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Sail & Rigging - Problem with mainsheet traveller swan 41:
16 August 2017 - 08:25
#1
Join Date: 02 February 2007
Posts: 202

Problem with mainsheet traveller swan 41:

Hello dear friends!

On Soeur Anne (41/022) we have the original Lewmar mainsheet traveler, with X shape rail.

Strangely the traveller has blocked in the middle position: it can be moved around one centimeter each side, not any more. It looks very much as if something (a nut perhaps?) has fallen from inside the traveller in one of the holes fixing the rail to the deck, and is blocking the traveller. I don't see any way to unblock it, especially since this traveler is one piece with an X inside shape corresponding to the rail...

Has anybody been experiencing the same problem? And solved it?

I also understood from Lars in the past that this rail is about the only piece of equipment which cannot be normally taken off the boat.

If this is right, destroying the rail and traveller with a disk are of course possible options, but then, what is the recommended way of fixing a new rail? Which type?

Any idea on the subject would be VERY welcome!

Many thanks.

Kind regards and fair winds to all.

Philippe. 41/022

 

16 August 2017 - 11:06
#2
Join Date: 05 August 2010
Posts: 162

Dear Philippe,

that does sound like a minor cause with annoyingly major consequences ...

I tried to remove the X Rail once and gave up. Lars is right, short of dismantling the boat to the GRP core it is virtually impossible. What you could possibly try, once you are seriously considering to take a disk to the traveller (i.e., once you have exhausted all the alternatives others may come up with), is to drill a hole into one of the sides; I would suggest to do it where the rubber stoppers are placed. Through such a hole you could insert both a tube camera to spot the problem, as well as a small wire with a hook, pliers, or a sticky glob to remove a small obstacle ... if possible.

It may also be possible to try to stick a small wire into the bolt holes of the X from the front side. Not all of the bolts holding the X track on my boat fill the hole completely, so with a lot of luck you may be able to push an obstacle upwards.

Unfortunately I neglected to take a picture of the underside of the traveller when I had it off. If you really need it, I can take the traveller off and take a picture for you -- need to take of the blocks in the coaming, but would be willing to do it for you.

Best regards,

Martin

16 August 2017 - 11:15
#3
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547

Dear Philippe

To my knowledge the first time such a problem occurred. 
There is a slot between the car and the track, and It is suggested that you find a narrow plate with a thickness fitting into the slot, insert it, and try to push the stop away. An angled plate with the same angle as the track may also be effective.
 
If you can get in a small hose it could be tried to flush away the stop with high pressure, or blow it away with compressed air. If the screw holes are open from the sides it could also be tried to flush or blow under the car from the sides.
 
If this does not help, and there are no better ideas - Forum members please - you could either choose to drill out the car, leaving the track, or attempt to remove the track, but at least one bolt is below the car, and that one has to be accessed from below.
Kind regards
Lars

PS

Enclosed a track section photo, posted by Jacaranda

16 August 2017 - 13:17
#4
Join Date: 02 February 2007
Posts: 202

Hello Lars and Martin!

First thing to say is that I was really surprised but your prompt reaction. Many thanks for this.

As can be seen from the picture it seems that its the left nut holding the U shaped piece holding the mainsheet block which unscrewed and dropped in holes holding the rail. 

As suggested by Lars I did succeeded moving the car from one fixing hole to the next by lifting the nut with a metal saw blade, but then what??? 

I will try to undo the stopper on the left side to see if by chance there was enough space for the nut to drop, but that is a diffficult task...

I will keep you informed!

In any case, any idea still wellcome!

Kind regards.

Philippe 41/022

 

16 August 2017 - 13:34
#5
Join Date: 02 February 2007
Posts: 202

Oops, second try with photo...

16 August 2017 - 15:12
#6
Join Date: 05 August 2010
Posts: 162

Dear Philippe,

unfortunately you are right, taking out the stops is a task as well. There is one vertical bolt anchoring the stop down in the deck, and there is a smaller horizontal screw holding the stop to the X rail. This is hidden behind the vertical bolt You can see the access holes on the pictures, and you can also see the threaded hole for the screw in the X rail in the picture Lars posted from Jacaranda. In my case, when I took the stop off I had to sacrifice the horizontal screw (using a saw). But as you can see, the stop came off.

If the stop does not come off, you might consider drilling a hole into one of the upper wings of the X track and try to extract the nut via that hole. However, that would leave your main sheet attached only with one side of the U, as the other one is missing its nut. So I guess you will try to get the stop off to fix the traveller anyway.

Best regards, and I hope you will be successful,

Martin

16 August 2017 - 16:30
#7
Join Date: 20 March 2011
Posts: 88

Dear Philippe

Should you need it, I have replaced my traveller on 44 004 Hatha.

I still have all of the old parts, everything in ok working order.

Feel free to contact me on my email, I'll be happy to help you out if necessary.

Good luck!

Tonyh  44 004 Hatha

17 August 2017 - 14:16
#8
Join Date: 10 February 2008
Posts: 16

Dear Philippe,

We are the owner of SWAN 38 "Jacaranda" with excackly the same traveller and X-shaped rail as yours. Last year we faced some problems with the traveller and we decided to take it of. Not easy, but still possible. Under deck you will find the bolts (under 2-3 layers pf fiberglass). Take your time and clean around the bolts. Use a quality topspanner and you will be able to remove the bolts - one by one. It took me 5-6 hours to remove the X-rail. Later the local boartyard renovated the traveller and replaced the teakwood under the rail. The traveller is now perfect. For your information, please see some pictures illustrating the "inside" of the traveller.

Hope you will be able to solve the problem.

Best regards

Jorgen

Swan 38/059 Jacaranda 

 

 

Traveller Swan 38/059

20 August 2017 - 09:48
#9
Join Date: 02 February 2007
Posts: 202

Dear all,

Thanks again for trying to help in this really crazy problem, its really helpiful trying to find a solution.

I have been trying to reach the horizontal screw as described by Martin without success til now. I might saw it...?

Looking at the traveller picture from underneath, I am also trying to figure out how to get rid of the nut by either:

- increasing the size of the existing holes in the rail to capture the nut whilst still beeing able to slide the car. But it needs to be around 16 mm diameter.

- cutting (how ??) the bottom of the central v of the car to be able to slide it above the nut.

- extracting the nut it by the holes of the rubber stoppers. Impossible ??

A specific question for Lars: is there a possibility to undo the rail on a 41 as described for a 38 ?

The U shaped rod is 8 mm diameter so I think one nut would be enough...

Mny thanks again, kind regards, and happy sailing!

Philippe 41/022

 

 

20 August 2017 - 18:00
#10
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547

Dear Philippe

The main sheet track bolts are attached to an aluminium back-up plate below deck, and the plate is matted in. You need to access the underside of the deck in this location, but there are panels preventing this. Not sure if the panels are attached by glue or screws, pls inform what you discover.
Kind regards
Lars

22 August 2017 - 04:54
#11
Join Date: 05 August 2010
Posts: 162

Dear Philippe,

in my case, the horizontal screw was hidden behind the vertical one and behind an accumulated layer of hardened dirt that had been collecting since the stopper was mounted ... it took me several days, water and pressurized air and a fine wire to scrape it off, only to find after many attempts that it would not be turned. I did saw it off in the end.

If you managed to lift the screw with a thin blade, it may also be possible to use a thin blade to keep it from dropping into another hole, perhaps using a second blade sliding in from the other side. What I would hope for as a result would be a nut located on top of a blade: I imagine that it could then be possible to move the traveller including the blade to the side where the stopper is off, pull out the blade, and have the nut drop out down and reattach it, as the traveller is then off anyway. I admit that I have no idea if it could work but am pretty sure it would take much longer than it took me to write it down.

What I am sure of is that once I located the matted-over bolts of the X track in the aft cabin of our 48 (that was possible after taking the headliner panels off), it was immediately clear that the bolts were not accessible.

Hope you will succeed -- or else Soeur Anne will be known as "the Swan with the loose screw" ...

Best regards and wishes,

Martin

23 August 2017 - 14:04
#12
Join Date: 02 February 2007
Posts: 202

Dear all,

I am exactly in the same type of thinking as Martin, so getting prepared to get rid of the small (6mm is my guess from the pictures provided) screw hidden inside the end stopper but not expecting to succeed, and I also have taken off the headlining in the rear cabin to figure out how I could take out the whole track.

I have attched a picture which shows a white polyester omega which seem to cover the bolts heads holding the track.

So, my questions for the professor: is my guess right? Is there a problem cutting the omega, or at least in the approwimative places where the heads of the bolts are?

What kind of head are the most probable for these bolts: 6 faced, or flat with a slot for a screwdriver??

As you can see the very nice wooden curved piece hiding the cockpit is stuck with a lot of mastic from underneath at least, and I would like to figure out as much as possible what the extent of the job can be expected ...

Many thanks again for your help.

Kind regards.

Philippe. 41/022

23 August 2017 - 18:29
#13
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547

Dear Philippe

Thank you for the photo. The purpose of the white omega section is to provide an attachment for the headlining, and the suggestion is to take it out for easy access to the track bolts. 
It appears that along its forward edge there is a narrow strip of matting in to the deck, would it be possible to pry it loose? I do not see any matting along the aft edge, but there may be mastic.
The track bolts probably have nuts at their lower ends, the bolt heads with slots should be visible in the sheet track holes on deck.
If the wooden cockpit cover upper edge prevents removal of the omega section it should be checked how far down the headlining covers the wood - can probably be cut away above that level. 
The omega section could possibly be re-attached with short screws into the laminate. There is probably plenty of laminate thickness near the sheet track.
Kind regards
Lars

24 August 2017 - 07:03
#14
Join Date: 05 August 2010
Posts: 162

Dear Lars and Philippe,

maybe the arrangement on the 48 is different, but I am quite certain that there are no bolt heads or nuts in the X track. The bolts seem to be driven in from below, threading through the backing plate and into the X track. The bolt heads are matted over below deck above the headlining. Most probably they are hexagonal. 

I used a circular saw without a pilot to uncover the nuts. However, in case of the traveller track, I did not, als the rounded wooden cockpit cover sits right underneath, and I saw no chance of removing that.

Best regards,

Martin

 

PS - Matteo, is there an award for the most unusual defect on a Swan? I'd like to nominate Philippe and Soeur Anne ...

24 August 2017 - 11:37
#15
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547

Thank you Martin!

Dear Philippe

If Martin is right about the bolts being screwed into the track from below, the bolts are quite likely impossible to open due to corrosion in the threads. If the bolt heads are hexagonal the advice is to get a very long spanner, and apply enough force so the bolts are twisted off. 
If there are bolt heads with slots it remains to drill them out, either from below or above.
Kind regards
Lars

25 August 2017 - 07:44
#16
Join Date: 02 February 2007
Posts: 202

Dear Professor, Martin, Jorgen,

Yesterday I have tried again to get rid of the end screw without success (1/4 turn and then totally frozen!).

In despair I have increased the size of one of the holes where the tail of the rail fixing screws (coming from below, professor) was the shortest and moved the car with a metal blade saw slided under the nut till it was above that hole. And then, removing the blade, surprise, the nut fell in it as hoped...! Not quite enough to move the car by hand, but it did with a hammer, success!

At last... pfeeew!!!

Now I need to secure the u piece where the block is fixed, probably with a key drilled from the side of the car. Easy job this time.

Many thanks for your suggestions which definetely helped my own thoughts.

Kind regards, and fair winds to those who are sailing!

Philippe

 

 

26 August 2017 - 05:25
#17
Join Date: 05 August 2010
Posts: 162

Dear Philippe,

congratulations -- and I am really glad for you!

Best wishes,
Martin

28 August 2017 - 09:10
#18
Join Date: 02 February 2007
Posts: 202

Dear Professor, and all,

perhaps this subject was too long and too peculiar to interest many frieds, unless they face this extraordinary problem. Sorry if this is the case.

My intention is to modify the mainsail sheet system, as having an one sided attachment on the car is probably not recommended.

So to close this subject I would  need to know the professor's indication for the recommended working load of a new track and car for the maisail sheet. Remember: swan 41, tall rig.

Many thanks, and kind regards.

Philippe 41/022

28 August 2017 - 14:21
#19
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547

Dear Philippe

The maximum expected working load in the main sheet is 600 kg. Equipment manufacturers usually define breaking load as two times working load. The recommendation is to choose the next size up.
Kind regards
Lars

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