Travelling in Style!!!

 No, My friends, this post is not about one who travels.... on the contrary, it is about that necessary piece of hardware that I rarely used, because it was such a pain in the @$$ to use.  Of course, if you own or have owned an older Catalina 30 like mine, you know I am talking about the Main Sail traveler..

Even though this is screaming for a traveler adjustment I didn't because it was such a PAIN!
   The stock one that came with the boat (ergo it is about 37 years old) is curved, and could only be adjusted in a very awkward manner... that is: let out the main sheet, pull the pin for the side you want to go to, slide the stop to the location you wanted, re-seat the pin in that hole, move the traveler car, move the opposite stop to lock the car in place, then readjust the main sheet.  as you might Imagine, I didn't use it very often, and I am sure that affected my sailing.

  So I ordered an upgrade kit that Garhauer Marine Hardware had for my Catalina 30 (on sale too, I might add!)

 This would allow me to get rid of this old out-of-date traveler in favor of a traveler of a different design that would work much more easily and efficiently!

As I said earlier, Garhauer puts out really great, and heavy duty stuff, but they include NO DIRECTIONS on how to install this.  I did find a You Tube video that showed how to install it, and that was the basis for my installation here.  The first thing to do was to remove the old Traveler... this took me all of about 10 minutes.   First remove the Main sheet bail and tie off the boom out of the way.  Then, remove 6 cap nuts and 6 regular nuts, tap out the bolts and VOILA!

Old traveller GONE!  Looks better already!  I tied off the boom to a winch on the port side.

 After scrubbing the deck where the old teak blocks were, I could mark where the new mounts would go.  To figure this out, I just basically put the mounts on the traveler  bar and lightly snugged each of the 10 supplied bolts (5 per side) down, then I put the traveler on the deck.  I focused on aligning the center holes in the mounting bracket with the old traveler holes, as that represented the center of both traveler bars, and making sure it was centered side to side (I measured from the outboard edge of the bracket foot to the inboard edge of the hand rail.  One thing you should keep in mind is if you have a dodger to clear.  It is possible that you may need to scoot the traveler forward or aft a bit to accommodate it.

Once you are sure of the placement of the traveler, you will need to remove the bracket foot, by removing two bolts, one fore and one aft
 Now you can mark and drill the holes...  What I did was to do the center ones on both sides of the traveler, put in bolts, then made sure that I could reinstall it on the feet.  It was a bit tight, but it worked because since I hadn't fully tightened the upper 5 bolts I could loosen them and slightly slide it in the elongated holes in the bracket, then tighten them back up, and after it was completely installed, tighten them all the way.

 Drilling the holes is pretty straight forward (although drilling holes in your boat is always a bit stressful).  Keep the drill perpendicular to the deck, and keep on drilling till you are through

 Then it is on to the second one.

Drill, baby, drill!
 After drilling the first two, I mounted the Traveler to the foot by dropping bolts into those holes, then partially putting in the 2 bolts on both sides.  I wanted to make sure it would fit!  It did, so I removed the traveler again,  then just drilled the other 4 holes by drilling through the holes in the foot.  this picture shows the holes drilled, and me testing the fit by remounting the traveler and partially putting the in 2 bolts that hold it in place.  OK, so I am cautious!
The next step is a very important one.  I need to countersink the holes.  I did this with a countersink bit on my drill.  You can see it mounted on the drill ready to go on the left.
One down, 11 more to go!
You may not think that this is such a big deal, but it is instrumental to keep the water on the outside of the cabin.  I picked up this tidbit of information from Compass Marine's web site.  If you have any doubt as to why countersinking is so critical, Read this Article on their site and you will be convinced..... they are also a wealth of information on other subjects as well.  It is also the site where I purchased my Butyl Tape!  EVERY boat owner should own a roll or two of this very useful stuff!  I will be using it in this project later.  Getting back to countersinking... It is super easy to do...

6 down, 6 to go!

Just put the bit in the hole, and drill for a bit... it is self centering.  I find that it does a little better job if move the drill in a circular motion counter clockwise and use a slower speed.

Now it is time to use some of my favorite stuff to bed the hardware.  It is my favorite because it is easy to use, isn't messy, never hardens, makes a great seal, and it is fairly easy to remove if necessary.  BUTYL TAPE!  It comes on a roll
as pictured on the left, and I use it for MANY things. 
I tore off a piece about 2 inches long, rolled it into a "snake" then with the bolt all the way in, wrap it around the base of the bolt.  then form that into a "small Volcano", or cone-shaped affair, like in the photo on the right.

This will fit nicely in the holes that I countersunk earlier
on the left you see I have one mounting plate ready to install.

I didn't mention this earlier, but these bolts are NOT supplied by Garhauer.
then it is a matter of lining up all of the bolts and tapping them in with a non-marring hammer, such as the rawhide mallet I am using here.  Try to keep the plate level as you go around and around tapping each bolt to go in a little at a time.  Once it is completely in contact with the deck, it is time for ht next step...
That is, mounting the backing plate, lock washers and nuts.  Garhauer includes these really massive backing plates for the job.  this is MUCH better than the 3 large washers that the Catalina folks used on the original Traveler.  I added lock washers when buying the bolts and nuts for this job.  I figured better safe than sorry.  This part of the job requires 2 people - one on the screwdriver, and one down below tightening the nuts.

Now comes the time to mount the pulley banks on either end of the traveler.    First thing to do is to back out these allen bolts with, what else... an Allen wrench! These is also known as a "Hex head bolt" because of the eight sided hole. 

Once you get them out, then mount the bank of pulleys by lining up the holes and reinstalling the hex head bolts.  There IS a right and a left bank... the large opening should be inward, and the posts to the outside, as shown on the right.

Once both banks are installed, it is time for the final step, threading the control line through the pulleys.

  A caveat about this line.  It is NOT PROVIDED by Garhauer, nor was there any guidance on what type should be used or how much was needed.  One thing I will say about Garhauer is they have excellent customer support.  when I called and talked to Guido (No lie... that's his name!) the tech support guy, he recommended 5/16 double braided line, and he gave me a formula for the length... it is this:  take the length of the traveler bar, multiply that by 5, (because this is a  5 to 1 system)and then add whatever length it will take to run the line to the cockpit. That is how much you will need for one side.  For the total amount, multiply that by two.  In my case the bar was 6 feet long, and I needed 3 feet to lead to the cockpit,  so it went like this: 6 (bar length) X 5 = 30 + 3 (length to cockpit) = 33 (length for one side) X 2 = 66 feet.   I ordered 100 feet, because I wanted some extra line for finally setting up some Jiffy Reefing lines for a later project.  Running the lines is easy.  I started from the cleat fairing, ran it through the bottom pulley, then through the bottom pulley on the traveler car, then to the middle pulley to the top pulley on the traveler car, then to the top pulley then tying it off on the bail (post).  I used a Bowline, which has worked great.


Make sure you run the lines on the INSIDE of all 3 posts on both sides.... Take a look below and you can see that I messed up twice on the left pulley bank... where the line runs OUTSIDE the post.... this can foul the lines later (don't ask how I know....)

Now move the traveler car as far as it will go to the other side.  Run the bitter end  of the line to the cockpit.  this is as much line as you will need, so after figuring out how much you need running to the cockpit, then whip the line in two places about 1/2 inch apart.  this is where you will cut the line.  I used a lighter to melt the ends so they wouldn't continue to fray.  Now you are ready to thread the other side in the same manner.

Now that the Traveler is installed, it is time to add the BLING!  That is, these nice, new, Shiney (oooooo Shiney!) Main Sheet blocks!!!! These are great and require no Maintenance (My favorite)!  Just wash them down with some fresh water from time to time!  You install 3 of these babies on the traveler car, and then replace the rest of, in my case, the worn out blocks that touch the main sheet.  Make sure you put the block with the bail (the post for tying off the sheet) in the MIDDLE of the boom.  it took me 3 tries to figure out where this block went.....  the picture below shows my final configuration.

Here's a tip I found out from Guido.... once you have the main sheet tight (like in the picture to the right), you need to take a small Allen (Hex) wrench to the Hex head bolt where the block swivels (look for a small hole).  Tighten that bolt until it is tight.  That will lock the block in at the angle it is at, and will make it fixed position block.  Do this for the 3 on the boom and the 3 on the Traveler car.  let the one(s) at the mast swivel freely.    This will resolve the issue of the main sheet twisting around between the boom and the Traveler car, which I had with my old blocks.  This was really annoying when you were trying to loosen the sheet!

So the bottom line to all of this is that I LOVE the new traveler, and now use it all of the time!!! It makes making small adjustments to the sail position a BREEZE!  If you are thinking of upgrading, I say think no longer and DO IT!  you will wonder why you didn't do it sooner!

Traveler set amidships

And as a Bonus, I can now EASILY move the boom out of the way when I am anchored, or at the dock, making for a more pleasant time hanging out in the cockpit. 

'til next time!



  1. That's a right pretty piece of equipment you added! I'll walk down and admire it in person.


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