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Purpose of the Traveler on a DS1?

PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2021 12:45 pm
by Anstigmat
I've been looking at various rigging sets for adding a traveler to my DS1...primarily the ones at the transom using a fixed triangle of line. I would like to have a bit more control when sailing in various conditions as well as reduce heel/risk of capsize during a gust.

Am I understanding the traveler correctly? I have one year of sailing experience with the basic DS1 set up and a lot of reading things, so admittedly I am at best a novice. Sometimes it's just the best thing to simply ask some more experienced folks...what is this thing supposed to do?

I don't race, just sail in Maine on a big river and bay that opens up into the ocean. I want to increase performance in a variety of conditions and reduce risk, since I'm often alone and even when not, my wife doesn't quite have the bug/is aware we can capsize.

Re: Purpose of the Traveler on a DS1?

PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2021 1:30 pm
by GreenLake
The main change to get more control in gust response would be to add or upgrade your vang. Minimum useful one is 12:1, and 20:1 isn't uncommon.

A vang will put the same tension on your leech no matter the sheeting angle.

That means, as you let out mainsheet, the trim of the sail is (mostly) unaffected. In particular, the boom can't rise, and the sail will stay flat. It won't get a belly and suddenly power up when you want to depower your rig to meet a gust. For that, you'll use the vang even if sailing upwind, a technique called vang sheeting.

This works, even if you adjust the vang infrequently, but for better performance, now that you rely on the vang to set the sail shape, you'll want to be able to control the vang underway.

Adding a traveler into that mix further decouples the mainsheet from the action of the vang by changing the angle of the pull. Instead of pulling the boom towards the middle of the boat (or mostly down at small sheeting angles), for much of the range the leeward leg of the triangle is slack and the sheet therefore pulls the boom towards the stern quarter, or more sideways. Even when both legs are tight, the apex of the traveler sits higher and therefore the angle of the mainsheet would be less steep, and the pull a bit more sideways than without.

If your boat is rigged for centerboom sheeting, I wouldn't rush out to change that. Not unless you've first rigged a proper vang.

Re: Purpose of the Traveler on a DS1?

PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2021 7:53 pm
by Anstigmat
I don't think I am confident enough to assemble my own vang....I know of the DR Marine 3:1, but I also found this Harken 12:1. What do you think of this kit? Seems suitable for the DS1? ... y-vang-kit

Re: Purpose of the Traveler on a DS1?

PostPosted: Fri Dec 31, 2021 5:09 am
by GreenLake
Well, the 3:1 is useless for upwind work. It's fine to control your boom going downwind, but that's not what you are interested in primarily.

The 12:1 should work, but I can't figure out from the abbreviated description how it's supposed to be rigged. You may have better luck on the Harken site for that info.

Looks like the system is designed as a 3:1 purchase with a 4:1 cascade for a 3x4 = 12:1 total power. Cascades are simple. Just a floating single block with a line through it, that's attached on one end to a fixed point, and is pulled at the other end by some purchase (or by another stage of the cascade). Adding a stage to a cascade multiplies power by 2.

Also looks like the purchase for that kit is set up like a fiddle block with multiple sheaves on separate pins in line (as opposed to on a single pin in parallel). Should work fine. But I'd be happier seeing an actual diagram or picture of it assembled.

Mine is different, I'm using a 6:1 purchase (with sheaves in parallel) I got from Ronstan (?) also with an integrated cam cleat. Then I added a single stage of a cascade (one single floating block) for a 6x2=12:1. Mine doesn't have the nice swivel for the cleat. However, as I purchased the items separately, it was a bit cheaper than the kit.

Overall, it's not really rocket science, but a bit of basic reading up on how to rig purchases and cascades won't be amiss, even if you end up using a kit.

If you dimension your own, the load is strongest on the block on the outer stage of your cascade. For a DS, I think you'd want to be in the 500-800 # range for safe working load for that one. The next stage is already less loaded by a factor of 2, and basically most gear would support the 250-400 # required. I think those are the correct numbers, but be good to not rely on me remembering them off the top of my head, but please double check which end of the range is needed.

The line that runs through the outer block on a cascade is essentially doubled, so needs to only hold 250-400# (half of what the block needs to hold). You will find that relatively thin line will do, and especially if you use Dyneema (Amsteel) the minimally required diameters may be easily exceeded. Just make sure it's something that runs easily through blocks so friction doesn't kill you.

Re: Purpose of the Traveler on a DS1?

PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2022 1:02 pm
by MikexB
I got into 20+mph gusts the other day. The boom rose and the main curved while on a beam reach. I had my hands full! I knew about vangs but hadn't had enough wind to want to pursue one. Now, I'm motivated!

Being relatively new to sailing and not a racer, many of the technical references go over my head. I found a page on Ronstan's website that provides vang configurations, illustrations, specs, and part numbers:

The parts to attach a vang to the boom and mast are not included. A standard boom bail attaches to the boom (or mast) with two screws. That might not be strong enough and could put a lot of stress on a small area of the boom. There are reinforcement plates that spread the load. There are internal boom bails that are more secure but require more effort to install. These won't work on the mast because of the track. There are track-mounted bails (lugs) that might fit the mast. It would be helpful to know how others have successfully attached vangs to their Daysailers.

I did find a recommendation to make the angle of the vang between 30 and 45 degrees. At less than 45 degrees, the distance from the gooseneck along the boom is greater than along the mast. Again, it would be helpful to know the mounting locations others chose.

I hope that helps!


Re: Purpose of the Traveler on a DS1?

PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2022 4:17 pm
by GreenLake

first: don't overthink this. The diagrams from Ronstan are very helpful. What I have is their 12:1 system.


This one is number 8 on the page you have linked. Their load rating is 990#, which seems fine to me (but I'm not a professional rigger, so any discussion here cannot be considered professional advice). The 6:1 that is part of it is rated at 880#, which means that the single block is the "weak" spot, which is as it should be (easier to replace than either boom or 6:1 purchase).

They suggest Dyneema for the cascade part, which I tend to agree with, but anything with a SWL of 990#/2 should be OK. More, if you want to account for loss of strength in splices or knots. The line in the 6:1 purchase never gets loaded much, so you can use almost anything that runs w/ little friction and is easy to grip.

(You could also do the 20:1, similar to what's shown in #6, that's what a lot of people have, but I'm not sure you need to use wire like they suggest; if in doubt, spelunk here in the forum to read older descriptions of vang setups.)

You won't be able to get 45° given the geometry on the DS. If your mast is standard length (has not been cut down by you or a P.O.) then you should be fine mounting the bottom a close to the deck as you can manage and the top about 3' along the boom. That should give you perhaps 30° if you are lucky. That seems to work out for me.

A neat method for attaching the vang to the mast is to use an eyestrap at the front (!) of the mast and to tie a loop. The purpose of the strap is just to keep the loop from sliding up, while most of the force is held by the mast itself. That means a very ordinary eyestrap will do.

For attaching to the boom there are many different options. You could use a U-bail, as you describe, but through-bolted; definitely not using screws. I'm not sure you even need to worry about using a bushing. You could use a fixed strap attached with blind rivets. That's what I use If you do, make sure to fully align the strap with the direction of pull, or it will get bent. Don't ask me how I know. The rivets seem as if they wouldn't be strong enough, but they've held, while the strap got bent. Goes to show you.

Then there's the system where you attach a slot fitting that takes a T-shaped key. Makes for a quick disconnect, but is intended for wire. So you'd need to use wire between the boom and the single block.

Whatever hardware you add to the boom make sure that any dissimilar metals are galvanically isolated (using TefGel). Or corrosion will widen any holes until fasteners pull out.

Re: Purpose of the Traveler on a DS1?

PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2022 6:56 pm
by MikexB

One end of the line going through the single block attaches to one of the triple blocks. Where/how do you attach the other end?

I checked the boom bail for my main sheet and it is a U-bail held in place with 4 blind rivets. That should work for the vang, too. Through bolts on a square tube are challenging. Drilling an oval tube correctly would be really tricky. The slotted mounts you described are called ball attachment plates.

When using an eye strap on the front of the mast, is it mounted vertically with the opening on a horizontal plane? How is the line attached to the triple block?



Re: Purpose of the Traveler on a DS1?

PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2022 3:11 am
by GreenLake
Here you have pictures of my setup.


Mine is different because I can't install a bail or eye on the mast (due to a bit of gear that helps with mast-raising). So I installed a U-bail as part of that contraption, which puts it just a tad behind the mast, but means I didn't have to drill the mast for the through bolt.


The last photo shows the mast-raising sleeve in its down position, but you can see the U-bail. (Click to enlarge). In the deployed position the sleeve flips up and the mast goes through the mesh part. Initially, figuring out how to work around the sleeve setup complicated things a bit for me, but in the end I avoided drilling the mast.

I inverted the arrangement of the vang, because I it gives me a better location better for cleating. Note the shackle with a 90 degree twist near the boom.

The eyestrap arrangement would have the strap vertical (opening for a loop that goes horizontally around the mast and can rotate freely, nothing is tied to the strap). For more details you'll need to locate the posts here on the forum from which I learned about this arrangement - I've not done one myself.

For drilling, a drill press, and perhaps a bit of a jig to position the mast should give satisfactory results. But, again, I have no working examples at hand.

Re: Purpose of the Traveler on a DS1?

PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2022 9:24 pm
by Anstigmat
Well I just placed an order on the Harken 12:1 vang. Just gotta hope it comes with instructions I guess! Still probably going to add a boom kicker and traveler before sailing season...

Re: Purpose of the Traveler on a DS1?

PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2022 11:08 pm
by tomodda
Setting up the vang should be pretty self explanatory, you just need to figure out where it's going to cleat off. And, as you can see from GreenLake's photos, you shouldn't rule out cleating it off by the boom (up top, so to speak). It's just a question of ergonomics, whatever works for you.

Boom kicker, why? What's wrong with a topping lift? For what it's worth, I've led mine "backwards," it's fixed to the the masthead, runs to an open turning block (cheek block) at the far end of the boom and then forward to a cleat at mid-boom. Easy to control for all the things you'd want to use a topping lift for, and easy to get off the boom, thanks to the open turning block. anyway, keep it simple.. at least on my boat, there's no room for a kicker at the bottom of the mast. Too many other things going on.

Ditto traveler, why? Just curious here, it certainly CAN be done, but seems to be overkill to me.

Re: Purpose of the Traveler on a DS1?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2022 8:40 am
by GreenLake
Tom's suggested setup seems the minimally invasive form of topping lift. I've been eying that, but so far have not reached the point where I've convinced myself I need one with the sail up (with the sail down, I can have the main halyard do dual duty, and have).

I can see a potential use in light airs, where letting the boom hang from the main puts too much tension on the leech. One of these days, I'll break down and do a jury-rig to see whether it helps in those situations. As much as possible, that's the way I like to approach setting things up: test the waters with a jury rig to give me a better understanding of how to do a final installation (and whether it might be worth it).

I did jury rig barber inhauls, for example, and was able to observe how they would work before committing.

For a traveler, if you have stern blocks (or at least stern blocks) it's pretty easy to try rigging a fixed triangle (you may need to invest in the block at the apex, and may need to upgrade the block at the end of the boom to one with a becket). If you feel that adds control (even after you have the vang installed) it's an easy thing to make that permanent (and perhaps a bit adjustable).

Like Tom, I doubt the DS has the room for a kicker (it wants to go where the cuddy deck is).

Re: Purpose of the Traveler on a DS1?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2022 12:30 pm
by tomodda
Re: Topping lift, yes... my only use for it in actual sailing is indeed to unload the mains'l leach in light airs, what I call "bellying out the main." I'm eking out a whole tenth of a knot extra speed when I do that, I'm sure. ;-) And the topping lift is great for flying Old Glory on the 4th of July, always fun! Other than that, it's just a "nice to have," keeps the boom from dropping into the cockpit when I'm taking down the main, and makes reefing underway a bit easier. However, the topping lift tends to get hung up on the ends of the battens when I tack, pissing me off to no end. Purely my fault, I tend to snug the line down to keep it "shipshape," when I should be doing the opposite, leave the topping lift with a big bight flying free. And I'm basically using an old clothesline for my topping lift, very rough, and therefore prone to snagging (besides, think of the windage, horrors!). I should probably replace the line with 6mm Dyneema which wont get caught up thanks to being so slippery. I'll need to replace it every few seasons due to UV degradation, but it's relatively cheap, shipping it will cost more than the 25' length I'd need.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents on topping lifts. Nice to have, not need to have. And I definitely have a love/hate relationship with mine

Re: Purpose of the Traveler on a DS1?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2022 3:02 am
by GreenLake
6mm sounds like serious overkill :)

For 2.5 mm in Amsteel Blue you are at a "min strength" of 1300lbs (!!).

You can chafe through most of that and still be able to lift your boom :shock:

Seriously, I would go really light on that line and if you feel you have any issues w/ UV exposure, simply plan on replacing the topping lift. The lighter the line, the more it stays out of the way.

BTW, a 1/10 of a knot in a light air race can be the difference between making it before the time limit . . .

Re: Purpose of the Traveler on a DS1?

PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2022 12:03 am
by tomodda
GreenLake wrote:BTW, a 1/10 of a knot in a light air race can be the difference between making it before the time limit . . .

Well, yes - but I"m not racing. It's a running joke with my usual crew guy, I obsess over sail trim and he rolls his eyes and says "We're going SOOO much faster, at least a tenth of knot". What can I say, I enjoy obsessing about sail trim!

As for a dyneema topping lift, of course it's way overkill. I need to order some 6mm dyneema for more important running rigging that i mean to replace, and an extra 25' for the topping lift won't cost that much. Besides, what with shipping it makes sense to order more.

Re: Purpose of the Traveler on a DS1?

PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2022 2:09 am
by GreenLake
6mm Dyneema is overkill for anything on the DS. . .

You can look it up in my thread ("Rope for various lines") but the only places I went to anything near 6mm was for a short transitionary piece, because I couldn't directly splice the smaller diameter to the double braided tail when I made a Dyneema halyard with a polyester tail (to save a bit of money and get better handling).

6mm is 1/4". I'm doing 3/16" and 1/8" AmSteel and find that fully sufficient for halyards.

For the spin halyard, I chose something different, because I want it symmetric, so I don't have to flip the sheave when I want to launch from the other side.

PS: did you ever work out the minimum diameter Dyneema that would hoist both DS and trailer as well as your towing vehicle ?? :D