Originally Posted by seasidesis
The traveller was stuck. It's as old as the boat, but the main seemed to be just right. I guess, the guys I've been sailing with move traveller around a lot which made me think I should be experimenting too. Much safer to keep it secured tightly in the center.
Sis - Take your time learning
advanced sheeting - It takes years to master and I admit I am a complete noob.
I had a great opportunity a few weeks ago to sail with one of our islands better sailors. I observed a great deal while, travelers, halyards, outhauls, cunninghams, vangs, downhauls etc. were tweaked at various points of sail.
call the first night we were chatting and I told the skipper
the reason I was sailing with him was to learn "sail shaping" and then I proceeded to ask him about it. He basically said, "I don't think about it any more. It's all instinct." I didn't press him further because he was buying
but the next day I did ask at various times while we were sailing what he was doing.
I guess a fundamental "swing thought" is this. Downwind and light airs = loose. Upwind and heavy airs = tight.
In specific use of the traveler, don't sweat it. Keep it centered for now but think about this.
As the boom nears the center of the boat the main sheet is pulling "down" more than towards the windward side. Pulling "down" on the boom tightens the aft end of the sail and takes out twist (i.e. flattens the leech) - In light airs you like a more curved shape to "hold" more air. The vang does the same thing but that is the control preferred for controlling twist. In heavy airs (tight) you want the vang tight, which pulls the boom down and takes twist out of the leech.
In normal to light airs you'd like the boom in the middle of the boat without taking to much twist out of the leech. Moving the traveler to the high side improves the angle at which the main sheet is pulling.
So you will see in light to medium airs the mainsheet is not used much when beating to windward. You want to be close to the wind
all the way up the course so what you will see is the traveler on the high side and after a tack the traveler moved to the new high side to keep the boom in the middle of the boat.
As the winds strengthen the first adjustment is usually to let the traveler out a bit and move the boom to leeward to take some power off. Then the mainsheet will be used if necessary.
Other controls on the main that are all important include the backstay, the outhaul
, the cunningham and the vang. These controls work in combo to get every last tweak from the wind
, usually for racing
. However, for daysailing keep it simple.
The important thought for day sailing
is the swing thoughts above.
Sorry to be long winded but this stuff is fascinating to me...