Running Rigging

Project Logs

December 29, 2011

The traveler has been installed for a couple months now.  It was a decision between using the old mainsheet blocks or adding a traveler.  When I first bought my Bristol 27, it had a traveler and I also asked other Bristol 27 owners (via our Facebook group) as to what they would prefer.  I would say the majority of other B27 owners actually liked the mainsheet, dual block system that originally came with the B27.  A few did prefer the traveler and mentioned it’s ability to better go upwind.  I was a torn about this decision, because it would be far simpler to use the existing mounts for mainsheet blocks than to install a traveler.   I also wasn’t a big fan of how much room the traveler might take up in the cockpit.  Further, I liked the price of buying two blocks compared to an entire traveler system.  In the end, I decided to go with a traveler, here’s why:

My reasoning aside, here’s how the actual construction of my traveler went:
  1. Determine Location – There are a number of places one can place a traveler including the cabin top, bridgedeck, aft portion of cockpit seats or lazarette area.  I decided on the aft portion of the cockpit seats, in about the same location as the previous traveler had been.  The other choices weren’t as enticing.  For example, The cabin top wasn’t a good choice, because I didn’t have much room up there and it would also likely interfere with my dodger.  Further, the traveler is best placed at the end of the boom for most amount of purchase.  The bridge-deck was also never really a consideration, because they would interfere with movement in and out of the boat and also remove a nice seat.  The lazarette area was a possibility, but it would require modifying the lazarette locker lid and that seemed like too much engineering.
  2. Prepare the Area – Previously, I had repaired some core rot in this area and faired the cockpit seat.  At that time, I hadn’t planned on adding a traveler, but since my decision changed, I needed to grind back the area where the traveler would be mounted so as to have a good surface to attach the traveler.
  3. Cut the Traveler and Mattress Blocks – I used a single piece of white oak for the traveler itself.  I first templated the piece, then cut the traveler and made sure it fit properly.  I also took the opportunity to create the mattress blocks which will create a little lip to support the teak cockpit grate when it is raised up to create a full mattress in the cockpit.  Here’s an image of the traveler freshly cut and set in place:
  4. Install Fasteners – The traveler was fastened with 4 #10 bolts on both the port and starboard sides (8 total).  Before I tightened down the fasteners, I put some 406/403 thickened epoxy between the cockpit seat and the traveler.  Then, as the fasteners were tightened down, the epoxy squeezed out a bit and insured a very strong bond.
  5. Thicken Mattress Blocks – Once the traveler was fastened/thickened in place, I thickened the mattress blocks in place as well so that they would stay in place when workign the area with fiberglass and epoxy.
  6. Glass and Fair –  With the traveler and mattress blocks in place, I cut the fiberglass necessary for the installation and went to work with epoxy and fiberglass.  While the fiberglass was still tacky, I took the opportunity to put down my first layer of fairing.  Here’s an image of how things came together:
In the future, I’ll be completing fairing of the traveler as well as cutting the slots in the mattress blocks, but first I’ll need to complete construction of the cockpit combings.



Boom Vang
Hardware – Blocks, Cleats, Fairleads & Hanks
Hardware – Winches
Roller Furling
  • Since these systems can malfunction, the most seamanlike arrangement is to have a forestay on which you can hank a staysail as a backup, should the furler fail.  (Desirable and Undesirable Characteristics of Offshore Yachts, p. 202)
  • One problem area for the typical roller-furling system appears with a short-luffed jib. Usually, a pendant must be rigged between the furler’s top swivel and the sail’s head in order to position the swivel near the halyard sheave. This pendant creates an angle between the swivel and the jib halyard sheave, which prevents the swivel from turning with the stay and causing he halyard to wrap around the stay. Eventually, either the halyard breaks or the stay is wisted and kinked. The solution is to raise the jib foot pendant so that the swivel and the head alike are positioned near the halyard sheave.  (Desirable and Undesirable Characteristics of Offshore Yachts, p. 202)
  • Another common difficulty is that crew embers sometimes leave unused jib or spinnaker halyards near the stay, and the halyards are wrapped up when the sail if furled or unfurled. Eventually, the stay will twist. Obviously, then, all unused halyards must be kept at the mast.  (Desirable and Undesirable Characteristics of Offshore Yachts, p. 202)
  • Forestays with roller reefing sails flex the most, especially when motoring into head seas with the sails furled. At these times, toggles at the head of the stay are as important as at the foot.  (Cruising Handbook, p. 62)
  • A roller-reefing jib or genoa is almost a foregone conclusion on a modern cruising boat. Roller reefers have been refined to the point that – assuming proper installation – they are not only reliable, but also reasonably long lived. Nevertheless, they add weight aloft, they make it just about impossible to flatten a reefed sail for windward work in heavier airs, they make sail changes – if they become necessary – much more difficult than with a hanked on sail…  (Cruising Handbook, p. 64)
  • The critical installation points for minimizing the likelihood of problems are as follows:  (Cruising Handbook, p. 64)
    1. Ensuring adequate toggling of the head stay
    2. Ensuring that the halyard cannot wrap around the headstay when reefing
    3. Providing a fairlead for the reefing line onto the reefing drum
    4. Maintaining a little tension on the line and sail when unfurling and reefing the sail, so that the sail and reefing line both roll up tightly.
  • Halyard wrap is a common problem. It can lead to foil damage, the halyard chafing through or…a failure of the stay. To avoid it, the halyard needs to angle away from the stay at least 10 degrees when the sail is fully hoisted. When this is not possible, the addition of a proprietary halyard stop (supplied with some roller reefers) provides a measure of insurance. If sails of different size will be used on the same roller reefer, the smaller sails should be fitted with pendants – lengths of line or cable at the top and/or bottom of the luff (that allow the upper swivel of the roller reefer to hoist to approximately the same position as with the large sails. This maintains a consistent angle between the halyard and the stay.  (Cruising Handbook, p. 64)
  • …for offshore work, a roller reefer should be oversized compare to one intended for day sailing. It is best to buy a proven brand such as Furlex, Harken, profurl, Reckmann or Schaefer.  (Cruising Handbook, p. 65)
  • …the current generation of jib furlers deliver exactly what they promise – easy headsail handling without the need to go forward, plus sail shape even better than hank-on because the luff is fully attached. And they are as dependable as a diesel engine.  (This Old Boat, p. 128)
  • As for the angle the halyard makes with the stay, if it is less than about 7 – 8 degrees, you run the risk of the dreaded halyard wrap – the halyard winding around the foil when you furl the sail. This will – at a minimum – jam the furlor and may damage the foil, the halyard, and even the stay. On an old boat you should anticipate the need to install a halyard restrainer near the top of the mast to force the correct halyard geometry. The halyard swivel should be within 3 – 4” of the top of the foil with every sail you hoist on the furler,which requires similar hoist lengths. you achieve this by adding a wire pendant to the top or bottom (or both) of any sail that is too short.  (This Old Boat, p. 129)
Sail Containment
  • Lazy Jacks I – One of the best ways to control sails being lowered is by way of lazy jacks. these lines are led from the boom to a point on the mast; they run on both sides of the sail so when it is lowered it naturally flakes on top of the boom and doesn’t tumble down over the deck. As you may want to control their tension, they should be led to a single line – perhaps to the topping lift – that runs through a block on the mast and down to a cleat. The other lines can be run under the boom or terminated to strap eyes screwed into the boom. The number of lines depends on the sail.  (Upgrading the Cruising Sailboat, p. 213)
  • Lazy Jacks II – …many people still use the traditional, inexpensive, and very seamanlike system of lazyjacks. These are light lines running from aloft on the mast to two or three spots on the boom. When the sail is dropped it is automatically contained in the bights of the lines and so kept off the deck and out of the crew’s way until they have time to do a proper furl.  (Desirable and Undesirable Characteristics of Offshore Yachts)
  • Lazy Jacks III – Lazyjack keep the loose sail from falling off the boom onto the deck. The sail then has to be tidied up and strapped to the boom with a series of sail ties before putting on a cover. Depending on the height of the boom off the deck and boom’s accesibility, this may be easy or something of a chore.


Boom Vang

Page Menu

Comment Form

* = Required field. Also, your email address will not be published.