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pcoe

Ericson 34-2, mainsheet set up for single handed

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I have purchased a 88' Ericson 34-2 (not a 34T 70's or early 80's design) about a year ago and I mostly sail single handed, and race short handed. I am looking to re-fit my mainsheet / traveler this winter as it is currently on the cabin top. I have a autopilot but I find myself behind the wheel while also trying to fine trim the sails, especially if I am racing or trying to gain speed or sailing in 15 to 20 kt winds.

I am looking for some input on the following:

- Moving the mainsheet and traveler to the cockpit, edge of the seat in front of the companionway.

- Moving the mainsheet and traveler to the cockpit, in front of the wheel but it would need to be between the inside of the seats because my sail locker is internal two the back of the seat, preventing a full track running on top of the seats to one end to the other end. I am concern that the track would be too short being just between the inside of the cockpit seat.

- Setting up a german mainsheet, utilizing the existing cabin top traveler. I would also keep the traveler track adjustments and extend the lines out to a cam cleat towards the edge of the cabin edge near the cockpit instead of a integral cam at the track.

Hopefully all this makes sense to everyone. Thanks 

Patrick

 

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Won't make much sense to anyone not familiar with the boat unless you add a line drawing or photograph

For short handed sailing, you really want end-boom sheeting because it decreases sheet loads and makes trimming easier. Once you relocate your sheet attachment to the end of the boom, the traveler location becomes pretty obvious.

Separately, if you've an autopilot that works, why are you getting stuck behind the wheel? This is most always a mistake.

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For short handed sailing you need a tiller with a tiller extension and some sort of autopilot whether it’s a piece of line or an auto pilot.  As for the main sheet, traveler, vang, outhaul etc etc have everything cleating right at hand when you are at the helm.  I’ve tried 15 different ideas, and they all had a flaw as well as good points.  I do like blocks in cascades etc, rather than winches- just grab the line, set in a cam cleat or something like it.  Less fiddly.  Quick. Includes two sets of running backs. This is on an ultralight 40’er.

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So the Ericson 34-2 was never designed with a tiller in mind (tho I agree it's the best SH answer)...so given that the wheel kinda has to stay, and there is a locker that prevents moving the trav to just in front of the helm, I'd go with a combination of your ideas.  Move the trav to the aft edge of the bridge deck, and bring the trav control lines back along the sides of the cockpit to near the helm.  Then mount separate secondary winches and go with a german mainsheet system for the main.  This would put all sail adjustment controls; jib sheets, main sheets, and traveler, near the helm, without having to modify the helm from wheel to tiller...

Then get a really good autopilot that is a linear drive direct to the rudder post...

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Mainsail is what, about 275 sq ft? 

I'd go with a good 6:1 or 4:1/8:1 tackle before the complexity of a German mainsheet and cost of extra winches.

I would routinely hand trim our cat mainsail hard on the wind with an 8:1 when it was blowing hard and we had a 8:1. SA on that was about 320 sq ft. I was well braced but not massive upper body strength.

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Why not do a german admiral's cup variation for the mainsheet where it is still a tackle system on the existing traveler but one or both ends (needs to be an even number on the purchase) forward to the mast and then route it aft to where it can be reached from the wheel. Is more line and a few extra blocks but not hugely complicated.  Something like a swivel cam base on the cabin edge, cockpit coaming or side deck would be an option. The big advantage is the mainsheet is always in the same place. 

The same could be looked at for the traveler system, route the ends of the lines aft to where they can be reached at the helm.  Even putting them on the aft edge of the cabin with something like the Harken x-treme fairlead on the cleats would help. 

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Why on earth would you run the damned sheet through three blocks that add only friction and no mechanical advantage. This is a tiny main and a 4:1 end-boom purchase would make it a dream to handle. Who in their right mind wants a main on a winch until it's over 500 ft2?

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A cruiser who doesn't want the traveler in the cockpit, because he might have to step over/around it?  A cruiser who feels a dodger/bimini must be fitted so needs cabintop/mid boom sheeting so he doesn't need to deal with the inconvenience of a traveler or mainsheet in his "socializing space"?

My (american built) First 310 has the same arrangement, and it sucks, and is high on the list to modify back to the original french set up of trav on the aft end of the bridgedeck....

But I'm not trying to single hand from behind the wheel steering either...because a trav on the aft edge of the bridgedeck leaves the mainsheet and trav controls a long way from the helm...

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I have found this modification on a few blogs. See attached link.

http://www.3gwiz.com.au/passion/blog/?m=201012

He left the cabin top traveler but created a double end mainsheet. Ran one to the end of the boom with a purchase fixed to the bottom of the cockpit floor. I have seen this before and sometimes they call it a tweaker with limited mainsheet tail end but enough to adjust the mainsheet upwind to broad reach. The other end of the mainsheet is ran back to the cabin top as originally design. He indicates that he uses the cabin top during high winds when he needs more muscle power to flatten out the sail. He makes a good argument. I have seen this a few times before via posts and threads.

My question is the traveler adjustments. He states that he uses the traveler during light winds (moving to windward) which is typical practice but than says when the wind picks up, he puts the traveler in the center and adjusts the mainsheet only.

So would that just make the traveler useless at that point? I think the traveler can play a big part in trimming. I usually make sure my mainsail is trimmed first and if I start losing my feet / heal too much, I first move the traveler down a bit and after that, I adjust my mainsheet. If I set up the mainsheet similar to above but if I move the traveler down but also tighten down on the mainsheet which is the center line of the cockpit floor, would that not twist the boom a bit? I am not sure.. Any thoughts? I like the set up and if that is not a problem, I think this is a great compromise and would work well.

I have eliminated the option of moving the traveler to the cockpit - my sail lockers and set up just will not allow it without major re-fit. Moving to the companionway bridge would not gain me much more quick access and not sure that would be worth the costs and time to do this. German main sheeting would work but it is trimmed by winches alone and not sure if putting in a bit more purchase would work as it will only create more friction - but this could work. 

Patrick

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Ctutmark,

Running the mainsheet, similar to a german sheeting is feasible as I noted in my recent response. Currently I have a 4:1 purchase at the traveler. Based on the Harken mainsheet calculator load, I would have about 900 lbs on my mainsheet at 15 knots. That would be 225 lbs at a 4:1 purchase. Seems like a 8:1 might work but would that create more friction than purchase power? Running one end of the mainsheet back to the helm to a cheek block and cam and the other end to the cabin top / winch as originally design, would give me options based on the wind and availability to access the cabin top. 

Patrick

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6 hours ago, pcoe said:

Ctutmark,

Running the mainsheet, similar to a german sheeting is feasible as I noted in my recent response. Currently I have a 4:1 purchase at the traveler. Based on the Harken mainsheet calculator load, I would have about 900 lbs on my mainsheet at 15 knots. That would be 225 lbs at a 4:1 purchase. Seems like a 8:1 might work but would that create more friction than purchase power? Running one end of the mainsheet back to the helm to a cheek block and cam and the other end to the cabin top / winch as originally design, would give me options based on the wind and availability to access the cabin top. 

Patrick

You can easily do a 6:1 if you want to have two cleating points for the mainsheet. That might be a simple compromise. 

Your earlier post about the end boom add on mainsheet seems like it would reduce the effectiveness of the mainsheet when in use. 

Do you have any pics of your existing setup and cockpit layout? For the traveler controls the path on each side might be different due to existing hardware which is not a function problem but may look funny. At the end of the day it is really about how it works. 

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Ctutmark,

Here's a pic of the 34-2 setup.  Its a 5? to 1.  Mainsheet lead forward to mast, then back thru deck organizer to clutch/winch.  Traveler control lines come back to jam cleats either side of companion way.  Starboard cockpit locker goes to the end of the bench/seat, so you can't move the trav to the end of the bench/seats.  You could put it at the end of the bridgedeck.  If you turned all those single blocks on the trav and boom to double blocks, with 2 singles forward on the boom, you could do a "german" mainsheet system that comes back to the cockpit near the helm.  Problem is those winches back there are the primary genny/jib winch.  You'd need to mount "secondary" winches forward of the primaries that are at least the size of the winches on the top of the cabin for the mainsheet for when its blowing and you can't just pull the mainsheet in by hand...

I have the exact same setup on my Bene First 310, and will probably go with the trav on the aft end of the bridgedeck, and a "conventional" gross/fine trim" mainsheet system, but I'm looking at crewed racing, not single-handing...
Crash

 

6a5f6b391ec05343062c97fdde45e3db.jpg

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Put the traveler across the aft end of the bridge deck as is intended. Move your sheet attach point do it's just a smidge forward of vertical on the boom. 4:1 should be plenty of purchase.

Use a continuous traveler control line that's sufficiently long do you can hold it while standing just in front of the steering pedestal.

Don't get stuck behind the wheel.

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Seeing the pic, I would agree with Moonduster that moving the traveler to the bridgedeck would be the best solution. However if you want to keep the traveler where it is now AND not use a winch you will need to add a fair bit more purchase because the traveler is so far forward on the boom versus being closer to the end of the boom. At the end of the boom a 6:1 would probably be about right but where it is on the cabintop even an 8:1 might not be enough to hand trim. I use 6:1 because that is the typical coarse tune on a J35. Careful block and line sizing will help with low load friction but there will still be some that is inevitable 

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This is difficult since any set up using mid boom sheeting will need a winch, and if your coamings are like those in Crash's photo there is no room to mount them. A travleler on the bridgedeck will allow you to move the sheet attachment aft on the boom, but not all the way, so some higher math would be needed to see if the loads could be handled without mainsheets winches.

One compromise option is to use your jib sheet winches for both with clutches to lock out the sheet you are not using. Jeanneau does this on their new boats. I have sailed with that set up and it does work, but with lots steps required for trimming as you move sheets back and forth using the same winch. It is really a set up for casual cruising rather than racing, and works best with powered winches.

Another option is a short track on the cockpit floor with end boom sheeting. No winches needed, lower loads and the mainsheet can be handled from anywhere in the cockpit. Change to a rigid vang to get some increased control and twist when you need it. I think a short track will help get the main to centerline, but not above, so if you like to overtrim then you could keep the the current system or add a bidle. This ends up being a lot of gear.

BTW, all this mental gymnastics is worth it because you have one of the best boats of it's era. I have never sailed one but there are several on my dock and I have always admired their lines and they have a reputation of being a solid build.

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I sail a CS MERLIN  (CS 36M)  One of the reasons that I picked my particular boat was it has end of boom sheeting and yes, the cockpit traveler is very short and doesn't really give you a lot of up/down movement but it's right in front of the pedestal and I can trim it easily.  I have a 6:1 with a 4:1 fine tune on the mainsheet.  And I have a below deck RM autopilot that (crosses fingers) has worked well.  

I wouldn't put the traveler at the bridge deck even though you gain more length, put it as far aft and where you can reach the sheet.

Where in VA are you?  I'm in the NNK.

 

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Thanks - very helpful information and input!

Everything you are saying just by looking at the picture that Crush posted (thanks for doing this) is correct. Yes, it is a 5:1 not a 4:1 purchase as I previously stated. The coaming is not large enough to place a second winch. The only way a german sheeting would work is if I place double clutches near the genoa winch and alternate the use of the winch. Similar to the newer Jeanneau set ups.

Questions:

-    Will moving the traveler to the bridge deck decrease the value of the sailboat? (keeping the cabin top traveler in place but the new traveler on the bridge deck would need to stay or remove and fill in the holes).

The times that I have a small crew, does the bridge deck set up get in the way? 

-   Part 1 - Another concept was to increase the purchase of the mainsheet cabin top and place a trigger cam cleat at the edge of the cabin top near the cockpit and run the tail back to the helm, as a few have already suggested. At the current 5:1, I extend the tail back while it is in the clutch on the cabin top but unless it's 10 knots of wind or less, it is difficult to pull in. And if it's 10 knots of wind, I typically will not be pulling in my mainsheet tight. Also I am concern that the added purchase will only increase friction and I would really will not get enough purchase to make it work and in the end, still have a messy set up with excessive amount of mainsheet running across the cockpit. Does this make any sense?

Part 2 of this is that if I learned towards a german mainsheet, I would also want to increase the mainsheet purchase so that I could hand trim at the helm, or at least until I close to reefing.  I don't see using a winch at the helm for the mainsheet, using the winch at the helm for the genoa, steering and adjusting the sails, etc... would be very efficient and really defeating the purpose.

Any other thoughts and ideas?

 

Patrick

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Sorry - another question; I did look at installing a new traveler between the cockpit seats and in front of the helm. Per attached image but this would dramatically reduce the traveler range and movement. If I decide to sale the sailboat at some point, I could remove it and leave it as an option and I do not see it being a major renovation / modification. That is a concern - no body wants a sailboat that has been dramatically modified.

Patrick

 

 

 

Mainsheet_track_2.jpg.16828d0201c3eaa9d74f7a9af51b4771.jpg

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People will buy a modified sailboat if its actually made it better. 
Its just that most owners 'modifications' are ugly hack jobs that make the boat worse. 

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So something like 95% of folks who buy an Ericson 34-2 are buying strictly as a cruiser.  Unfortunately in what passes as today's "cruising" world, a traveller placed anywhere in the cockpit (from in front of the helm to just aft of the companion way) is a big negative.  Never mind that you get much better sail control from it placed there, you might have to step over or around it.  "Oh the horror!"  So yes, if you move the traveller back to the bridge deck, it's likely to have something of a negative impact on the value of the boat when you go to sell it, unless you "re-convert" back to a mid-cabin/mid-boom set up and fill all the holes on the bridgedeck and make them invisible.

I face the same issue with my Bene First 310, but am going to move the traveller anyway....I've decided I want the extra control, and I'll deal with the resale issue when it comes time to sell the boat.  Interestingly, the French built boats all came with a tiller and with the trav mounted on the aft edge of the bridgedeck.  The US boats all came with wheel steering and mid-cabin/mid-boom sheeting.  Go figure...

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