Highlander Rigging Roundup
Take a Trip with the Traveler
By: Mike Perakis
Imagine yourself cruising up the last windward leg at the Highlander Intergalactic Championships, you've just cruised right by the whole fleet downwind in a monster puff. Now you have to keep your lead, but, you keep getting slammed with more huge puffs. If only you had cleaned up the traveler Thursday night at home!! You can't keep the boat flat and you are passed by all the boats you just smoked. Tough day.
The best way keep the boat flat when overpowered (any time the boat tips over too much) is to de-power the main. It's huge, and the person who can de-power it the best will prosper. That's where the traveler comes in. Most boats already have the bridle traveler arrangement installed. Those with the older bar traveler would be sacrificing nothing converting to the bridle set-up. Less weight, easier de-powering, better light air performance and nothing to get the mainsheet caught on in jibes. The picture should be pretty clear. The biggest decision is whether or not to use a swivel block for the lower mainsheet block. I would recommend a non-swivel to eliminate twisting right from the start.
As usual, use the smallest Spectra line you can handle. It will pay off in reduced friction.
The cleat on the floor is the traveler height adjustment. The correct height is found in your sailmaker's tuning guide (18"-22" is pretty close). The two other lines are for the in-and-out adjustment of the traveler. These lead to the side decks for easy adjustment.
Using the traveler is a feel thing. When the boat starts to heel, ease the traveler first to keep it flat. If the boat flattens out, trim the traveler back in. Repeat. If easing the traveler isn't enough, ease the mainsheet. It takes some getting used to, but is well worth the effort.
Happy sailing, see you in the Spring.