The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Why We Need a Traveler

We increasingly see boats without travellers, but that’s a big performance hit, particularly in light air going to windward where we want the boom on the centreline but the sheet not too tight. To make that happen the traveler car needs to be well to windward of centre.

Check out the nice twist and leach shape that results from this setup.

Much more about deck layout tradeoffs.

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Rich Morrow

And at the other end of the wind spectrum – in gusty conditions it’s so easy to de-power the main by dropping the traveler to leeward. I think the primary objection is that very often the right place for the traveler happens to obstruct the cockpit. So perhaps its a question of priorities – does effectively sailing the boat take precedence? I think it should.

Arne Mogstad

How does a dual mainsheet system work, like on the Boreal? To me (i’ve never tried it), it seems you should be able to get the right sheeting angle and tension by playing with the windward and leeward sheet tension, but less smooth for dropping it in a gust for example, though the vang sheeting could work.