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Tiller steering, relocating traveler from stern rail.


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Merit 22.

A while back someone on here told me that I should relocate the mainsheet traveler off the stern rail to just aft of the cockpit lockers.

I'm doing my spring modifications to the boat, and wanted to get started relocating the traveler. The problem is that it has tiller steering, and the tiller goes over the transom to the rudder.

How does this work? If i relocate the traveler to the cockpit seats, the tiller is going to go over the top of the traveler and get tangled up in the mainsheet.

Or should I just ignore that idea and go to a midboom traveler? Move it just aft of the companionway?

 

IMG_20200319_175854.jpg

IMG_20200319_175857.jpg

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The question i ask is Why? Moving it forward 3" won't make any difference. Most boats of that length/era have the traveler on the transom Looks like its a bridle so you could alter it to be an adjustable bridle rather than a sliding track? 

Also i would question if the seats have the strength to hold the traveler track. Could be reinforced though, but again to what gain?

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Why do you want to move it?

I assume that you do not have running back stays on your 22 footer.  That type of rig cannot get the fore stay tight without depending on main sheet tension.  The further fore ward the traveler is the more the fore stay will sag.  If you don't believe that just go forward and sight up the fore stay while you are sailing and get someone to ease off the main sheet.

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Alright, maybe I should be rethinking this. Let's see.

The why, is because the rollers on the current "car" are buggered and broken off. There's no bearing surface at all. So I don't really use the traveler at all, since it is so hard to move.

I also don't have any leverage, since it's a 1:1 on the traveler system. I know I could add a few different block setups and fix that.

I also don't have a directly 90 degree pull from the boom to the traveler, since it goes back from the end of the boom about 14" to the traveler.

I have to turn around to adjust the traveler. This means I mostly just use the mainsheet and don't mess with the traveler much.

The traveler right now only moves 24"

I get annoyed getting smacked in the face by the mainsheet whenever I tack or gybe. 

So firstly, will I not gain any performance increase by moving this? The rest of it I could deal with if I could just find a replacement 1" round traveler car.

 

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You could mount a track that is designed to span a gap ("high beam" in Harken parlance) on some blocks just above the tiller with a gap in the middle for the tiller.

You could bolt it to the stern rail with a wood block under it (use a router to carve out the semi circular groove for the rail).

Happy to sketch this out if words are not clear.

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1 minute ago, Zonker said:

You could mount a track that is designed to span a gap ("high beam" in Harken parlance) on some blocks just above the tiller with a gap in the middle for the tiller.

You could bolt it to the stern rail with a wood block under it (use a router to carve out the semi circular groove for the rail).

Happy to sketch this out if words are not clear.

So it would still be mounted at the stern rail though right? 

That would fix the problem of not having a working traveler, but it would still give me an off 90 degree mainsheet, and it would put the traveler behind me.

However, am I wrong to be worried about those things? I suppose I could get used to the traveler behind me if it at least worked.

I found that rigrite has round bar traveler cars, which is probably the cheapest fix. https://www.rigrite.com/Travellers/NF_Travellers/Round Bar Travellers.php

I can't find them anywhere else. Catalina makes one for their boats, but they're for 5/8 bars, mine is 1".

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I went and looked at a sailplan for your boat. A cockpit seat spanning track would be a nice improvement and get the traveller in a better spot. It would get in the way but a mid boom in front of the companionway will be too far forward. It would be more like a 33% boom position.

merit_22_drawing.jpg

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28 minutes ago, Zonker said:

It would get in the way but a mid boom in front of the companionway will be too far forward. It would be more like a 33% boom position.

 

OP suggested aft of the companionway, and I agree with your input.. except  it might cause chafing issues, with eased sheet..

If the drawing is correctly scaled, the current mainsheet setup seems ridiculously annoying.

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Whenever I see pictures of that boat I'm still astounded a man in his mid seventies circumnavigated on that - Webb Chiles makes us all look like pussies!

Back to the thread subject: why not just replace the rollers on the existing setup? To improve it further, you could use some turning blocks to lead the traveller line forward along the cockpit coaming, making it easier to reach.

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8 minutes ago, alphafb552 said:

Whenever I see pictures of that boat I'm still astounded a man in his mid seventies circumnavigated on that - Webb Chiles makes us all look like pussies!

I know, right?  He's made of different stuff than me, that's for sure. 

My early Santana 20 had a cockpit spanning traveler just in front of the tiller.  It worked great, it was easy for the helmsman to manage.  When sailing with crew it was fine.  If I was single handing or just had a single crew member who was otherwise engaged, then the traveler was an obstacle to me reaching the jib sheets, the winches were on the aft end of the cabin top.   On the OP's boat the winches are farther aft along the cockpit, so this might not be an issue.   I'd suggest taking the boat for a sail short handed and pay close attention to what you need to reach when sailing and whether a cockpit-spanning traveler would interfere with it.  Also consider how you use the boat and cockpit when not sailing.  Then make your choice. Everything on a boat is a trade off.  

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Just now, ryley said:

Here's one on a Merit 22:

Merit 22

 

That's what I'm thinking of doing right there. But I'm not exciting about tripping over the traveler either. Jim is right, everything is a trade off.

 

1 hour ago, alphafb552 said:

Whenever I see pictures of that boat I'm still astounded a man in his mid seventies circumnavigated on that - Webb Chiles makes us all look like pussies!

Back to the thread subject: why not just replace the rollers on the existing setup? To improve it further, you could use some turning blocks to lead the traveller line forward along the cockpit coaming, making it easier to reach.

That's actually a very simple and good idea. I didn't even think about putting turning blocks and rerouting the controls forward.

Unfortunately I can't find rollers to replace the ones on the existing car. But I might just buy a new one from RigRite. It looks like it will be about $160

 

I went out and did some measuring.

The boom is 115" long. 

The car on the stern rail is 140". So it's really far from a 90 degree downward angle.

115" is almost directly in front of the cockpit locker, just like that picture.

The front of the cockpit is 78". If I did that I would be at 67% of the boom length, not even mid boom. But then I'll run into chafing when I ease the sheet all the way out.

Just how bad is it that the end boom to car is off 90 degrees? I really like the idea of just using some blocks to reroute the traveler to my hand and using a replacement car.

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Maybe I've spent too many years owning boats that I raced, but I can never figure out the traveller as a tripping issue.  You either step over it, or you step onto the cockpit seat to go by it.  The easiest answer is to just run it in front of the tiller/in front of the cockpit lockers.  You'll have to move the sheet block attachment point forward some on the boom as it looks like original system used end of boom as mounting...

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2 hours ago, ryley said:

Image result for merit 22 sailboat

granted this is a merit 25 but the concept is the same.

Raced on a Merit 25 (& a similar SC27 setup) & midcockpit  mainsheet traveller systems are dangerous.  I slipped stepping over from the stern from the cockpit sole  and one leg slipped under the traveller and razored my shin to the bone, requiring a hospital visit, surgery,  and a month of antibiotics to clean it up (actually missed a week of work).  I do have a really cool scar.

Granted mid boom travellers are weak sauce and stern travellers are hard to design for such small boats,  but install a midcockpit traveller as far aft as possible so the tripping hazard is minimized.  A Soverel 33 has in about the right spot:

7055046_20190418151957083_1_XLARGE.jpg.41d2634a13b56b8cd648cf761725ed66.jpg

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2 hours ago, ryley said:

Here's one on a Merit 22:

Merit 22

If possible, I think that it is better to make the track longer, especially on a cruising boat which tend to be used often on a beam reach.

27 minutes ago, axolotl said:

Raced on a Merit 25 (& a similar SC27 setup) & midcockpit  mainsheet traveller systems are dangerous.  I slipped stepping over from the stern from the cockpit sole  and one leg slipped under the traveller and razored my shin to the bone, requiring a hospital visit, surgery,  and a month of antibiotics to clean it up (actually missed a week of work).  I do have a really cool scar.

 

 

Why would you want to step over it? It kind of separate the cockpit in 2 with helmsman having a bit of cockpit with no interference.

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6 minutes ago, Panoramix said:

If possible, I think that it is better to make the track longer, especially on a cruising boat which tend to be used often on a beam reach.

Why would you want to step over it? It kind of separate the cockpit in 2 with helmsman having a bit of cockpit with no interference.

Yep, the further aft a cockpit traveller is better,  worst is one right in front of the companionway hatch, where access below is dangerous during jibes where you can get whipsawed by the mainsheet.

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4 minutes ago, Laser1 said:

Just throwing this in here for comparison and as an idea. Boat is 24 ft. With the OP's full cockpit not quite feasible. Talk about a trip hazard ;)

 

WP_20180328_15_19_03_Pro.jpg

Wow that's ugly.

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13 minutes ago, axolotl said:

Yep, the further aft a cockpit traveller is better,  worst is one right in front of the companionway hatch, where access below is dangerous during jibes where you can get whipsawed by the mainsheet.

There are few absolutes in sailboats.

Traveller aft has some pluses and some minuses.

Among the minuses are:

Reduced scope of traveller

Increased mainsheet tail (more cockpit spaghetti0

I've heard stories of helmsman getting tangled up in the mainsheet during a gybe (may be an urban legend or more applicable to wheel steered boats, IDK)

 

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2 minutes ago, axolotl said:

Wow that's ugly.

That's one way of putting it but that's how they are made.  Helming and having your mainsheet behind you is not quite ergonomic but like the OP not a lot of space to put it anywhere else.

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50 minutes ago, 12 metre said:

I've heard stories of helmsman getting tangled up in the mainsheet during a gybe (may be an urban legend or more applicable to wheel steered boats, IDK)

I've been there too. I was trying the gybe method of grabbing the whole of the mainsheet and pulling the main over by hand. Several times as the boom came across and the sheet went taut I ended up half strangled.

The way it's setup now, the main basically runs at an angle from above and in front of my head to about shoulder height behind me. Perfect angle to make my throat uncomfortable.

Since then I've realized how much more I like just sheeting the main in tight before I gybe, then easing it on to the other side.

I think I'm going either with mid cockpit just forward of the lockers, or a new car and leaving it where it is but adding some turning blocks.

I'm not super excited about the mid cockpit idea. I don't race, I use the boat mostly for pleasure daysailing with my girl or girl and guests. Having the traveler in the middle of the cockpit is going to make a tight cockpit even tighter. I can also easily see some young guest getting their fingers caught in something.

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6 hours ago, CruiserJim said:

I know, right?  He's made of different stuff than me, that's for sure. 

My early Santana 20 had a cockpit spanning traveler just in front of the tiller.  It worked great, it was easy for the helmsman to manage.  When sailing with crew it was fine.  If I was single handing or just had a single crew member who was otherwise engaged, then the traveler was an obstacle to me reaching the jib sheets, the winches were on the aft end of the cabin top.   On the OP's boat the winches are farther aft along the cockpit, so this might not be an issue.   I'd suggest taking the boat for a sail short handed and pay close attention to what you need to reach when sailing and whether a cockpit-spanning traveler would interfere with it.  Also consider how you use the boat and cockpit when not sailing.  Then make your choice. Everything on a boat is a trade off.  

Now Santana 20’s with the old style deck are sailed with all three crew in the center cockpit leaving the main sheet traveler behind the helmsman.  

Singlhanding.  Its a real joy steering with your the foot while trimming the jib sheet.  But the cockpit is small enough that it is doable.  (Cause I do it all the time)  

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19 minutes ago, Santana20AE said:

Now Santana 20’s with the old style deck are sailed with all three crew in the center cockpit leaving the main sheet traveler behind the helmsman.  

Singlhanding.  Its a real joy steering with your the foot while trimming the jib sheet.  But the cockpit is small enough that it is doable.  (Cause I do it all the time)  

Now that you mention it, I do remember sitting forward of the traveler when racing, at least in some conditions.   Been a long time, I remember doing the ‘82 nationals on Canyon Lake in Tx.  I might have done ‘83 also, but I was phasing out in the early-mid ‘80s.  Ancient history now.    I’ve seen pictures of the new deck but never seen one in person. Looks like a good improvement. .  

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10 hours ago, CruiserJim said:

Now that you mention it, I do remember sitting forward of the traveler when racing, at least in some conditions.   Been a long time, I remember doing the ‘82 nationals on Canyon Lake in Tx.  I might have done ‘83 also, but I was phasing out in the early-mid ‘80s.  Ancient history now.    I’ve seen pictures of the new deck but never seen one in person. Looks like a good improvement. .  

I am wishing we had a new deck for our Santana.  She is getting quite old and very tired.  The deck is suffering, the hull, and the rest of her is not too bad.  It seems that WD Schock is only building the new Harbor series and no longer builds major parts for the little boat.  Still it is good that they continue to remain in business.

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My last boat (24ft) had the traveller spanning the cockpit just in front of the tiller.  It was very easy and instinctive to be playing the traveller while driving.  It did divide up the cockpit, but it never occurred to me that it was inconvenient.

I am amazed that your stern rail has survived with the traveller running along it.  Especially given the sheeting angle that you have.  I would have thought the rail would have bent a long time ago, although maybe you are not using much sheet tension.  It is definitely a set-up that I would not like to race with.

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On 3/20/2020 at 6:55 PM, 12 metre said:

I've heard stories of helmsman getting tangled up in the mainsheet during a gybe (may be an urban legend or more applicable to wheel steered boats, IDK)

The only time I've ever witnessed this was back during a Fall Off Soundings, had to have been mid to late 80s. Reinhard Sarges decided to set a chute on his Pearson 30 on a gnarly day going into Gardiner's Bay. We were trailing by not that far with white sails on a Pearson Wanderer when Salud broached hard but couldn't gybe because of a preventer on the main, which was now pinning the boat on its side. Reinhard was thrown forward and got his head into the main sheet and got yanked back just before someone sawed through the preventer with a knife. We thought we'd be picking up MOBs but everyone managed to stay on the boat. 

I was told at the party that after everything was sorted Reinhard wanted to put the kite back up and it may have been the only time that his crew mutinied and told him no.

but yeah, that's a wheel-steered boat.

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