The Traveler

I’ve been meaning to write this blog for a while because this was the first major project we undertook in which we didn’t have someone do it 100% for us.  The Traveler.

In a nutshell the traveler is what allows the mail sail boom to be situated to accommodate the wind direction, plus you can control tension on the boom so it does not swing willy nilly when sailing.  The traveler and the respective parts experience tremendous forces so we didn’t want to skimp here.  Needless to say the sad state of the original traveler would just not do.

Top pic: The old traveler Support Post Side view of traveler - old & busted

Top pic:
The original traveler – the metal thing spanning the front of the sea hood.
Original support post
Side view of traveler – old & busted

There are quite a few ways to set up a traveler and originally on Serenity it was via 4 beefy posts bolted through the deck, with a teak “bridge” spanning the posts, then the traveler is bolted to the teak bridge. Other boats have no bridge; just support posts just at the ends, with arm thingies for added support and bolting to the traveler.  We decided to keep the original bridge configuration because of how our sea hood fits, and because most likely we will affix the dodger to the aft facing part of the bridge.

The original bolts for the support posts didn’t come through the headliner = not visible inside, however we were able to access all the nut ends of the bolts via inside the boat.  Inside the boat we removed the teak beauty strips(used to hide the headliner seams), plus one little triangle of teak, then carefully bent back the headliner and pow, there were the nuts. EZ PZ to now unbolt.  We had some trepidation when we removed the original bolts for the support posts because we didn’t know what we’d encounter; rotten wood, rusted bolts, or what.  We were very pleasantly surprised there was none of the above.  Tim filled in the holes with thickened epoxy and we were ready for the installation.

We enlisted the help of a local rigger Mac.  Mac came out, measured, discussed options, measured again then went on his way to get the mahogany bridge started.  We had already decided on the Garhauer MT-2 CT-TP traveler and heavy duty risers.  Tim also picked up 9, 60-13 single blocks.  Shiny, beefy monsters. I heart them.

New blocks.  Yeah baby.

New blocks. Yeah baby.

After a 6 week delay because some dicksack stole the traveler from Mac’s truck, all parts finally arrived. Mac, his assistant James, and Tim get to it.  After palavering about clearances, placement of the risers, and other sundry stuff holes were drilled in the roof.  Holes in boats.  Yipes.

We decided to do the bolts all the way through versus just through the core as per the original traveler = the nuts/bolts hidden by the headliner in the inside  As much for ease of installation and also to be able to inspect the plates for leaks.

The starboard side went in no problem, bolting in very nicely.  We decided not to cut the teak beauty strip. It’s just too pretty.


Starboard side backing plate; located over the galley.

The port side was a different matter.  See, the solid teak door for the quarterberth has zero clearance with the ceiling when fully opened.  Due to the curvature of the ceiling it has about 1/8″ to 1/4″ clearance when swinging shut.  Cutting the door to accommodate the bolts was absolutely not an option, which was expressed to Mac and Tim in no uncertain terms.  Bless their hearts.  Luckily only 1 bolt was too long so Tim figured it out; just hack saw off the extra length and use a regular nut.  The nut/bolt doesn’t interfere with the door, and is door is still beautiful since no chunk was removed from it.  Win win my friends.

Port side backing plate.  Notice bolt in lower right is shorter to accommodate the door.

Port side backing plate. Notice bolt in lower right is shorter to accommodate the door.

TA-DA!  The new traveler.  Works like a charm!

New traveler and varnished mahogany bridge.

New traveler and varnished mahogany bridge.

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