Does anyone know if the supplier of the curved aluminum U beam support which holds the traveller track is still around, or is it still possible to find one of those around anywhere?
Brian Sayers, E38 Destiny
I don't know the answer to that question, or how hard it would be to make one from scratch. I do know that that "channel," as it is sometimes called, is what restricts any car upgrade. Only the original Ronstan gear fits. Every new car system I looked at was too wide for the channel and required removing it.
The traveler of a sailboat allows adjustment of the lateral position of the boom and therefore the angle of the mainsail to the wind. With the angle set, main sheet tension controls twist, which allows air to spill from the upper sail. On...
I would recommend upgrading the traveler to a Garhauer or Harken with big boat track that can be bent, and ditch the channel. The channel was to allow for the bent track which was only supported on the ends.
I would go with the Garhauer, and Garhauer risers, you will have to get Garhauer to customize the risers for you, but a modern system with modern ball bearings is an amazing things.
Harken will also bend the track for you and does have a riser system, However Garhauer is so so so so much easier to work with.
Sometimes it comes down to aesthetics. I like Garhauer and have their blocks. But I consider the E38 traveler elegant, and it has the unusual attribute that the original gear is still manufactured--by Ronstan, in Australia. The original traveler is not butter-smooth, true, but it works fine in my world. Every attempt I have seen to upgrade it to modern conceptions has resulted in, well, what is to my eye a violation of Ericson smooth.
I use the traveler a lot. I can trim mine easily on any point of sail except close hauled, over 15 knots, using 77-year old muscle power (ha ha).
Here is the pictorial difference, on the E38, between the original equipment and a so-called upgrade. Choice is in the eye of the beholder.