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WHATZIT...Sailing canoe hardware

Discussion in 'Canoe Sailing' started by Michael Grace, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    What do you think is the function of this piece of hardware? It's from an old double-masted sailing canoe. I've heard some varying opinions... more ideas? Winner will receive... hmmmm.... something... or maybe not.

    This piece is mounted to the kingplank on the rear deck near the stern, just above the drop rudder. The mount is to the stern, with the hollow tube pointing toward the bow. The set screw enters a slot in the base of the tube piece, allowing the tube to swivel about 30 degrees left and right of the canoe's midline.

    M
     

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  2. Mark Adams

    Mark Adams all wood nut

    Dunno what it is, but it is sexy! Nicely done bit of hardware!
     
  3. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    It is, without doubt, a dandy (mizzen) traveller and a rather nice one at that. The idea is that you run your dandy sheet through it, and it allows you to haul the sheet in without bringing the boom to dead center. I do believe it is a Paul Butler invention (same fellow who invented the sliding seat and Butler jam cleat). There is a good description of it in the Forest & Stream article that describes Butler's Fly.

    The tube should point to the stern, so if it is presently mounted bow forward, it is on backwards. Don't feel bad, I know of a Vesper that has one mounted bass-ackwards too...

    Dan
     
  4. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    Here is a scan from the Fly article in Forest & Stream.
     

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  5. Mark Adams

    Mark Adams all wood nut

    Trust Dan to know. The man is a veritable cornucopia of canoe knowledge!
     
  6. OP
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    Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    Good call, Dan. I also believed that it was a dandy traveler, but had heard other ideas. But I wonder about orientation.

    Fly's diagram shows the tube pointing sternward, which would seem to work fine if the traveler were able to freely rotate in its base. In the one I have, however, the set screw limits radial travel to about 30 degrees to the left and right of the centerline. A fixed tube extending from the base would increase the amount of force that the dandy applies to the point where the dandy exists the tube. As the tube gets longer, that force increases. This tube isn't completely fixed, but because it has only a small amount of radial travel, forces could be great enough to damage (bend or break) the hardware. Such forces should be less if the tube were facing toward the bow because the maximum angle of the sheet from the traveler to the sailor should be less than that from the traveler to the boom.

    Maybe the larger question should be why have a tube-type traveler at all? Facing sternward, the tube-type traveler would give mechanical advantage by allowing the sheet to be attached farther out on the boom, but would this be a significant advantage?

    Michael
     
  7. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    The main function of any traveler is to limit upper sail twist and keep more of the sail area working (as opposed to the top twisting to leeward and spilling wind) by allowing a more vertical sheet lead from deck to boom than would be possible with the lower sheeting point located on the deck's centerline. Pointing the tube forward would make no sense, as it eliminates the ability of the fitting to function as a traveler at all. In that case, a simple block on a base, screwed to the centerline, would easily handle the same job. There is also no value in having the sheet directed through a tube after it has already run through the on-deck sheeting point and is on it's way to the sailor.

    Even a modest amount of "traveling room" (perhaps as little as 3"-4") could, in some cases, be fairly valuable - especially if the sail happens to have a big roach (the more sail-chord-width you have up high, the more it's going to want to fall off to leeward and the more valuable a traveler or sheet horse may become).

    Keep in mind as well, that man has been sticking gizmos of one form or another on sailboats with the intention of improving performance for thousands of years. Some work better than others at their intended tasks and some are far more necessary than others. If you're racing, the extra fraction of a knot that you might gain from installing some sort of traveller and keeping more of your sail area working on certain headings might be the difference between winning and losing. For touring, without the benefit of some other boat or boats to measure your speed and angles against, you might not even notice a difference.
     
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    Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    Good points, Todd. Hard to imagine that a tube-type traveler like this really gives a significant advantage over a centrally-mounted block, but I guess advantage is advantage, even if slight. The tube measures 6" in length, and the total swing at the far end is only 4" (2" to either side of the midline). Not much. But then the end of the tube, when mounted stern-ward, is 36" from the center of the mast. I imagine that this 36" from the mast, plus 2" lateral of the centerline does function fairly effectively decrease twist in the sail.

    I removed the fitting, and it certainly appears that it was always mounted with the tube pointing bow-ward. There's a small bump from casting on the underside of the base, and that bump has left an indention in the wood of the kingplank that indicates the base was always mounted as shown in the above photo. Strange... I suppose that if it had been reversed sometime long ago, the wood swelled back where the indention once was, and a new indention was formed in the new position.

    In any case, everything you guys are saying makes good sense. Thanks for the helpful discussion.

    I'll have to post some photos of the forward traveler sometime... it's very nice.

    Michael
     
  9. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    Echoing what Todd said, don't think of the mizzen traveler as giving you greater mechanical advantage (simple blocks are sufficient for that). Rather, you are controlling sail shape and attitude. In general, the flatter your sail is, the more effective it is. This is accomplished by drawing the boom downwards. Also, to be effective the sail needs to not be aligned with the centerline of the canoe. As I discovered the first time I sailed a 16/30, doing this turns the mizzen into a weathervane, and prevents you from tacking.

    By running the sheet through the swiveling traveler, you can haul down on the boom without bringing it towards the centerline. How much so is defined by the length of the tube and how far it is allowed to swivel.

    Again, as Todd pointed out, these sorts of things were invented by the racing crowd for incremental advantage. That they didn't see widespread use is testament to this.

    To add to the image I posted above, the text adds additional info, including the rationale for the device, as well as a note that, while not shown, the traveler on Fly did have a stop that permitted it to swing through 120 degrees.

    Cheers,
    Dan

    PS... so what curiousity abounds - what canoe is this on, and what other uses were proposed???
     
  10. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    Bad form to follow up, but nevermind - I know the canoe (though photos anyway), but I still want to know the other proposed purposes...
     
  11. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    Really, really bad form, but here I go anyway -

    What if the fellow who installed it didn't understand how it was supposed to work? As I said above, it's not the first one I've seen installed backwards.

    I don't recall if this canoe has a rig? If so, where is the sheet attached to the mizzen boom relative to the location of the traveler?
     
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    Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    Hi Dan,

    The canoe is the supposed Jepson, though I have yet to find any Jepson, whether a builder of boats or a maker of boat hardware.

    The canoe does have a rig, but it's not readily accessible. Maybe later this weekend... I've got a canoe restoration party this weekend, so maybe while we're pulling out boats we can access that rig. It should be apparent that I haven't sailed this canoe... yet.

    Michael
     
  13. OP
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    Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    I couldn't easily find a protractor, so I calculated the angle from the tube length and travel. The total angular movement of this traveler (6" length, 2" lateral travel each way square to the centerline) is only 39 degrees (19.5 degrees to the left and 19.5 degrees to the right of the centerline). Not much! Eyeballing the movement, this seems about right... I was overestimating before when I said 30 degrees each way.

    Michael
     
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    Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    I promised to get a photo of the other traveler posted, but then go so busy I forgot. Anyway, here it is... same canoe.

    M
     

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  15. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    That's pretty nifty - but... sure brings up a lot more questions! For example, why the reverse curve on the traveler? Not something you see usually. And why a clamp-on unit on a canoe like this? It's the only one I've seen like this. I don't recall ever seeing a decked canoe where the cleats weren't fastened to the side decks for the most part, and sometimes to the inside surface of the coaming. Whatever lines are cleated below the traveler would have to break over the coaming, and would be awkward to manage while under sail. The central fairlead - any idea what that was for? Does the centerboard have a line for remote control?

    Do the scars suggest the traveler plate was always mounted this side forward? Seems like the cleats would be for mainsail lines, and would be more effective if they were the other way forward. Do we know if it was a standing rig or if there were halyards?

    Nonetheless, nice row of Butler cleats - a similar one was my first project in the last round of bronze casting at the Museum.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Dan
     
  16. ahimsakid

    ahimsakid Damp Yankee in Tejas

    To me this is sweet sweet canoe jewlery, gizomotic grace cast, drilled, and mounted to please the eye in the name of function, any function.
    I've been diagnosed with a severe compulsion to squeeze any bit of old bronze or brass on my canoe. Blocks, traveller, padeyes, cleats, rod holders, leeboard brackets. If it's pretty--and pretty functional--so much the better.
    Call me when you post it on Ebay Michael :)
     

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