Traveler Blocks

Having such an old boat has it’s advantages and disadvantages. One thing we grapple with is sailing with old rigging: no boom vang and no way to control our traveler. The 1967 Tartan 27 traveler is a beautiful bronze track with a bronze car and stops at both ends. That’s it. Under sail it is nearly impossible to move or trim, so though we learned to try to adjust the sheeting angle when coming about, when the tension is least, we finally broke down a couple of years ago a built a traveler blocking system. One option would have been to replace our old bronze with a new track and blocks, the other option was to figure out a way to modify the system by adding blocks and cam cleats. We loved the bronze and chose the latter. After some thinking and good advise from Ernie, the solution seemed obvious enough. The design was to build wood platforms at the ends of the track at a height such that the line coming from blocks added to the track car would have a good angle without rubbing on the traveler or the coamings. This required a nice size chunk of wood. I had some maple in the garage and feeling lazy about driving to Westchester to find some teak the right size, I cut the maple down and glued 4 planks together, cut and shaped the platforms, and attached the rigging. I made two aluminum plates to use under the deck, and we found some long screws on-line, 3 per platform, to secure the platforms.

What a pleasure it is to sail with a traveler that can actually be trimmed. Unfortunately the maple didn’t last. We never sealed the wood well enough, water got under the rigging and bolts, so this year’s project is to rebuild the starboard platform with teak. Never use maple.

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One Response to Traveler Blocks

  1. Pingback: Traveler setup? - SailNet Community

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