September 28, 2011.
I had to install all of the running rigging on a new sailboat bound for the boat show. I've done quite a few and I even live on a freaking boat so I’m pretty familiar with the way various lines need to be run. That was until today when I realized that this new boat didn't even have a traveler (the sliding thing used to control the mainsail).
I got a bag with 4 small blocks and another 9 large blocks (pulleys). Everything runs back to the electric winches (labor saving device allowing lightweights to adjust lines even when under incredible loads which will probably lead to an upswing in the number of torn sails) in the cockpit. I ran the genoa sheets (ropes that unroll and control the big sail up front) and the furling line (the wee line to roll the genoa back up). Then I ran the main halyard (rope used to raise the mainsail) and genoa halyard (rope used to raise the genoa, usually once a year) along with the topping lift (line used to support the end of the boom). Then there was the mainsail furling line (used with a roller furling mainsail) and the boom vang control line (a vang is used to make the area directly aft of the mast unusable for any other purpose).
So I was moving right along until I tried to figure out the traveler. After a lot of trial and error I ended up with a birdsnest of lines that uses 7 blocks and an additional pair of cheek blocks to get both ends of the line into the cockpit.
I pictured the boat designer, Jacques Lackluster sitting at his desk in France trying to come up with a radical new design to make his mark on this particular new yacht. Read this next section with your most obnoxious french accent---> Let me zee, what can I do to completely revolutionize zee yachting industry. Oops, its time for my 9 wine lunch. I'll draw up my new traveler design after lunch. Three hours later.... The wine, she was perfect but now its back to reinventing zee wheel. Let me think, the traditional traveler that most yachts use is too efficient. It's simple, uses a minimal amount of hardware and is infinitely adjustable. I will make my mark by getting rid of it altogether.
My parents were wrong, I am brilliant. Back to English unless of course you choose to use the french accent for the rest of the evening. C'est votre choix.
The new “traveler” has no car or track and completely relies on a series of blocks.
I tease about the French because I'm not under any contractual obligation not to. I've actually enjoyed the time I've spent in the company of people from France but none of them was a yacht designer.