Is boom vang needed on cat with long rear traveler track?

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by massandspace, Jan 15, 2018.

  1. massandspace
    Joined: Sep 2017
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    massandspace Junior Member


    I am building a custom mini-cat...27' by 15'.

    It would be very hard to install any type of vang system for the boom on this boat as there is a full pilothouse structure in the way. I was planning on a dual-sheet type of system instead, but recently have been told to just use a track and single problems.

    My question is will that type of system work? The beam of the boat is about 15', and the track can be a maximum length of 9' I need a vang? If so, would the dual mainsheets be a better choice to prevent the boom from rising?

    Thanks for helping....
  2. Blueknarr
    Joined: Aug 2017
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    Blueknarr Senior Member


    I often find it handy to control boom rise separately from boom angle. I have even been known to ease vang and engage topping lift to induce twist.

    The tri I sailed had a series of pad eyes that a temporary vang could be rigged to. Added an extra step to tacks n jibes, but provided greater sail control.
  3. Tom.151
    Joined: Jul 2009
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    Tom.151 Best boat so far? Crowther Twiggy (32')

    A circular track is the way to go if you want to eliminate the vang most effectively - probably don't need a full 180 degrees of coverage (maybe someone here has useful experience for you on that). Make a sketch of the boat - so you can lay out a perfectly semi-circular track where it interferes the least with the arrangement and other hardware.. Even if you need to attach the main-sheet toward the middle of the boom (instead of at the very end) just plan on beefing up the boom strength.

    Shown is a circular track - but for the vang on a Star class - which might serve you on the pilothouse roof... which is another way to go

    Attached Files:

    fallguy likes this.
  4. guzzis3
    Joined: Nov 2009
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    guzzis3 Senior Member

    Or put a track on the boom so the main sheet is always vertical, assuming your boom is long enough to reach the traveler at the wider sheeting angles. Much cheaper than a curved traveler track and easier to install.

    I'm no racer but as I ease the main for a broad reach I don't bother with tweaking sail shape that closely so maybe you only need a traveler track about 2 meters ?

    At what point is the end of your boom no longer directly above your traveler ?
  5. Munter
    Joined: Jul 2007
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    Munter Amateur

    The answer is... it depends.

    It depends on several things.
    1. Is your cat fast or slow. A full pilothouse suggests leisurely pace and therefore broader wind angles and eased sheets. A vang can be helpful here but a longish traveller will substantially compensate. If however, you want to run square with a main without a vang you will have to learn to live with a lot of twist. Fast cats don't need a vang because they don't need to deal with sheets eased much beyond the traveller.
    2. It depends on how much efficiency you are willing to trade off for convenience. A vang might improve sail control but if it only costs you a couple of percent and significantly improves layout options then maybe it is worth it.

    Sailboat design is all about trade-offs.
  6. redreuben
    Joined: Jan 2009
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    redreuben redreuben

    Use a wishbone boom.
  7. philSweet
    Joined: May 2008
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    philSweet Senior Member

    A reasonable option is to have a decent, but not maximal main traveler, and use a handy-billy to an outboard hard point for occasional deep downwind sailing. This gives you double sheeting as an option whenever you want it. It also permits using a straight traveler track. It's a nice option to have when short handed in a good breeze because you can set it up to lower the trimming effort on the main. This can make for a considerably less messy traveler system most of the time by keeping the traveler control lines from taking over the boat. Can you post a sketch of the aft half of the boat showing rudders and tillers and their control line routings? How long is the boom and how tall is the mast?
  8. captaingregger
    Joined: Mar 2018
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    Location: Los Angeles

    captaingregger New Member

    I don't use a vang on my trimaran. She's heavy, yet fast. The issues facing multihulls are that they don't spill the wind that a mono does in the heel. Therefore the loads are exponential as wind velocity increases. Accordingly, I find myself spending less time concerned with mainsail trimming an performance when the wind is abolve 10-12 kts. At that point I'm looking at what I need to do to slow the boat down (due to increased load on all the gear), unless on a beam reach. In that case I'll usually push it to 14-15 kts (fast for a fully outfitted curising tri like mine). But when I reach those speeds it's usually only a matter of hours before some shackle or line blows out and I'm back down to 7-9 kts.

    So I like a little twist in the main to help spill the air, sort of keep her under control if I can.
  9. captaingregger
    Joined: Mar 2018
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    captaingregger New Member

    I have the track system on my boat and I think it's overkill. I would much prefer a two sheet system like the Neel trimarans or other similar newer designs.

    Tracks add weight and are expensive.

    My track along runs almost the entire beam of the boat. A professional delivery skipper who asked to take a look at my boat recently told me the track on my boat retail cost is over $6,000. That doesn't include all the hundreds of peices of hardware that go with it. A two sheet system with attachment on boat ama hulls accomplishes pretty much the same thing.

    On my boat, the track is on the aft deck. It's out of the way but it's also in the way. One has to step over it when going back to the cockpit. If someone had their feet on that track right as an unexpected jibe were to occur, there goes their toes or foot (if the traveler wasn't cleated off in the first place). You can sit behind a keyboard and say, "well I would never allow that to happen." But on a long 1,000+ miles passage in rough seas, a lot happens, especially at night. During my last passage we were running dead down a few times. Before I could set up the preventer the boat jibed during a wind shift. I always cleat both the leward and windward side of the traveler anyway, but on one occsasion the leward side of the traveler worked it's way out of the cleat and during an un-anticipated jibe, whammo! The entire traveler system flew across the track port to starboard. I have a 26' beam so that's a lot of travel, a lot of load.

    Had someone been standing there it could have seriously injured them. So yet another reason to get away from traveler tracks on a multihull.

    My boat is in refit now and we are redesigning the coach roof. We will be switching to a dual sheet, dual attachment point, system when we're done.

    Anybody wanna' buy a nice arcing traveler track? Haha

  10. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    You can get away without a track. Use a double sheet, one on each side.
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