|Somewhat similar to this, the "old-style non-CB Harken track (supplied until 2002)"|
As mentioned previously, we have a new mainsail, updated nav lights and both a beefy vang and mainsheet. The missing upgrade was the traveller through-bolted to the deck. We had been using the one that came with the boat. an elderly Harken model that had no blocks for traveller control lines, but rather had just a set of spring-loaded pins that could center the car on some part of the track, but not quickly and not easily under load. In fact, although it was cambered nicely to the curve of the deck, I considered it a bit dangerous in anything but light air in terms of finger-crushing potential and the likelihood of forceful boom movement.
|This is the "MT-2" traveller from Garhauer. Beautifully made, and no nonsense.|
Evidently, I knew that I would one day have to tackle this deficient bit of kit, as I ordered from the redoubtable Garhauer firm a beefy traveller way back in 2007. Better late than never, I suppose, and the upside is that the Canadian dollar with which I paid for it was worth about 20 cents more in that year than currently. So I have that, which is nice.
|Some random tools of the "most resorted to" kind. Yes, that's blood on the spanner. I'm not fooling around.|
I got a warm feeling from the Garhauer company almost immediately. Their very plain, "cheap seats" booth at the Toronto Boat Show is usually manned by the company president, who wears suspenders and seems well past retirement age. Their gear is, however, opposite of what a racer would favour: all heavy, mostly metal and easy to service, their blocks and other line-handling gear are all over Alchemy at this stage. Speaking of "service', however, I was most favourably impressed, lo, those many years ago, when the firm's fabricator in small-town California, Guido, phoned me in Toronto from a distant suburb of Los Angeles, where the Garhauer factory sits buried among carpet remnant outlets, donut shops and other single-storey sheds. I guess that's how they save money. Seems to work for them. Anyway, Guido, and I have to stress this, the man who was actually fabricating my traveller that very day, asked me if I wanted 1/4" or 5/16" holes on four-inch centers. Well, I didn't really know, but I figured even then "bigger traveller, beefier fasteners", so I said five-sixteenths would do the trick. Apparently, Guido phones a lot of people when the crumpled carbon paper he's handed by the guy who takes the money at the boat show finally reaches him. Still, all credit to the Americans, who are very good with customer service in a way often lacking in my passive-aggressive homeland.
|Some surface corrosion, but pretty good under the insulation|
|The tape is to keep the deck-side paint from dripping.|
|Mrs. Alchemy, a daub hand with a brush.|
|She advances, masking|
|Yeah, that crappy box on the binnacle's getting binned.|
|This stuff is amenable to power tools, but take your time. It can melt.|
|"Making a list" has a different, secondary meaning aboard.|
|Prior to final fitting, this is the "starboard bridge". The dots are where the bolt holes go.|
The fabrication, done with table and chop saw, drill press and belt sander, took some time, but worked well.
|From the top. Yes, I had to redrill the end one. Lucky I have so much 4200.|
|The grooves hold beads of sealant. It all helps.|
After careful, if unavoidably messy, application of sealant, I put it all together with Mrs. Alchemy wielding a screwdriver above and me, with nuts, washers and a big socket wrench, below. And two family band radios, and with each bolt numbered, so I could tell her when I was ready to dog down. We are hauled out next to an airport: it can get very noisy.
This was an entirely deliberate choice based on ergonomics. Most of the time at sea while on passage, we will be under sail but with either windvane or autopilot engaged with the steering duties. This area is already filled with various sheets and control lines and the traveller is used less often and usually in the context of mainsail tweaking. The exception to this is of course a surprise squall or sudden wind shift which can load up the main and cause uncomfortable or even damaging heeling. In that case, the ends of both the traveller car control lines and the mainsheet itself are "to hand" from the pilothouse; the main can be spilled very quickly, after which the autopilot or vane can be adjusted to the new conditions. The control lines, which are 20 feet a side of 3/8" Dyneema core, can be coiled on the otherwise empty bridgedeck. It's no big deal to operate them from behind the wheel if needed, but reducing deck clutter at that helm is important. I am considering adding a third pair of winches back there so I have a pair for warps, drogues and stern anchor use, another idea that's a blast from the past. More currently, I'm also installing a second throttle/shifter in that area. So it's going to be a busy place!
|Moorings never sleep, and neither does their rust. On duty with "the Committee".|
|Water can slosh underneath the "support posts" and if I get a leak, I'll know fairly quickly from which hole.|
|Starboard side. I think I prefer a straight traveller. It's something to grab.|
|Some careful razor work required to get the excess squish away.|