to be excellent.  It is very tough, very dense and very cheap and in this application stretch and ultimate strength are irrelevant.  The whole system has hardly ever played up in service, although the numerous little micro blocks need replacing from time to time.  
Kieron's remark about having a bit of slack in the system is spot on.  A failure to cleat is nearly always a result of tension in the uncleating strop.  As well as a lack of slack, too much tension in the return elastic can cause this, which can follow efforts to get the handles to return rapidly to their rest positions.  Having said that, dangling handles are a menace and if they get snagged can also prevent cleating up on the new tack. 
Here's to the new season!
Dan Alsop 

Posted: 05/03/2017 10:26:59
By: Dan Alsop
I think it might have made me even more smug...
The simplest option is just to get rid of the hoop! The boom is automatically centre-lined out of the tacks, nothing to get in the way of the crew moving around the boat, one less thing to get right in the tack, and... no chance of your traveller rope snagging or breaking or not cleating! ;-)

Posted: 06/03/2017 17:11:05
By: Matt Greenfield
But I need my hoop to hang on to.

Posted: 06/03/2017 17:23:06
By: Dan Alsop
Thanks Dan some god points there... all working at the moment, but the return elastic was a measure I hadn't considered and could well be an issue...

Posted: 07/03/2017 22:37:47
By: Gareth Griffiths NHRC
Dan, just to pick you up there, when did you ever replace anything before it broke?!   "...although the numerous little micro blocks need replacing from time to time..."

Posted: 10/03/2017 09:27:34
By: Ben3767
This is ongoing... all been working fine, now starboard side won't work...

Things to try list

1. Slackening the elastic take up (Dan Alsop)

2. Change the uncleater (Kieron Mason)

3. Try different ropes currently on 5mm English braids (Chris Martin) might try the multiplayer Dan suggested and the 4mm suggested elsewhere.

Report to follow.

Posted: 01/04/2017 08:37:02
By: Gareth Griffiths NHRC
Its nearly always the opposite side that stops it cleating. Usually its pulled too tight.

Posted: 01/04/2017 22:40:54
By: Chris Martin
Very frustrating

Had it all working Saturday, sailing Sunday and it wouldn't cleat...

Back to the drawing board.

Gonna try a different rope next. As you say it's the side that has just uncleater that is causing the issues

Posted: 02/04/2017 23:38:15
By: Gareth Griffiths NHRC
Hi Gareth have you tried hoisting your mainsail and tweaking with a bit of load on it?  I did ours about a month ago i pick a fairly light day hoist the main and just leave about 6 inches of slack before committing my fixed knot.  Tack the boat and repeat other side with a bit of load on it and just snug up or loosen a fraction to get traveller car up to new side.  Like Chris I use 5mm English braids.  Never had an issue and last a seasons use.  I also reckon with your main up you'll knock out any stretch which is very little i reckon but again at least this will give you the bonus of going out sailing and when sheeted in after tacking you can pull your traveller up to the new side.

Posted: 03/04/2017 17:54:57
By: Pete Nicholson
If it wont cleat it is almost always the old side being too tight. The length here is very critical as is the length of the uncleater device. I would only use wire for this (Dave is now supplying rod!!) as its much easier to get an accurate and static length. If you've replaced this with dyneema this could well be your issue. I'd contact Dave for either a strop or a b/s to b/s length, i did have this but i cant find it.
There are not many hoop issues we've been unable to solve and they nearly always come from tying the working part too tight.

Posted: 03/04/2017 19:14:29
By: Chris Martin
Cheers chris

I'll try Dave Winder. 

Though I think you are right regarding lengths, I also think Dan Alsop had s good point regarding elastic.

I'll get it figured out, will try a few different ropes too to give feed back on performance...!

I made the dyneema strop to exactly the same length as the old wire one 290mm. I don't think that is the issue.

Posted: 03/04/2017 21:57:47
By: Gareth Griffiths NHRC
If you think it could be the elastic just remove it temporarily.
On wooden boats this was an issue, i've never had a problem with it on a Winder.  The trouble with any older boat is you dont know what someone else has done/changed/adjusted and whether they have done it right! 290mm sounds about right, but if it should be 295 there's your problem! It is that sensitive.
My worry with dyneema for this purpose is it will tend to hang where the wire is much stiffer. I would imagine that the reason Dave has started to use rod for this is that this can throw off the accuracy and affect the function of the system.

Posted: 04/04/2017 08:07:43
By: Chris Martin
Good points chris and Pete N, ( sorry didn't see your post until this morning.

I'll remove the elastic and see what happens and do it with the main sail up.

I am comprising a list of the lengths of every bit of string on the Merlin so when I get this figured I will add it to the list.

Posted: 04/04/2017 10:15:03
By: Gareth Griffiths NHRC
Hi all


Tried 5mm and 4mm English Braids and 4mm is better

The best was Dan Alsops suggestion an multi play poly prop English braids rope.

1250mm length is best for the multi-play control line

450mm dyneema strops from the car to the control line spliced both ends and cowhitched to the car.

Changing the elastic made a big difference. Swapped out the 8mm elastic for 4mm with a lot less tension. The 7mm was what the boat came with.

Short course Merlin racing at lymington tomorrow night will be the ultimate test.

Posted: 04/04/2017 19:30:27
By: Gareth Griffiths NHRC
All working well. 

Chris I think the reason to use rod rigging would be stiffer and hold up the uncleater eye preventing it from falling into the cleat which can happen using dyneema 


Posted: 05/04/2017 21:49:06
By: Gareth Griffiths NHRC


To Reply, please join/renew membership.

Owners Association

Developed & Supported by YorkSoft Ltd


Merlin Rocket Owners Association